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October 13, 2015

Desperate Housewives: The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Jan 19th 2009 3:01PM
Desperate Housewives
(S05E13) TV shows always try to offer us big episodes when they hit milestones such as their 100th episode. Some totally miss the mark while others offer us an amazing episode that ends up being one of the best in the series. Desperate Housewives' cast and crew can give themselves a pat on the back because they are of the latter group.

"The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened" may not have pushed forward the current storylines, but it brought us down memory lane while offering tidbits we didn't know about the main housewives. It also allowed us to see a few old faces such as Rex, Mrs Gruber, Yao Lin and Mary Alice.

The story was simple, Wisteria Lane's handyman, Eli, had a heart attack while fixing Susan's roof. This was set to be his last job before retiring in Waikiki. During the episode, the housewives remember how Eli affected their lives.
  • We see Gaby's first step as a Wisteria Lane resident. She is a spoiled brat who loves making an entrance. Thanks to Eli telling her a few things he overheard, Gaby apologizes to the other housewives and explains how her life is. Without Eli, maybe Gaby would still be a lonely model. Loved the "Now you know why models don't usually talk" comment from Gaby.
  • Bree's flashback features Rex. Back then, she always wanted to write a cookbook. Rex does not think it's a good idea so Bree complies. However, after Rex dies, Eli tells Bree he saved a few of her recipes and tried some. He tells her that writing a book might be good. She says she is not ready to do so. If it weren't for Eli putting the idea of the book back in her mind, maybe Bree would have never done so.
  • I didn't recall Edie being married before, so her flashback offered me that piece of information. She was married for two years to a man who turned out to be gay. Eli was there to comfort her. Of course, since Edie's libido was out of control, Eli tested first-hand the mirror he installed on Edie's bedroom ceiling!
  • Thanks to Eli, Lynette learned about caring for her children. He gave Lynette a chance after finding baby Penny alone outside under the sun and reminded her that she has a lot to handle without the job.
  • As for Susan, he was a needed shoulder when Susan decided to throw Karl out of the house and when she and Mike decided to divorce.
  • My favorite flashback was that of Mary Alice because it was linked to the very first scene of the series: when Mary Alice kills herself. Eli was the last person who saw Mary Alice alive.
The writing was effective and every flashback made sense. As a fan of the series since the unaired version of the pilot, I must say I was satisfied by this 100th episode. As a fan of Katherine, I'm a little disappointed they didn't find a way to include her in the flashbacks. Couldn't she have been in the first flashback where Eli meets Mary Alice? After all, if Katherine knew Susan, she must have known Mary Alice, no? Also, Eli recently died so maybe he did some work on Katherine's house when she moved back to Wisteria Lane? Then again, the episode is only about 40 minutes long in total, so not everyone can get their flashback moment.

What did you think of this 100th episode? Do you think, as I do, that it's one of the best the series offered us so far? Let your voice be heard in comments below.

Housewives' Show & Cast Pics

    Marcia Cross sighting on September 28, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

    Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.com

    Marcia Cross sighting on September 28, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

    Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.com

    Marcia Cross sighting on September 28, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

    Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.com

    Marcia Cross sighting on September 28, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

    Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.com

    Marcia Cross sighting on September 28, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

    Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.com

    Marcia Cross sighting on September 28, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

    Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.com

    Marcia Cross sighting on September 28, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

    Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.com

    Tony Parker and Eva Longoria Parker arrive at the EA Sports Presents NBA Live 09 VIP Launch Party at Beso on September 26, 2008 in Hollywood, California.

    Jesse Grant/WireImage.com

    Tony Parker and Eva Longoria Parker arrive at the EA Sports Presents NBA Live 09 VIP Launch Party at Beso on September 26, 2008 in Hollywood, California.

    Jesse Grant/WireImage.com

    Actress Eva Longoria arrives at the EA Sports Presents NBA Live 09 VIP Launch Party at Beso on September 26, 2008 in Hollywood, California.

    Jesse Grant/WireImage.com

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I started watching in the third season, and never really got around to watching the first two. Therefore, I completely missed the storyline about Mary Alice. It was very interesting and insightful to see the beginnings of DH. And yes, I agree. This was by far the best episode as of yet. I just with there were more of it. Surprisingly, the lack of Katherine and Mike didn't make me feel like anything was missing, though I did notice they weren't there. It just didn't feel like they were needed for some reason.

