Mary Alice tells us that Sunday's episode of Desperate Housewives is about masks, and the way that the residents of Wisteria Lane use them to deceive their friends and loved ones. You must look closely to find the truth, she says. Bree and Karl scheme and plot a secret divorce strategy together. Susan and Jackson decide not to tell anyone that their marriage is an immigration-mandated sham, which leads to some tension between Mike and Katherine when their reactions to the impending nuptials reveal deeper truths. Tom wants to change his literal mask — his face — to make himself a more desirable job candidate. Gaby has a run-in with a former neighbor that has her questioning the superficial trappings of her newly reclaimed wealth. And Dave's never-ending, insidious plan changes twice during this hour, but who can really keep track?
BREE, ORSON and KARL!
The episode opens with a beautifully shot, fun little noir sequence between Bree and Karl. It's completely dialogue-free, but Mary Alice's dreamy voiceover tells us that Karl and Bree are having a strategy meeting. Karl advises creative accounting, a second set of books and secret bank accounts, to all of which Bree, in very femme fatale lighting, nods her assent. Then he suggests she rob her own house to hide the valuables from Orson, which prompts a hilarious spit take, breaking the noir-ish mood, as the scene morphs into a different classic film genre: screwball romantic comedy.
Their chemistry is awesome, guys! As you already know, I've always loved Karl, and the way he tortures/flirts with Susan, but the potential of this scene alone made me realize that the producers need to promote Richard Burgi to full-time cast member status and get him all up in Bree's grill, pronto — if only because he calls her Freckles, and that makes her crazy. "I bet you'd look hot in a ski mask," Karl sleazes. "You are repugnant," Bree says, which is the exact word that ladies in screwball comedies use right before they go limp like linguini, charmed as they are by their rakish suitor. And the music swells and the protagonists have PG-rated hate sex. Mark my words, people: These two are, like, six scenes away from totally getting BIZ-AY, and I can't wait! Poor Kyle MacLachlan though — the writers totally screwed him.
So while Susan and Jackson's engagement party (more on that later) is going on, Karl and Bree rob her house, but not before Bree admonishes Karl about wiping his feet before entering her house. "Just because we're thieves doesn't mean we need to be untidy," she snips. TiVo check! Go back and rewatch Bree wipe her feet; it is so incredibly awesome. Karl holds up a heinously ugly Carnivale mask, and Bree says it's worth a lot. After Bree takes some silver off the mantel, she rearranges the picture frames and tchotchkes because "it threw off the balance." "This place has to look like it was ransacked by robbers, not someone's personal shopper," Karl complains. He also wants to know if Bree is "nailing" Orson, like they discussed. "I do the bare minimum — no more, no less," she reports. Is he "strictly missionary"? Karl asks. Heh.
Once she has successfully rejoined Orson at the party, everything is in place for her to act surprised when they get home. "We've been robbed!" she cries, sort of convincingly. It's like regional-theater-Cry in the Dark-production-caliber. "It wasn't me, I swear," Orson says. As they clean up, Orson reminisces about buying that heinous mask in Venice. "You told me you'd been wearing a mask all your life, but with me you felt..." he says. "...Like I could finally take it off and be myself," Bree finishes, and it's clear that her resolve has been shaken. Aw. What a tease to see a tiny glimpse of what a nice couple they used to be.
Naturally, the next scene is Bree reconsidering the divorce, an idea that Karl obviously does not support. He tells her that his clients always have cold feet once they realize they might never find another man. "You're a beautiful, elegant, classy woman — there's no way you're going to end up alone," Karl says, which naturally changes her mind back, and kind of charms her.
In the final scene, Orson conveniently receives a phone call from a storage-unit company. They're calling to say that they overcharged Bree for her deposit. Because after all the cloak-and-dagger plans she made with Karl, she would definitely give them her home number, right? Writers! But no matter, once Orson gains access to the unit (how exactly?), he finds all their stuff, including the uggo Carnivale mask that aptly represents their increasingly ugly marriage.
Gaby's story is a little lame this week, in that it requires her to have some deep thoughts, which, while she's certainly capable of them, are never as much fun as watching her prance around like a spoiled diva. It starts off promising. She stares lovingly at an expensive, though generic-looking vase. That said, the vase is decidedly more animated than little Celia, who does nothing more than stand mute and nod. "You know, I should really get you tested," Gaby says blithely of her speech-free daughter.
Enter Hurriane Juanita, who wants a canopy bed like her friend has. She knows they can afford it because she heard Gaby telling Aunt Bree that they were rich. Gaby, who clearly knows she's screwed, tells Juanita to go to her room. "You too, Bobblehead," she tells poor Celia. I can't wait for her goth adolescence to start.
Since Juanita is "acting like such a diva," Gaby swallows a gigantic hypocrisy pill and takes Juanita to the soup kitchen at the church. Gaby tells the priest she isn't "dressed for ladling," and just as the father's eye rolls indicate an imminent sermon about doing as you say or some such, Gaby spots Fran Schulman, an old friend from the tennis club.
But Fran is not volunteering; she's there to have lunch. Gaby dashes off before she can get details. Instead, she imagines the worst: Did she drink it away? Does she have a gambling problem? She returns to the soup kitchen to find out that it wasn't any of those things: Her husband got sick and died. They lost their insurance. They had no family or friends to help them. "We're all just an accident or a tumor or a bad investment away from standing in line for free soup," she tells Gaby, which clearly hits home. Two things though: First, why did Gaby have to tell this poor woman how awesome she and Carlos were for working their way back from poverty and blindness? I know it was an act of desperation on her part, but it was also kind of mean. Secondly, don't you think that Gaby could have done more for this woman than just give her a few bucks? Maybe she will; we'll see.
