Desperate Housewives: Next
At the end of the first season, Desperate Housewives left us desperate to find out... how Bree was going to handle the sudden and unexpected death of her husband (largely at the hands of her doublecrossing pharmacist and would-be suitor). How Mike was going to deal with the discovery that Zach was his son. Whether Gabrielle is carrying her husband's baby, or her lover's...and how her marriage will last the specters of unfaithfulness, deception and jail. Whether Lynette will get a good job, and how she'll handle life as a working mother. And finally...is Zach going to shoot Susan? Or his dad? We get lots of juicy resolution, several power suits, and (you guessed it) lots of tears and shouting. But best of all, we've got a mystery hand that leaves us all guessing...
We learn quickly enough that neither Susan nor Mike die, or are even that badly injured, from Zach's inexpert hostage situation. Not that we expected them to be. In the delicious fashion that we've come to know and love, our omniscient narrator (who is still Mary Alice, contrary to some rumors) manages to tie in a bit neighbor, a drunkard who happens to be standing outside bargaining with God when Susan wrests the gun from Zach's grasp and shoots. Naturally, the bottle of whiskey in her hand goes kerplooey and nobody gets hurt. Cute.
But Mike, it turns out, discovers that his allegiance lies far more with his long-lost psycho son than his high-maintenance girlfriend, and tells the police that he doesn't want to press charges. It's only when Susan and Mike go to identify a body (that turns out not to be Zach) that Susan figures out the truth, and learns that it won't be easy for her planned move-in-with-Mike to go forward smoothly. She just can't fathom putting her daughter together with that particularly screwed-up son.
Meanwhile, at Bree's house, Rex's mother has arrived, tousled and hysterical and mean. As Bree cleans out soy milk from the fridge and keeps every hair in place, Mrs. Van de Kamp wails and insists that Rex be buried in his garish prep school tie. Bree insists right back, starting a tug-of-war that comes to a fever pitch over the eulogy when her mother-in-law tells the priest that Rex was never happy after he left his mother's house. Bree has a fit as only she can, ordering her mother-in-law not to come to the funeral.
But her kids aren't having it, and Andrew asks her to apologize, reminding his mom that even though Grandma is a bitch, "she's our bitch." Yeah, this line has been done before elsewhere, but it's done well, here. Grandma Van de Camp is back in.
While many of the story lines here are more dramatic, my favorite is that of Lynette and her struggles with motherhood. She is clearly the smarter, more career-oriented half of the couple, and having her heading back to work is sure to be good. She starts off her interview with a hot-and-successful firm by explaining her seven-year absence from the working world, assuring the fabulously bitchy woman who's chosen to remain childless that she won't let her kids interfere with her work. She's told to come back to meet the decision-maker the next day. And be early.
What will happen to make her late? It is, of course, better than being late. Tom throws his back out, leaving Lynette no choice but to bring her baby girl with her. She tries to recruit the receptionist to watch him, but he leaves the baby lying on the end of his desk, which (of course) is tantamount to child endangerment. She rushes to save her daughter, setting up a witty (but not exactly original) interchange where she explains how she'll take the firm to the next level while changing a diaper. The big boss hires her (despite the fact that she doesn't have a third way to improve the firm's prospects), much to the chagrin of Ms. Childless.
Rex's funeral is lovely, but Grandma Van de Kamp has managed to get her way with the orange-and-green tie. Bree grits her teeth, and takes her seat. But as the pallbearers approach the coffin, ready to close it and send him six feet under, she shrieks for everyone to stop. They do, and she frantically looks around the room. Aha. She orders that Tom give her his tie, and she takes it to her husband. In life and death, Bree has the final word.
So, now...what's up with those new neighbors? We know something's not right. What is it? First, there's the strange interchange after Bree reveals that her husband has died. Evidently, Matthew Appelwhite has lied about his dad being dead - but why? Where is dad? Is there something strange going on between he and his mom? Is she his mom?
The final scene doesn't answer any of these questions - well, not for sure - instead, it offers lots of new speculation. Betty (Alfre Woodard, who's doing double duty this season, also appearing in Inconceivable on NBC) makes a big deal about what a nice gesture it is that her son is putting a flower on this tray. And the foreshadowing almost immediately makes it clear that there is someone locked in the basement. Who could it be? I'm expecting it to be the not-really-dead dad. But the hand - it looks (a) white (not that dad couldn't be white, but still); (b) young; and, I think, (c) male. Could it be Zach (who's still MIA)? Is it, indeed, Matthew's dad? How long has he been there? Is that why they moved in so quickly? How long will it take for nosy Susan to figure out there's someone down there?
Judging by the previews of next week, not long at all.