Episode 4

We start the episode where we left off last week: Freddy taking Gabriela and Kenneth on a tour of Production and the President’s office while Armando, Betty, Nicolás and Gutiérrez arrive at the company and get onto the elevator. Freddy takes his guests to the showroom and asks “Doctora Valdés” [Merci: better known as Mariana] to explain how they handle the launches and fashion shows. The visitors again ask after the designer and Freddy calls Inesita to take them to Hugo’s workshop. There we see Wilson dressed à la Hugo in a shiny shirt and glasses. Inesita takes charge and explains everything about the fabrics they use to make the designs. Gabriela praises the designs she saw in production and congratulates Wilson. They explain that the designer doesn’t talk much: his designs speak for him. Freddy asks Sofía to tell the guests about the administrative arm of the company but words fail her so Bertha takes over. Later, Sandra talks about how many pieces they can export, how they’re shipped, etc.

Gabriela and Kenneth step aside for a moment and discuss entering into a deal with EcoModa. Although they both feel that the setup in the Executive offices, with all the missing secretaries, is a little strange, they feel the product and the actual workshop is excellent and they want to make a deal with EcoModa. At the same time, we see Betty, Armando, Nicolás and Gutiérrez noticing the empty desks and looking everywhere for their employees. The elevator door opens and we see Jenny arrive with Hugo and his little dog. She’s saying that he knew she was going to be away from work for a while, while he replies that since he’s in menopause he’d forgotten. Hugo greets everyone, calling Betty “Doña Beatríz.” He asks her if it’s ok he’d brought his little dog to work since she’d brought Armando. Plus, Bárbara (the dog) has had all her shots - can Betty say the same for Armando? At the same time, Gabriela and Kenneth tell Freddy they are going to stay one more day in Colombia so they can further discuss the deal they’d like to make with EcoModa. Just then Hugo arrives and demands to know what’s going on, is this some kind of Congress of Incredibly Horrible Women? He notices Wilson is dressed in his clothing and has a fit.

Freddy and the rest leave the workshop and Freddy tells his guests that Hugo is Wilson’s boyfriend. Kenneth comments how impressive it is that they have so many female executives at EcoModa. Just then what had to happen, happens: They run smack into Armando, Betty, Nicolás and Gutiérrez. Armando and Betty demand to know where they’ve all been; Freddy gestures at them to lower their voices and takes Kenneth and Gabriela to Nicolás’ office to wait while they agree on a meeting for the following day [Beth: it’s not clear from the text but i’m guessing that Freddy then returns to Armando & co in the hall at this point, having left Kenneth and Gabriela in Nicolás’ office]. Then Freddy explains that he is the President of EcoModa and when asked who the visitors are, replies they’re from Fashion Group. Armando lunges at Freddy as if he’s going to kill him and makes a tremendous fuss. Wilson emerges from the showroom putting on his own clothing, and Armando demands to know what this mess is all about. Wilson says he was in the bathroom with Hugo and Armando asks Hugo what is going on… Hugo tells Armando not to get the wrong idea, he hasn’t lost his sense of good taste or style. Betty tells everyone to go to the conference room, and Hugo asks Armando what’s going on. Armando replies that he’s been replaced since Freddy didn’t like his designs. Hugo heads for the workshop, shouting to Jenny to do something, and make him one or two valerian teas.

The conference room is like a courtroom as the Cuartel, Freddy and Wilson recount the events of the preceding night, how they used the invitations to get into the Bogotá Fashion show, that they’d had a few whiskeys, had some hors d’ouevres, etc; how Freddy couldn’t introduce himself EcoModa’s messenger so said he was the President. Betty asks why the rest of them hadn’t told the truth, and they said they just couldn’t do that to Freddy, so they had to continue with the farce. Armando tells them that Fashion Group is one of the biggest manufacturers in the world and they [the Cuartel & co] have just ruined an extremely important deal for EcoModa.

At this moment Armando’s cel phone rings - it’s Calderón, telling him that he’s at Gabriela’s hotel but she and Kenneth aren’t there. Armando explains that that’s because they’re at EcoModa and that there’s been a coup d’etat so the deal can’t go through. Mario asks him if he’s trying to trick him, and leave him out of the deal, but Armando replies no, they’re all out of the deal. He tells Mario not to come to EcoModa, he’ll call Mario later. Gutiérrez tells the Cuartel & co that they’re all fired and they leave the room crying. Armando and Betty tell Freddy to go to Kenneth and Gabriela and tell them to await a call from EcoModa.

