Mystery-less ‘Desperate Housewives’ is like ‘Wheel of Fortune’ without the wheel (and the fortune). There may be some lingering Monique-related drama (i.e., the awkward tension and shady agreement between Orson and Mike) seeping through Wisteria, but other than that there seems to be no new buried secrecies surfacing the street. Cherry used to be incredibly skilled at pacing the juicy ‘Desperate’ mysteries, coinciding crucial dramatically revealing moments with the undeniably comic. Post-sweeps Wisteria, though, is saturated with the colorless clichés of a Nora Ephron script. A lovesick boy runs through a car wash as an innocent child brings together two unlikely (and supposedly unsuspecting) future lovers and a wealthy man purposefully wrecks a beautiful woman’s car to get a date with her. Now I know Fairview is certainly not meant to be taken as a world even remotely similar to ours, but, come on, I don’t think it is meant to be taken as the un-ironic world of romantic comedy either.

Rex Van De Kamp’s rare post-mortem narrative appearance had the potential to be a refreshingly revealing change from the usual Mary-Alice warmth, but the attempt at a unifying theme of virility was an unsuccessful (and unfunny) one. Carlos, Mike, Ian, and Tom became the forerunners plot-wise, and it became quickly apparent why the men are normally supporting players: their characters are wholly uninteresting and barely amusing. Mike collected his pre-coma belongings at the hospital to discover the engraved engagement ring he was going to give to Susan, and when Ian mentioned the engraving upon receiving Mike’s reimbursement check for the law services, Mike’s face instantaneously turned into its usual brooding self. The ring Ian bought for Susan exceeded her bling expectations, but became an obvious symbol of their incompatibility when it fell off her oversized finger. Susan and Mike had a painfully meaningful run-in at the jeweler’s when she realized that Mike’s ring was a perfect fit. Ian’s likeability factor is going down with the quality of the show and it feels like Mike’s is going in the same, unpromising direction.

Danielle’s pregnant with Austin’s child and apparently Edie has a son who even she has trouble remembering. The frantic scenes featuring a valiant Andrew defending his slutty sister’s honor and her maniacal demand that Austin marry her were definitely highlights of a dreary episode, but even the Danielle craziness delivered less laughs than it usually does. Julie decided to forgive Austin after reading his letter and, upon finding out about his strange “family-related” departure (Orson and Bree agreed that Danielle would leave the country to have the child who would be given up for adoption and Austin would leave Fairview for an indeterminate amount of time), kissed him. Aunt Edie (who, for all we know, was completely left in the dark about Austin’s exit) left her son alone for the night to go on a date, but Carlos, disrupting his own date, took him in. The intention to romantically pair the two is pretty glaring. The only thing worth looking forward to in that is the likely Gaby-Edie feud that would result. Gaby’s Carlos-less life right now is just an unending cycle of desperate rich men hopelessly trying to woo her with everything that she doesn’t want. That’s why Gaby’s newest suitor, a man running for the position of Fairview Mayor, and his utterly uninteresting ploys at winning her affection are totally unworthy of recapping.

Restaurant-weary Lynette wanted no part in Tom’s dull anniversary plans, opting instead for her own stay-at-home sleep fest, and when Tom concocted some lavish whisking away in the country Lynette still wanted no part. Thanks to the miscommunication of the limo driver, the limo still picked up Lynette, who was left alone, in the middle of nowhere, with a coyote, before a hysterically apologetic Tom picked her up. The two reconciled in a roadside diner and Lynette came to the realization that she really does need romantic excitement in her relationship with Tom. And then their waitress ripped off her dress to reveal her true identity: Betty Applewhite. Just kidding. But that would’ve been a whole lot more thrilling than watching Lynette and Tom make up for the umpteenth time in the show’s history.

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