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October 4, 2015

Ugly Betty: East Side Story (season finale)

by Julia Ward, posted May 18th 2007 1:50AM
I can't stop crying.

Let this be a notice to all you TV shows out there who kill off characters in sweeps week, for the sake of novelty or just to tease fans with weeks worth of internet spoilers. This is how you do it. This is how you kill off a secondary character and have it break your viewers' hearts. This show just went to another level. In the last five minutes, it went from being a top-notch entertainment to being art.

I don't mean to overstate things or have this review devolve into a series of meaningless platitudes, but I can only think of a handful of times that television has affected me in the way the final West Side Story montage did tonight. It was unexpected. It was moving. It was a reminder that Betty isn't Drew Barrymore, and that - just like in West Side Story - loving is not always enough.

So, let me just take a breath and move past my unbridled fanaticism, to cover the other 95% of the episode. It was packed with revelations, high drama and the snappy one-liners we've come to expect. Since this is the season finale, let's recap the revelations and cliffhangers just to see where we stand:

- Wilhelmina and Bradford are engaged.
- Claire is busting out of the joint with the help of Yoga and Sugar Free Shirley.
- Alexis and Daniel are lying unconscious in a wrecked car. The brake line was cut by the hit man Alexis hired to off her father.
- Amanda is Fey's daughter.
- Christina and Amanda are trapped in the love dungeon.
- Henry is going back to Tuscon with a pregnant Charlie, but the baby may not be his since she's been cheating on him with Dr. Farkus for two months.
- Ignacio is still in Mexico, and the family of the man he killed knows he in town.
- Christina has an abusive ex-husband in Scotland. (Guess who we'll be meeting next season?)
- Santos was killed in a hold-up on the night of Justin's stage debut in West Side Story. (Alright, TECHNICALLY, we did not see his dead body, and this is a soap opera. But, it's also not Lost. Daniel is in a coma. Alexis could go either way, but Santos is dead. See cops. See Hilda's reaction. If they pulled some kind of "Santos was saved by the teeth whitening strips in his breast pocket" crap on me, it would seriously undercut my respect for the show.)

Not to harp on this, folks, but it's amazing to me that a show that bandies about murder and deadly car crashes as the trumped up telenovela conventions that they are can have a death like Santos' - one that, to quote Betty, rips that band-aid right off your heart. Balancing camp and real emotional weight is not an easy thing to pull off, but the writers and performers behind Betty make it look so damn easy.

I was glad to see Daniel finally confront Alexis directly even if he was insanely far gone. I was really glad to see Henry and Betty kiss even if evil Charlie had to take that all away. Their copy room scene was a classic, which is just as good a segue as any into the comedy. Betty was in top form tonight with Amanda's sexual admissions to Christina, Marc and Wilhelmina's momentary separation (plus bonus "Memories" montage) and funny theater lady Kristin Chenoweth's guest turn.

So, as always, I give you the Ugly Betty one-liner parade. Feel free to add your own favorite moments in the comments section.

- "I thought I smelled jewelry." - Wilhelmina
- "Cupcakes, or something even more special like one big cake." - Betty
- "Inhale Ricky Martin. Exhale Colin Farrell." - Marc
- "Ok, this is getting creepy even for us." - Amanda after whipping Marc one too many times
- "Why don't you go make awkward small talk with your little friend?" - Daniel to Betty about Henry
- "Ringle is my new favorite word." - Henry
- "Would you forget the stupid copies? There are lives going on in here." - Betty with Henry in the copy room
- "Dorkus Interruptus." - Amanda on seeing Betty and Henry
- "Is that the guy who looks like CP3O?" - Mode staffer about Henry
- "It's like when Julia Roberts flossed before whoring herself in Pretty Woman." - Diane
- "We had a nitrus party the other night, and we didn't invite her." - Diane
- "You are such a chick flick. I would totally pay $12 to see you." - Diane
- "We have a Cindy Crawford mole sized problem." - Marc
- "Bad incense and a bunch of guilty men in dresses." - Marc on St. Patrick's Cathedral
- "Fish becomes bitch." - Yoga to Claire
- "Did Angela Lansbury eat a pizza bagel before going on in Sweeney Todd?" - Justin
- Wilhelmina: "You did not just hug me." Marc: "Of course, I didn't."
- "And, I never told anyone this, but his name was Bill Cosby." - Amanda on her sexual conquests
- "You can kiss me now if you want to." - Drunk Amanda to Christina

Wilhelmina Quip of the Week: Fabia: "I wouldn't want to marry without my something old." Wilhelmina: "With those veins in your legs, you already have something blue."