SUSAN and JACKSON
Susan and Jackson are setting up house to complete the illusion that they're actually together. Jackson suggests an engagement party, so they have photos for the album as proof. He also tells Susan that she can't tell the girls that the wedding is a fake. "They don't call her Gaby for nothing," he reminds her. It's all pretty breezy and lighthearted, a fun little caper, until Susan says this: "I miss you. The house has been kind of lonely since you left." This is crazy talk, right? I mean, she knows they aren't really getting married, right?
At the party, Mike drops a bomb. Since Susan is getting married again, he's off the hook for alimony. Jackson thought she was too proud to take alimony. "I was too proud to admit it; I wasn't too proud to take it," Susan tells him and calls off the fake wedding.
"It's Canada, not Iran — it's like America with free health insurance," she says of Jackson's homeland.
LYNETTE and TOM
Tom doesn't know what Twitter is, and he thinks it cost him a job. (By the way! Follow TVGuide.com on Twitter for more breaking news and scoop!) This makes him feel old, and he irrationally blames Lynette for not keeping him abreast of such things. "I am a dinosaur walking into the tar pits," he says.
He bumps into Bill Brown, a college classmate and Jackson's soccer teammate (or some such plot device), at the engagement party. He looks noticeably younger than Tom, on whom the makeup department has been doing a bang-up job of making him look tired and haggard. "What's going on, Peter Pan?" Tom asks. Apparently, Bill had a facelift, and now Tom wants one. Lynette is naturally opposed to this idea. What would happen, she argues, if I had plastic surgery and got big, giant sideshow boobs? "I'd learn to live with it somehow," Tom snarks.
Lynette finds out that Bruce in Payroll had a bad nip-tuck job, so she brings him home to meet Tom. Bruce's face is a hilarious rictus of forehead, eyebrows and eerily smooth skin that looks like a potato dumpling. But Tom doesn't take the Joker bait, arguing that he'll get a reputable surgeon. Lynette tries a different tactic, telling him that the lines are a map of their marriage, and she doesn't want to lose it. It's sweet, but when Tom tries to similarly diagram the lines on Lynette's face, she is not as charmed. "This isn't about me, Tom," she snaps.
Yellow Satan is naturally shaken by the reappearance of Jackson, since he is the only person who can account for Dave's whereabouts during the nightclub fire. So where does he turn in the next step in his glacial, Keystone Kops-style plan for murderous revenge? (Seriously, pyramids were built faster.) Creepy kid M.J.! This is a bad plan for many reasons, but mostly because a) kids tell their parents everything and b) as we saw last week, M.J. can be a pretty deceptive little bugger. That said, I think Mason Vale Cotton is getting better at this acting thing, right? Let's hope he's with us for many episodes to come — gulp!
Dave does some recon at the engagement party, and finds out that the cops want to talk to Jackson the day after the wedding. This panics him, and spurs him into action (see below).
MIKE and KATHERINE
Susan and Jackson tell Mike and Katherine of their impending nuptials first, and their reactions are exactly as expected. Katherine is maniacally over the moon and Mike is all grumbly and weird about it because he still loves Susan or whatever. Yawn.
To properly deal with these unresolved feelings he obviously has for Susan, Mike does the most logical thing under the circumstances: He proposes to Katherine! "What brought this on?" Katherine asks, as if she doesn't know. "It just seemed like the right time," Mike says, but thankfully the conflagration in his trousers doesn't spoil their special moment. Interestingly, it's clear to Katherine now that the successful completion of her wedding to Mike depends on the successful completion of Susan's to Jackson.
After the party, Dave realizes that Jackson is on his way to the authorities and that finally — maybe? — the jig is up. He calls Katherine and asks her to watch the house because he's leaving town to start another speaking tour. The airline ticket to Brazil he's holding tells a different story. Katherine inadvertently condemns her own future by placing the phone on the table to answer the door.
It's Susan, who's there to tell Mike and Katherine the truth about her marriage to Jackson, in an effort to ensure that Mike will continue paying alimony, which Susan desperately needs. Dave, of course, hears over the phone, and returns that Speedo he bought to land his own girl from Ipanema; instead, it's killin' time!
Katherine doesn't tell Mike about Susan's alimony dilemma. Instead, she demonstrates sound ethical judgment and sends Susan a text from Mike's email account, saying he'll continue to pay the alimony. So the wedding is back on! Deception! Intrigue! What is Katherine thinking?
On Susan and Jackson's wedding day, Katherine is there, her enthusiasm taking the form of dozens of tin cans tied to the back of their car. "Just because this is a fake marriage doesn't mean it can't be wonderful," Susan says, which is kind of demented? Cue the immigration officers, who roll up and drag Jackson away like a common criminal. Katherine face sinks, as she realizes that Susan's going to remain single for the time being, and perhaps so will she. The camera cuts to a pale cyclist in the background, and it becomes clear that Dave has dropped a dime on poor Jackson so he can properly get the hell on with murdering everybody. Seriously, this season has given me stronger bloodlust than True Blood did. Must. Have. Murderous. Closure. NOW. Please.
What did you think of "Marry Me A Little"? Which wedding are you most excited to see? Would you rather see Bree end up with Orson or Karl? Are you ready to see Dave's storyline (hopefully) come to a conclusion next week?
It's the two-hour season finale! Susan asks if Mike loves Katherine! Lynette thinks she has cancer again! "You want to take in a teenager?" Gaby asks Carlos! "You'd send your wife to prison?" Bree asks Orson. His reply: "You bet!" Dave says on videotape: "I didn't want to kill M.J. Delfino; I had to." !!!
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