And we finally arrive at the final season of Desperate Housewives. After years of murders, cat fights, strange occurrences, disasters, heartache and a whole lot of drama, it all comes down to Season eight. And what a fantastic season it as we take one final stroll down Wisteria Lane and bid farewell to the wonderful ladies who have populated it. I’m bittersweet at finishing this show as I’ve enjoyed it so much. Be warned, major spoilers will be following here.
We open exactly where Season 7 left off, with Carlos(Ricardo Antonio Chavira) having accidentally killed Gabrielle’s abusive stepfather Alejandro who came back to torment her again. Gabrielle(Eva Longoria), Bree(Marcia Cross), Lynette(Felicity Huffman) and Susan(Teri Hatcher) then take part in the cover up of the crime and the four of them bury the body in the woods, promising to keep it secret with a pact. Yet as they attempt to regain their lives again after this act and we fast forward a month, each struggles with keeping a lid on their involvement. The deceased Mary Alice(Brenda Strong) narrates again the dilemmas and situations that the ladies go through as they try to keep everything under control while surrounded by their own tests of friendships and troubled lives. Susan, who is usually the most honest and clumsy one, feels a whole lot of guilt for her part in it and looks like the closest one to cracking because she can’t tell anyone what she’s done, although she slips and tells her suspicious husband Mike(James Denton). Bree regains her sense of control as the one who spearheads the cover up, though her relationship with Detective Chuck(Jonathan Cake) withers and he begins to harass her about her knowledge of the crime out of bitterness. Just as he thinks he’s busted them with his vindictive games and questioning, he is run over and killed, but the investigation into Alejandro’s disappearance continues. As tempers become frayed, the girls cease talking to each other as their part in the crime gets to them, most of all Bree who turns to drink and men to ease the pain and even considers taking her own life. Orson(Kyle MacLachlan) returns, but has a darker purpose as he knows exactly what Bree has done and won’t let go of what they once had. Lynette tries to stifle her guilt while going through a separation with Tom(Doug Savant). It’s obvious that the two of them want their marriage to last, but there is a whole load of issues in the way that need rectifying, as Lynette finally acknowledges her sometimes controlling and judgmental attitude. Gabrielle, who the tragedy is most linked to carries on like nothing has happened but can’t escape the ghosts of the past. Neither can Carlos who is ravaged by guilt and soon descends into excessive drinking. Thankfully Carlos faces his problems and while doing this has an epiphany about doing something he can be proud of in his life that doesn’t involve taking off others. This leads to Gabrielle becoming the breadwinner by putting her skills to work at a job. Meanwhile, a new neighbour Ben(Charles Mesure) moves in and catches the eye of sassy Renee(Vanessa Williams). Ben, although ruthless when he needs to be, has some money problems and though Mike tries to help he is drawn into deadly danger because of a loan shark. Renee eventually falls for Ben, even despite her cynical attitude towards men and it looks like nuptials are on the cards as she sees he is a decent man who has had to suffer to get were he is today. As the friendships between the ladies are tested for the last time, will the ladies be able to cover up what they’ve done in this thrilling last season?
Two words spring to mind when describing the final season Desperate Housewives: eventful and exquisite. You could be worried that with all the drama and stories going on that this season would end up being confusing, but in classic fashion, it manages to juggle the balls without letting them slip. And the way the dramas play out and their resolutions is very neatly done, tying the ribbon on an impressive closing season. The mystery at play is all the more intriguing because it involves the four main women of the show and it focuses on their actions stemming from it. The writers did a sterling job at injecting drama into this dark mystery by focusing on the straining of friendship but in the end showing how despite all their differences, the ladies need one another. That’s what has made the show so watchable over the seasons, the friendship and evolving relationships of the women. We have come to sympathize with them, laugh with them and cry with them. And there are welcome dashes of humour peppered in there, but this final season succeeds due to the drama and underlying mystery that binds them all. Sure there may be the odd sub par episode, but overall it’s a handsome collection of stories woven together to give the series a thrilling send off.
