In a flashback, we see Mary-Alice picking up the note and deciding against calling her friends in favour of, um, killing herself. It is nice to see Mary-Alice again, and it's great that the show is revisiting its history for the final season, something we should be getting more of. Anyway, in the present Bree is understandably perturbed by the letter, but considering her boyfriend's a detective and all, she pretends it's nothing.
In fact, the whole "dating a detective after becoming an accessory to murder" isn't working out too well for poor Bree. She's so edgy that Chuck's starting to become suspicious, although luckily for her he's just a bit worried about their romance.
With the note still on her mind, Bree heads to the prison to see Paul, who's initially not too keen to help out. He admits the message is weird, but points out that Mary-Alice had something to hide whereas Bree didn't. Right? Anyway, he tries to figure out who knew about the original note and advises Bree to talk to the other Housewives... so she doesn't meet the same fate as Mary-Alice.
Bree ends up confiding in Gaby, much to Gaby's dismay (she starts drinking more, which must be quite a feat for her). They agree not to tell any of the others at the moment, but Gaby knows one thing Bree should do - get rid of Chuck. Bree admits that he makes her feel safe, but Gaby is adamant - the cop can't be hanging around. Sure, it's kind of cold from Gaby, but she's got a point, right?
Bree heads over to her house where Chuck is naked but for a towel (which must make the whole "breaking up" thing a little harder). He goes for a shower, though he's a bit concerned about Bree's sad face. Anyway, while he's washing the phone rings - it's Paul! He reveals to Bree that he did tell the police about the note when he confessed to the murder, but he can't remember the policeman's name, except that it was short like "Vince" or something. Hell, could it be "Vance"? Sure is! What a coincidence.
Naturally, this freaks Bree out like nobody's business - what could Chuck be up to? Could he know? - but when he comes out and asks her straight out if she's planning to break up with him she denies it. And distracts him with shower sex, of course. If she keeps that agonised face on, though, it won't be long before he figures things out.
Elsewhere, Gaby's desperate to have sex with Carlos again after a 38-day dry spell (disaster!) and goes down the champagne, rose petal, lingerie route. The only problem is that Carlos is finding it, um, difficult to get in the mood.
Gaby, of course, takes the problem straight to the other Housewives at their poker game and asks for sex tips. Once they've got over the shock, the women try to help out, but Gaby's pretty much done everything they suggested before. Eventually, Lynette reveals that one of the mums at school hired a stripper to teach her some tricks. Gaby agrees to give it a go. I have to admit, it is lovely seeing the Housewives together, and it's a shame we don't get more scenes of the foursome just hanging out these days.
Gaby hires a pole dancing stripper called Dakota to help her out, beginning with a bit of pole dancing. Gaby's naturally convinced she'll be great at it, so it comes as a bit of a shock to her when she hangs upside down from the pole... and then falls on her head. Ouch. She's devastated to learn Dakota will teach her all her moves in six months, but of course this is Gaby and she's got a plan, which begins with offering Dakota triple her pay at the worryingly titled "Double Ds" to hang about that evening.
When Carlos gets home, she blindfolds him and leads him into the lounge, where Dakota starts giving him a lapdance. He's naturally a bit disconcerted when he discovers it's not Gaby (and it probably doesn't help when Dakota, trying to reassure him, says she's not from the branch of Double Ds that had that hepatitis scare - yikes).
Carlos is really rather uncomfortable indeed, and even Dakota suggesting some girl-on-girl action doesn't appease him. It's even worse when she lets slip that she knows about his little performance problem. After she's made a speedy exit, Gaby explains that their sex life has always worked and she just wanted everything to go back to normal. But Carlos yells that "what he did" will always be with him, whatever he's doing, and there's nothing Gaby can do.
I have to say, at this point I would be completely satisfied if Desperate Housewives was all about Gaby. Her terrified face in that dramatic denouement with Carlos was great, and proof that she can do the serious side of things. But really, her comedic chops are great and the one-liners she spat throughout this episode made it worth watching.
Anyway, Carlos isn't the only one struggling with his guilt. Susan's still feeling incredibly edgy, and when a supermarket security guard accuses her of stealing soda - which she did accidentally - she relishes the chance to be punished. In fact, she puts on handcuffs herself and asks to be made an example of.
The other Housewives are naturally a trifle concerned when they hear about Susan's escapades and warn her not to attract attention (as Gaby says, there's a "bucket of crazy where [her] head used to be"). That doesn't stop Susan, though, who tries to get punished by putting food waste in the recycling bin, smoking by the non-smoking sign, and eating a ridiculous amount of free samples. Only problem is, no-one feels like telling her off.
