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TV Review: Desperate Housewives – “She Needs Me”

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ABC’s Desperate Housewives ramps up its final season as each of the central housewives deals with the latest developments in their lives. “She Needs Me,” the latest episode, doesn’t bring many earth shattering surprises, but it does showcase almost all of the major players. As the finale approaches, the final arcs will begin to fall into place, but that hasn’t really started much yet. “She Needs Me” is a solid, typical episode of the long-running drama, without being especially special.

This week, Susan (Teri Hatcher) and Lynette (Felicity Huffman) concern themselves with Porter’s (Charlie Carver) impending baby. Lynette refuses to offer daycare for her granddaughter, so Porter begins playing Susan, the baby’s other grandma. Lynette feels shut out of the process, and thus begins the rivalry over who controls the baby. The two friends fight, but in the end, they make up and resume their friendship, determining to work together, rather than against, one another.

Many such squabbles have crept up between the housewives over the years. This latest highlights the age of the characters. Instead of raising young children, as earlier in the series, Susan and Lynette are now dealing with a grandchild. If there is any better way to showcase their age and signal that the series is ready to come to an end, none comes to mind.

Hatcher and Huffman both deliver what they have become known for. Their antics verge on the goofy, with Lynette pulling a baby bed out of the house, and Susan chasing after her. But, as has always been the case on Desperate Housewives, real affection prevails at the end of the day, and they are able to make up.

Even better, Lynette and Susan come back together in “She Needs Me” because of the men in their lives. While the coordination is not shown, it is surely not a coincidence that Mike (James Denton) goes to talk sense into Lynette at the same time that Tom (Doug Savant) shows up for Susan. These guys love the women, and understand them better than anyone, including how much they cherish their female friendships. Tom and Mike step up, proving their roles as supportive men worthy of the girls.

It won’t be long now before Tom and Lynette reconcile. With the series’ swan song in sight, “She Needs Me” continues to lay the groundwork for a reunion. Tom realizes how he has taken Lynette for granted over the years, and takes steps to correct that behavior. Lynette sees the effort that he is putting in, and softens even further towards him. Tom may have a girlfriend for now, but the woman first in his heart still is, and will always be, Lynette. If they officially divorce, it will be a huge misstep for the show.

Gabi (Eva Longoria) is reminded once more of her own deep care for Carlos (Ricardo Chavira) in “She Needs Me.” Faced with mortality, and the thought of death separating them, Gabi stops taking Carlos for granted. This could easily be a temporary attitude, but the couple has survived the run of the show together, so cynicism may not be warranted in this instance. Sure, they were split for awhile, but ever since the remarriage, they have become the strongest union on the block. Gabi’s acknowledgement of her love for her husband humanizes her once more, and lets regular viewers marvel at just how far Longoria has brought the character over the past eight years.

Sad news has come to Wisteria Lane in “She Needs Me:” Karen (Kathryn Joosten) has terminal cancer. It’s the reason that she is pushing away Roy (Orson Bean). But with eight hours left for Desperate Housewives, there is no time to milk this final arc. Roy is clued in, and he is able to salvage his marriage. Karen is going to die, but Roy will be by her side as she does.

Karen has been an important figure in the show for a long time, and it is with great joy that she finds Roy late in Desperate Housewives‘s run. It’s understandable that she might want to spare him the pain of watching her waste away, especially because he has already stood by one wife through a similar situation. But it’s his choice to make, and Gabi does the right thing by telling Roy Karen’s secret. These two are a wonderful pairing, and as tragic as Karen’s death is going to be, at least she will go with the man she loves beside her, which makes things slightly easier to take.

It’s just such a shame that Karen’s cancer is terminal. She has been one of the best parts of the show for a very long time. Having already suffered through her death on The West Wing, asking fans to tune back in and cry as she goes all over again just isn’t fair. Joosten is a joy, and it’s a testament that she’s about to move people with her passing all over again. It may even get her another Emmy. But it’s not something to look forward to.

Bree (Marcia Cross) isn’t so lucky with her man. Despite Orson’s (Kyle MacLachlan) best efforts, she discovers that he is a stalker, and is the one who not only sent her the mysterious letters, but killed Chuck (Jonathan Cake), too. She dumps him promptly, ignoring his pleas that his actions are for her, and wishes to never see him again.

When did Orson become so ruined? He is once a wonderful character who seems perfect for Bree. When he reappears at her doorstep so near to the end of the show, it can be forgiven for one to think that he is bringing Bree a happy ending, as she is really the only major housewive without one in sight. Sure, Orson has made mistakes before, but nothing so bad as becoming the show’s final villain, as he is set up to be in “She Needs Me.” What is he mailing the police? Is he turning Bree in? It’s an ugly side of his personality that is unfortunate to see. Couldn’t his charcter have been spared this degradation and the story given to someone else?

Adding to the trouble is Donny the Loan Shark (Sal Landi), who is harassing Renee (Vanessa Williams). Mike catches Donny destroying her house, and the men tussle. Renee pays off Ben’s (Charles Mesure) debt. Why won’t Donny leave her alone? It doesn’t make a lot of sense, at least not yet. Other than perhaps he is simply a terrible guy who is going to take Renee for everything that he thinks that he can get.

Mike should just call the police. Yes, he doesn’t want Ben to get in trouble, but Mike and Renee have done nothing illegal. And what could Ben be found guilty for, really? Is he even facing a stint in jail? It’s time to let the authorities stop Donny before someone seriously gets hurt. Desperate Housewives fans can’t lose Mike or Renee. Not acceptable.

Only six episodes left before the two-hour series finale! Watch Desperate Housewives Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com