With the ending of Season 4 leaping five years into the future for the ladies, I was so intrigued of what would be found in Season 5 of Desperate Housewives. And it turned out amazingly with the jump giving the show a sense of rejuvenation and added dimension to once again make it addictive viewing, coupled with intriguing flashbacks and dark mystery. Warning, spoilers will be following.
With the five-year jump, a lot of things have changed for the ladies but there’s still drama in spades as observed by the deceased Mary Alice(Brenda Strong). Susan(Teri Hatcher) is now divorced from Mike(James Denton), though their young son M.J keeps them in constant contact with one another. We learn that they separated after a fatal car crash that killed a young mother and her child and the emotional fall out was too much to handle for both. Susan is struggling to adjust to life as a single mother and divorcee(while still obviously carrying feelings for Mike), and finds some excitement in the arms of hunky painter Jackson(Gale Harold). Meanwhile, Mike unexpectedly finds romance with Katherine(Dana Delany), much to people’s shock. Gabrielle(Eva Longoria), who was once the most stunning of the group is now very dowdy and tired as a mother of two troublesome children. While also contending with Carlos(Ricardo Antonio Chavira) being blind, she feels that her status as a party goer is waning and that her days of being pretty are behind her. Yet when it is revealed that Carlos may get his sight back, she worries that with her current appearance Carlos won’t love her. Thankfully, once Carlos regains his vision, he doesn’t care how Gabrielle looks and loves her more than ever. Bree(Marcia Cross) is now a career woman and chef, whose great fortune drives a wedge between her and her friends, as well as Orson(Kyle MacLachlan) who feels emasculated at not being the breadwinner. And while Orson feels pushed out after just getting back with Bree following his time in prison, it takes her a while to notice how her career has taken over her life and made her selfish and inconsiderate. But trouble awaits as Orson has developed a stealing habit to give him a sense of control. Lynette(Felicity Huffman) is having to deal with her husband Tom’s(Doug Savant) midlife crisis, the twins as troublesome rebellious teenagers and her work at the pizza place slowly beginning to go under. And trashy Edie(Nicollette Sheridan) moves back to Wisteria Lane with a new husband Dave Williams(Neal McDonough), who provides us with this season’s dark mystery. A charming and smooth guy, he slowly arouses suspicions with his underhand acts and manipulation as he is revealed to be deeply unstable and out for revenge on someone living on Wisteria Lane. As drama escalates and dark deeds are committed, five years in the future is just as intriguing and mysterious for all of the characters in this fabulous fifth season.
As I previously mentioned, the five-year jump adds that something extra to this season as it opens up many avenues. The most intriguing is the structure of many episodes, that tease us with the outcome of something and then slowly show us what lead to it. Having the jump could have been risky for Desperate Housewives, but it pays off with greatness and makes the show just as entertaining and riveting as before with great development of characters and story lines. Once again, the mystery angle is very strong this season with the unstable Dave taking everyone in with his charm but secretly plotting revenge and violence. It is very creepy to watch him destroy the lives of those around him, whether it be by manipulating the neighbours or committing arson and putting the blame on Lynette’s son Porter. His increasingly psychopathic ways lead to one of the most memorable moments of the show, the death of Edie. To say it is a shock when Edie dies would be a major understatement, but she is given a memorable send off. In the scene, Edie has uncovered Dave’s sinister intentions and is nearly strangled by him. She escapes and jumps in her car, but her journey is short-lived as she swerves to avoid a thieving Orson and hits an electric pole. When she attempts to move, she receives an electric shock which ultimately kills her. As the neighbours come out to see the commotion, we get Edie narrating her last moments. And how can we disagree with her assessment that she lived as she died, at the centre of attention. Edie will be missed in Desperate Housewives but she will still be remembered for a long time. As tribute to her, the next episode features Edie on narration duties and her friends remembering the times when she was there for them, despite their difficulties.
The comedy and drama of Desperate Housewives are on point once more, with both acting in cohesion with the other. The main drama is that of Lynette protecting her son from possibly going to jail or ending up dead because of his affair with a married woman. In this, we see Lynette as a powerful maternal force willing to do anything to protect her family. The season also has its heartwarming moments, most notably when the local handyman Eli Scruggs(played perfectly by Beau Bridges) dies and the women think back on how he touched all of them with his kindness and support over the years. That episode is one of the standout ones from this very well done season that is filled with excellent episodes of humour, drama and pathos. On the comedy front, Gabrielle is the clear winner with some hysterical lines and situations that she is put in. Watching her as she sacrifices things to help Carlos(such as selling some prized possessions and then having to get them back) and having to deal with petulant children in her own outrageous ways is both funny and at times quite moving. Gabrielle is always the most flamboyant character and every time you see her she is a marvel, though she is more down to earth nowadays. We also have the humour of M.J, Susan and Mike’s son, playing tricks on Katherine, when he sees that his father is dating her and then coming around to like Katherine, much to the chagrin of Susan. There is something quite endearing about it as you can see that he just wants his parents back together again and views Katherine as something stopping that and then the turn around of liking Katherine which infuriates his mother. And with these two stories, there is an overriding theme of motherhood throughout this season that is well acted and written.
