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In or Out

In or Out is an episode from the dramedy series Ugly Betty, the thirteenth in the series overall, which aired on January 18, 2007. It was written by Myra Jo Martino and directed by Michael Spiller. The episode title itself is an allusion to the film with the similar name.

Plot

In the weeks that have passed since Sofia's deception, we find the Suarezes at a Mexican restaurant, where in the midst of a conversation between Betty, Justin and Ignacio, Hilda runs in and informs her family that Herbalux has been recalled by the FDA and she is without any income. Betty tries to tell her that it will all be okay. She then offhandedly remarks that she needs to pick up Daniel's dry cleaning and run a few errands for him. Hilda points out that she's not his assistant anymore, but Betty says she needs to look out for him. Hilda tells Betty that she is such a good person for worrying about Daniel. Betty tells her sister that you have to do what you have to do, and puts back on her sombrero hat (filled with nachos) and goes back to waiting tables....her new job at Burrito King.

Over at the Wilmont Clinic, Wilhelmina and the mystery woman are informed by Steve, the private eye Wilhelmina hired (who still smells of casket stench) that the price is $1,000,000 to make it look like Bradford is responsible for Fey’s death. The mystery woman insists to Wilhelmina that they have to move quickly once she pays the money and that if there is anyone she (Wilhelmina) doesn’t trust at MODE....now is the time to fumigate! Wilhelmina then goes back to her office and discusses with Marc who is in and who is out at MODE. She opens her secret compartment with pictures of MODE's employees, half of whom are placed on a side labeled "In" and half are on the side labeled "Out". Christina is placed on the center line, not quite out (because she knows Wilhelmina's true measurements) and not quite "In" (because Wilhelmina has trouble understanding her accent at times). Amanda is on the out list because Wilhelmina sees her as loyal to Daniel. Marc tries to defend Amanda, but Wilhelmina insists that until Amanda proves her loyalty to Wilhelmina, she is out!

Across town, a scruffy Daniel is living at his loft in a deep depression. He hides in the closet when Betty shows up to deliver his dry cleaning. Betty is shocked at the mess she sees (food on the bed and papers are all over the floor). She hears a noise and grabs a tennis racket for defense, and puts a whistle in her mouth. She opens the closet and finds Daniel all scruffy and bummed out in pajamas and a robe. She says she can’t believe he lied to her and didn’t go to Rio as he claimed. She tells him next week is Fashion Week and the company needs him. Daniel high-fives Betty for quitting her MYW job with Sofia. He tells Betty that when he goes back to work at MODE, he wants Betty back as his assistant.

The next morning, while Betty and her family have breakfast, Hilda gives Betty advice on men while preparing to go job-hunting. She kids Betty about Henry at MODE, but tells her Walter is the kind of guy Betty can settle down with. Betty wonders aloud that if she did settle down with Walter, would she be settling down, or just settling? Betty then meets Daniel on the way to work. She sees he's used a self-tanner ("You look like an Oompa Loompa") to make people think he's been to Rio. Daniel is unsettled to see posters of MYW's first issue, featuring Sofia's article "From Fling to Ring in 60 Days!" plastered on buses and walls, complete with the Daniel-Sofia cover shot. Betty reminds Daniel that he can do this; he can go to work and survive if he runs into Sofia. Meanwhile, at MODE, Wilhelmina starts taking charge, but is thrown into shock when Marc comes running in to tell them Daniel is back. They are even more shocked when Betty arrives right behind Daniel. Marc and Amanda, under their breaths, wonder if they hit Betty with a stick, if candy would fall out. Daniel stiffly hugs Wilhelmina, who pretends she's glad he's back. Unbeknownst to Wilhelmina, handprints from Daniel's self-tanner are on the back of her white dress. Daniel takes Betty and Amanda into his office and tells them they are both going to be his assistants.

As for the now-unemployed Hilda, she gets door after door slammed in her face on her job hunt. She makes it back home, checks the messages on the answering machine and erases the job rejections. However, Justin's teacher called, thanking her for the cupcakes that Ignacio made and insisting "there's money in them." Light bulbs start to go off in Hilda's head.

