Recapped: Desperate Housewives – Episode 3
“Pretty Little Picture”
Desperate Housewives was #2 last week with “Ah, But Underneath,” as I’m seriously beginning to wonder if ABC still wants to go through with having Alias replace this on the schedule when the J.J. Abrams show returns from its hiatus in January. On one hand, Alias was around before Desperate Housewives and fans of the show expect it to be on at that time. At the same time, Desperate Housewives is looking to be a steady hit, and why mess up a good thing by shuffling the show around and turning it into a failure because of timeslot changes? The same could happen to Alias, however. Whatever ABC decides to move in the end, they better pimp the hell out of it.
On with the recap.
Previously, on Desperate Housewives: Get this, folks. Not only is most of the show itself narrated, but so are the “Previouslies”. This is just insanity in narration, friends. Anyway, Susan took dating tips from her 12 year old daughter, who obviously can’t spot that Creepy Plumber Mike is more nefarious than he appears, Bree accidentally poisoned her husband, Lynette “abandoned” her kids to teach them a lesson, and Gabrielle cheated on her husband with the garden boy. And everyone is wondering why Dead Woman Narrating (or Mary Alice Young, if you prefer) killed herself. But everyone has skeletons in their closet, and we see a shot of the Young family’s chest as we fade to white…
…and Mary Alice starts us off by explaining more about what happened after she died. When she was being cremated, she held on to only one thing after death–her memory. She remembers everything about Wisteria Lane, and Mary Alice then begins to talk about Bree and what she remembers about the Van De Kamp. What she remembers the most about Bree is the look of fear in her eyes as she sees Rex starting to care less and less about Bree and her obsession with making everything perfect. And so Bree sets off downstairs in the morning, waking up Rex so that the children don’t see that their parents are sleeping in separate quarters. Rex doesn’t care if the children see, but Bree cares, because they should at least try to keep up their appearances instead of burdening the children with their numerous and serious marital problems. Rex didn’t get much sleep because the bed he slept on was uncomfortable, and Bree takes this as an opportunity to invite Rex back to the master bedroom. They’re in marriage counseling, however, and that’s no good. Bree misses Rex, and Rex knows that, but he’ll only be going back upstairs unless it’s out of sheer exhaustion. This gives Bree an idea, and she cuts the wiring under the mattress of Rex’s bed, pointing some of it up and laying the mattress over it, which will no doubt prove to be a simulation of a bed of nails for Rex. She’s so crazy.
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…back to an aerial view of the street, as Mary Alice explains that the morning started out like any other, with coffee and the morning paper. The different housewives read their different sections of the paper as they got their coffee; Lynette read business, Gabrielle read about style, Bree scouting for decoration ideas. But Susan, most importantly, scanned the front page and found something: today’s date, October 15th, 2004. Turns out that Susan was supposed to have dinner with Mary Alice on the very next night. So, Susan walks up to an unknown household, and we go into a flashback as Mary Alice answers the door. She invites Susan in and the other housewives are there. As they all gather around a table playing cards, Mary Alice explains that she wants to have a dinner party, one month from tonight: The 16th. Back to reality, and Lynette answers the door, immediately seeing the post-it note denoting the night of Mary Alice’s dinner party. Susan wants to know how all the Housewives forgot about it, but Lynette points out that it wasn’t forgotten: “Usually when the hostess dies, the party’s off.” Of course, I think the party is just beginning, and Mary Alice’s suicide set it off. They’re all somber about the ordeal, and Susan suggests that they go through with the dinner party, to honor Mary Alice. They all agree to it, and Bree wants to know how many they’re cooking for. Gabrielle thinks that it’s seven, but Susan knows better. As Bree asks Susan who she’d like to invite, Creepy Plumber Mike remains as creepy as ever as he jogs up from behind Bree. Susan gives Mike a wave as Mike jogs off, perhaps back to his house so he can make more notes about his spying ordeal.
Over to Gabrielle’s house, and Carlos explains that work is rough and that he’ll try to make the dinner party, even though he promised that he’d be home every night that week. Carlos says that it’s just business, and advises that Gabrielle go to a spa or to the mall to relieve some of the tension that she apparently has, find a way to relax. Oh, Carlos, my boy, you shouldn’t have said that. Sure enough, Gabrielle calls up John, the gardening boy, who’s in the middle of algebra. John has track after school, but he’ll get there as fast as he can, and he’ll make sure to keep his track clothes on, like last time. My, my, my.
