Desperate Housewives season finale recap: Five Year Plan
Who can say where we’ll be in five years? I’ll tell you who. Marc Cherry. Inspired by Mary Alice’s etymology study, I did a little research of my own. Okay, fine, I Googled the meanings of some names. As it turns out, the meaning of the name Marc is ”warlike.” Rather fitting, considering the number of bombshells Cherry dropped during last night’s season finale of Desperate Housewives. In fact, this entire season has been a battle to recapture some of the spark that turned casual Sunday-night TV viewers into obsessed fans way back in the show’s first season. So did last night’s episode have spark? Better. It had spark, snark, and suspense.
What’s in a name? Well, according to Gaby, everything. ”People live up to their names,” she said, and that’s why she turned out to be a beautiful fashion model. If her name were Lynette, she’d be just another bitter, sarcastic, frumpy housewife. If her name were Francesca, she’d be getting laid on a Vespa. If her name were Gretchen, she’d be trying to squeeze a two-hour season-finale spectacular into a TV Watch under 2,000 words (and she’d be failing). Gabrielle would be shocked to learn that her name doesn’t mean ”beauty is my strength” but actually ”God is my strength.” It’s safe to assume Gaby will not be living up to her name anytime soon. But check back with her in, say, five years.
Last night Gaby wasn’t exactly the ”saint” Carlos made her out to be, but she did manage some selflessness. She helped a drug dealer escape arrest, which is about as close to godliness as you’re gonna get with her. Anything to help Ellie avoid ”the joys of a little girl-on-girl action in the prison showers,” as Roy the ”big, greasy, disgusting [fake] handyman” so eloquently put it. Of course, Gaby and Ellie’s best-friend-forever spiel ended when the two tackled each other down the stairs and knocked Carlos over before he could say, ”I don’t recognize the sound of those footsteps.” The two were fighting over something they love even more than friendship. Money. They didn’t fight long, because Ellie got tangled up in the Mayfair mystery, and once you know those secrets, the survival rate isn’t particularly high. Of all the suburban neighborhoods in America, Ellie will never forgive herself for choosing the one where she ranks low on the list of intimidating criminals.
Lynette Scavo, or ”the pretty one,” has spent an entire season confronting the not so beautiful truths of life. She’d be the first to tell you that the Beatles got it wrong; you need more than love to be a good wife and mother. It takes work. In other words, if you want a faithful partner by your side while you stare down disease and disaster, if you want to take a swig of coffee from the ”World’s Greatest Mother” mug, then you gotta earn it. The Scavos have worked harder than any other couple on the block to keep their marriage and their family together. When I told Tom that it was a ridiculous idea to open a pizzeria and that he should let Lynette go off with her side dish Rick, did he listen? No. When I told Lynette that she should bolt with her kids and leave her oblivious husband to deal with his spawn of evil, did she bail out? Of course not. Granted, Lynette and Tom couldn’t hear me. But that never stopped Mary Alice from yammering on, did it?
NEXT: Tom sees the truth
It took Tom entirely too long to acknowledge that his daughter’s heart is not full of sweetness and light. What was Tom’s thought process? Lynette, your word holds no weight unless you’re in prison? Do some jail time, then I’ll quit dragging my feet and call Kayla’s bluff? Who did he learn that one from? Bree? If the Scavos don’t work on their trust issues, if they continue resorting to commands instead of communication, they won’t last. Err…won’t last longer than five and a half years? Damn that flash-forward for turning my predictions into empty threats.
It was the gay neighbors’ petty argument over ice sculptures (cherub vs. enchanted castle with vodka moat), that made Tom realize that in all marriages sometimes ”crap hits the fan.” Cancer, tornadoes, roof diving, and curling-iron burns aside, at some point, ”you have to ask is that person in bed next to you worth it.” Tom came around just in time, finally standing up for his wife instead of moping about the loss of Kayla. By the way, Kayla means ”pure.” Yeah, pure crap.
