Ron Tom/ABC
September 29, 2008 at 10:31 PM EDT

You have to hand it to the creator of Desperate Housewives, Marc Cherry. The five-year fast-forward was a stroke of genius, effectively increasing our insight into these ladies’ world by twofold. Could any other move have opened up even more secrets on Wisteria Lane quite like this one did? As evidenced by this first episode back, we now have so many new mysteries and years of new sordidness to dig into. And that’s delicious! To be honest, I was loving season 5 before it even began.

My only little beef was that — big ugh — it began with a story line about the ever-annoying Susan. As we glimpsed at the very end of last season, five years in the future the street’s resident klutz had ditched plumber Mike Delfino for a new, handsome man played by Gale Harold. But as we came to find out in this episode, Susan isn’t really with Jackson — he’s just the house painter she hired and is now dallying around with on the side. (Also, what’s with Susan’s penchant for home repair guys? Seriously, lady.)

Besides sharing custody of son M.J. with Mike, Susan doesn’t have much contact with her ex. So what happened? Finally, at the end of the episode, we learned the truth: The pair survived a horrific car wreck that killed another mother and child, but Susan couldn’t pull it together enough afterward to stay with Mike. (Another note: I thought it was so cheap that the show tried to make us think Mike was dead for most of the episode.) I thought a five-years-later Susan might be less annoying, but alas, no. I wholeheartedly understand why she was upset, but as Mike said, the wreck wasn’t their fault. The lady unfortunately pulled out in front of the SUV! And was Susan really complaining about Mike not getting the brakes checked? C’mon dearie, that’s just plain unfair.

But on to the next unfair thing: Gabby. Woe, woe, woe is her. A blind husband, two rotund little children, a few extra pounds of her own. I’m not going to sit here and lambaste her for gaining weight and missing facials because there is no warped world where Gabby — even in her current state — is the slightest bit unattractive. Honestly, I feel like this new depiction of her character is very true to motherhood. (And I’m not trying to say that all moms pack on pounds, but everyone deals with stress in different ways!) It’d just be strange if she had two small children, a blind husband, and a household to run, but still rocked size zero couture and Harry Winston. Personally, I love seeing this new side to Gabby. I was really touched by the moment she shared with Carlos when she said she was happy that he couldn’t see her, and he told her she’d always be beautiful. Awwww. I don’t doubt for a minute, however, that Gabby will get back to her old glamorous ways before long.

NEXT: Gabby’s weighty issue

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Eva Longoria Parker, Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, and Felicity Huffman star in the soap set on the dangerous Wisteria Lane
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