Do I even need to rate this thing? On a scale of 1 to 7, 11.

(Ugly Betty - S01E24) How do you rate this episode?
1 - Worst24 (2.0%)
29 (0.8%)
34 (0.3%)
411 (0.9%)
537 (3.1%)
6100 (8.5%)
7 - Best992 (84.3%)

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Abbey W


July 29 2007 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Abbey W

I love the delightfully stereotypical yet unique characters. It is a bit melodramatic to say that Justin may automatically jump to the conclusion that the death of his father was his fault. However, we did see a slightly different side to him when we found out that he deliberately gave a boy with a nut allergy peanuts just to achieve his ambition of being the star of west side story.

Does anyone here really believe that Charlie is pregnant? I think she just said that in a desperate bid to hang on to Henry. If she is hope the baby is Gabe Farkus' so we can all hate her in peace and feel really sorry for Betty.

Even though I love the show I think some people get totally the wrong message and just see it as an opportunity to laugh at Betty's ...er...less than perfect appearance. Are people really that shallow and superficial?

I have read everyone else's comments and I notice that one question that has been cropping up is why Alexis took Daniel down that country lane. This has been pretty well explained already but I agree that in an emergency like that a local hospital would have been a better idea.

Finally, the question...Could Bradford be Amanda's dad? If so she would indeed have slept with her half brother...although that would be creepy I hope Bradford is her dad because it would shake up the show even more :D

June 09 2007 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A.) I don't think Daniel was suffering from an overdose. He was high and drunk and Alexis drove him to a rehab facility.

B.) Alexis did not know HOW her Father would be killed. All she knew is that it was going to be taken care of somehow.It's not like she knew and then simply forgot.

The show is excellent. The funny thing is, I'm usually not the sort of person who enjoys unrealistic and crazy plotlines and yet I'm basically completely addicted to this show. I'd usually nit-pick at all the holes and lose interest but this show is truly special in a remarkably refreshing way. I like what the show makes me feel. I totally care for all the characters and I love the gratuitous amount of over-the-top humor, wit, and even the abundance of stereotypes. It seems all people are made fun of in this show - whether gay, straight, male, female, transexual, Hispanic, white, beautiful, and not so beautiful - but it does so tastefully and in a way that sort of mocks the very existence of stereotypes.

As for Justin being to blame for Santos' murder, I say that's bull. The kid is a musical theatre fanatic and one of his ambitions was to play Tony in West Side Story. Not saying what he did was ethical but I don't think it should be seen as the reason his Dad was killed. If anything, he was killed because he had a good heart and wanted to protect the store owner from the robber's beatings. I'm sure he would've suvived had he not intervened. We always look for someone to blame but I think blaming Justin for it is wrong.

I'm going to go mad waiting for season 2! I'm hooked!

June 06 2007 at 8:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Abbey W

I absolutley love the show but it makes us all cry and it is wayyyyyy to like a soap to be a real comedy, it's more like a drama!!! I don't get why Alexis would drive miles away to avoid publicity...I mean come on...a drug overdose...you don't just hang around for hours that is an emergency

June 03 2007 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Abbey W

I'm commenting again coz I'm reli bored at the mo...even though the plot is really brilliant and full of twists I don't get some of it..like how could you forget that you had hired someone to cut your dad's car brakes...If I wanted to kill someone I wouldn't forget about it...and they are probly keeping Daniel in the show so how do they explain how he miraculously came out of a coma after drinking, taking a drug overdose and being in a car crash caused by his weirdo bro/sis who FORGOT that he/she jired an assassin.
AND how come Charlie was giving Betty a hard time for being with Henry at that club ages ago if she was the one who had an afair with the orthodontist ( ewww...imagine what the kid will look like if it is his ) ???

