Sunday's episode of Desperate Housewives involves various people dealing with their new life situations, with varying degrees of success: Susan is (still!) trying to get over her ex. Tom and Lynette are mourning the loss of their restaurant and seeking new means of employment. Gaby is trying to extricate herself from an extortion plot without giving up the new lifestyle to which she has become quickly again accustomed. Sad Orson, ever the ex-con, is dealing with his new station in life with an odd new behavior. Plus, Yellow Satan is under pressure to put Operation Kill People into effect, so that he may move on... to the afterlife?
BEEN CAUGHT STEALIN'
Orson is very polite. But he also likes to punish people for not being polite. So says the nonsensical, albeit soothing babbling of the Mary Alice voice-over this week. It's meant to explain why Orson is suddenly a kleptomaniac. Sigh. Things were going so well for Orson (and Kyle MacLachlan) — I'm not sure what to think of this narrative detour just yet.
When Orson stops by Scavos' on the day of their Going Out of Business Sale, Tom is understandably a little cranky. Orson tries for sympathy — "I think I, of all people, know what you're going through. I know what it's like to have your livelihood suddenly vanish," he says. "Remember, I used to be a dentist." — but Tom balks at the comparison.
This makes sense because, um, Orson kind of brought all his trouble on himself by hitting the gas pedal those many years ago, right? "What happened to me was unfair," Tom says, "and what happened to you was..." He doesn't finish the sentence, but it's enough of a slight to Orson that he pockets a salt shaker that looks like my great-uncle Dom (incidentally, the man made a mean braciole). Bree finds the salt shaker, but with a racist Italian voice (how dare he assail my people!), Orson somehow convinces her that it's OK that he took it.
Later in the episode, Orson is similarly rebuffed by Bree's publisher, who comes over for dinner to talk to Tom about a new job (more on that below). The guy is kind of a cad, spewing insulting, common-sense ideas into his digital recorder. "Idea for a children's book: Kid gets beat up on the playground for having a ridiculous name. Could be Orson," he barks. This prompts Orson to steal his recorder, but Bree catches it and covers for her suddenly delusional husband.
Time for Mrs. Van de Kamp to clean up another mess! Bree confronts him about his new hobby and informs him matter-of-factly that it will stop. Now. To show that he's been listening, Orson then steals one of her earrings. I will reserve judgment for now. Wait, no, I won't — this plotline sucks, and is way beneath MacLachlan's talents.
Katherine is having a housewarming party to celebrate shacking up with Mike. The ladies are surprised to find out that Susan is invited, but after the last episode's sexist "blame the girlfriend" plotline, it seems that Susan and Katherine have buried the battleax. Edie is irked that Susan isn't more irked, since when she dates her friends' exes, "I get an angry mob on my front lawn." By way of proof, she asks: "Hey Gaby, remember when I was with Carlos?" "Shut it, bitch," Gaby replies. "See, now that's normal," Edie says.
But Katherine and Susan are more evolved. Katherine has even hung a painting that Susan made for Mike over the mantel. Oh, except she didn't know Susan painted it, and once she finds out, it's no surprise that the painting is suddenly missing the night of the homecoming party. (Kudos to Kathryn Joosten for consistently delighting me with her portrayal of Mrs. McCluskey, who is one pitcher of martinis closer to another Emmy!)
(Aside: When Mike tells Orson that he sent Edie to buy more liquor, Orson replies: "So you sent the mouse to buy the cheese. Well done." Indeed.)
Katherine says she broke the frame and dropped it off at the framers. See, Bree explains, it was "a perfectly innocent... bald-faced lie." Susan says she chooses to believe her, then she ransacks the house looking for the painting, and finds it in the garage. She promptly tells Mike, who (very loudly) confronts Katherine about her deception.
Later, Katherine comes over to Susan's house — while Mike watches from across the street — and fakes an apology. Susan is obviously not pleased with this turn of events, but Katherine points out that neither of them is blameless in this situation. Did Susan realize how much it hurt Katherine to find out that it was Susan's painting, a product of her love with Mike? "I knew I wasn't going to get a clean slate with Mike; I just wanted a clean mantelpiece," she says, helped along by some fine acting by Dana Delany.
In the end, Susan does some faking of her own, that of a crazy ex who comes by and takes her painting back. Mike is bewildered by her behavior, but Katherine recognizes that Susan is doing her a solid. "This is between me and my ex," Susan says, and Katherine winks with gratitude.
I'd like to say that this is the end of all this push-pull between Susan and Mike, but if I know anything about TV (and hopefully I do), Susan will be questioning her feelings for Mike again in, oh, about two episodes. I think the producers have it in their heads that these two belong together or something — if only they'd consult the audience. (Wait, am I right? Susan and Mike are totally annoying together, aren't they?)
