As the folks in Fairview sort out life after the big fire, Susan finds out Mike and Katherine's big secret, and Gaby and Carlos get good news

By Tanner Stransky
Updated December 01, 2008 at 04:36 PM EST
Credit: Ron Tom/ABC

Desperate Housewives

S5 E9

Post-Thanksgiving weekends are always a smorgasbord of leftovers. But last night, as I settled in to watch the first new Desperate Housewives in two weeks, I didn’t bring along any treat-filled Tupperware containers for commercial-break snacks — but, alas, I was still inundated with leftovers. Yes, TV Watchers, this episode was packed with story lines a lot older than that turkey rotting away in your fridge.

Seriously, folks, last night’s episode felt woefully like more of the same: Porter was accused of burning down a place of business in Fairview again. (Just last season we had the Rick’s restaurant debacle.) Gaby underestimated the maturity level of her now-sensitive husband Carlos. (This has defined their relationship all season. We get it! Carlos is now sensitive and Gaby is still self-obsessed!) Bree held one of Orson’s major missteps over his head. (Remember that jail time imposed by the ice queen?) One of the ladies did crazy things while drugged! (Flashback to Lynette’s pot-brownie episode last season.) Dave continued to reveal little about why he’s so dang creepy. (Hello to the defining, dragging theme of the season.) And Susan annoyed me as usual. (This is a series-long struggle.)

Honestly, with the gift-giving holidays right around the corner, just one thing is on my wish list for Desperate Housewives: a fresh story line or two. Maybe I’m just thinking about it far too much — goodness knows writing this much about a show each week can’t be good for my sanity — but it seems like we’ve seen all of this before. Am I crazy? I know it’s hard to sustain a show for five seasons, but surely there’s got to be something else to mine out of the lives of these characters.

This week’s drama launched with more infirmary time than a week of Grey’s Anatomy, natch, as the residents of Fairview were picking up the pieces at the hospital after the tragic fire at the White Horse club. Did you notice, however, that it was only the men of Wisteria Lane who were injured in the fire? Lynette, Susan, Bree, Gaby, Edie, and Katherine were all just fine and could be found tending to their battered and bruised men. Also in pristine shape was the dastardly Dave Williams, who, despite going back into the burning building to save Mike, escaped without a scrape or even a touch of smoke inhalation. What does it say about a person who walks out of a five-alarm blaze unscathed? Maybe it’s that he’s not human, but then again, I think we all kind of already knew that.

The one part of him that was bruised? His confidence. You could see him quivering as the police questioned him about what happened the night of the fire. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Dave look so concerned before. He looked kind of like a sneaky little child does just seconds before they’re caught with their hand in the cookie jar. I simply loved seeing the evil guy sweat — he deserved it. And that bit about asking Mike to be his good friend as a way to say thank you — what was that all about? Guess it’s that old idea of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer? Or are we just being tricked into thinking that Mike is his target? Again, this is a tired story line that’s moving at a snail’s pace. Oh, and as for Dave blaming the fire on Porter Scavo? Never would have seen that one coming! I kid, I kid, of course. Dave jumped on that opportunity as soon as Edie served it up for him, and I doubt that was a surprise for any of you viewers.

While the Gaby-Carlos story line from last night was a retread of the general struggles of the Solis clan this season (Gaby fights tooth and nail for her old life, while Carlos assures her their new lifestyle is fine), there were two parts that struck me as interesting. Of course, I do appreciate the tenderness between Carlos and Gaby, but I really love the interaction between Gaby and her two daughters. I’m specifically talking about that scene when Gaby was trying to get the girls to eat the fish-and-broccoli dinner she fixed. It led to some of the night’s best lines. For instance, Juanita’s comment on the dinner’s odor: “It smells like the beach that time you wouldn’t let us swim.” Hehe. Or when Gaby chided Celia for her part in wrecking the former model: “And you! With the head, you ruined me!” What strikes me here is the mix of maturity and immaturity that continues to define Gaby. Sure, she’s always been a strange combination of bratty and sophisticated, but I’ll go on record as saying that one of the bright spots of the season has been watching that dynamic play out with children. Remember that scene in which Gaby made Juanita run after her car so she’d lose some weight? That’s exactly what I’m talking about.

