By Michelle Collins
Previously on Desperate Housewives: Secrets! More secrets! Notes discovered. Affairs uncovered. Drugs consumed. Everything I expect from the show that follow Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
This week’s episode opens up with not one, but TWO clichés! You see, it’s all about “keeping up with the Jones’.” Bree is the seemingly perfect housewife, with the perfect lawn to prove it. And no matter how hard Bree’s unfortunately dressed neighbor Mrs. Huber tries, her lawn never lives up to her neighbor’s standards. Because, you see mindless America: The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence! (Please, don’t kill the messenger. Sigh, yet a third cliché, and now it’s my fault.) A man in mid-jog rolls up to Mrs. Huber’s lawn gasping for air (prompting her to ask him if he would “like a slurp from my hose” shudder), and he immediately drops dead. So Mrs. Huber did what any normal, underdeveloped character actor would do on a primetime soap opera: She wheelbarrows his corpse over to Bree’s lawn, and dumps his sweaty ass onto her hydrangeas. Because don’t you get it? They are just that desperate (housewives)!The next scene opens with a shot of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (about a, you guessed it, desperate housewife! Thanks, college education!) It’s a meeting of the Wisteria Lane Book Club, where we are met with a montage of all the seedy wheelings and dealings going on behind closed doors (drugs, divorce, affairs, and for Susan, a date.) But how can these ladies get any reading done when their lives are barreling out of control? I find it hard to believe these women can even make time for a bowel movement with all the other crap they have to deal with.
Susan, Lynette, Bree and Gabrielle sequester themselves to discuss more details on Mary Alice’s mysterious suicide. Susan tells them that her daughter, Julie, snuck into the mental hospital that young Zack is staying in to get some details. He told her that something happened to a girl named “Dana” and that “he could never talk about it.” No one knows who Dana is, but they figure she is related to the suicidal secret.
Next we find Mary Alice’s suspicious widow Paul speaking with Mr. Shaw, the Private Dick he hired to solve the mystery of his wife’s suicide. He holds the famous note, written on a sheet of lavender paper, while the detective goes into some pulpy analysis. The blackmailer will be someone Paul knows, and Dick-Shaw warns him that “Sometimes Evil Drives a Minivan”, which I initial capped because it sounds like the tag line to the most hilarious horror movie ever.
Lynette’s house is cleaner than ever! Because she’s so hopped up on Ritalin! As she busily scrubs through the formica layer of her countertop, her husband asks her if she would be able to throw a formal dinner party in two days for some co-worker’s, so that he can pitch them his advertising ideas. But two days! That’s not enough time! Then her husband drops the ol’ Bree Van De Camp bomb, as in “BVDC does it all the time.” Tune changing! Dinner party! Sure! Great! I love dinner, I love parties! I can do that! I can do anything! Wait!! I’m out of drugs!
Sweet lord, that yard boy! It’s times like this that I get very angry that I live in New York, and hence have no yard that needs tending to. Maybe I could hire some young hardbody to clean my airshaft – pun intended, people!
OK, focusing. So we see the yard boy John gallivanting shirtless (sweat bead), when he gets a call from Gabrielle who wants to meet up with him later for a sexy tryst. Only he has a date with Danielle, Bree’s daughter — God forbid, someone his age! — says no, and pulls a clamshell with his cellie (snap!). Mama Solis watches him from the porch, one eyebrow permanently in the upright position. Mama then heads upstairs and redials the last number from Gabrielle’s cellphone. When Jack picks up, we hear a click. A click of adulterated judgment.
Rex and Bree Van De Kamp meet with their son Andrew’s principal to discuss his recent violent behavior. They explain that he is just acting out due to their marital problems. Then Rex is all “I’m filing for a divorce” and a fight breaks out. Bree says he better have a good attorney cause when she’s done, he won’t have a cent to his name. Rex says “Bring it on!” I pray to God he’ll whip out his spirit stick and wave his spirit hands, a la Kirsten Dunst in the movie of the same name, but alas he does not.
Susan has a date with Mike, and gets ready with her daughter Julie in the room. Julie asks her Mom if she’ll bring protection (awkward!). We then see that not only is she bringing protection, she will in fact be wearing it, in the form of a red latex dress (or maybe it’s sheepskin.). Good thinking, Susan! You never know when the mood will strike.
Mike, looking smart, hears a knock at the door. It’s not Susan, but an altogether different skank named Kendra.