Back at MODE, Betty tells Amanda that they have to build up Daniel’s confidence again. Betty has an idea and tells Amanda to put 8pm on Daniel's calendar for tonight. Betty then goes to Christina and they begin to search for a new fling to take Daniel’s mind off Sofia. Betty gets sidetracked when she sees a stunning outfit on a mannequin--it's Christina's personal design for Fashion Week.

At the Suarez house, an excited Hilda rushes in and tells Ignacio she now has her own company....Grandma Suarez’s Cupcakes! ("I could be the Latina 'Mrs. Fields!'") She says a diner has agreed to sell them and that they need 500 by tomorrow morning.

Later on, Bradford stops by to see Daniel and tells him he needs to focus on Fashion Week. Betty takes Christina’s advice and contacts supermodel Gisele’s (presumably Gisele Bündchen) people to arrange a dinner date for her and Daniel. Marc tells Amanda she needs to sabotage both Betty and Daniel to prove her loyalty to Wilhelmina. Marc shows Amanda the secret bulletin board in Wilhelmina's office, with Amanda on the "Out" list. Amanda tells Marc she can’t betray Daniel, but Marc insists she has to.

Daniel tells Betty he's not ready to be set up with anyone yet, but Betty tells him this is exactly what the tabloids need to see, him on the arm of a supermodel. When Marc tells Amanda that Daniel will always choose Betty over her, Amanda tells him she is on the team that is staying. She calls Gisele’s people (pretending to be Betty) and says Daniel needs to cancel their dinner plans for tonight.

Daniel shows up at the restaurant and takes his seat. He insists to the waiter that his date will be there anytime now, while everyone in the restaurant stares and paparazzi take pictures from outside. Back at the Suarez's, Betty walks in to find the kitchen has been turned into a business for Hilda! Ignacio begs for help in controlling Hilda because she is forcing him, Justin and a Korean neighbor all to work like crazy on the cupcakes. Hilda even barks orders at the neighbor in Korean to go faster.

Daniel calls Betty and tells her Gisele hasn’t shown up. Betty rushes to the rescue and takes a seat at Daniel's table. She tells Daniel that as far as the tabloids know, he's just meeting with his adoring, witty business assistant and discussing her much deserved raise.

Wilhelmina gets a delivery with all the information needed to frame Bradford for Fey’s death. They mystery lady tells her this must be taken to the police by someone with no connection to Wilhelmina. Back at her office, Wilhelmina looks at the "in and out" board and sets her sights on Christina. For years, Christina has submitted her own designs for Fashion Week, but Wilhelmina, who is in charge of choosing whose designs are shown, has never picked Christina's. Wilhelmina goes downstairs and tries to butter Christina up by telling her that if she does favors for the right people, she could make it as a designer. Christina holds out and says she knows how Wilhelmina works, and that she would rather make it on her own.

Back in Brooklyn, Daniel and Betty manage to lose the paparazzi on the streets and duck into a cozy pizza restaurant. Betty tells Daniel that he is a much better person now because he was ready to put his heart out there for the real thing (Sofia). She says she wishes she could feel that way. Daniel says it's obvious that Henry is really into her. Daniel then freaks out as Betty drags him up onstage to sing karaoke. She insists they have to because the price is half off if you sing. Although Daniel protests, "But I'm rich," they head up and do a rendition of “I Got You Babe” and look like they're having fun.

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, they stop to admire the Manhattan night skyline. Daniel says he's never seen the city from the other side before. "That's the only way I've ever seen it," Betty replies. After they appreciate the scene, the talk turns to Daniel's late brother, Alex. Daniel opens up to Betty about how Alex used to call Daniel and have him meet Alex at some after-hours diner and just hang out and talk, much like he and Betty are doing. Betty gently asks how Alex died, and Daniel says he died jumping out of a helicopter to ski on Mt. Juneau; ski lifts were too tedious for him. But Daniel says at least Alex died as he lived, full of life.

Betty tells Daniel she can’t be with Henry--she can't compete with a model that "weighs less than (Betty's) shoes." Betty explains that she saw Henry kissing Daniel's ex-girlfriend Aerin at the company Christmas party. Daniel reassures Betty that she doesn’t need to worry about Aerin, because she kissed about six guys at the party; "to Aerin, that's like asking 'where's my coat?'" Daniel warmly tells Betty she's much better than a model anyway, and Betty smiles.