June 03 2007 at 10:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Before answering this I tried vainly to find the episode in which Ignacio explains why he's here illegally (for having killed a man) so I may have it wrong. But here goes,,,in the episode where the Suarezes go to Mexico, Hilda is being tended to by a young man at a cafe who, after hearing all about Hilda's wedding and upon learning Ignacio's identity, calls someone to say they can now get even, presumably for the death of their family member at Ignacio's hand. So I'm thinking maybe that individual contacted someone in the states to take out someone in Ignacio's family as retribution--so Ignacio would suffer as they suffered. Would that also be more in keeping with the West Side Story-line? (never saw WSS but it seems his death should be for a reason and not random). Also, to have his life ended randomly and without reason would, for me, be out of keeping with all the other characters' storylines as most everyone seems to be connected to someone else one way or another.
And finally just sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Good programming comes along so seldom these days, why subject it to scrutiny? Have a good laugh or cry or sit on the edge of your seat as you wait for the next bombshell to go off.

June 02 2007 at 7:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Abbey W

I live in England so even though I know the plot inside out and have done for ages I have to wait until the 6th of June to see the season finale. I think the plot is ace and is the best finale ever because of all those cliffhangers...

I agree with whoever said that if Daniel is 100% OK then that's just stupid after the drink, drugs AND crash.

I want Santos to be OK but not for some stupid unrealistic reason.

I just find it hard to believe that anyone could be stupid enough to get in a car belonging to someone who you hired an assassin for and drive away from hundreds of hospitals to go down a weird country lane...

I won't talk about Braford & Wilhelmina because their engagement is a crime against nature, but I do think Wilhelmina comes up with really good schemes. The Claire scene is funny but a bit shocking on the diabetic girl who gets fed chocolate. ( Sugar-free Shirley )

Hope Charlie's baby is the orthodontist's so I have a good reason to hate her.

It will be sooo sad seeing Hilda & Justin when they hear about Santos.

If Fey Sommers is Amanda's mum then is it possible that Braford could be her dad, meaning she would have slept with her own half brother ???

Aaaaaargh..now my head is full of Ugly Betty stuff and we will have to wait ages to find out what happens next.

One more thing...I was sooo shocked when I first found out and now I'm annoyed because they give half the plot away in the adverts...

I bet you've fell asleep reading all of this even though I think it is really cool, so I'm going to shut up now...

June 02 2007 at 5:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Re: the drive in the country thing? Alexis told her assistant she was taking Daniel to "Pinecrest" or something like that. That could be one of the several detox or dryout clinics in Westchester County or north Jersey, you know, like Four Winds or Graystone. Four Winds is truly in the middle of nowhere in upper Westchester. Don't ask me how I know.

The Westchester roads once you get north of, say, New Rochelle, are truly harrowing country roads -- I'm recalling that famous story of Al Gore getting totally lost at until like 2 a.m. trying to get to a dinner at the Clinton's place in Chappaqua -- not too far from an area where there are a number of discreet treatment centers where the rich and famous can go for help away from the glare of the city hospitals.

I'm surmising, of course, but that might kind of explain what they'd be doing on a country road going to a treatment place. What is truly inexplicable is, if it was Alexis who had the brake lines cut in Bradford's car, then what the heck was she driving it for? It would certainly strain credulity not that she could have done that, but that she would do it and FORGET ABOUT IT and start driving the car; also, no matter what her destination was, how could she have gotten that far without realizing the brakes weren't working, since it is not possible to drive six inches in Manhattan without hitting the brakes? Though you can get out of town pretty quickly after a certain hour of the evening, it's a loooong way from the presumed location of their office to anything remotely resembling a country road, with a whole lot of stop and go stuff in between!

May 23 2007 at 8:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And another nice Sondheim ref right in the beginning, when Milliweena purrs to Bradford, "I feel like I'm in a fairy tale." (She played the Wicked Witch in "Into the Woods.") I thought the West Side Story thing was absolutely the most artfully crafted (wait a minute, I didn't just say that) thing I have ever seen on television in my life, and when that episode ended, despite the unbelievably stoopid, stoopid, stoopid cut to the Gray's Anatomy trailers before the last note of the strings had died down (sacrilege, in the case of that particular musical number) for which somebody at the network oughtta get fired -- anyway, I was ready to drag my TV down to the curb lest I be tempted to watch the episode again, because I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to stand it. But my husband had missed it and wanted to watch it tonight, so I found myself just as drawn in as I was the first time, and caught a couple things I'd missed the first time around -- I mean, would it be pushing it to mention Betty's little "ringle, no, jingle" ref in the beginning bracketing so nicely with Justin's song at the end? Good Lord, you are absolutely right. Entertainment became art.

May 23 2007 at 8:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The original ugly betty did not make a cameo. The original betty is from colombia and not mexico.

I don't want santos dead.

May 23 2007 at 2:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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