Aside from all those banal bed-related issues and the exasperatingly dull romance games, ‘Desperate Housewives’ is gradually getting back its steam (emphasis on the gradually). The comedic timing is still quite awry and the situations explicitly recycled, but that sly little shot of Mrs. McCluskey’s deceased husband in her freezer was a promising bout of mystery. Cherry works best with an ironically deceptive mystery (preferably a murder one) and this mystery has success written all over it.

The implausibility of Edie and Carlos’s sub-par sex wasn’t nearly as annoying as Gaby’s unfunny attempt to get some deserved post-sex attention from Victor. Edie and Carlos went on to have mind-blowingly satisfying sex and Gaby manipulated her way into getting attention from Victor with few, if any, typically memorable DH one-liners (the bit with Travis’ questioning Edie about what it means to be “bad in bed” was sufficiently hilarious). It seems that Cherry has abandoned those classic DH one-liners (characteristically delivered by Gaby or Susan) for some utterly ridiculous (and utterly un-amusing) slapstick situations.

Susan barely heeded a deer on the road, subsequently submerging her car into a lake, finding out the hard way that Ian cannot swim. The mixture of Ian’s un-heroic qualities (which would later resurface in bed) with Mike’s convenient proximity meant a valiant rescue on his part and subtle humiliation on Ian’s part. Susan, who agreed to move to London with Ian (who strategically posed the question with Mike in mind) and Julie, changed her decision in a matter of seconds after Ian mentioned his Delfino worries. Susan immediately delivered her gratitude basket to Mike, who awkwardly went in for the kiss. Susan ran back to Ian, but her insincerity to Ian, and to herself, was soapily palpable. The DH writers ought to calm down with the emotional cues for the viewers – they’re starting to cross the line between sardonic campiness and salacious trashiness.

Andrew is doing a commendable job on representing his depressingly absent clan, (“I’m doing the beer delivery guy” (!)) though Bree-less DH is, by definition, Bree-less. (I do resent Cherry’s blatant attempt to temporarily replace Bree with Edie.) Lynette’s rare and beautiful conversations with Andrew are the only good to come out of the Scavo pizzeria (I only hope that the newly hired Assistant Manager and the obvious triangular – in the romantic sense, that is – potential he brings will be quickly written out of the show.) Tom’s bed-ridden state has predictably brought some new, yet not-so-new, issues to the perpetually plagued marriage, but it was his unabashed invective to Mrs. McCluskey, who soon after quit, that provided for some weighty drama. Mrs. McCluskey got the apology she expected, but her endearing kookiness turned to Betty Applewhite-forebodingness as the camera panned to her dead husband’s body decorated with icicles in the freezer. Now there’s always been a suspiciousness to the death of McCluskey’s husband (she has always been obsessed with goading Lynette to really put Tom in his place), but never have her maniacal ways been anything but sympathy inducing. McCluskey, though, is a lot like ‘Desperate Housewives’ itself – they’ve both been around the block more than a few times, and they enjoy taking long naps, but they occasionally wake up. And when they do, you do with them.

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