On her way to Mike’s abode, Susan stops to show off her full length condom dress for Edie, and to also shove her date with Mike in Edie’s face. Feeling smug, Susan knocks on Mike’s door, only to learn that Mike can’t make the date due to his “unexpected houseguest” Kendra. Speak of the devil, Kendra literally explodes through the doorway to go get her things, while poor Susan looks on from the porch, dejected. Mike swears there is nothing between them, that they’re just old friends. He’ll make it up to her, he swears. Susan, head hung low, returns to her house. Edie wants to know “How was the big date?” Cattiness ensues.
Edie is selling Paul’s house following Mary Alice’s suicide. She tells him that he is legally bound to disclose his wife’s suicide in the house. Paul asks is there’s any way to get around it. No, there isn’t. Edie has to go, but accidentally leaves her folder at Paul’s house. Paul opens the folder up to discover a sheet of lavender paper! Edie wrote the cryptic note! Bone chilling.
Out on a Juicy Coutoure jog, Gabrielle stops her teenage rival Danielle and offers to sponsor her to attend a modeling school in far away New York, which will also conveniently get her out of town so that yardboy Jack can be all hers. Danielle smiles – she would love to! Gabrielle, woman with the heart of old… I mean gold.
Lynette needs Ritalin stat! She accosts a fellow suburban mom in the park, like only a serious drug addict can, looking for some more drugs. The fellow mom/druggie is all out. But Lynette needs her drugs!
The Van De Kamp family needs to talk. Around a huge corporate conference table, it looks like. They break the news: They are getting divorced. Danielle combs her hair looking bored. Their troubled son, whose real name is Andrew, but let’s call him oh, I don’t know Douchebag”, wants to live with his Dad. Bree looks hurt. She leaves.
Kendra looks over Mike’s undercover research, and is disappointed with his work. She encourages him to quit, that he’s wasting his time and her father’s money. She’s sick of her father chasing ghosts, and wants him to drop the investigation so she can have her father back. Mike refuses. Kendra tells Mike that he’s lying to his girlfriend about being a neighborly plumber. Mike exits the scene dramatically.
Susan searches through her garage looking for a hotplate to give Lynette, who looks completely disheveled and crazy. Through the search, Susan uncovers an old yellow baby’s blanket with the name “Dana” embroidered into it. She bought it at Paul Young’s garage sale! Dana was a baby… a baby with a horrible secret.
Rex, looking for some post-divorce favoritism, buys his son a car and foots the bill for his daughter’s future as a failed model (along with Gabrielle’s sponsorship.) But Bree didn’t approve any of this. She tells her kids that they can’t accept the gifts, end of story. Rex, unrelenting, hands his son the keys while him and Bree face off in an Evil Staring Contest.
Bree storms over to Gabrielle’s house and demands answers. Did she offer to help sponsor Danielle? Gabrielle hems and haws. Gorgeous yardboy John overhears the entire thing (Really, their lawn isn’t even THAT big, and yet he is always over. The husband is a fool, a fool!) John is shocked at Gabrielle’s evil craftiness to send Danielle away from him and quits everything, his job and her. He’s through! After one last night of break-up sex, that is. Sigh, teenagers. Lurking Mama, of course, sees all.
Lynette needs drugs! Really badly! Gaunt faced, she sits with another Mom who admits her son “Timmy” is on ADHD meds. Lynette hotfoots it to the woman’s bathroom and throws open the medicine cabinet. Ahh, sweet sweet mercy! Drugs! She pops one in her mouth and about 40 in her pocket.
Paul shows Detective Shaw the matching lavender paper, and DickShaw agrees they’ve found their woman. Should they get the police involved? That’s not an option for Paul, i.e. The Man With Many Troubling Secrets. We then learn that this so-called “Detective” is also a murder-for-hire man. (Aren’t they all, ladies?) Paul says, and I quote, “Sigh of relief.”
Don’t screw with Bree Van De Kamp. Her kids roll up to their lawn to find that all of their things have been laid out, Clean Sweep style. Either they give their luxury gifts back to Dad, or they move out of their house. The daughter agrees to the terms, and gets the keys to the newly installed lock. She is waaaay to smart to model. Lil’ Douchebag, on the other hand, peaces out in his brand new Mustang Convertible.
