Although Wilhelmina tried to use baby William as a pawn against the Meade family, she ultimately had to admit that Christina was his biological mother.
Wilhelmina Slater’s unending quest to get her hands on the editor-in-chief position at Mode resulted in quite a few complicated schemes.
This includes the complicated and confusing plan she had to convince Christina to carry her and Bradford’s baby in the third season of the show.
Wilhelmina’s vendetta to take over Mode
Although ABC’s dramady, Ugly Betty, mostly focused on the personal and professional life of the show’s lead character, Betty, the show’s secondary characters were no less iconic. This includes Ugly Betty’s stylish and conniving villain, Wilhelmina Slater.
When Betty was first introduced to Wilhelmina at the beginning of the series, it was already apparent that the then Creative Director of ‘Mode,’ had much bigger ambitions.
And throughout the show’s four seasons, Wilhelmina concocted schemes ranging from blackmail and bribery, to creative plastic surgery and more, in an endeavour to try and secure the editor-in-chief position at the magazine, which she always felt was rightfully hers.
Where Wilhelmina’s baby storyline ended up in Ugly Betty
One of Wilhelmina’s more extreme schemes involved extracting Bradford Meade’s sperm after his death in an attempt to create another Meade heir for Mode.
However, given that it has now been well over a decade since Ugly Betty was unceremoniously cancelled after its fourth season, it can often be quite difficult, even for the most loyal of Ugly Betty fans, to remember the details of Wilhelmina’s baby storyline after all these years.
Despite Wilhelmina’s best efforts to secure one third of the Meade empire, and of course one third of the power at Mode, Wilhelmina’s doctor informs her that she has a “hostile womb” and will not be able to carry the baby.
But in true Ugly Betty-fashion, it does not take long for her minion, Marc, to come up with a creative solution. Wilhelmina and Marc used their usual underhanded tactics to convince Christina McKinney (Mode’s seamstress) to be Wilhelmina’s surrogate.
However, doubts about the baby’s parentage start surfacing soon after baby William is born in the “There's No Place Like Mode” episode of the third season.
And even though Wilhelmina goes as far as falsifying DNA results, Christina realizes that she and Stuart are the baby’s biological parents, after which Wilhelmina is ultimately forced to admit the truth both privately to Calvin Hartley and publicly.
Although this revelation did not cost Wilhelmina her job at Mode, it did place her at a considerable disadvantage against the Meade family.
Thus, Wilhelmina found herself without a baby, without Connor and without the editor-in-chief position at the end of the third season.
What happened to baby William after the third season?
After Wilhelmina admitted that William was not her and Bradford’s son after all, Christina and Stuart decided to take William and move back to Edinburgh.
This was the last time that baby William made an appearance on the series. But Christina did appear for a few brief scenes in the fourth season, at which point it was confirmed that she had become an established fashion designer since leaving Mode.
What Vanessa Williams had to say about Wilhelmina’s season three storyline
There is no denying that Wilhelmina had a tough go of things in the third season of Ugly Betty. And after all of her scheming and plotting, she ended the season in a pretty sad place.
But Vanessa Williams (who portrayed Wilhelmina for the entirety of the series) stated in a 2009 interview following the season finale, that it would take more than this to make Wilhelmina “lose her bite”.
Based on what we know now, it is evident that everything that happened in this season simply strengthened Wilhelmina’s resolve to secure the editor-in-chief position at Mode in the final season.
A look back at Ugly Betty’s cancellation
By the time that Ugly Betty was gearing up for its fourth season, Wilhelmina had hired an investigator to track down her former love, Connor, and had also been thrust back into motherhood with the unexpected arrival of her daughter, Nico.
But she was not the only Ugly Betty character who had a lot on her plate at this stage.
This is why it was so shocking when ABC announced, midway through Ugly Betty’s fourth season, that they would not be renewing the show beyond this season.
However, in retrospect, this decision seems much more justified, given that Ugly Betty’s fourth season had only brought in about 5 million viewers, whereas its third season had brought in about 8 million viewers just a few months prior.