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Desperate Housewives recap: Soft-Core Slump

With the help of some blackmail from creepy Paul Young, Susan’s so-so storyline finally begins to heat up

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Desperate Housewives

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What does Paul Young have up his sleeve? That question finally became a little intriguing during last night’s episode of Desperate Housewives, which saw Wisteria Lane’s resident creep move toward buying his second home on the street. If you’ll remember, Paul recently bought the house he used to share with his dead wife (and the show’s narrator) Mary Alice. And he also made an unsuccessful play to buy Mrs. McCluskey’s abode. (Something tells me that offer will circle back around rather soon.) And now, Paul has his sights set on Susan and Mike’s place. Just how fun can Wisteria Lane be if a weirdo like Paul owns all the real estate?

At the top of the episode, you could see Paul’s nefarious plan for buying Susan and Mike’s house coming from a million miles away. When Mike flat-out rejected his casual, “above market” offer — despite the fact that Susan and Mike are already renting to Paul while they live in a less-than-lavish apartment across town — Paul vowed that there were other ways to make it happen. And that’s when you knew what he was going to do—blackmail Susan via her shady internet dabblings. (Indeed, Paul was the culprit who’d found Susan’s crumpled billboard advertisement last week.) So even though I knew that Susan’s “special client” was going to be Paul, I was still shocked to see his face pop up on her computer screen. “I think you know my name,” Paul freakily said, as is face pulled into view. Ick!

But back to the question at hand: What could Paul possibly want with several houses on Wisteria Lane? Does he want to burn them down? Use them as leverage? Move in a bunch of ex(onerated)-convicts like himself? Find a way to drive down property values and land the Wisteria ladies in the poor house? The whole thing seems like a rather weird scheme to me, but Mary Alice’s cryptic/illuminating voiceover promised a more personal method of attack: “He had a plan that would set neighbor against neighbor and friend against friend, and it was a plan that was going to succeed.” Okay then, I’m excited to see what’s next here. But it had best be good.

There is one other nice reverberation to Paul’s increasingly interesting storyline: It’s making Susan’s hum-drum one more interesting. Clearly, Susan needs all the financial help she can get now, after blowing that $9,000 last week to clean up the billboard mess. As the show’s title so aptly suggests, she’s a desperate woman—desperate enough, it seems, to negotiate with Paul about the house. “Susan, it seems like a lot of things are for sale—your body, your honor, your reputation,” Paul told Susan via their internet chat. “The house would seem to be the smallest of those things.” And having something more at stake than her position as Scantily-Clad Feather Duster of the Month means Susan now a purpose beyond slipping on a negligee and mugging for the camera. Watching her pour her heart out to Lynette, and later recoil in terror while grappling with Paul, made Susan’s scenes worthy of our attention. And even if we’re not 100 percent sure this will be a foolproof story arc, it beats half-naked floor-scrubbing, right?

NEXT: Bree’s hilarious fear of cucumbers and Lynette’s toxic encounter with her mother-in-law.