This week's episode of Desperate Housewives features Beau Bridges as basically our steward in a series of flashbacks to the beginning of the series — and even before. Bridges plays the liveliest, most involved, understanding and talkative handyman that ever lived, Eli Scruggs, who touches each of the women's lives in one way or another. He helps Gaby get over herself and befriend her new suburban neighbors and he helps nudge Bree toward finally writing her cookbook. He is there for Susan for each of her breakups and he objectifies Edie when she needs it most. Oh, and he takes the infant Penny out of a sweltering car when Lynette forgets her there.
I can't decide if this whole Eli Scruggs episode is touching or just a little too goofy for my tastes. What did you think? To chat about the stories,
Susan — We learn nothing new about Susan here, since we all know that she falls in love, breaks up, falls in love, breaks up regularly. It is sweet that Eli was around for her outrage over Karl, her despair over Mike and her calm acceptance of being alone after Jackson and I'll admit that it tugged on the heartstrings a little to hear Eli say "You're damn heroic to me." She tells Eli that their relationship has been her most stable one with an adult male, and then Eli dies on her roof.
Bree — I love going back to other times in Bree's life because while she's always the same old Bree in some ways, she's also changed dramatically over the years and it's fun to see the various incarnations of her character. When he was still alive, Rex discouraged Bree from writing her cookbook (Rex, going back decades further than just this flashback: "Now, can you stop this foolishness and make me something to eat that isn't leftovers?") but on the day that she gave up on her dream and threw out her initial writings, Eli was there to pick through her trash, like a good handyman, and take home her notebook. He returns it to her on the night of Rex's funeral.
Gaby — I gotta say, Gaby made me laugh out loud in this episode! Her blithely unaware selfishness is just so outrageous. For some reason I thought the reference to International Coffee was priceless: "Goodbye doing vodka shots with Kate Moss and hello to sipping International Coffee with you girls." Ha! Eli apparently pulled some strings to get Gaby into the ladies' exclusive poker game, so he's dismayed to learn that Gaby behaved so rudely. So, with humility, Gaby goes over to Lynette's with a basket of muffins and presents her true self: A lonely housewife in need of friends. Only then do the other women warm to her.
Lynette — I also laughed at many of Lynette's lines in this episode. Turns out Lynette was annoyed to learn she was pregnant with another baby, and she doesn't care when Tom points out that this time it could be a girl. "Oh, please. You know it's gonna be a boy. It's always a boy. It's just gonna pee in my face and leave dead things in my shoes." She wants to go back to work so badly she struggles to land a job even as she's going into labor (Tom: "Congratulations! Baby's arm is sticking out, why don't you high five it?"). Later, as a frazzled mom with three boys, a baby girl and a new job, Lynette accidentally leaves Penny in the car on a hot day, and Eli gently brings her inside to Lynette. He doesn't judge her and reminds her that she's got a lot on her plate.
Edie — Edie was married to a gay man and feels completely undesirable. Eli assures her a few times that she is still attractive, so Edie has sex with him. This is the end of Edie's storyline with the handyman.
Mary Alice — When Eli first comes to town, Mary Alice notices that he's having a hard time of it and she gives him work putting together a broken vase. Just before she dies, Mary Alice gives Eli the vase and he later feels guilty that he had the chance to help her but didn't. He vows to help people from then on.
Was this a good episode, in your opinion? Did we learn anything new and interesting about the characters? Will you be relieved to get back to normal time with the next episode (in three weeks!)?
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