Katherine’s name also stands for purity, but unlike the diabolical Kayla, Katherine has been lying to protect her family, not to cut her family to shreds from the inside like a hollow-point bullet. (Fact courtesy of Bree’s Guide to Gunning Down Your Ex.) Thanks to some flashback action (production opted for a darker camera lens instead of some Lost time-swoosh sound effects), we discovered that Katherine had been to the police to report her husband before, only to get stonewalled. Turns out the men in blue love good ol’ Deputy Davis. A great man, and a hell of a golfer! What are the murder rates like in Eagle State? I used to blame the citizens. I now blame the authorities.
It’s safe to say that after months of speculation, no one could have predicted that the real Dylan tragically died because, well, the kid really, really loved dolls. The shot of Dylan trapped under the bookcase was particularly gruesome, even more cringe-worthy than Adam’s beyond busted face. As many of you suspected, it was the real Dylan who was buried in the woods. But I still don’t understand Katherine’s logic behind adopting Dylan 2.0 from a Romanian orphanage. Wouldn’t it have been much easier for Katherine to stay on the run without a child in tow? If Wayne found and confronted her, couldn’t she have lied and told him that she gave Dylan up for adoption, so he’d never be able to track her down? Sure, the Romanian orphanage looked a little dank, but bringing an innocent child into the mess didn’t seem like the best answer. So, for me, was the resolution of the Mayfair mystery all it was built up to be? No. But the showdown between Wayne and Katherine? That was well worth the wait.
NEXT: How to kill your ex
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what I loved about the confrontation, because I loved every minute of it. The scramble for the gun. The wrist slam in the kitchen drawer. Ellie making an unexpected appearance, waving a knife around, and getting shot in the chest. The Mayfair mystery came off as somewhat contrived, but Ellie’s arrival courtesy of the ”alibi fairy” to give Wayne the perfect exit opportunity actually worked seamlessly. Bree’s visiting in a huff to give Katherine an earful, only to hear firsthand the entire sordid tale of Wayne’s abuse and Dylan’s death and Katherine’s years of deception — I just loved it all. Nathan Fillion was just icing on the cake. I’m pretty sure that was Nathan Fillion. It could have been a zombie. Kudos to the makeup department on a bang-up job. Literally.
My favorite part of the episode wasn’t the last five minutes. It came just after Katherine shot Wayne, consequences be damned, because the guy had it coming. (Why is it that villains, after they’ve clearly lost, continue to antagonize their gun-wielding victims? Wayne was practically begging her: ”C’mon, shoot me. You know you won’t. Do it. I dare ya. C’mon…” Bang.) My favorite moment was when the housewives conspired to help save one of their own, their fifth and newest gal pal, Katherine. The ostracism of Edie last week proved that the housewives can form a powerful united front. But I much prefer watching the gang unite for the greater good. Katherine finally secured a spot in the girls’ poker night. Now just give Dana Delany a spot in the opening credits and possibly a medal for saving the series and I’ll be happy.
According to the Reverend Michael Greene, Bree means temptress, redheaded harlot, and a host of other fancy words for raging slut. He was fuming that Bree had shot him down; she hadn’t realized that when the minister told her, ”My hand is at your service,” he meant in more ways than one. But didn’t she remember that steamy Palm Sunday back in ’96? Or was it Epiphany of ’92, when her hand lingered just a beat too long during the exchange of peace? Or Lent of ’86, when their eyes met during his homily about the internal struggle to suppress one’s deepest desires? I think I took that too far. Anyway, the Rev’s advances were hilarious, as was his ranting in Korean and his observation that Bree’s eyes glimmer like the Yalu River. Once upon a time, Bree would have totally gone for it.
Nathan Fillion might have played the knight in shining armor, but Orson was runner-up for the title, acting part hero, part stalker to his estranged wife. He inadvertently gave the most memorable homily in church history. But he was protecting Bree’s honor, and got decked for it — the least Bree could do was sit by the poor guy’s hospital bed. I mean, come on, Orson means ”bear cub.” He’s a cuddly guy with a pedicure, not a fighter!