Mike and Kendra head over to an open house at Paul’s, where he tells her that they will be going to “The Saddle Ranch” for drinks, because that was the last place Kendra’s sister was seen. Edie, greeting visitors, mishears this plan, and (convinced they are having sex) graciously tells nearby Susan about Mike and Kendra’s “sordid” nighttime date. When Susan scoffs at Edie’s insinuation, Edie says she “just wants to slap and shake [her].” As would every straight man in America.
The Saddle Club. A mechanical bull. Rednecks. Country music. Susan and Edie sit together watching Mike and Kendra and waiting for the sexual fireworks. Susan claims that they’re crazy, and makes to leave. Mike sees Susan. Susan plays dumb. The setting for this scene begins to make sense when we see Edie expertly riding the mechanical bull in the background. Mike demands answers. Was Susan following him? No! Susan was there to ride the bull, see-through cashmere cardigan and all! She enters the ring, but before we can see Susan’s cowgirl abilities, she gets knocked out cold by the bucking bronco.
Andrew (i.e. Douchebag) arrives at his father’s motel and delivers the good news: He can live with his Dad now! Rex panics and refuses, telling his son that he must live by his mother’s rules, because living with him is an impossibility. Doors slam. Andrew gets in his new car and calls a friend: He needs to drink, because he can’t “kiss his mother’s ass” when he’s sober. Douchebag 1, Common Sense 0.
Fruit tartlets are arranged on a plate, as we hear phony corporate laughter in the background. It’s the big dinner party, and poor Lynette looks wiped. Her husband whips out his genius idea: to advertise their product on the sides of shopping carts. Yawn. Strung-out Lynette pipes in from the kitchen with a better idea: What about dry cleaning bags instead? The corporate cronies love it. Cutting to her husband’s face, we hear a cash register ring, and two Loony Tunes-esque “No Sale” signs pop-up where his eyes should be.
Susan applies some ice to her bull-induced bruise, and Mike introduces her to Kendra, again, emphasizing the “friends and nothing more” relationship. Kendra’s leaving tomorrow. But while Mike heads off to get more ice, Kendra warns Susan to be weary of him, and to ask why he moved to Wisteria Lane. Mike returns and hands Susan some ice, and Susan hands it right back, but in attitude form. All the while, Dick-Shaw enters the bar, and takes a seat next to a tipsy Edie.
We learn some intimate secrets about Gabrielle and Jack’s love life, namely that they have sex with their underwear on (thanks again, FCC!). Gabrielle assumes that her husband and Mama Solis are out together. But Mama, knowing of her daughter-in-law’s slutty plans, barges in on some heavy petting and snaps an incriminating snapshot of the two.
Jack throws his pants on and chases after Mama. He needs that camera! Gabrielle calmly gets up to pack her things. The jig is up. Jack grabs Mama and tries to get the camera, and Mama Solis seriously kicks his ass. It becomes obvious that in between spying and lurking, Mama takes a Krav Maga class every now and again.
Mama Solis and her tiny legs run out of the house and onto the street and — Oh my God — she gets hit by a car! The car speeds away and leaves Mama sprawled lifeless in the middle of the street. Gabrielle sends Jack home and runs to Mama’s body. A witness, probably out robbing houses judging by his attire, is instructed to call 911. Gabrielle takes the camera and puts it in her robe.
A car pulls into a driveway with a broken headlight. But it’s not just any car. It’s drunk Andrew’s car.
A camera spirals down onto Mama Solis’ lifeless body, while Mary Alice summarizes everyone’s problems in voiceover form. Tom is angry at Lynette’s drug-induced idea spouting, and making him look bad in front of his co-workers. He is a jealous man, and for good reason. His wife is clearly smarter than he is. He looks in her eyes and suspects something is wrong, but when sirens approach, she avoids the topic and runs outside.
Bree stands over Mama, and tells Lynette she has to run home for a minute. Her son stands in the kitchen, drunk and in complete, teary shock. “Mama?” he says. Gasp. She knows. Bree calls Paul and tells him to come home, cause they have a clean-up job to take care of.
Final Montage: Susan is confused, Edie and Dick-Shaw do shots, Mama is gurneyed, Lynette looks longingly at some pills. Paul drives the incriminating car (or what I like to call it, “Kirby, the Death-Stang”) into the garage. Bree wrings her hands. And the garage door closes on another fabulous episode.
Next week: Lies! Secrets! And one Desperate Housewife will be gone. forever.