”Desperate Housewives”: The women lose their way
Wait, aren’t mini backpacks so ’90s? Doesn’t look like Susan cared, gang, as she dragged a pink knapsack all over some random mountain in search of Mike, only to find him and give him the shortest long-awaited kiss ever seen on screen. I’d like to say that Delfino and Mayer’s clinch was the emotional high point of this episode, but our two favorite ships in the night were bested by the emotional bathroom breakdown of a bored, emotionally straying housewife named Lynette Scavo (or, as she’d probably like to be known, Mrs. Chef).
We began the night with violence, which seemed at first like Marc Cherry’s attempt to get this show back to its dark roots. But when bad things happen to Lynette, she ends up locked in a storage freezer with a hot guy to, um, keep her warm. Her ”oh, crap” when she realized she was being robbed was classic Lyn; on the other hand, would she have been as upset if she’d known she’d be forced to spend the night in Rick’s arms? Nope, and certainly not as upset as Tom was when he found her all rumpled the next morning. I know it’s a little Gilmore Girls season 7, but I would’ve loved an all-out, wild-punches brawl between Tom and Rick. Between Ian’s throwing in the towel with Susan and Lang’s whimpering at Gabrielle’s feet, it’s about time the men of Fairview showed a little backbone.
Over in Victory Lane, Gabrielle borrowed Charlotte York’s whole gay-shopping-friend idea and went looking for a pricey gown to celebrate Lang’s big win, yet all she could find was that tacky blue cocktail dress. And are cops allowed to call women ”spoiled bitches,” even if they deserve it? I know Gaby’s supposed to be a materialistic brat, but tonight she resembled a catty seventh grader who’s just been told that someone’s wearing the same jeans as her. Upon learning that the new Mayor Lang had sway over parking tickets and, well, the law, she went on a binge through downtown Fairview, harassing the bumbling traffic cop and rashly declaring it Free Parking Day. Then Lang lectured her like he was a father and she’d just missed curfew on prom night. Gabrielle’s scenes in this episode cast her like such a child that I was actually embarrassed for Eva Longoria.
Speaking of childish, Carlos hit a new level of awkward with his ”bros over ho’s” line. And Travers got a noogie! The whole Edie-Carlos-Travers love-triangle plotline was disjointed tonight, and it was a little too Jerry Maguire for my taste. Just when I thought Edie had become a somewhat loving parent, she rescued a pound puppy (she wouldn’t even spend money to keep her son) as a tool to help persuade Travers to ask Doc Borderless for joint custody. This was all to get Carlos to remain in the picture. Carlos is still in love with his ex, but he knows she’s getting married. He’s also been having some pretty hot sex with Edie, and he likes her as a person. So wouldn’t it make sense for Carlos to want to stay in the relationship? Not according to the Housewives writers, who convinced us that he was only there for Travers. And though Edie has been showing signs of deep commitment, there haven’t been previous signs that her passion for Carlos took priority over the love of her son. In the end, after no thought process whatsoever, Carlos decided he really wanted to be a full-time boyfriend to Edie, with or without access to her kid, and Edie put her son’s needs before hers. Exactly the result we wanted for these two people, despite the choppy writing.
At Susan’s house, Ms. Mayer decided she really loved Mike and was gonna go get her man, even though he was, in true clichéd fashion, vacationing near some hot spring in the mountains. Julie, sporting the worst blond dye job I’ve seen in ages, sent Mom on her merry way, which would involve hiring a trail guide who was one step away from coaching women’s softball. The unlikely love doctor read Susie Q the riot act, saying, ”You sleep with your ex-husband, you cheat on a coma victim,” and telling her she’s a drama junkie. Um, duh. But Annie Oakley won my heart by voicing what we’ve all been thinking ever since Susan started dating Ian while Mike was still comatose: ”I would’ve waited for him.” (With those pecs? I would’ve waited for Delfino forever.) And at long last, we got the Mike-Susan kiss we’d been waiting for, and James and Teri had as much chemistry as we could hope for. Except why was the reunion cut so short? After months of waiting, it felt sadly anticlimactic (especially since I’m sure we’ll get another breakup next sweeps).
Despite arrests (Gaby), mountaintop makeouts (Sue), and cute spawn (Edie), the night belonged to Lynette. After her dinner date with Chef was interrupted by those pesky thieves (and have surveillance cameras been bad to these housewives, or what?), she saw her emotional affair come to an end after Rick declared his feelings. But even though I’m someone who would’ve ditched the increasingly pale Doug Savant and hopped back into the freezer, I admired Lynette’s decision to put a stop to things right then and there. By not walking out on her family (”I have nothing to offer! I am taken!”), she proved Tom’s earlier defense of her was dead-on (and it showed he still knew his wife, despite the growing distance between them). I’ve been a little angry at Lynette this season; I thought it was way out of character for her to spend nights with the hunk cook while her devoted husband lay at home with a back injury. Yet she rose spectacularly to the occasion tonight, putting her need to feel sexy and free behind the needs of her hubby and family. Felicity Huffman’s disposal of Rick — and her subsequent breakdown in the bathroom at Scavo Manor — was the best acting this show has seen in a while.
All in all, a decent episode, improved slightly by Susan’s brilliantly ditzy (but also seriously heartfelt, so kudos to Hatcher) ”I’ve always loved you”/”I don’t want any more drama” call, which she made, miraculously, on a cell phone from deep in the woods. (Hello, I can barely get service near the Central Park boat pond.) ”Unless I get eaten by a mountain lion,” she snuffled, ”and, you know, that’ll be dramatic, but it won’t be my fault.” (She said this after trying to use tree moss as a compass and getting her skinny butt lost.) This was a nicer moment, than, say, Lang dramatically turning from Gaby to stare meaningfully into the fireplace, or Carlos making Edie be a better mom. But damn, Fenway was cute.
All right, time for feedback. Is Edie the worst mom ever? Will Gabrielle dump the goon-hiring Lang and get back with Carlos? And are Mike and Susan finally on?