Lynette and Tom learn that their boys torched the rival pizzeria, and Dylan meets a man claiming to be her dad; plus, Mike confronts Orson about the hit-and-run

Susan, Mike, and Edie: the voices of reason on Desperate Housewives? I had to write that down because I could hardly believe it. Last night’s episode had a momentum that has been missing from Desperate Housewives for the past few weeks; the hour was so jam-packed that I wished I had the option of watching the deleted scenes. There must have been cuts made because of time constraints, and I would have loved to see the rest of Mike’s confrontation with Orson, or more of Dylan’s reaction when Wayne revealed he was her father.

Last night had everything I hope to see in an episode of Housewives. There was development in the Mayfair mystery, a guest star who can actually act, and a portrayal of Mike and Susan that was reminiscent of what made me love them way back in season 1. We got an idea of how strained the Scavo relationship has become, and some interesting insight, from Edie of all people, into what makes Gaby and Carlos tick. It also had a great performance from a not very Brady Gary Cole. (The guest star I was referring to above, however, was Roxy the dog. That dog really can act.)

”Clearly Tom Scavo was at a distinct disadvantage when lying to his wife.” Bzzzzzt. I’m sorry, Mary Alice. That’s incorrect. I don’t know what show she’s watching, but maybe her perspective from heaven (or from someone’s attic, where she’s waiting to emerge in a fourth-season-finale shocker!) must be a little skewed. Tom is a great liar. He hid the existence of an illegitimate child from his wife. Just last week, he lied about vandalizing Rick’s restaurant; in fact, I thought he was so convincing that it was almost creepy. Even though Mary Alice missed the mark on this one, the montage of Tom lying was entertaining. Liars always repeat the question when they’re trying to pull a fast one. I would know. (Me: ”I don’t think Santa Claus is real.” Mom: ”You don’t think Santa’s real?”) I loved the falsetto note Tom hit when he denied noticing the attractive, scantily clad woman out on a jog. Doug Savant has some comedic-acting chops; I wish we got to see them more often. Unfortunately, the Scavo relationship as of late has been far from a laugh riot. Between Lynette and Tom, as Billy Joel might put it, there’s always been a matter of trust. Now that I’ve brought up Billy Joel, you probably realize what’s coming next. Sing it with me (or don’t; just don’t throw garbage).

Tom didn’t start the fire!

It’s the twins, they’re guilty, Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Tom didn’t start the fire!

It was twin one and two, still can’t tell who’s who (who’s who…who’s who…who’s who…)

Last night the Scavo twins carried on the Wisteria Lane tradition of poorly concealing evidence. They left the matchbook they used to torch Rick’s place at the scene of the crime. A matchbook with ”Scavo’s Pizzeria” written on it. Dumb and Dumber fessed up to Lynette, but not before Tom and Rick duked it out for the title of manliest Italian restaurant owner. No one took the crown, because the two were basically slap-fighting like little girls. Lynette couldn’t even take a moment to enjoy the fact that two attractive men were fighting over her. She was too busy getting body-slammed. And not in a fun way.

Back at the police station, Rick was still trying to move in on Lynette. ”In spite of everything that’s happened, it’s really good to see you again.” Translation: ”Baby, I’ll keep you company while your husband’s in the clink.” Rick needs to work on his timing. I personally thought he got what was coming to him; let’s hope he doesn’t try to rebuild his restaurant or resurrect his relationship with Lynette. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Scavos’ marriage can still be salvaged, but Tom needs to forgive his wife, and Lynette needs to give her husband a better apology than her ”it’s over, it’s in the past, it’s done” spiel. And Rick? Rick should spend more time with his trainer. Maybe sign up for some lessons on how to fight like a man.

While Lynette was dealing with man troubles, Gaby was fending off dogs. Roxy was just another bitch tryin’ to run Carlos’ life. And we all know that’s Gaby’s job. So she was understandably dismayed when Roxy tried to move in on her man. Leave it to Gaby to be jealous of a seeing-eye dog. Someone’s been watching too much Lassie. She expected Roxy to be a regular Air Bud. She wanted to know how to train the dog to get the remote. Lick up spills. Wax the convertible. Vacuum the carpets. Make tea sandwiches. ”Then after that she can go solve crimes with Shaggy and the gang,” said Carlos, rolling his…er, never mind. Steve the trainer certainly got an earful from Gaby about the many inconveniences of living with a blind man. Especially a blind man who refuses to pee like a girl.

