TV Recaps

Jane By Design Recap: "The Backup Dress"

This week’s Jane By Design episode, “The Backup Dress,” was all about choices. Most of the characters found themselves in the position to make difficult decisions and while some felt obvious, others made some surprising choices that could have lasting consequences. Overall, this was another solid episode and the show is starting to feel fun again.

Picking up where last week left off, Kate was mulling over Dakota’s proposal, but she didn’t seem to be in any hurry to make the decision. Jane was apprehensive about it because she knew if her mom did to decide to marry him that she’d be leaving to move back to Colorado with him. While Ben was not happy to have to sleep on the couch so the lovebirds could have his room, he told Jane that he really believed Kate had changed and he didn’t think she would run off again. 

Rita and Amanda continued their war of words over Ben. Amanda was back to being her mean girl self and framed a picture of Rita from high school when she was wearing her headgear. Rita told her that she’d had enough and if she wanted Ben, she could have him. Amanda decided to go for it, but Ben wasn’t interested. He told Amanda that he was still hung up on Rita (aw!) and then he told Amanda that she needed to stop mocking Rita and he promptly kicked her out of his office. (It was awesome; one of those moments I wanted to stand up and clap for him). But it lasted for about two seconds before Ben put his foot in his mouth.

The scout who had come to the school to observe Nick returned, but this time, he was there for Ben. There was an opening for a closer on a Triple A team and he wanted Ben to try out. Ben wasn’t sure what to do so he went to Rita for advice. But instead of telling Rita what was going on, he spoke in the abstract, talking about something he’d wanted in high school and how this was his second chance. Of course Rita assumed he was talking about Amanda and told him that she gave him permission. He was a little confused by her word choice, but he went ahead with the tryout.

Amanda was dealing with another issue. The school was having a budget problem and was considering cutting the new drama teacher. The vice principal gave Amanda the heads up and told her that there was one person on the committee who seemed adamant about getting rid of her. Amanda figured convincing one person would be a breeze. But that person was Rita. Amanda wasn’t one to be deterred and went to Rita and suggested that she go to Ben and just tell him that she wanted to get back together. Rita decided it was good advice and Amanda told her that she was sure she would find a way to pay her back someday.

Rehearsals for the drama club production of Cinderella were in full swing, which meant Zoe and Nick were spending a lot of time together. Billy and Jane watched as they practiced a kissing scene and Amanda popped up to swoon over their chemistry. Billy was not impressed. Jane had other things on her mind since she had her first date with Eli that night. She’d even made the perfect dress for the date, but Kate thought it was a costume and she had it refitted for Zoe.

Later, after canceling plans with Billy, Zoe was rehearsing a new scene with Nick. Billy overheard and assumed they were having a conversation about how they were fooling around behind his back. (Remember when Billy was awesome? I miss that). Billy went off on both of them and Nick set him straight. Billy tried to apologize, but Zoe was pretty mad (rightfully so). Nick told Billy that he understood and the two had a tense conversation. (Again, I sat there wondering where the awesome version of Billy had gone).

Jane headed to the office and told Carter about her dress situation. He showed her the perfect dress, except it was for a client. The client’s assistant stopped by to pick it up and she explained to Jane that Donovan always made a backup dress and since the client had never needed the backup dress, she offered it to Jane. After hesitating for a few moments, Jane accepted and wore it on her date with Eli. He took her to a fancy restaurant and the two of them were super cute as they ‘played grownup.’ (These are the kinds of scenes that make me love this show. It’s just silly and fun and makes me smile).

But things couldn’t be that easy for Jane. The client, Nina, showed up at the restaurant and Jane was doing her best to hide the fact that she was wearing the same dress that was supposed to be a one of a kind. When Nina was heading in her direction, Jane dove under the table. Eli joined her and asked what was going on. Jane told him and he gave her his jacket and she tried to make a run for the bathroom, but ended up bumping into a waiter, who spilled red wine all over Nina’s dress. A few minutes later, Jane got a phone call from Nina, asking how soon she could meet her at the restaurant with the backup dress.

Jane swiped a tablecloth from a passing waiter and fashioned that into a dress that she wore underneath Eli’s jacket. Nina was impressed with how fast she got there and promised to put in a good word with Gray. Eli took Jane for a hotdog from a street vendor and she spilled mustard on herself, exclaiming that she could never wear that tablecloth again. The two shared a laugh and then a kiss, agreeing it was the best first date ever. (I really like them. I might even have swayed completely away from Team Billy).

When Jane got home, Dakota was getting ready to leave. He told Kate that she had to get over her commitment issues at some point and then he said there was a ticket waiting for her at the airport. Jane tried to comfort her mother, but Kate admitted that he was right. She was always running from love and commitment and she needed to stop and accept Dakota’s proposal. (I thought she should start by taking care of her children, but yeah, accept the hot guy’s marriage proposal. That works too). Jane was really sad that she was leaving, but Kate promised to call her every day and visit and said Jane could visit her too.

Ben returned a little while later and Jane started to tell him that Kate was gone, but before she could, Ben told her that the Triple A team wanted him. He explained that it was perfect timing because Kate could stay with Jane and he needed to leave right away. He said he wouldn’t go if Jane didn’t want him to. But she could see how much it meant to him, so she told him to go and that she was happy for him. Ben asked where Kate was and Jane said she was just out with Dakota and would be back soon.

Rita tracked Ben down at the bus station and said she had something to tell him. Once again, he wanted to go first and talked about how this was his second chance and her breaking up with him was a good thing because it led him there. Rita congratulated him and wished him luck instead of telling him the real reason that she’d wanted to see him. (Poor Rita has the worst luck ever).

Jane was sitting on the couch as realization sank in that she was all alone. For a moment, she seemed sad, but then she got up and started dancing around the living room. The scenes for next week showed Jane and Billy throwing a house party (never a wise choice) and it looks like there’s going to be some friction between Zoe and Jane over Billy.

This was a good episode; it felt more like the beginning of the season before the show started trying too hard to be a drama. I laughed out loud more than once and there were a few emotional moments, but nothing that felt like they were overselling it. I’m curious how long Ben will be gone and if we’ll see Jeremy again before the end of the season. I’m also hoping we’ll get more of India because she’s so much fun. As for Kate, I’m relieved she’s gone. I like Teri Hatcher, but her character was pretty awful.

Did you enjoy this week’s episode? Is anyone else deflecting to Team Eli or are you still firmly in Billy’s camp? Does anyone still want Jane with Nick or Jeremy? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments below.

About the author

Mandy Treccia

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.