Season Analysis: The final season of Desperate Housewives suffered from a setup in which the four main ladies acted in a way that I just never bought.
“Always in Control”
Though he did reprise the role of Orson for a few episodes, Kyle MacLachlan was not the best Twin Peaks alum on Desperate Housewives’ final season. That honor goes to Miguel Ferrer as Andre Zeller, Susan’s grumpy, exacting art teacher, and it was his presence that served to make some of the best moments of the season as good as they were, and he is a major reason for my pick of “Always in Control” as the best episode of the season. Individual episodes of Desperate typically just continue the storylines from the previous episodes, with the characters from separate storylines maybe – or maybe not – bumping into each other, so it is rare – or at least it has been rare the past few seasons – for an entire episode to distinguish itself. “Always in Control” gets my vote, then, not because the whole episode was great, but because it climaxed in a moment for which I had been holding out hope for several weeks: Susan finding it in herself to actually produce a good painting, prompted by her discovery that the other girls had been hiding the news that Alejandro’s body had been dug up. Andre’s response to her good work was the same as mine: “Finally.”
During the early days of Desperate Housewives, Gabby was the weakest of the housewives, her storylines less meaningful and even frothier than those of the other housewives. Now that the show as a whole has grown a little long in the tooth, the situation has reversed, and Gabby’s storylines now have the most emotional depth of the series. Take “Farewell Letter” for example, in which Gabby and Carlos returned to Gabby’s hometown to confront the demons of her childhood. She confronted the nun who had never – and still refused – to believe Gabby’s revelations of her stepfather molesting her. Anyone who has grown up Catholic knows that confronting a nun – particularly a really mean nun – is a powerful situation. This moment was just as wrenching as Gabby’s hysterics following the loss of Grace, but it was also fulfilling, and the writers had worked hard to get to that fulfillment.
Next up: How I Met Your Mother
“I Guess This is Goodbye”
In a season rife with a pair of mysteries we were not sure we wanted (the Fairview Strangler and the Bolens on the run), we were happy to at least have satisfying resolutions to them, making the season finale Desperate’s most thrilling and most explosive hour of the year, as per usual. The Fairview Strangler ended with Eddie delivering Lynette’s baby and Lynette in turn convincing Eddie to turn himself in to the police. Josh Zuckerman put Eddie’s internal struggle all over his face, and Felicity Huffman had one of her best mom moments of the series. Scott Wolf-lookalike John Barrowman was impressive as Patrick Logan, and watching Angie blow him up was the funnest moment of the season, and one of the few times when Drea De Matteo was given something interesting to do. And though it was sad to know that he was on his way out, Kyle MacLachlan finally had the opportunity to remind us why we have loved him as Orson Hodge so much, with his speech to Bree in which he explained why he loved her and why he cannot love her anymore.
Next up: American Dad!