20 moments that prove Ugly Betty was ahead of its time

9 of 21

That shocking death

If you haven’t watched Ugly Betty, this is going to be a major spoiler. You’ve been warned!

In the season 1 finale, Hilda’s fiance (and Justin’s dad), gets shot trying to stop a robbery in a convenience store. But in typical season finale fashion, you don’t know Santos’ fate until the season 2 premiere, and that has to be one of the biggest plot twists and most gut-wrenching reveals in television history.

Hilda and Santos had a complicated relationship. She got pregnant with Justin as a teenager, and Santos ran off because he couldn’t deal with the responsibilities. Early on, we get the sense that Justin doesn’t see his father often, and that him and Hilda may have had a bit of an on-again, off-again thing going on in the past. But this time, the two finally got serious, and they were going to be a real family.

When Justin is performing in West Side Story at school, his father gets caught up in a robbery at a convenience store on his way there. He tries to be the hero, but we hear the gun go off and have to assume the worst when the police show up at Betty’s house looking for Hilda. Betty goes to the school to break the news to Hilda, and she breaks down in tears, just as Justin’s character is dying on stage.

It’s still unclear exactly what happens, because it could’ve been a number of characters who were killed off in this finale (Daniel and Alexis, for example, were in a car accident). But in the next season premiere, Santos seems alive and recovering from the shooting, and Hilda refuses to let him out of her sight.

At the end of the episode, we finally find out Santos’ fate. He didn’t survive the shooting, and everything that happened between Santos and Hilda on the episode was just Hilda’s imagination as she mourned alone in her bedroom. It was one of the biggest shockers of the entire series, and an expert move in storytelling. Nobody suspected that was coming at all, and it broke everyone’s heart when they realized how broken Hilda was.

Not only was this a shining (but heartbreaking) moment in television, but it’s also an unfortunate reality for people who live in neighborhoods like Queens. Random acts of violence happen, and innocent people get caught up in it.