The Christmas plane crash episode found Wisteria Lane residents battling blackmail, a jealous husband, and a clear descent into madness
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Desperate Housewives
Credit: Ron Tom/ABC

Last night was supposed to be the big, shocking Desperate Housewives that’d leave us all wanting more over its coming, and rather long, holiday hiatus. It surely had all the elements of what should have been a great — or at least totally nuts-o episode: a huge accident, the possible deaths of mains characters, and a Christmas party on Wisteria Lane! (Holidays in the ‘burbs are always a rockin’ good time.)

But, alas, little about the hour was very shocking. And really, I wasn’t left wanting more. Sure, I’ve got questions, but I’m happy to wait a few weeks to get answers. Because truly the main event — the oh-so-built-up plane crash that played pretty much exactly like the street-wrecking tornado of two seasons ago — was dead on arrival. (And I’m not talking just about Nurse Mona, who apparently lost her life during the disaster.) I guess I should just resign myself to the fact that the Desperate producers were simply desperate to draw the airplane-crash story line out as much as they could, which is why they decided to launch the episode with it — but not deliver on what we all knew was ultimately coming. Or, calamity on Wisteria Lane.

Naturally, we viewers were left with may more questions at the end of the episode than were answered. (Again, probably an intentional move to get us to tune back in for the first episode back after New Year’s.) Queries like: Is Mona really dead? Did she tell anyone about the information she knows about the Bolen family? Will Lynette’s saving of Gaby’s daughter Celia be enough to patch things up between the feuding pair? How, exactly, did Angie Bolen escape the plane’s wings, yet Mona — who she was fighting with at the time — didn’t? Who’s dead — or at least, who’s bloody hand is that — inside the Santa’s Workshop that was seemingly inhabited by a dueling Orson and Karl, as well as Bree, before the small plane demolished it? Are there any other casualties? How did geriatric pair Mrs. McCluskey and Roy possibly move their wrinkly behinds out of the way in time?

To me, the bloody hand looked rather ladylike to me. So, I’m guessing we’re supposed to interpret that Bree is dead. And that is: totally not a remote possibility in any and all scenarios. The producers would never kill Bree. So do Orson or Karl have unusually lady-ish paws? Not that I’ve ever noticed before. (Have you ever taken note of that, viewers? Tell me in the comments, if so!) So, it’s probably just a play to get attention. Either someone else is dead — or hurt badly — inside that Santa shack or Bree is simply bloody and will live to see another day. Or, I suppose, it could be Karl or Orson, one of whom has very delicate hands.

Early in the episode I kept thinking about how much I’d love to see Orson just bite the dust at the hands of the airplane. Honestly, his character has been nothing but a waste this season. But then also, last night, I felt a tinge of pain for him, as Bree tried to blackmail him into divorce, when really, he was happy to resign to her demands without a fight. (Awww, he really loved her this whole time?) He did get in an appropriate and hilarious jab, though, after Bree promised she wouldn’t embarrass him through the divorce proceedings: ”What a tasteful solution,” he chided. ”You must write an etiquette book for adulterers.” That’s our Bree — always tasteful. Also: Wouldn’t you totally read Bree’s etiquette book for adulterers if she actually wrote one? I would!

NEXT: Katherine shows just how much she’s lost itWithin the many problems of the plane-crash plot was the getting-to-know-you aspect revolving around the complainer Daphne Bix, the wife of the pilot, Jeff. After the first few minutes of the episode, I could take the hint pretty easily — Daphne is a bitch! And her husband hates her! Okay, so why do we need to know all of this backstory about a pair who’ll likely be dead at the end of the episode and we’ll never care about again anyway? Is there going to be some greater Fairview connection with Daphne and Jeff that will ultimately be revealed? I suppose maybe we needed some of Jeff and Daphne’s backstory so we could understand why, oh why, he’d start having a heart attack mid-flight — again, because his bitchy wife drove him to it! But, seriously, their story was tedious and, at this point at least, seemed unnecessary.

Another couple of questions in all the fallout from the plane crash: What happened to the banner with Karl’s proposal to Bree on it? Did anyone spy it before the plane came down? Will someone notice it amongst all the wreckage when we get back to Wisteria Lane in January? The possibility stands that Orson could be dead inside that Santa’s Workshop and that when all the dust settles and the banner is found, it could make Bree look very, very bad because of the affair with Karl and all and the fact that her current husband (that divorce with Orson isn’t final yet!) is now dead. But, as we all know from her past, Bree is a gracious and dutiful widow. And: She’s got an etiquette book to work on if she needs to mourn anyway.