The fantastic cast once more adds their talents and abilities to the characters with style, specifically the central ladies. The wonderful Felicity Huffman brings her A game to Lynette once more, showing her as a fierce form of maternal power and decision. Huffman’s ever-reliable ability to bring depth and stunning conviction to the character is fully on display as she tries to protect her family, no matter what the cost is. Similarly, Teri Hatcher provides Susan with both dramatic and comedic chops as she attempts to give her young son everything he deserves, while having to navigate her way through her complex love life. Susan just wants to be a good mother but at times feels like she pales in comparison with others, and Hatcher sells this excellently, particularly when Katherine comes on the scene and M.J takes a liking to her. Speaking of Katherine, it’s nice to see a bit more warmth to her character this season, embodied greatly by the sterling work of Dana Delany. Yes Katherine can still be catty and you would like to keep her at arm’s length, but there’s another softer side to her that is revealed too. Her scenes with Susan are great as they clash over Mike and M.J, for a while friendships are set aside and the claws come out in hilarious fashion. Eva Longoria is spot on with her comedic timing and ability to show there is humility to Gabrielle, and that love is the most important thing for her even though money is another. Now that Gabrielle has a family, she is more mellow and nicer, but you still wouldn’t cross her because of her fiery temper. It may take her a while to regain her old looks, but at the end of the day it becomes unimportant to her because of her family holds more value than glamour. Marcia Cross cleverly reveals the frustration and obliviousness to Bree, now that she has become so famous and renowned. Bree is always someone who wants to be in control and Marcia Cross shows this excellently as well as the fact that Bree soon realises that her fame has come at some very high prices. And with Nicollette Sheridan leaving the show, she takes a bow in style exhibiting the bitchy persona of Edie and unmasking the kindness and fear that no one else glimpses. Farewell Edie Britt, as Susan says “She was one of a kind”.
The other members of the cast fare equally as well as the main leads. As the centre of Season 5’s mystery, Neal McDonough is fantastic. Skillfully presenting the outward niceness of Dave and then little by little through various tics, revealing the damaged mind that lurks within and is planning revenge, McDonough makes this season very tense. Kyle MacLachlan gets us to feel sympathy for Orson as he leaves like nobody because of his wife’s success. He also manages to be very sneaky and manipulative, especially when Orson begins to steal as a coping mechanism and as something he can control and not Bree as a way to punish her. Ricardo Antonio Chavira gets some really moving moments as Carlos, who professes that he loves Gabrielle no matter what and is thankful that he now has his sight back again. Doug Savant portrays Tom as slowly slipping as pressure gets to much and he has to dust himself down and sell the business. James Denton makes another impression as Mike, who is attempting to move on with his life after Susan but finding it impossible to not see her because of the fact they live so close and they have a son. He isn’t bad, but Gale Harold’s character of Jackson doesn’t really serve much of a function here. Brenda Strong with her lovely and expressive voice are once more a fixture that adds dimension to the show as she watches from her unique vantage point over the friends she had while she was alive.
- You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow – A
- We’re So Happy You’re So Happy – B+
- Kids Ain’t Like Everybody Else – A
- Back in Business – B+
- Mirror, Mirror – A+
- There’s Always a Woman – C+
- What More Do I Need? – B
- City on Fire – A
- Me and My Town – B
- A Vision’s Just a Vision – B+
- Home Is the Place – B
- Connect! Connect! – B –
- The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened – A+
- Mama Spent Money When She Had None – B
- In a World Where the Kings Are Employers – D
- Crime Doesn’t Pay – C
- The Story of Lucy and Jessie – B
- A Spark. To Pierce the Dark – A
- Look Into Their Eyes and You See What They Know – A+
- Rose’s Turn – B-
- Bargaining – C+
- Marry Me a Little – B+
- Everybody Says Don’t – B
- If It’s Only In Your Head – B+
With rejuvenated energy and verve, laced with darkness and more than a couple of shocks, Season 5 of Desperate Housewives is an enjoyable and compelling season.