Hilda makes her first cupcake delivery and rushes back with a check for $181. She then tells Ignacio the diner doubled the order for tomorrow. An exhausted Ignacio tells his daughter they actually lost money because they had to buy equipment, ingredients, etc. He tells Hilda he can’t help anymore, so Hilda insists she'll just do it herself. She stays up all night working on the cupcakes and greets Betty when she finally comes in. Hilda is taken aback that Betty was on a "date" with her boss, but Betty shrugs it off and tells her it was just a business dinner. Suddenly, they smell something burning... the cupcakes. Hilda has a breakdown and begins to cry. She tells Betty that she (Hilda) is 30, and doesn't have anything to show for herself. She says Justin is the best thing that's ever happened to her, but she can’t help but wonder what her life would be like if she wasn’t a single mother, which Justin overhears. Betty tells Hilda that she is a super mom and that this was meant to happen so that she could go on to bigger and better things.

The next morning, a surprised Amanda sees the paper with pictures of Betty and Daniel at the restaurant. When Betty comes in, Amanda shows her to her new (larger) desk and admits that she and Betty have one thing in common: they both want what's best for Daniel. Betty will be Daniel's only assistant, and Amanda asks Daniel for her old job back ("with a big raise, since I'm now way overqualified.")

Christina, who has been considering her options, reluctantly goes to see Wilhelmina and asks what a woman would have to do if she wanted to be something besides a seamstress. Wilhelmina hands Christina a package and tells her to drop it off at the nearest police station--anonymously. Christina takes the package and leaves.

Wilhelmina then goes to the clinic to see the mystery lady and tells her the package is being delivered as they speak. The mystery lady then walks out of the shadows, with all of her bandages removed, wearing a stunning dress. Posing in the mirror, the woman asks Wilhelmina how she looks. Wilhelmina responds, "Looks like that... 'skiing accident' really paid off... 'Alex Meade'." The woman smiles at Wilhelmina and tells her, "Alexis, darling. It's Alexis now."

Production

This episode introduces Rebecca Romijn to the cast as a series regular. She took over the role of the masked woman, who is actually Daniel's brother, Alex Meade, who was supposedly dead. Alex, upon his sex change, changes her name to "Alexis". The episode also marks one of the few times that a post-operative transgender character has been a full-time regular, and the second in prime time, the other being The Education of Max Bickford. In an interview with TV Guide, Silvio Horta explained the reason behind this surprising twist involving Alexis: "While we were shooting the pilot," he explains, "I got to the point where Wilhelmina screws Daniel over, and I felt at the end it just needed something else. Something bigger. So I wrote a scene between her and a mysterious woman.

When Amanda placed a picture of herself on the "In" part on Wilhelmina's "In or Out" board, she placed it on the right of Marc. A couple of scenes later, when Wilhelmina was on the phone to "The Mystery Woman" she looks at the board. It can be seen from this camera angle that the picture of Amanda is back on the "Out" section, and the space next to Marc is no longer occupied by Amanda. Betty was already placed on "Out" on Wilhelmina's "In or Out" board, well before she came back to her job as Daniel Meade's assistant.

In this episode, Daniel sprays fake tan on himself to make him look like he's been away. When he returns to work he hugs Wilhelmina and makes orange hand marks on her back. Later on in the episode when Wilhelmina is in the closet with Christina the orange marks are gone from Wihemina's back however she is wearing the same white outfit!

The restaurant where Betty was "chip chick" was the El Coyote restuurant on Beverly Blvd. near Hollywood, in Los Angeles.

The karaoke scene and the walk across the bridge featuring Betty and Daniel followed the same storyline setting as Betty la Fea, but the outcome was different in the original version. This scene was also documented in the first season DVD, where both America Ferrera and Eric Mabius are actually shooting on a green set that is later digitized to make it look like Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.

The props department created a newspaper for the character Amanda to read after Daniel and Betty's night out featuring the front-page headline "Man Brutally Attacked by Pigeons In Central Park : Lives To Tell Gruesome Tale".

Casting

This episode was also the final one featuring Stelio Savante's character Steve.

Awards

Eric Mabius submitted this episode for consideration in the category of "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series" on his behalf for the 2007 Emmy Awards.

Ratings

The episode was watched by 14.1 million viewers in the United States. The surge came in the wake of the series' win at the Golden Globes on January 16, three days earlier.

References

Also starring

Guest stars


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