It's an awful thing to live in the dark, says Mary Alice. Our Wisteria Lane ladies all got their own version of enlightenment on Sunday's Desperate Housewives. But will the light at the end of the tunnel be enough to sustain us over the monthlong Christmas hiatus?
Mother knows worst
Lynette wants more face time with her kids, so she hilariously enforces a family breakfast (see -- Penny and Parker do exist!), which is fun until the idiot cops come and arrest Porter for setting the fire at the White Horse. Porter tells his lawyer, Bob, that he has an alibi: He was at Edie Britt's. Uh-oh, is Porter the Patrick Dempsey of Wisteria Lane (please comment if you get that reference)? "You know what I would give to date a 17-year-old?" Tom blurts out. Heh.
But no, it's a fake-out; he was there stealing her gun so he could put a scare in the already very scary Warren Schilling. "This is really not an alibi; it's more a confession to another crime," Lynette informs him. Lynette consults the Wisteria Lane Parenting Handbook and decides to sneak the gun, which Porter hid in Lynette's flour jar, back into Edie's house.
In order to post bail, Tom suggests they tap into their emergency fund. But, um, er, that's what Lynette used to bribe Anne to get the hell out of Dodge last week, so instead she has to go to a bail bondsman and put the restaurant up as collateral... without telling Tom.
When Warren threatens Porter, the Scavo offspring draws on all the good ethical examples his parents have set for him and decides to skip bail, sending identical twin Preston in his place to his arraignment so he can get a head start. When Tom and Lynette quickly figure out the twins' boneheaded plan, Lynette decides to go along with it so they don't default on the bail. So much bad judgment packed into one tidy episode!
Lynette's hair looks less wig-like this week. That is all.
Coming out of the dark
Carlos has had his surgery and is starting to get his sight back. At a party to celebrate his Gloria Estefan-like moment, we learn that Gaby has sold his beloved, Lou Gehrig-signed baseball family heirloom to pay the bills. "Gaby, you never sell a man's autographed baseball," Bree admonishes. She tries to get it back from the pervy old Italian guy she sold it to, but he says per nulla (no way) — unless Gaby will dance on the table for him. She reciprocates his per nulla on the way out the door.
She returns home to a touching scene (seriously, my heart grew three sizes) in which Carlos is seeing his girls for the first time. He notices a painting missing that Gaby sold to make the mortgage, and says it doesn't matter; they're just things. Oh, except that baseball and his watch, which he specifically told her not to sell. So Gaby returns to Cassa di Sleazo to dance for Signor Perverto.
While she's out, Carlos sees her bare closets and realizes that she has sold all her beloved couture to keep their family afloat. He sells the baseball to buy her an ugly gown that he apparently saw in Teen magazine's prom issue. But it's sweet. "Thank you for taking such good care of us," says Carlos. But it can't be all sweetness and light with these two. When Carlos magnanimously offers to sell his watch so she can have the matching shoes, Gaby confesses that it's a knock-off and that she already sold the real one to pay to fix the roof. Heh.
A gay old time
The writers retroactively address the fact that they have ignored Andrew van de Kamp's love life since he came out all those many episodes ago by giving him a handsome doctor fiancé, Alex, with whom he has been living for six months. Are we expected to believe that Bree hasn't visited Andrew in six months? But fine, I'll allow it, since this storyline was the funniest and most interesting Bree has had in a while. "Why the secrecy? Did you think I'd disapprove? The man's a doctor, for heaven's sake. You've done better than I did," Bree says. "That was a bit of a drive-by," says a hurt Orson. Heh.
When Andrew criticizes his mom for lacking interest in his life, Bree invites the happy couple over for dinner. Her overcompensating efforts to appear tolerant are hilarious. She encourages Alex and Andrew to "scooch" together on the couch if they want. "I just want you boys to know that I support your lifestyle," she says. "Now, who wants a strawberry Daiquiri?"
She also invites token gay neighbors Bob and Lee ("What, are you sponsoring a float?" Andrew cracks), who recognize Alex from somewhere they can't quite place. Their suspicious whispering alarms Bree, who pulls them into the kitchen to find out what they know.
They tell her they think they saw Alex in an adult movie. "By 'adult,' do you mean complex and sophisticated?" Bree asks hopefully. No, they mean Rear Deployment, a military-themed gay porn film.
When Bree drops the P-for-porn-past bomb on Andrew, surprisingly, he already knows about the film, which Alex did to help pay his medical-school tuition. He also makes the astute observation that his past is more checkered than a NASCAR flag (oh right, he was a hustler at one point, wasn't he?), so who is he to judge? Plus, he's in love, so he's OK with it, and thus, so is Bree.
United they fall
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Susan and Mike are infinitely more interesting apart than they are together. So it irks me that their arc this season seems to be careening toward a sappy reconciliation. Are there people out there who like this couple more than I do? I'm guessing that this storyline has also been weakened by the absence of Jackson in the wake of Gale Harold's motorcycle accident.
But anyhow, M.J. hates Katherine because she's coming between his mom and dad. This storyline plays out in a pretty textbook manner, but has an added layer of subtext, personified by the odd performance of little Mason Vale Cotton, who plays M.J. So far this season his emotional range has gone all the way from sullen to murderous. It's hard to notice how cute he is with all the sulking he's given to do, flanked as he is by such dysfunctional parents.
Though Susan offers her begrudging support of Mike and Katherine's relationship, it comes out in the wash that Susan, after consulting the Wisteria Lane Parenting Handbook, once told M.J. that she and Mike would be getting back together to get him to stop crying before bedtime. This leads to an awkward conversation about why they lack definitive closure on their breakup. It's all pretty tedious to me.
I also hate this story because I think it has really compromised the contributions of Dana Delany. Out of all the show's characters, I think Katherine has suffered the most in the five-year jump. Though I was initially hesitant that Katherine would be a half-assed Bree clone, their chemistry last season was electric. This season, Katherine has lost most of her OCD edge and is relegated to playing "the girlfriend of."
While I was watching the show, I wrote this long screed about how annoyed I was that here we are 11 episodes in and we still have virtually no idea what Dave is up to. But then he started having visions of a woman and a small child, presumably the ones who died in the car accident at the beginning of the season. Lynette, while she's at the Williams house returning Edie's firearm, witnesses Dave going all Crazy Town. File that knowledge away for later, I suppose, because Lynette has kind of a full plate at the moment.
By the end of the episode, we see Yellow Satan kneeling at the graves of Lila and Paige Dash, promising them that he'll be with them soon. "Mike Delfino has to pay. I want him to feel what I lost," he says. Ominous! Also: Finally! It's kind of strange that Dave's mystery appears to be the simplest explanation after all, but I'm guessing there are still a few twists in store for us. I certainly hope so.
IN FOUR WEEKS!
Lee grabs Susan's boob! Susan can't remember sleeping with someone! Joanna Cassidy guest-stars as Alex's mom!
OK, folks, by my calculations, the next new episode of DH is on Jan. 4, 2009. In the meantime, there is much to discuss: Do you love Carlos and Gaby? Do you question Lynette's judgment? Do you want to see a Mike-and-Susan reconciliation this season? Are you excited for Alex and Andrew's wedding? Are Dana Delany's prodigious talents being wasted? How do you think Dave Williams' story will play out?
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