Just my two cents (from the point of view of a fourteen year old boy who, along with his parents, love this show)

January 30 2009 at 3:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with Omegapart!cle. This episode was a waste of time and way too sappy. Plus, Eli's bushy eyebrows were totally distracting!

January 20 2009 at 1:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Desperate Housewives is such a gem of a TV show, and its so underrated.

There simply isn't another TV show around which brings out the range of emotions like DH does.

Infact, i think i spent the entire last 15 minutes of the episode in tears (though, recent events in my life are probably the root cause!)

It's not the first time i've got emotional over DH though, i can't remember what exactly but there was an episode last season, i believe which did the same.

This is the perfect standalone episode to encourage your friends to see, those who have heard all the bad press about the show and just let them see what true spark the show has.

In my strange, somewhat camp, british opinion; it has to be the best episode, ever.

January 19 2009 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I totally enjoyed this show. I agree that there are some headache-inducing timeline nitpicks, but also agree that it was meant to commemorate the core wives, with is worthy of a 100th episode.

I'm delighted with what seems to be renewed energy from the writers this season. Loved seeing Rex again, I love Stephen Culp, and his voice is just buttah. Beau Bridges was very sweet and real as Eli.

Three weeks seems a long time to wait for new ep. Kudos to Cherry & Co. for a job well done!

January 19 2009 at 7:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've read the complaint that Eli's promise to himself to help people didn't jib with his helping people before MA died, has anyone considered the possibility that he was just being a nice guy before and wasn't trying to be a messiah?

January 19 2009 at 7:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Katherine has 'red shirt' written all over her. The character won't live to see next season.

This was the BEST episode EVER!!!

January 19 2009 at 6:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

Am I the only one that didn't like this episode? I liked seeing Mary Alice and Rex again, but that's about it. It just seemed way too hackneyed that this guy who we have never seen just happened to be present at the pivotal moment in all these people's lives. And the saccharin-laced sentimentality was suffocating me.

Personally, I think they went this route with the 100th episode because there really isn't much more of this season's storyline left to tell. Think about it. We pretty much already know how this season's mystery is going to end, and we have already known for weeks. Maybe I am just not that observant, but DH usually surprises me with the ending of their mysteries right at the end of the season. But there is practically no mystery, other than possibly whether or not Dave will succeed. Every thing else is just filler at this point. Especially this episode.

January 19 2009 at 5:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Student of The Game

Two things - first of all it's Mrs. Huber, not Gruber.

More importantly, while I found the episode's sentimentality appealing and the writing, as you put it, "effective," Cherry and Co. did make a sloppy mistake. The end revealed that Eli made his commitment to being a helpful person the day Mary Alice died, but most of his helping came well before that day. Obviously the Gaby moving in situation occurred well before then, as did the Van De Kamp brunch (Lynette was pregnant with Penny). Same goes for Penny being a newborn, and Susan's divorce from Karl. So while it was a nice sentiment, they totally dropped the ball on the timeline.

January 19 2009 at 5:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Student of The Game's comment

I totally noticed that and ruined it for my girlfriend. Even when he kept asking Mary-Alice "Are you ok?" I kept wondering how he gives everyone his 2-cents but not in this case? I suppose Mary-Alice's case was much more severe. She did tell him to go. He never actively defied any f the woman while helping them. I guess the Mary-Alice suicide was an awakening for him that sometimes you have to press on beyond your comfort zone to help another.

Either way, very well done episode.