NEXT: Lynette’s heart-to-heart with Porter

The second thing from the story line that just had me going was Susan’s annoying comment about her metabolism while she was trying to comfort the slightly heavier Gaby. “Don’t go by me. I have a weird metabolism,” Susan said after Gaby remarked that her friend hadn’t gained any weight as the years had passed. Did any of you all note this? Maybe I’m just continuing my hatred toward Teri Hatcher and her unfortunate character, Susan, but this irritated me. And I agree with Gaby: Where does a skinny bitch like Susan get off telling her chubbier friend that it happens to everyone when it clearly doesn’t? Gawd, I need to contain my rage against Susan. (Needless to say, I was delighted when Bree rightfully dressed Susan down for her irritating attitude toward Katherine dating Mike. The ninny deserved every harsh word that passed through Bree’s perfectly pursed lips.)

And speaking of rage, I’m kind of having rage blackouts of my own after what Lynette did last night. I thought her speech to Porter about not lying was really sweet and touching. Totally one of those Lynette Scavo, come-to-Jesus type moments where you just really feel for her struggle as a mother. Obviously, parenting children is complicated on so many levels. But it just burned me that right after she implored Porter to be honest with her — and he clearly was, as he revealed that he had just been leaving a message for his older lover, Anne Schilling — she flat-out lied to him. She told her own son that she had no idea where Anne was, even though she’d just sent her off on a bus with a wad of cash. Shame on you, Lynette Scavo. Of course she’s got to protect Porter, but why keep that from him? How could she even live with herself after giving the speech she did? I honestly expected more out of her.

I found one thing about the Porter-Anne situation perplexing, and maybe you can help me out TV Watchers. Is she really not pregnant? Was she telling the truth? She was never pregnant? I figured that maybe she would have lost the baby after being beaten so badly by her husband in the last episode. I guess we’re supposed to believe that she was motivated to lie about such a thing just so that Porter would run away with her? Would any sane woman really do such a thing? As a mother, I would hope that Anne would have realized how much losing Porter would have destroyed Lynette. I suppose if you’re that desperate to get away from an awful husband, though, maybe you’d be willing to do anything — tell any lie — to get away. If this is really the end of Anne Schilling, I’m sad to see her go. Even though the cougar thing is overplayed, I sort of enjoyed it. And Gail O’Grady was perfect in that role.

As for Bree and Orson, they were snoozy. I mean, I got a cheap laugh out of seeing Bree drugged, but it was nothing more than a retread of Lynette’s pot-infused evening from last season when she kicked over the lamp at Susan’s charades party. At first, I was really confused about why, after she and Orson left the doctor’s office, we saw the young doctor call his significant other and comment about the “insane couple” that was just in his office. And even after I saw that the person on the other end of the line was Andrew van de Kamp, it still didn’t make too much sense. Why was it important to know that Andrew just moved in with this random doctor? But the key was in the previews for next week: Andrew and the doc are going to announce they’re getting married!

This has the potential to be entertaining and is actually very timely with the whole Proposition 8 mess in California right now. Do you think the writers wrote this before that passed, thinking it might be a way to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage? (And sadly, now there’s nothing to celebrate.) Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry is openly gay and often includes gay themes (see: Andrew’s sexuality, the introduction of Bob and Lee last season, and his long-ago work on Golden Girls). But I can’t help but feel as though this story line will end up being rather one-note (like that other gay story line, the dubious introduction of Bob and Lee), particularly after seeing the preview that showed Bob and Lee revealing to Bree that Andrew’s future husband may have been involved in pornography. Of course, it’s the gays who know all about the porn stars! This is really how that story line is going to go, isn’t it? Oof.

But, TV Watchers, I want to hear from you. I feel like there’s much to discuss after this week’s somewhat disappointing episode: Are you loving or hating Desperate Housewives right now? Do you see any real potential (beyond a few gay porn puns) in Andrew’s gay marriage story line? What’s going to happen to Porter? Who’ll win in the impending catfight between Susan and Katherine? Where were Jackson, Karen McCluskey, and Roberta this week? And most importantly, will you please join me in my campaign to get Carlos to shave that heinous beard already?

Episode Recaps


Desperate Housewives

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

  • TV Show
  • 7
  • Pending
stream service