It may have taken them eight seasons, but the Desperate Housewives managed to sew everything up in a matter of hours, and in a tidy manner to boot.
Hour one is all Law and Order. Bree is still on trial for murdering Gabby’s stepfather, a crime Carlos committed in self defense against a man who used to abuse Gabby. Karen McCluskey is on her way out thanks to terminal lung cancer. Susan is secretly moving out of the neighborhood with her pregnant, unwed daughter. Lynette and Tom are split with almost no hope of reconciliation. Through a series of small miracles, the terminally ill McCluskey does her final, most important round of snooping and confesses to the murder of Gabby’s stepfather to save Carlos or Gabby from having to confess the truth. Everyone we care about is off the hook, including McCluskey because the prosecutor sees no point in filing charges against a woman who’s got mere days to live. McCluskey’s affliction also pushes Tom back towards Lynette when Roy instills in Tom the notion of expressing one’s feelings before time runs out. While celebrating Bree’s freedom, Lynette and Tom reconcile and all is well on Wisteria Lane.
Hour two is the epilogue to the tidy cleanup of the first. Now that Gabby and Carlos are free, she’s got a promotion at work and he’s driving her crazy as the bored househusband. Role reversal! Susan is still trying to hide the fact that she’s moving while also trying to teach her daughter how to not be a single mother forever. She’s carrying on the Susan Mayer curse…er, way of life. Bree’s lawyer is in the doghouse after making Gabby testify against Bree’s wishes, but he earns his way back in with a sweet gesture for Mrs. McCluskey. Renee is being her usual high maintenance self in preparation for her wedding. And Lynette is weighing the age old question of career versus family when Katherine returns with an offer for Lynette to run the U.S. branch of her food company.
It all comes together when Julie’s water breaks in the limo on the way to the wedding. She and Susan split off to come to terms with losing Mike and raising Julie’s baby together. Bree dances wistfully with Trip the lawyer; Gabby and Carlos find happiness in their new lifestyle and vow to steer clear of any more John the gardener situations; Renee weds happily; and Tom and Lynette decide that their love is more important than everything else. Of course, all of this is set to Mrs. McCluskey’s favorite song, “Wonderful, Wonderful” by Johnny Mathis, signalling her peaceful passage into the afterlife and the ladies and Julie’s baby embark on their new lives. It’s “The Circle of Life” for suburban housewives.
Of course, eight seasons is too much seal up with just one epilogue, so Desperate Housewives gives itself two. In the second “And then they all lived happily ever after” we witness the ladies’ last poker game before they all end up rich and married, except of course Susan who we can assume will be single forevermore. Lynette took that job in New York and moved her family into a penthouse overlooking Central Park. Gabby turned her online personal shopper into a Home Shopping Network goldmine. Bree moved to Kentucky with Trip and became a successful conservative politician. And Susan got to drive away from Wisteria Lane while every minor and major character who ever died on the series come back as ghosts to watch her drive away, including our series long narrator, Mary Alice.
Finally, we’re left with the promise that Wisteria Lane will continue to unleash sinister stories for generations to come as the woman who takes over Susan’s house hides a suspicious box in her garage. The finale delivers closure for longtime fans and promise all at once. And it certainly taught us one very important lesson: Never trust smiling faces in the suburbs. You never know when they’re covering some deep, dastardly secret. I’d start paying more attention to the Joneses next door if I were you.
Were you happy with the finale? What was missing for you?