NEXT: Orson breaks the ice
Perhaps more important than defending her honor was saving that hideous ice sculpture. I’ve written on previous TV Watches that ”I laughed when…” In reality that means I was sitting across from the TV and saying out loud to no one, ”That’s funny.” This is because I’m a TV Watch robot, so intent on not missing anything and so focused on banging my keyboard that I forget to experience human emotion. This was not the case as I watched Bree, face streaked with dirt, tearing down the highway pushing the cherub ice sculpture in her stroller like a lunatic, nearly getting side-swiped by trucks and disappearing in dirt clouds while screaming and frantically waving her fists, while the cherub slowly melted as if shedding tears for its insane owner. It was absolutely hilarious. When Orson pulled up beside her, I was shocked Bree didn’t throw her arms around him, dump the wingless block of ice in his lap, and forgive him for everything.
But she wouldn’t forgive him. She stuck to her guns, which meant Orson either would turn himself in or she would continue to visit the shooting range to work out her sexual frustration. But even if he agreed to go to prison, it wouldn’t be because of some attack of moral righteousness. It would ultimately be to prove his love for Bree. She might want to believe she’s rejecting Orson because she has such strong morals, but I think she’s really testing his love for her. How far is Orson willing to bend over backward to prove his love? Well if he’s going to jail…never mind. My point: Bree was being ridiculous.
Giving a kid a name like Maynard is also pretty ridiculous. I was touched by Mike’s tale of his late grandfather’s kindly, selfless ways, but the original Maynard was probably rolling over in his grave, yelling, ”Give the kid a real name or you’ll be replacing his lunch box every week when bullies toss it out the school bus window.” Believe me, that stuff happens. Though maybe it’s specific to Gretchens.
Anyway, Susan and Mike stuck with Maynard. Emphasis on the nerd. Unitas or even Mitchum would be better than Maynard. Even Mitchum Deodorant Delfino would be preferable. The housewives tried to see the bright side and suggested maybe he’ll have some cute nicknames. He won’t. Hey, there, little May-May. Awww, Ard just did the cutest thing. Hey, Mard. See, it’s impossible. Susan leveled with nurse Griselda, also a member of the Unfortunate Names Club, and got ‘Ynard’s name switched to Conner. The name flew on balloons, just not with Mike. ”I want to give him someone to live up to,” Mike told Susan, since he anticipated leaving or dying within the next five years. Whoops, there I go again.
It’s as expected as a very special season-finale Mary Alice appearance: the Desperate Housewives cliff-hanger that everyone will be talking about, and not just because ABC inundated us with promos about how we should be talking about it. Last year, Marc Cherry took cliff-hanger sort of literally, with Edie dangling lifelessly, which reflected how my interest in the show was dangling lifelessly. A lot can change in five years, but the creators of Housewives proved that even more can change for a television show in one season.
Flash forward five years, and Gaby is the frumpy housewife and mother she swore she’d never be. Bree is canoodling with a man she swore she’d never forgive, unless he did jail time. Lynette is the mother she swore she’d never become, the one getting house calls from cops about her kids’ criminal activities. And instead of kissing the man she swore she’d be with for the rest of her life, Susan is kissing Gale Harold. For a second I thought he was Clark Kent and I was watching The New Adventures of Superman. But I was just watching The New and Improved Adventures of Desperate Housewives.
So does this mean Orson will go to jail? That Mike will die or return to his wayward ways or that Susan’s eyes wandered? That Lynette’s kids turned into terrors worse than the likes of Kayla? That Gaby leaves the house without wearing makeup? Could someone flash-forward me to next fall?
What do you think? Is the show really going to turn out that way in five years, or were the producers just goofing around? And how did you like the season finale in general? Post below!