Now to Lynette’s, as Lynette’s husband seems to be having the same doubts about the dinner party. Only his problem is that his last business trip has taken a toll on him. Lynette tries to convince him, but he wants her to cancel the babysitter who has already been scheduled to come over for the party, grab a bottle of wine, rent a video, and spent a night with his best gal. Lynette was looking forward to a night out, but her husband just refuses, and wonders out loud if Lynette knows what it’s like to work a 60-hour week anymore. That was probably the wrong thing to say to the Struggling Mother.
And now to the Van De Kamp’s, and one can feel the collapse of the party sink in here. Rex obviously is not so keen on going, but the Van De Kamps are hosting it, so Rex really doesn’t have a choice. The husband Van De Kamp won’t be allowed any liquor, either, since he gets chatty when he’s drunk, and she doesn’t want him to spill the beans about the marriage counseling. She doesn’t mention it, but maybe Bree should be more weary of the whole poisoning thing. Rex points out that Bree spends more time covering up their marital problems than she does trying to solve them, and continues to rant about the injustice of them taking tennis lessons together, especially since the tennis lessons don’t exist and they’re just there to provide a plausible alibi as to why he doesn’t come to work three times a week.
Finally, we are at the Mayer’s house, and Susan simply asks her ex-husband to keep Julie for another day. He agrees, and explains that another day is it, since he’s taking his new toy up to a cabin that he bought. Turns out he can buy a cabin, but he can’t pay child support. DEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD BEAT. He insists that the check is in the mail, but Susan opens the mailbox: “Uh, no, it’s not!” It would’ve been funnier if she had gone out to a mailbox near the edge of the street to do that. Julie interrupts them, but she automatically knows what’s going down and tells them to stop fighting. Susan tries to cover it up, but you can’t fool a 12-year-old. Julie goes to the car with the rest of the ex-family, and Brandi throws away her drink…but misses the trash can. Susan wants Brandi to come over and pick it up, but Susan is right there. Susan refuses, however, since Brandi is the one who threw it. Julie offers to pick it up, but Susan wants her to stay out of it. Finally, the ex-husband goes to pick it up, and Susan kicks it at him as he tries to retrieve it. The ex-husband blows her off, and Susan tells him to go to hell as she kicks it very non-hard-like over to a pair of four legs–Mike and Bongo. Mike offers to pick the can up with his Creepy Plumber Smile, and Susan immediately feels terrible for being a dumb, dumb woman.
Now, we go to the…Young house? They’re not talking about the dinner party, however. Zack, the son, asks the father why he didn’t bother to put in an obituary in the paper, since it’ll look like they didn’t care about her. The father Young insists not to worry about it, but Zack points out that he doesn’t talk about her much, even though she hasn’t even been dead a month. Dad blows it off, but Zack drives the nail home by saying that when Daddy Dearest dies, Zack might not put in an obituary. Father is fine with that…”assuming you outlive me.” Oh man. Poor kid. This is going to get ugly really fast.
New Theory on Creepy Plumber Mike: Mike was hired by Mr. Mary Alice Young to make sure that none of the other Housewives got too deep into the mystery surrounding Mary Alice’s death. Mike would be the hunky guy next door and all the Housewives would be comfortable in telling him business that has been going down around Wisteria Lane. If Mike catches wind of something too deep, however, Mr. Mary Alice Young will be forced to take matters into his own hands.
Back with Gabrielle, as she talks to her mother and then invites John in, holding the phone for a moment to tell John to take his clothes off. They immediately begin to make out, but Gabrielle stops and gasps as she sees…a child on the porch, watching them? Neither of them know who the mysterious kid is, but she runs off as Gabrielle tries to find out who she is. Gabrielle simply watches her run away without giving chase.
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…back with Susan and Lynette. Susan doesn’t think Mike is going to come to the dinner party because of her outburst at Carl (THAT’S his name!), and also that Carl just has a way of pissing Susan off to no end. Lynette suggests that Susan tries to resolve her issues with Carl, but Susan has a bitterness about Carl that she can’t live without. As Susan walks off, Lynette looks through the photos that she developed for her husband and sees a rather interesting picture of him and two of his co-workers in sombreros and with alcohol. Point is that he shouldn’t be whining about a 60-hour week when he isn’t having a hard time working. Mr. Lynette tries to compromise by offering to go to the dinner party after all, but Lynette already cancelled the sitter. Throw the next dinner party? Lynette doesn’t have time to wash her own face. The husband doesn’t know what to say, and Lynette finally just says that she’ll go to the dinner party and leave him to babysit the kids. He thinks that he can handle it…as he tries without success to open a Jello pack.
