I tend to be lukewarm on “perfect storm”-type episodes. They’re usually overwritten and full of “Stop! The! Presses!” moments, which just come off as a ploy for buzz and ratings. And while last night’s Desperate Housewives was certainly a “perfect storm”-type episode (and before sweeps, no less!), I’d wholeheartedly give it an A+. The whole five-year flash-forward thing? Finally, some really, really great payoff: We saw how Gaby became the mad mamma she is today and how Carlos lied about getting a vasectomy; how Bree drank her way through Orson’s jail time; how Tom’s midlife crisis began; and how sometimes — namely in the case of Susan and Jackson — the whole friends-with-benefits thing just won’t work.
But, saddest of all, we saw how Dave Williams orchestrated the fall of sweet, old Karen McCluskey. Okay, so she’s rarely sweet. Okay, scratch that. She’s never, ever sweet. But damn, she really went bonkers last night, and I couldn’t help but feel completely awful for her. After the wicked Dave Williams broke into her house and moved things around so she’d fly off the handle, she showed up at her surprise birthday party with a surprise of her own — a baseball bat! And, natch, her intent was to use it to bash in Dave’s head. As if her fit of rage wouldn’t have ruined the party anyway, she had to go and smash in her birthday cake instead. And honestly, that looked like one good cake.
Dave alluded to his plan to make Mrs. McCluskey look crazy in this season’s third episode, and he delivered. Honestly, I was just so confused by that small snippet we saw before the credits. All the lane’s couples were fighting, and Mrs. McCluskey walked into her surprise party and (in one of my favorite, and most-convincing, lines ever from the old coot) sneered before saying, “You think you can screw with me?” But that’s what made this episode so good. It took the next 59 minutes to unravel while Mrs. McCluskey was so pissed and why all the couples were unhappy with each other. Genius launch of the episode.
On the Gaby and Carlos front, turns out that — no surprise here! — Gaby never really wanted to have her two rug rats, Juanita and Celia. I busted a gut during the conversation where Gaby told Juanita all about her period: “Mommy has a friend who visits her every month, and she’s late, and that’s bad,” Gaby said hilariously. “Because she’s the one who assures me that you won’t get a baby brother or sister. I’m sorry, Mommy just really misses her friend, and Mommy’s gonna be really sad if her friend doesn’t show up soon. Now go downstairs and play. Mommy has some praying to do.” Sorry for replaying all that here again, but it’s just too classic Gaby not to see it again in its full glory!
Carlos’ revelation that he skipped his vasectomy — thereby making “Mommy’s friend” late — felt slightly predictable. I feel like that was a flash of the old, devious Carlos coming back out, though, which made me grin. Since Carlos has been blind, he’s basically become a big old softie, and I’m not a huge fan of softie Carlos. I mean, give him something devious to do — no one would ever suspect the blind guy!
Bree and Orson were doing more of the same — fighting over the possibility of having him gainfully employed at her company. Nothing new there. But the flashbacks to Bree’s return to the bottle (or in her case, bottles) while Orson was in prison were deliciously new. And rather harrowing. There’s something about Bree being an alcoholic that works almost too well. She’s so put together that it’s riveting to see her have such a messy vice as alcoholism. Now, that isn’t to say that I think being an alcoholic is a good thing by any means! I just think in this particular case, the story line works well.
The fact that Katherine was the one who swooped in and saved her was a great twist. Bree certainly owes Katherine a lot for helping her turn a new leaf. And Bree seems to get that in theory, but hasn’t delivered much in terms of treating her like the amazing friend she clearly is. More than anything with this story line, it made me love Katherine Mayfair even more, despite the fact that the producers are wasting the considerable talents of Dana Delany this season. Honestly, last night all Katherine did was look smokin’ hot in that polka-dot number and (yowza!) share a smooch with Jackson. It’s a shame there doesn’t seem to be room for Katherine to have a substantial story line.
NEXT: RV nation