Season 8 is probably one of the most dramatic in the history of the show and it leads to some truly emotional and memorable moments. The main one has to be the shock death of Mike, by the loan shark he encountered. The construction of the scene is just so sad as Mike discusses the good times with Susan and then is shot by the passing loan shark on his front porch. As he dies, his life flashes before his eyes and we get all the beautiful moments he has shared with the love of his life. Then as Susan cradles her dead husband and lets out a painful cry as the love of her life slips away, you can’t help but cry. The following episode pays tribute to him as the ladies think about him, the impact he had and how his life has taught them all important lessons. It truly is a heartbreaking send off to a protective and strong character as Renee sings with sadness ‘Amazing Grace’ as his body is laid to rest. And then of course there is the last episode ever of this show, which wraps everything up including the outcome of the crime cover up. We have old characters returning with ultimatums, death, marriage, birth and reunion all coming together stunningly for the last time. This finale is an excellent love letter to the series that stresses how the women have remained so close and how Wisteria Lane is still a part of them, even after they all move away from it. That last poker game the ladies share is beautifully done and just makes you miss the stunning characters even more. And those final scenes of the ghosts of Wisteria Lane appearing as Susan departs was an excellent and poignant addition to the show, along with the sneaky hint that the Lane will still be a hot bed for scandal long after the curtain comes down. Specifically it’s wonderful to see the ghost of Mary Alice who has taken us on this journey with her keen observations, wit and intelligence.
The acting shown in this final season is of an exquisite standard, particularly the leading ladies. Teri Hatcher plays Susan beautifully, capturing that ebullient spirit, the devastating sadness when Mike is killed and the way she picks her life back up with the support of her friends. Hatcher just embodies her so naturally that it is hard not to be moved by her. Marcia Cross is on stellar form, conveying the layers to Bree from the controlling leader to messed-up confusion and back around again. Cross really owns the part and it’s hard to picture anyone else portraying Bree as well as her. The ever-dependable Felicity Huffman essays the role of Lynette with dignity, wry humour and loyalty as she reconnects with Tom and evaluates her attitude towards him. Huffman is a consummate professional and shades Lynette with an authentic touch. Lovely Eva Longoria exudes that familiar blend of self-assurance, diva behaviour and quiet emotional core that has made Gabrielle such a wonderful character to watch as the show has gone on. Vanessa Williams manages to bring warmth to the usually spiky Renee, whose facade of cattiness masks her insecurities. I liked how her relationship with Ben brought out these qualities to her and was happy when they married.
Charles Mesure brings just the right amount of rugged charm to self-made man Ben, who unexpectedly sweeps Renee off her feet. Ricardo Antonio Chavira once again impressed me as Carlos, who undergoes a change of personality after hitting a dark patch and emerges as a new man. Doug Savant is affable as ever as Tom and it’s wonderful when him and Lynette reunite as they are truly meant for one another. As the tragic Mike, James Denton is very moving and silently strong, which is why his fate is all the more shocking within the spectrum of things. Kyle MacLachlan and Jonathan Cake, although only appearing briefly, give some darkness and menace to this last season during the mystery investigation. And for the final time, the mellifluous and knowing voice of Brenda Strong guides us right up to the end of the tales as Mary Alice.
- Secrets That I Never Want to Know – A+
- Making the Connections – A
- Watch While I Revise the World – B
- School of Hard Knocks – C+
- The Art of Making Art – B+
- Witch’s Lament – A
- Always in Control – A
- Suspicion Song – C
- Putting It Together – B+
- What’s to Discuss, Old Friend – B+
- Who Can Say What’s True? – C-
- What’s the Good of Being Good – B
- Is This What You Call Love? – C+
- Get Out of My Life – B+
- She Needs Me – B+
- You Take for Granted – A
- Women and Death – A+
- Any Moment – B+
- With So Little to Be Sure Of – B
- Lost My Power – B+
- The People Will Hear – B+
- Give Me the Blame – A+
- Finishing the Hat – A+
So what more can I say? This final season of Desperate Housewives is finely crafted television that is hard to forget as because of the characters, writing and the excellent story lines that have graced the television.I for one am going to miss the wonderful ladies of the show and the dramas of their lives. Thanks to everyone who has read these reviews, I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I’ve enjoyed watching this show. All I can say is that I am happy I watched Desperate Housewives and loved it from beginning to end.