Gabrielle is on the hunt for the mysterious girl who spotted her infidelity, and immediately spots her talking with Carlos. Oh no. I feel worse for the gardener, actually. Gabrielle goes up to Carlos, who introduces her to Ashley, daughter to the new neighbor next door. Gabrielle tries to be friendly with Ashley, but Ashley is very unresponsive. The mother just claims her to be shy, but she doesn’t spill the beans about Gabrielle and John, and that’s alright.
Over at the Young house, Zack is rummaging through some stuff and finds a shoebox with a tiny pistol inside. And…scene. Actually, the importance of this, I do believe, is that the pistol was the one used by Mary Alice when she became a Dead Woman Narrating.
Dr. Goldfine’s office is being Van De Kamped, as he suggests that the two of them have private sessions for both of them to talk about their issues. Bree claims her only issue is that Rex wants to leave her, which is something that can’t be handled in a private session. Rex explains that he is the one who wants the private sessions because he has lots of issues with Bree. She wants to know what these issues could possibly be, and insists that a few more sessions would perk the relationship right up. Rex flat out denies that a few more sessions will do it, and the doctor interrupts to suggest a schedule with Rex talking for the first half-hour and Bree for the next. She gets a parting shot in, however, saying that if what Rex says has anything to do with adultery, prostitution or Internet porn, that the doctor be harsh with him. Ouch. It’s a setup. Bree grabs her tennis racket that she won’t use and walks out.
Back to the Solis Scandal, as Gabrielle walks up to Ashley while she is drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. Gabrielle compliments her artwork, noting that it looks like whatever they are are kissing, which sends Gabrielle into an explanation that kissing isn’t just for husband and wives, it’s for wives that want to be unfaithful to their husbands. Okay, she doesn’t say that, but at least the little brat would have some kind of look other than shock and disgust if she said it. John is just a friend of Gabrielle’s, and they kissed because it was kind of a “high five on the lips”. Gabrielle puts her hand up, wanting a high five, but no such luck from Ashley. Man, I don’t like Ashley. She’s already a mega-heel in my book. Gabrielle goes for broke and shows Ashley something that she bought for Ashley at the mall: a Hawaiian doll. Ashley puts the doll on her lap and continues to draw. Gabrielle asks if they’re cool…no response. What a boring, boring girl. Gabrielle wants to know if there is anything else she can get for her, which finally gets a response out of Ashley. She wants a bike.
Daddy Young is up in the middle of the night, and as he looks in the fridge, he hears metal clicking…and that sounds like a gun to me. Sure enough, Zackie is spinning the barrel of the pistol, and he confirms that Mary Alice used it to kill herself. Zack wants to know why his father kept the gun, and he says that it was for protection. Zack wants to talk about mom, and he won’t take his medication until there is conversation about her. But there’s a knock at the door, and it’s…Bree! Are you kidding me? She hopes that it isn’t a bad time…
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…back at the Young house, and Bree is there to invite Zack and Mr. Young to the dinner party. Bad idea. Bree explains that they’re throwing it in his mother’s honor. Mr. Young appears at the door as Zack looks sick, and Paul explains that they already have plans for the night of the dinner party…as he slinks his hand down and takes the gun from Zack’s hand. Bree goes off and Zack thanks Bree for remembering Mary Alice as she goes. Mary Alice explains that Mr. Young eventually gave Zack something to calm him down…
…while Gabrielle grabs the bike from the trunk of her car to give to Ashley. I don’t think Ashley will shut up because of this, I think Ashley will just keep using Gabrielle for more stuff because the writers think that a manipulative kid is good television–I find it to be annoying and making me want to dropkick Ashley through the goalposts of life. Gabrielle shows Ashley the new bike, but Ashley doesn’t know how to ride a bike. Ashley wants Gabrielle to teach her to ride a bike, not later, but now.
Susan is looking through an old photo album, as she notices that she’s cut Carl out of most of the pictures in the photo album. Susan seems to feel guilt, as she grabs a phone and calls Carl, leaving a message saying that they need to talk, it’s important. Mary Alice explained that Susan was ready to let go of her anger…almost, as Susan crushes a picture version of Carl’s head between her fingers.
Lynette gives directions to Mr. Lynette, talking with him about his responsibilities. Mr. Lynette doesn’t think it’ll be a problem, after all, they’re just kids. With that, Lynette calls Preston over while Mr. Lynette is elsewhere. Lynette decides that unlike usually, when they wouldn’t get cookies after 5:00 since the children became hyper, Lynette thinks that anything should go tonight and hands Preston the cookies, encouraging him to share with his brothers. This should be fun.