THIS WOMAN'S WORK
After their everything-must-go sale, Tom and Lynette have enough scratch to pay off their creditors, pay back Bree and still have enough to live on for... 45 minutes. Heh. Hence, Lynette starts nagging Tom about getting another job. When she presents Bree with a check (that was quick — that was, like, a three-week loan), they make up. Bree even offers to introduce the forlorn, bathrobe-clad Tom to her publisher, the aforementioned cad, about a job.
At the dinner, Tom is kind of out of it, grunting monosyllabic answers and generally not behaving like you should at a job interview. The more Lynette hears about the position, the more she thinks maybe she's the man for the job, which changes the tone of the evening from uncomfortable job interview to even-more-uncomfortable ferocious competition. Lynette reveals that Tom ran the restaurant into the ground and Tom says Lynette is great, as long as the cancer doesn't flare up again. Ouch. Unforgivable.
Shockingly, Tom and Lynette laugh about it later and forgive each other for their despicable behavior. They also agree that maybe Lynette should be the one who goes back to work. "We did my thing for seven years," Tom acknowledges.
CELL BLOCK TANGO
Bradley and Maria drop off their kids (they have kids now?), as Gaby and Carlos are babysitting. This is the plot device that shows us that Gaby is now acting as Bradley's alibi so he can continue shtupping Shaila the hairdresser. He sees the $30,000 that Gaby extorted out of him as payment for her services, I guess. So Gaby begrudgingly goes along with it.
But Bradley is kind of pushing it. When he asks Gaby to take Maria shopping the next day so he can get away, Carlos wants to tell Bradley that they're out of the alibi business. Gaby, who likes her personal shopper and Pilates instructor too, would like Carlos to remain employed. So she devises a plan. "I'm going to get my hair cut by a slut," she announces.
Sitting in Shaila's chair at the salon, Gaby tries to allegorically advise the stylist by telling her that she, Gaby, is sleeping with a married man. Shaila isn't the sharpest pair of shears, so she's not getting it. As a result, Gaby -- not one for subtlety -- tries the direct approach, which naturally offends Shaila. Before she can give Gaby a reverse Mohawk, Gaby bolts. "This is why people should never get their hair cut at a mall," Gaby shrieks upon exiting.
Bradley is not happy with Gaby's secret-squirrel routine. But Gaby doesn't care; she finally tells him that she's done covering for him. Gaby tells him he needs to tell Maria or she will, and she doesn't care if Carlos gets fired. Bradley says he's going to tell Maria, and I can totally see where this is going, as no good deed of Gaby's goes unpunished.
Bradley says to Maria: "We need to talk." Never a good opening line. Carlos and Gaby get a phone call, and when they arrive at Bradley and Maria's place, Bradley is lying on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood with a very large carving knife sticking out of his back. "I just wanted him to stop talking," Maria says, and suddenly the whole scene is like something out of Chicago. He had it comin'!
Speaking of murderers, at the liquor store, Edie and Dave bump into a priest who appears to recognize Dave. "I didn't realize you moved back into the area," the padre says. Dave sends Edie on an errand, and tells the interloping priest: "I'm only going to say this once: I remarried, I have a new life and that's the way I want it to stay." Then he lies and says the priest thought he sat next to him on a plane. But, as my dad always says, you can't 'sh-- a 'sh--ter, so Edie is suspicious.
Edie goes to see the priest to pump him for info. The priest is appropriately discreet, but lets something slip. "Please know that my thoughts are with you both, Mrs. Dash," he says. This sends Edie to do some faux-Googling for "David Dash." Guess what she's going to find. And isn't that really the weakness of this storyline? We already know Dave's secret. We're all just sitting here waiting to see how it all plays out, Maybe I'll be proven wrong by Housewives' crack team of writers, but I'm guessing that it won't be with the gusto that we've come to expect from the show's past mysteries. (Well, most of them.) We shall see.
What did you think about "Crime Doesn't Pay"? Are you as ready as I am for the show to just get on with the whole Dave Dash/Williams scenario? Do you want to see Susan and Mike reunited? And why, oh why does Orson have to be a kleptomaniac?
ABC, who should have learned their lesson with the pants-on-fire Brothers & Sisters promo last week, teases next week's shocking episode by playing a few bars of Katy Perry's insidiously catchy "I Kissed a Girl." Here's a spoiler-proof teaser: The same-sex smooch is shared by two characters whose names rhyme with Schmabby and Schmoozan. You're welcome!
Watch full episodes of Desperate Housewives in our Online Video Guide