This is another random thought I had throughout the whole build-up to the plane crash: Bob and Lee were oddly present, particularly Lee. It was marginally funny to watch him decorate with the ladies and ask to be in their singing group. But all of the attention on him made me think of two possibilities, either (A) The writers felt bad that he’s had virtually nothing to do this season and wanted to make up for that (Bob’s been busier, although no more impactful!) or (B) he was gonna be killed off by the plane and they wanted to give him a last few moments in the sun. We definitely know that he wasn’t killed off, as Lee was walking around the wreckage after the plane skidded to a halt. I don’t know why the heavy Lee presence struck me so, but it did. Anyway, there’s nothing much there, but I’d just thought I’d mention.

But you know who there actually was a lot going on with? Katherine Mayfair. And actually, I’d venture as far as saying that her story line was the real heart of this episode. Even though it was overshadowed by the pop and sizzle of a neighborhood-wrecking disaster, I actually got a little bit misty for her, especially when she was thrashing around in the hospital, eventually having to be taken down by the staff because she’d gone so completely bats— crazy. Honestly, there’s nothing funny about mental illness — it is a real problem — and so I felt myself feeling sympathetic toward a wronged woman who’d just so lost her marbles. Did she really make up all those lies about who stabbed her and believe them? Could someone really be that delusional? What’s gonna happen to her now? Wow. All along I thought she was just a little tweaked, but it turns out she’d fully lost it.

It was amazing to see Katherine’s daughter Dylan return and lash out at Susan for her supposed ”transgressions” — only to have the young woman find out that her mom had been lying to her for a long time. ”I asked you not to come.” That was all Katherine could muster as she crumpled into a ball in front of her daughter and Susan. Truly, I hope this isn’t the end of Katherine Mayfair on Wisteria Lane, as much as it seems like it could be.

NEXT: The Bolens’ brief blackmail sagaOver in the Bolen saga, we learned one more valueless tidbit. Danny reneged on his insistence to be called Tyler from last week (although it’s clearly his real name or one of his former aliases), and that’s actually how the now-dead Mona wriggled her way into being able to blackmail the Bolen family. After putting together a few pieces, Mona asked Angie and Nick if they were in the Witness Protection Program, and to cover, they said yes. Then, the nosy woman decided to take Danny/Tyler home after he got released and squeezed more juice — a.k.a. the real juice — out of him. ”Are you kidding?” Danny asked Mona, after the woman pried into why, exactly, he’d say his mom would be hunted down. ”Ever since 9/11, the Feds are hardcore on any terrorist stuff. Even the old cases. If they find her, she’s dead.” So, it’s terrorism. Or something. Wow! I’m blown away! Consider that a half-baked Christmas gift, Desperate fans! Because that’s all you’re getting on the Bolen until after the holidays. And now, with Mona — the only person who knew a bit more about the Bolen’s situation thanks to that cutaway while Angie explained the whole story — supposedly dead, it might be a long time before we get much closer to finding anything concrete out.

Before I sign off of recapping Desperate Housewives for the holidays, I thought I’d share some of my favorite one-liners from last night’s quip-heavy episode:

”Oh crap! Who’s dead now?” — Susan, when the ambulance arrives at Katherine’s house

”Look at this mess — it’s like Santa’s colon.” — Lynette, trying to untangle a mess of Christmas lights, while decorating the street for the holiday party

”Do we really want the kid working with electricity? He can barely get the newspaper on my porch.” — Mrs. McCluskey, about Parker Scavo, who’s attempting to set up the sound system for Wisteria Lane’s holiday party

”Shouldn’t you be out stealing the last can of Who Hash?” — Lee, to a Grinchy Mrs. McCluskey

”It’s their group. They can do whatever they want. Whores.” — Lee, after Bob says that he can’t believe Wisteria Lane’s Belle singers wouldn’t let him sing with them

”Why don’t you slip your cankles into my shoes and walk a mile?” — Gaby, while fighting with Lynette

”Karl, when we began this affair, we agreed to be discreet. Do you know what discreet means? No skywriting!” — Bree, after Karl tells her his plan to propose via a banner attached to a plane

”Just because I have lawn gnomes doesn’t mean I’m stupid.” — Mona, to Angie, who she’s blackmailing

”Four miles I ran today, and now I’m drinking eggnog. It’s like mayonnaise with rum in it.” — Lee, making random conversation with Bree at the street’s holiday party

”Is there a sign over us that says: Crap Here?” — Lynette, after finding out that Tom can’t get a refund for his college courses

”But remember: Kids don’t miss what they never had!” — Tom, trying to rationalize how they’ll get through bringing two new kids into the world with no money

But what about you, TV Watchers? Was there a particular quip that you loved from last night that I missed? Were you enthralled by the plane-crash story line? Or, like me, did Katherine’s moving descent into madness engage you more? Who do you think is dead inside Santa’s Workshop? Do you even care? What do you hope happens on Desperate in 2010?

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