Gabrielle teaches Ashley how to ride a bike–in high heels–and Ashley seems to be doing good, but she has to swerve out of the way of a PARKED CAR and ends up falling over. Ashley is okay, though, and wants to go again. Gabrielle thinks that it can wait, and not tomorrow since she has school tomorrow. Ashley is homeschooled though, and the sense of doom for Gabrielle sets in. Poor Gabrielle, now she won’t have time to commit adultery! Damn those busy schedules.
Back with Susan, as she’s fresh out of the shower. Carl is already at the house a day early, since it sounded important. Susan was going to have a speech tomorrow, but Carl wants her to wing it. Susan doesn’t want to be petty and she feels bad for the driveway incident and…she wants an apology from Carl. “A what?” My thoughts exactly. Susan doesn’t think Carl took any responsibility for his behavior in their marriage, and Carl is stunned. He fell in love…while he was married to someone else! “The heart wants what it wants!” Susan explains that her heart wants to hurt Carl, but she learns to control it. Carl wants to take the upper road and suggests that if she wants to go back to that, she needs to seek some help. Susan yells some more at Carl as he gets in his car to leave, yelling at him for walking out on the family. Susan is fine, she can walk down the street with her head held high…as she shuts the passenger car door after yelling at Carl…getting the towel caught in the process as Carl drives away and the towel comes off. What, no nude shot? It’s LDSV, baby! Susan locks herself out, of course, and is left naked on the outside of the house as she grabs a bush…not her own. Guffaw.
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…we’re back, and Susan is still very naked as hours have supposedly passed. Susan grabs the bush and carries it over to her side porch, but that door is locked too. Susan keeps the bush over her naughty parts and then tries to go over to a side window…but she falls over into her shrubs. Mary Alice acknowledges that Susan might be having the most humiliating moment of her life…but she was wrong, as Creepy Plumber Mike walks over. Oh my. They engage in casual conversation as Mike agrees to come over to the dinner party, and walks off as she’s still naked.
The night of the dinner party, and Mike and Susan walk up, talking about how Mike helped Susan break in. Mike suggests that Susan wears gloves if she replaces the screen herself…or pants. Susan doesn’t think the situation wasn’t very funny, and asks that no jokes be made as Bree answers the door. Mike explains the lateness as Susan was having trouble finding something to wear. *rimshot*
Inside, Lynette is talking with her husband, who apparently is explaining that the kids are bouncing off the walls. Lynette has faith that Tom’ll find a way to put them to bed despite the cookie sabotage led by the mother. “They’re just kids.” Gabrielle explains that she went jogging, and pushed herself too hard in the wrong shoes, which is why she is limping. Rex and Carlos talk about tennis, as Carlos thinks that he could use the number of Rex’s pro, but Rex will give it to him later. Carlos asks what club he works out of, and Rex can’t give an answer. Rex finally confesses–has he been drinking?–and explains that they’re not really taking tennis lessons, that it was Bree’s story to cover that they’re seeing a marriage counselor. Bree is right there to hear everything, however, and Rex tries to cover for his mistake as Bree takes the alcohol away from him. Everyone at the party is stunned into silence, as Rex turns to all of them and announces that Bree and himself are in marriage counseling. Rex points out that nothing catastrophic has become of the big secret being revealed, and Bree can only give her Stepford Wife Smile and announce that “dinner is served.”
Zack Young is out on the couch as Paul covers his son up. Paul overhears an announcement on the news about a chest being found where Paul dumped it last episode. The reporter prefaces it with the word grisly, and this can’t be good. Sure enough the chest appears to be containing human remains. Oh, Paul, what have you done? Before the reporter can say more, Paul quickly turns the TV off to make sure that Zack doesn’t hear any more about it, just in case that he’s not knocked out from the drugs that Mr. Young forced him to take. Paul takes his drink and heads off to another room…and Zack is very much awake.
Back to the dinner party, and everyone is silent and looking at Bree and Rex. Susan breaks the ice and immediately throws herself out there to save Bree the humiliation by explaining her story about locking herself out of the house naked and being discovered by Mike. Conversation immediately strikes up, as Lynette explains her humiliating story. Everyone seems to be laughing it up, except for Bree. Finally, Bree drops a story of her own:
“Rex cries after he ejaculates.”
I had to pause the show at this point to laugh for a good half-minute. The funny part was, I actually had the closed captioning on so I could get quotes right, and I saw the line before she finished it. Bree is one crazy mother. So naturally, all laughing comes to a screeching halt, as everyone looks over at Rex. Rex leaves the table, grabbing the car keys and leaving the house, too. Bree continues like nothing happened, and the others try to as well.
