Seven seasons in, ABC’s Desperate Housewives doesn’t need the big finale build up. In fact, despite the fact that the season finale is billed as a two hour special event, unlike in the past, both hours are separate episodes, with their own arcs and stories. In the first, “And Lots of Security…,” the Paul Young (Mark Moses) / Felicia Tillman (Harriet Sansom Harris) feud is resolved once and for all. In the second, “Come On Over for Dinner,” a new intrigue begins after Carlos (Ricardo Chavira) kills Gaby’s (Eva Longoria) sexually abusive stepfather, Alejandro (Tony Plana, Ugly Betty), and Bree (Marcia Cross), Susan (Teri Hatcher), and Lynette (Felicity Huffman) help him cover it up.
After seven seasons and various murders and secrets, it is fitting that Desperate Housewives moves into what will likely be its final season with all of the main women engaged in a cover up together. It is a justified murder, done in the name of protecting an innocent woman from her long-time tormentor. While police should have been called immediately, that would take away from a concept that has been ripe for quite awhile, and thus, it is time for it to happen. This will cement their deep friendship, as well as right things between Carlos and Bree, who have not been on good terms lately. It will be interesting to see if, one by one, all of the other neighbors eventually become complicit, or the secret will stay confined to five individuals. Both possibilities could be good.
There is little doubt none of the five will break, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be an investigation. Plenty of the neighbors have to have seen Alejandro sneaking around, and there will be evidence that leads back to Carlos and Gaby. The question is, is this a good enough mystery to sustain a full season of plot, or will it be one of those stories gone, then quickly forgotten?
It is not likely to be forgotten because of season seven’s themes of the past catching up to people. Paul returns to Wisteria Lane to settle an old score, getting even with the neighbors for their perceived disrespect of him. Felicia follows him to get revenge on Paul killing her sister. Paul tells Susan in the penultimate hour that the past always has a way of coming back, and he ends up confessing to the police for Martha’s murder, an event that happened all the way back in season one. It would be folly, just after such a story, to abandon the new arc now, without finding out what the consequences of the housewives’ deception are.
Hopefully, the lead investigator will be Detective Chuck Vance (Jonathan Cake), the recently introduced love interest for Bree. Poor Bree has gone through a couple of husbands and several lovers, but it would be only too appropriate that a happy ending will be out of reach for her because she covers up a murder from the man she is currently seeing. Chuck’s presence is what leads the ladies to hide the body in the first place, rather than discussing a more rational plan. Will Bree be able to cope with the stress such an omission can put on a serious relationship?
It seems that Tom (Doug Savant) and Lynette are finally over. The series’s only steady couple who have been together since before day one have found their recent arguments unwinnable, and the pair can barely stand to be in the same room together anymore, let alone spend any time alone. It’s a sad, sad end to an era as they separate, and something is profoundly unfair that not one couple on Desperate Housewives manages to go the distance. The only hope is that resolution can be found before divorce is finalized.
Tom and Lynette’s problems have been happening for years, but they’ve always managed to demonstrate good communication skills and work through whatever happens to them. This time, neither even really try, both choosing to be selfish. Lynette’s controlling manner has been a source of contention, but once Tom gets money, he demands more control. She is unwilling to give up even a little. Lynette has trouble with humility, but now, so does Tom, and two egos do not a good marriage make.
Thankfully, the other couples are as solid as ever. Susan and Mike (James Denton) finally have their home back, and have returned to Wisteria Lane. Susan is past her health issues, and Mike’s business seems to be recovering. Gaby and Carlos, too, have found financial and household stability. While neither couple has been married the entire series (Susan spent years wooing Mike, and both couples were divorced for a middle portion of the series), they have been together quite a while. Perhaps monogamy is not a total bust.
What remains to be seen is if Bree will find a romantic happy ending, as well as new neighbor Renee (Vanessa Williams), who, after a mere one season, has gotten closer to breaking into the main group than anyone else up til this point. Many have tried, some with varying degrees of success. Renee has befriended all four leads, without being too abrasive.
Renee works because she is an interesting, lively character, who balances bitchiness with heart. She also wants to be part of the group and have lady friends, since up until now, she has defined her life by her marriage. Here is a woman approaching middle age who is just learning who she is and what she wants out of life. Williams has delivered an excellent performance this year, and hopefully she will give an even better one next season.
Desperate Housewives has already been renewed, and will return next fall to ABC.