It’s almost fact that Ugly Betty works best when it focuses on the outrageous more so than the mundane. Though it can tackle the latter with conviction when it puts its mind to it, the former is definitely the show’s strong suit. ‘In or Out’ and the following ‘Coming Out’ see the show blossoming into a fully fledged crazy-mill, and I loved every second of it.
Wilhelmina plans who will stay, and who will be ousted when her plan finally takes shape in ‘In or Out’. Meanwhile, Hilda struggles to find something to do with herself after she loses her job, and Betty tries to figure out who Henry was kissing at the Christmas party.
The power of this episode rests on the culmination of the mystery of “the woman behind the mask”, who is finally revealed to be Alex Meade, Daniel’s long thought dead brother. I’m not sure if it was a shock for me when it first aired, but there were numerous hints that it was him all along, and the constant references throughout the season made it quite obvious. The moment of the reveal itself is rife with crazy novella undertones, and full of that campy humour that makes Ugly Betty such a delight to behold.
There was a constant sense of this episode building towards something, with Marc and Mandy playing around with who will be ousted when Wilhelmina’s evil plans come to light (Sorry Amanda). The hilarity of the situation bounces of the wonderfully creepy aspects of it, and though it’s a show that never takes itself too seriously, you can tell there’s reason for these characters to be frightened, and for us to be excited at what’s to come.
Christina’s role finally becomes more important during this build-up, as she sells her soul to the devil (or in this case Willy) to further her own career. It’s a selfish move, but since its Christina there’s never any reason to doubt that she’s a good person at her core. Watcher her struggle with the moral implications of what she's doing are part of the reason why she's such a beloved part of the Ugly Betty family.
This episode is a fun, pumped build-up to what is sure to be the show’s crowning moment next week. Whether or not it will be just that remains to be seen, but there’s no denying that ‘In or Out’ is the show’s biggest turning point so far, regardless of the Henry crap we’re still suffering through.