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Mike and Susan are leaving the dinner party, and Mike wonders if Rex is gone for good, but Susan doesn’t know. Mike cracks another joke about the driveway incident, and Susan tries to convey that she only gets that angry around Carl. Mike sees the disasterous marriage with Carl as “boot camp,” preparing Susan for something better the second time around. Susan thanks Mike for being a gentleman with the whole naked thing, but Mike says that he may have snuck a peek. Pervert. Susan says “Good night” to that, and Mike gets in his parting words: “For what it’s worth…wow.” Well, I agree, but coming from a creepy plumber spy like Mike? It’s no good. Susan is on dream street as she walks in her house.
Back with Lynette, as Mr. Lynette knows that she gave them cookies. Lynette talks about the dinner party, which wasn’t much of a party due to Bree/Rex. Tom isn’t very surprised, since he didn’t get the feeling that they wre very happy together anyway. Lynette immediately starts to worry, and asks if Tom and Lynette are a happy couple. Tom doesn’t give an answer…
…back with Carlos, as he’s shaving his nose hair and talking about the look on Rex’s face. “Then again, I would probably cry too if I had to have sex with that woman.” Nice. Gabrielle is working over her legs as Carlos talks about why Rex let Bree get away with it. If a woman ever humiliated Carlos like that, “it would only happen once.” That’s no good.
Bree is packing for Rex, and Rex wants to know what Bree will say to the kids while Rex is gone. Bree doesn’t give a straight answer to that question, however, and Rex is off. Rex is stopped at the last second, and Bree pleas with Rex, wanting to know why this could happen to Rex and Bree…the answer? Rex can’t even be allowed to pack his own suitcase. True dat. Bree seems on the verge of a breakdown, but she recovers by straightening up the bed.
Carl is dropping Julie off, and Susan rushes out to the car, asking Brandi to scoot over to the middle of the car. Susan apologizes for the way she treated Brandi, and Carl, and announces that she’s moving on, with or without an apology to her. Brandi explains to Susan that she thought Carl wasn’t married to Susan when they started fooling around, and that she’s sorry too. Susan thanks her, and Brandi goes off, without Carl giving the apology.
Lynette returns home and Tom has a sombrero on as he greets her. Lynette notices this and Tom explains that Tom and her have 45 minutes before the kids actually “find Nemo,” so they should make the most of it. Lynette is reluctant, but Tom is at least trying. Lynette accepts the margarita and then they dance to the music. Tom knows that it’ll take more than just this one night to convince Lynette. The kids are watching, but Lynette is fine as long as they don’t cut in.
Back with Dr. Goldfine, and Bree wants to talk about Rex moving out today. Bree wants to know what Rex said to him during their private session so she can “fix the problem.” Right. Bree notices an open cabinet, which turns out to be all the tapes of the sessions. Bree looks for Rex’s tape…but finds Mary Alice Young. The plot thickens. Bree snags the Mary Alice tape, and Dr. Goldfine explains that Bree can meet tomorrow morning at 8:00. Bree goes off in a huff.
Back with the narrator, as she explains that she remembers that she was always afraid, which was a waste. She wishes that she could tell her fellow housewives that, but it probably wouldn’t do any good…as she says this Gabrielle takes a peek out the window, as does Susan and Bree. What they all see?
Paul Young driving a For Sale sign into the ground in front of his house.
Alright, let’s talk Housewives.
What is the deal with Creepy Plumber Mike? The writers didn’t focus on his secret in this episode, instead focusing mostly on Susan and Carl, Bree and Rex, and the remainder of the Young family. I assume that they’ll keep the viewers reminded of Mike’s activity next week, because viewers of this show need to realize that it’s very likely the charm that Mike oozes every week seems to be a sham. Once again, if you want to know my theory about Mike, talk a look earlier in the recap, it’s bolded for your pleasure.
What in the hell is up with Paul Young? So he chopped up his wife, put her in a chest and threw the chest in a lake, it was discovered, they’re eventually going to find out it was Mary Alice Young in the chest, which explains why Paul wants to get the hell off the street. What role will Zach eventually play in all of this? He knows, certainly, but could we be building up to a climax where Zach eventually shoots his father down? This is obviously the biggest mystery in Desperate Housewives.
What’s on the Mary Alice Young tape from Dr. Goldfine’s office? Any number of things are possible. Most of them are probably about Paul. I don’t know if Bree will get away with the tape stealing, it’s very likely Dr. Goldfine will find out about all of these shenanigans. Nonetheless, Bree will have a very nice thing to share around the table with the other Housewives.
The other subplots, like Carl/Susan and Gabrielle/Ashley/John/Carlos, I can’t even begin to speculate. I didn’t see Ashley coming into the latter storyline, and there’s no telling what can happen there.
All I can hope for is that it will continue to be good TV. Until then.