The ladies of Wisteria Lane give Edie a touching sendoff

By Tanner Stransky
March 27, 2009 at 08:39 PM EDT
Ron Tom/ABC
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“Sexy.”

“Perceptive.”

“Strong.”

“Beautiful.”

“One of a kind.”

These are the words that Edie Britt’s friends on Wisteria Lane — Gaby, Bree, Lynette, Karen, and Susan, in that order — used to describe her just before they spread her ashes around different parts of the neighborhood. That’s right, folks: Ding dong, Edie Britt is dead! And not at the hand of a flying house from Kansas, but rather, a downed power line.

After watching this episode, I shudder that I thought to use the ”ding dong” phrase in the context of Edie’s death. But I employed it above for a reason: Originally, I thought that was the sentiment — good riddance to the witch of Wisteria Lane! — I would have about Edie passing. But tonight, as I watched this veritable hour-long eulogy (which very much resembled Desperate‘s 100th episode goodbye to handyman Eli Scruggs, in format and style) for one of TV’s most memorable characters, I found myself overcome with grief for her departure.

And that’s mostly because of the poignant flashback stories — and having Edie serve in the Mary Alice role as the episode’s resident narrator — that so vividly brought Edie back to life. (On that voice-over note, I’d like to suggest that Edie take that role over permanently. It’d be a nice way to keep her around somewhat. I’m just sayin’.) ”With all my neighbors surrounding me, I took my last breath,” Edie said to start the episode. ”The good news? I died just like I lived — as the complete and utter center of attention.” She couldn’t have been more right. This episode was all hers.

While on a road trip to break the news to Edie’s son Travers, the Lane’s ladies — oddly, sans Katherine — passed the real estate agent’s ashes-filled urn around and told stories. When the urn was passed to a particular lady, that meant it was her turn to tell an uplifting anecdote about Edie that contained a surprise, moralistic tidbit about how the real estate agent was not, in fact, the heinous beast she’d been made out to be for the past five seasons.

Susan recounted the story of how she originally met Edie. Whaddayaknow? They were originally friends, despite the fact that they sniped at each other for must of the run of the show. In fact, they’d broken off their friendship early on because Susan didn’t approve of Edie’s sexual relationship with a married man, but it was Edie who first warned Susan that her husband Karl was cheating. Surprising, Moralistic Edie Tidbit No. 1: Despite trysting with married men herself, Edie did look out for friends/neighbors who were being wronged.

Lynette told a tale about how her trips to chemo were always memorable when Edie was on duty. One time, before an appointment, Edie dragged Lynette — despite her protests — to a bar before forcing her to do tequila shooters and play pool with a one-armed man. ”You need to start fighting this thing,” Edie intoned with verve. ”You’re even stronger than me — and that’s saying something.” Surprising, Moralistic Edie Tidbit No. 2: Despite all reports otherwise, Edie did have a heart.

NEXT: Edie’s premonitionBree remembered a time that Edie had helped her reconnect with an imprisoned Orson. Bree had been refusing to visit her incarcerated husband but found out that Edie had been stopping by once — if not twice — a week since he’d been there. It was Edie who made Bree realize that she needed to go see Orson because it was a rare man who’d go through prison for someone like her. Surprising, Moralistic Edie Tidbit No. 3: Despite all her attempts to steal the men of Wisteria Lane from their women, Edie could actually bring a couple together. Or, as Gaby said to Bree after hearing the story: ”Edie Britt shamed you into being a human being — that is embarrassing.”

Gaby talked about the time that, after she got divorced from Carlos, she went to the singles bar with Edie. The pair engaged in a contest to see who could get the most guys to buy her drinks within an hour. Gaby won, which propelled Edie to abandon her at the bar. Gaby eventually caught back up with her on Wistera Lane, and the pair had a haunting, predictive heart-to-heart about how Edie knew she wasn’t gonna live forever: ”Ever since I was a child, I’ve known that I was never gonna see 50,” Edie said. ”It’s actually a gift: I appreciate my life in a way that most people don’t. I just didn’t expect it to go by this fast. That’s all.” Surprising, Moralistic Edie Tidbit No. 4: Despite her vampiric nature, Edie was super self aware, meant to die young, and — yes, it’s true! — mortal.

Ms. McCluskey revealed that she’d had a rather personal chat with Edie once about Travers. Edie had revealed why she’d let her ex-husband have full custody. ”I gave him up because I wanted to protect him…from me,” she said. ”If he was gonna grow up normal, he needed to get away from me.” Surprising, Moralistic Edie Tidbit No. 5: Despite the fact that she gave up custody of Travers, Edie was a good mother, even if she didn’t spend much time with him.

What I loved most about all these stories is that they paid tribute to Edie in such a genuine way. While we got to see Edie once more interact with the ladies of the lane, we also got to see Edie do all those totally Edie things. For instance, with Susan, we saw Edie out running, which she always did. With Gaby, she went clubbing. Lynette’s story was about a bar, where Edie felt so comfortable and everybody knew her name. With Karen, it involved drinking. It was symphonic to see Edie for the last time in her natural habitats, attire, etc. You know what I mean?

NEXT: The why of it allI’m still perplexed, however, about why Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry decided to get rid of Edie Britt and, thus, Nicolette Sheridan: Why lose a character that — for lack of a better way to put it — added so much life to Wisteria Lane? I mean, it does make for a rather dramatic, memorable departure, and that’s something needed when the mystery of the show (read: Dave Williams’ slower-than-molasses story line) drags on. But, despite my love for this tribute episode and the feeling that this was a proper send-off, Edie’s death still seems rather random. Outside of the fact that she was running away from Dave at the time that she wrecked her car, Edie’s death had nothing to do with what was transpiring on the show. Shouldn’t it have been more connected to the story lines so that, in the end, it’d be more memorable? Edie could have bitten the dust in the same way driving to the grocery store four years ago or four years in the future. So, why now?

Even if Dave is apprehended or committed or whatever at the end of the season, Edie could have continued to live on on Wisteria Lane. At least, I think so. But regardless of all that — Edie is dead and clearly not coming back — the episode was a lovely way to say goodbye. I found myself tearing up at the very end, as the camera panned up to the sky and Edie gave her final monologue in a sickeningly sweet voice: ”As I looked down on the world, I began to let go of it,” she said without a hint of remorse. ”I let go of white picket fences and cars and driveways, coffee cups and vacuum cleaners. I let go of all those things that seemed so ordinary but when you put them together, they make up a life, a life that really was one of a kind. I’ll tell you something: It’s not hard to die when you know you have lived, and I did. Oh, how I lived.”

There’s certainly no question about that, Edie. We’ll miss you, you big slut.

TVWatchers, what’d you think of this hour-long love note to Edie? Do you think it was the proper send-off for such an important character? Did you think it was missing something? Should Edie even have been offed in the first place? What’s your favorite Edie Britt moment from Desperate Housewives?

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