January 20 2009 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There was heated debate on our sofa last night. I LOVED this episode, and my husband just wanted to get back to the good stuff we left off from last week. He's very pro-Dave Williams and Bree the mother-in-law storylines.
"Lost" did a similar concept to this a few seasons back with inserting two new actors into the pre-existing story in an episode about a jewel heist that we will hate and be confused by forever. Funny how I hate, hate, hated that episode, but this show used the idea to an advantage. While I didn't gain any particular new insight or big surprises with the Wisteria wives through this episode, it just plain worked because I care about their histories. The stories served to reinforce who these women are, and how far they've come in the last 100 episodes, with one exception I'll get to in a second.
And even my sullen hubby conceded the Mary Alice story (GRUBER LIVES!) was extraordinary. I want Marc Cherry to shock as all next season and have it take place fifteen years in the past, just so I can have Mary Alice scenes every week.
Some of my nit-picky things, just for fun:
*The scene where Karl's left Susan: Wasn't that set in her rebuilt house, and not her original pre-fire house? I'd have to check back to pictures from Season One. Surely they wouldn't miss such a big detail, so I could be wrong.
*Bree and Gabby were so transformed by the flashback makeovers. I think it's the first time I've really noticed just how much those characters' looks have changed.
*Susan's time travel was less successful for me. Part of it was physical: Her face is quite different from how it looked when the series began. She's lost weight, and she's all sharp angles now in that odd Madonna kind of way. Her features don't have the same softness they once did. The other part may have been performance, or may be the central weakness of the character: Seeing the cast play the characters as they did five years ago (ten, in the world of the show) really illuminated the journey we've watched these women take. And Susan seemed exactly the same to me. I constantly forget that she has a marketable skill (because she never, EVER works), or that she's raising a six year-old. Remember how impressed everyone was by Bree becoming a published author? Well guess who else is? Susan Meyer. Apparently she's built a whole career on it. But nobody, not even Susan, thought to mention that. Her character arc has been the least profound on the show, and tonight highlighted that. It'd be neat if the writers challenged themselves: Go an entire season without ever doing a story on Susan's love life. Give her a disease. If Dave kills Catherine or Mike, have Susan become a vigilante. Or do something with her two kids and writing career. I don't care, just ANYTHING. Hatcher is floundering after one hundred episodes with variations on a single goal.
*How the hell did they make Carlos buff and trim again? His scenes looked like they were outtakes from Season One. We all know Longoria's been wearing padding this season, has he been as well?
*I don't remember Rex being that much of a jerk. Is it just me, or did his character feel different than when he was on the show?
*Sweet lord, Mary Alice is a tall woman.
*Why does Penny do her fraction homework in the front yard, by moonlight? I'm no optometrist, but that seems bad for your eyes.
*Here's another writer challenge: Having Penny do anything other than run on, complain about something, and then leave. So far, it's all the child has done since she started speaking.
*The wigs in the flashbacks were all fantastic, which got me to thinking: Did they fire the stylist who did Lynette's wig in the first four episodes of this season and presumably Dixie Carter's five-dollar Gloria wig a while back? Because that person really needs a new line of work. For reals.
*Catherine got shafted in this episode. Not even one line, not even standing with the gals at the casket? Captain Control Freak didn't wanna help cater the wake? Of course, maybe she was supporting Mike. Given the number of plumbing-related jobs Eli did, they must have been bitter rivals.
*Speaking of which, Eli AND Mike? If you can fix a drain on Wisteria Lane, Edie will totally do you.

January 19 2009 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Topher's comment

Many things wrong with your rather long comment:

- Edie's house was burned down, not Susan's. maybe you are confused because Susan was the one who burned Edie's house down.

- Penny wasn't doing her homework in the moonlight. Lynette was over Gaby's house, so Penny walks across the street to remind her mother that she need help with her homework. at the end of the flashback, Lynette walks Penny back across the street to their house.

- Rex was a bit of an asshole to Bree. he was having an affair, remember?

- there is only so much they can do with makeup to cover the fact that the characters have changed, making it hard to cover during a flashback. this is trivial.

- Katherine has become a much more docile person since taking a back seat in the company AND falling in love with Mike.

I will agree with you on one point though. please, Lord, give something else for Susan to do. I think this is maybe the storyline they are setting up though, because Susan made the statement that she is going to be alone for a while. she stated this at the end of the last episode, but it was emphasized again in this one.

January 20 2009 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wrong on Susan's house, Sarah. Edie burned it down in retaliation, remember? Susan tried to get her to confess while she was wearing a wire. The catfight led to Edie getting stung by all those wasps, or bees. Something.

January 20 2009 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Katherine couldn't have been there when Eli met Mary Alice because that scene occurred two years before MA killed herself and Katherine moved away year prior (about 5-6 years, if I have my math correct). And I think they just didn't have the time, each housewife got a segment and unfortunately Kat isn't an original so she lost it. I love her too but I wouldn't have sacrificed any scene for more of her.

Anyway, phenomenal hour. Truly one of the best of the series. It was a gift card to the fans.

January 19 2009 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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January 20 2009 at 10:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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