All this time, Gabriela and Kenneth are outraged that nobody’s telling them anything. She says she wants to leave, but just then Freddy arrives. Freddy makes the mess worse by saying he’d see them tomorrow morning to close the deal. Aura María stays talking to Kenneth, who invites her out to dinner that night. Walking to the elevator, Freddy comes across Nicolás and Gutiérrez and berates them for not working. After the visitors have left, Nicolás and Gutiérrez berate Freddy, asking for his letter of resignation and commenting on their luck in being able to hire new secretaries that will be just what they want. Gutiérrez instructs Bertha to prepare letters of dismissal for herself and the rest of the Cuartel. Aura María tells her friends that “the gringo” invited her to dinner.

In Betty’s office, Armando says he can’t believe what’s happened or see a way to repair the damage done by their employees. EcoModa’s lost all credibility with Fashion Group, who will never want to do business with them - their only opportunity to get EcoModa out of trouble has just gone up in smoke. Armando and Betty sit down. He takes her hands and tells her he understands how she must feel at having to fire all her friends, but what they’ve done now is but the icing on the cake of all the other things they’ve done that they’ve (Armando and Betty) let pass by. He tells her that it hurts him as well because he considers all of them his friends, but this is the last straw. They stand and Armando hugs Betty and kisses her on the forehead. He tells her that in these difficult moments what they have to remember is that the important thing is Camila and the two of them, and they start to look at the photos around the office and notice that their wedding picture is missing from Betty’s desk. They ask themselves what could have happened to it since no-one’s been in the office and, noticing that all the photos are turned around, realize that Freddy must’ve been there.

Aura María says she didn’t accept Kenneth’s dinner invitation. Sofía comments that Kenneth wasn’t interested in going out with her because she was an “executive” but because of the 60 kilos beneath her hair. Aura María is offended and exclaims that she weighs 55 kilos and it’s very well distributed. Betty comes out of her office calling for Freddy, and tells Aura María to send him to her office the minute she sees him. Freddy emerges from the elevator with a red face and a backpack. Bertha tells him to go see Betty. Gutiérrez appears to tell Bertha to get going with the letters.

In her office, Betty asks Freddy if he had been there. He says yes, since he was while pretending to be President. Armando asks about the wedding photo and Freddy says that he hid it in a secret hiding place they’d never be able to imagine. He invites them to guess where but Armando tells him to find it NOW! Freddy takes it out of the trash can and hands it to Betty, who puts it back on her desk. Armando asks what he ended up telling the people from Fashion Group and Freddy replies that he arranged to meet with them at 10am the next morning. Armando gets upset again, calls Freddy all sorts of names and tells him he’s made things even worse. Betty’s face shows her complete incredulity - she simply cannot believe this is happening. Betty and Armando know the deal is lost and tell Freddy to call Gabriela and Kenneth and make an excuse -a sudden trip, whatever- to cancel the meeting. Freddy continues babbling about how he got the deal and this and that, but Armando, fed up with the whole thing, shouts at him to get lost.

The Cuartel is gathered around Bertha and Sofía’s desk, waiting for their letters of dismissal. They all cry and bemoan their fate as they read them, while Bertha writes one last letter -her own. As she does, Gutiérrez emerges, all happy like a kid at Christmas, ready to sign the letters. As he signs each one he says something like “see you later,” “bye bye,” or “au revoir,” etc to each employee, then dismisses them all with a little rhyme: “Colorín colorado, este cuento se ha terminado” [loosely, “And that’s all she wrote!"]. Freddy demands that one of the Cuartel place a call to Gabriela and Kenneth at their hotel for him as “President.” None of them pays any attention to him and instead leave him talking to air as they head for Betty’s office to apologize before they go.

Armando tells Betty they’re going to have to call Daniel Valencia to tell him they will have to go ahead with the plans to close down the company since they can’t find a company to partner with. Sofía opens the door and asks if they can come in to talk to Betty and Armando.