But Roxy wasn’t about to take Gaby’s crap lying down. Or playing dead. She barked and growled when Gaby raised her voice or smacked Carlos, which, in any given scene between the two lovebirds, happen at least ten times. Ever wonder who puts the flags on the pens they sell at the airport? Blind guys who piss off Gaby, that’s who. When she found Roxy, Carlos’ overprotective replacement wife, relaxing in her bed, Gaby gave Carlos an ultimatum. It was her or the dog. Who would you choose, your new best pal or the woman threatening to put your in a motorized wheelchair that you’d have to steer with your tongue?

Edie made a good point last night when she showed up with doggie treats for Roxy. Gaby needs to start acknowledging that Carlos is disabled and that the dynamics of their relationship have changed. Carlos is too proud to admit he can’t take Gaby’s punches like he used too, and Gaby’s in such denial that she won’t stop swinging. Maybe Gaby has been acting so selfishly because she’s overwhelmed that someone is dependent on her for a change. Still, it doesn’t justify returning Roxy and then ignoring the poor dog while she’s whimpering and pawing against the window outside. Carlos and Roxy should drop Gaby off in the middle of nowhere and make her chase the car home. An eye for an…er, never mind. ”If you’re not gonna treat Carlos right,” Edie said, ”there are plenty of other women who will. I think I’ve proved that.” Edie was right, but the warning would have carried a bit more weight had it not been from a woman who tried to manipulate Carlos into marrying her by faking her own suicide. Just sayin’. Now, where can I get a monkey that can toast a bagel?

NEXT: Dylan’s father figure

I guess Dylan was so desperate to know her father and to get answers about her mother that she lost all common sense. But I was really disappointed that she turned out to be so dimwitted. If a cop pulls you over when you know you haven’t done anything wrong, then lies about a construction site you’re sure doesn’t exist, then randomly compliments your necklace and takes a long pause to gaze at you behind his shiny, sinister aviators, don’t get out of your car. May this be a lesson to all young girls. You ask the cop to call for backup. If the cop tracks you down in the park and asks to have a little chat, then inquires about your mom, that’s when you bolt. I’m guessing Wayne Davis, if that’s his real name, isn’t really a cop. I’m not even sure he’s Dylan’s father. I wouldn’t call the way he was eyeing Dylan in the diner very fatherly, that’s for sure. Congrats to Gary Cole for his performance last night; Wayne was creepy, ambiguous, and off-putting, even if you took away the ominous swell of music so often used on Desperate Housewives to indicate that sinister forces are at work.

Dylan agreed to meet with Wayne in secret. He must have really sold her with ”I’m not the same jerk I used to be.” Gosh, that’s reassuring. I hope that Dylan at least lets Julie in on last night’s latest development in the Mayfair mystery. I’d expect Julie to at least caution her friend: ”I’m no expert on fathers, but it’s probably a bad idea to have covert meetings with a guy who used to beat your mom.” Speaking of Katherine, it was unfortunate that Dylan was bonding with her mom under false pretenses. Katherine’s not eeevil, no matter how much red she wears, or how much ”shameless emotional blackmail” she pulls on Bree. More scenes with their catering service please! Their creative friction not only makes them a great team but also makes good television.

Mike was back last night, and though I’d been dreading his return, I found myself genuinely enjoying the plumber post-rehab. He confronted Orson about the hit-and-run and then, in a twist I never saw coming, flat out forgave Orson for trying to kill him. I guess some might argue it was anticlimactic, but I much preferred forgiveness to what could have become a long-drawn-out revenge plot. Forgiving Orson was also in character for Mike, unlike most of his actions this season. He acknowledged his own criminal past, reasoned that no one would benefit from sending Orson to prison, and even encouraged Susan to forgive and move on. Anything to stop Orson from crying. And right as I started to fear that Bree and Susan’s relationship would suffer irrevocable damage, Susan cleared the air by letting Bree know she still loves her. I was thrilled at how this plotline was handled; that is, until I saw Orson emerge from the house with his bags packed.

Bree explained to Susan in the beginning of the episode that when things get too emotional, she likes to take that emotion, put it in a box, and put it in a closet. I had two thoughts: (1) Bree desperately needs therapy, and (2) that must be a very crowded closet. If she ever sorted through those boxes, Bree might remember that not so long ago, her own son was involved in a hit-and-run, one that she helped cover up. It seemed a little hypocritical of Bree to take the moral high road with Orson and kick him to the curb. Did you think her reaction was justified? Did Orson deserve the boot? Or should Mike have taken the hammer and given Orson another reason to cry?

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