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Ugly Betty Recap: Jolly Old England

Damn you, Ugly Betty! Why must you be so charming during your final three episodes ever? Last night was an action-packed hour of evil schemes and nudges to follow your dreams (all in an episode titled after one of the greatest albums of all time that featured a montage set to Little Boots' killer "New in Town"). The night's major themes — willpower, focus, desire — had everyone making big moves: Betty is over fashion, Marc is over the single life, Amanda is over Mode, and Wilhelmina is over her nonviolent "sensitive phase." On top of all that, the groundbreaking budding romance between Justin and Austin is far from over.

Was that her true mission all along? Sort of. But the shift is irritating here because the show was doing such a great job of showing how fashion isn't frivolous, and that Betty was finding ways to marry those interests all along (remember the photo shoot she arranged at the U.N.?). Her dream remains old-school — "So one day I can create the magazine that I want" (good luck with that!) — and if she's going to really follow it, she'll likely leave one of the last print jobs in the city by the finale.

Was that her true mission all along? Sort of. But the shift is irritating here because the show was doing such a great job of showing how fashion isn't frivolous, and that Betty was finding ways to marry those interests all along (remember the photo shoot she arranged at the U.N.?). Her dream remains old-school — "So one day I can create the magazine that I want" (good luck with that!) — and if she's going to really follow it, she'll likely leave one of the last print jobs in the city by the finale.

That is, if there's still a Mode. Wilhelmina's evil plot to seize the Meade empire takes a few sinister steps forward: She fakes being an alcoholic to befriend Claire's son Tyler at an AA meeting, then lures him to drink on a disastrous night out with Daniel, who cluelessly reveals Claire lied about who Tyler's birth father is. (Alcohol is "like a warm hug going down my throat," Wilhelmina purrs ... and she's his sponsor.) Thus concludes season four's efforts to humanize Willie via her relationship with Connor and her kindness to drag queens. The bitch is back (okay, she never left).

Drinking screwed over Tyler, but it may have liberated Betty. After chugging a few too many beers in a pub, Betty gets loose enough to flash the stranger who winds up being Gio and drunk dial original love Henry to invite him to Hilda's wedding. (Looks like we'll see how that plays out next week, when Henry and his toddler arrive in New York.)

Justin didn't require any liquid courage to pursue his romance with Austin, but duh, his annoying family keeps getting in the way. After Justin repeatedly blows off Bobby to spend time with his bf, Hilda's fiancé discovers the teens kissing — not in the privacy of Justin's bedroom, but on the front porch (really?). Bobby looks surprised and, to be honest, slightly disgusted, but he vows to support Justin and keep his secret. The way Ugly Betty has flipped the stereotype of the close-minded thug not once, but twice now (Justin's deceased father Santos and now dad-to-be Bobby) is seriously refreshing and worthy of applause.

One final bit of awesome: Amanda announces she's finally pursuing the job that nourishes her interests in "criticizing people, shopping, and promoting world thinness." Somewhere, Rachel Zoe is scowling with approval. Next week: a gunshot!


Other Recaps:
EW's Tanner Stransky names eleven killer quips: "Let's just get Cheech and Chong back out!" (Amanda on Betty's boobs.)
Rickey.org's Noelle notes, "Gio is to Betty what Jess was to Rory on Gilmore Girls. The one person they needed to snap them out of their comfort zone."
Zap2It's Jethro Nededog is bummed to discover Gio's engaged and no longer an option for Betty (eh, it's better this way).

Photo: Patrick Harbron/ABC