Eventually, she ends up parking in a fire zone but even the cop who comes over to see her doesn't feel like punishing her - he's a new father and he's feeling all glowy. Susan begs him to arrest her, even resorting to tearing up the photo of his new daughter. Finally, he cuffs her when she pushes over his motorcycle and she smiles.
This whole storyline was really quite weird - I'm not saying it's not a side effect of guilt, but it was all bizarre. On the other hand, it led to a really great Carlos-Susan scene. Carlos comes to pick her up from the police station and they share that they are both struggling with their guilt. Agreeing that it's nice to be able to talk about this, when they can't talk to anyone else, the pair decide to go and get coffee. We've never really seen them together much before, but if this is leading up to more scenes where they share their guilt, this could be really touching, at least on the strength of this fleeting moment.
It's not all doom and gloom, though - Ben hires Mike to fix his sink (seriously, how come every single house in Wisteria Lane needs plumbing work as soon as it's sold?) Anyway, impressed with his work, Ben reveals that he's a real estate developer and he would like Mike to work for him.
Outside, Renee accosts Mike and asks him to dish the dirt on Ben so that she has a better chance of getting together with him (oh dear). After a good deal of persuading, Mike reveals that he saw a plaque on Ben's wall congratulating him for his work with the elderly. Success!
Renee heads over to Karen's to drop off a "home cooked meal", which is basically $50 in a dish covered with a tea towel. Oh, and she's shouting ridiculously loudly so that Ben will hear everything (real subtle, Renee). Karen isn't feeling particularly inclined towards helping Renee considering that she doesn't like her and all, but the promise of an extra $50 does it.
And it works! Ben heads over to Renee's house to apologise for misjudging her - and ask her out that night. Unfortunately for Renee, it turns out that it's not so much a date at a fancy restaurant, as serving old people in a canteen. Renee doesn't exactly look hot in a plastic hat, it has to be said. Eventually, one of the customers suggests that Ben has been messing with Renee and she storms out.
Ben follows her (for some reason) and admits that he was mocking her, but she did kind of deserve it. She confesses that doing charity work makes her "nauseous", but surprisingly for her, Ben agrees. He asks her why it makes her so uncomfortable and Renee eventually admits that when she was younger she had to rely on charity a lot of the time. Ben says that he went through the same thing - it's actually genuinely quite sweet to see them sharing, after a bit of a silly plot leading up to it.
But naturally it seems that Ben's hiding something! He comes over to see Mike and reveals that he can't get him bonded because of the whole ex-con thing. Mike says he's not that guy anymore, but Ben asks why he wouldn't want to be the man who protected his girlfriend. It's all getting a bit uncomfortable - Mike says life is complex, but Ben thinks it's "brutally simple" and says everything except getting what you want and protecting who you love is "weakness". In fairness to Mike, he looks like he's terrified. Still, doesn't look like he'll be turning down that job any time soon. This won't end well...
Meanwhile, Lynette and Tom are still struggling with the breakdown of their marriage. Tom only gets the kids for a short period at a time, which means they get to enjoy his fancy hotel, hamburgers, french fries and slushees whenever they want (though Tom apparently takes great pride in turning down a spider monkey request).
Lynette doesn't really want to be the bad guy so she asks Tom to learn to say "no" more. But he's feeling a bit angry with her still so he announces that he no longer has to stand and listen to this and storms out. You can sense the pain - you almost cringe to watch this. It's not surprising to hear that stars Felicity Huffman and Doug Savant have begun arguing on set - the amount of emotion they've put into this is clear to see.
Later, Parker asks if he can go to a dodgy sounding house party at his friend's. Naturally, Lynette's not too keen but when she spots Tom coming up the drive she decides not to say no. Instead, she tells Parker to ask his dad. This puts Tom in a rather uncomfortable position and as it turns all twisty linguistically it turns out that both Tom and Lynette are refusing to say no. Parker understandably takes this as a yes and heads off to the party.
It gets later and later and Lynette gets more and more worried - it doesn't help that Parker's lost his phone and when she calls it she gets a hopeful teenage boy hoping for a booty call. She drives straight over to the party but the acting bouncers refuse to let her in because she's a "nark". What the hell is a nark?
To prove she's not a nark, Lynette decides it would be a good idea to do a keg stand - and of course, that's just when Tom shows up. Yes, it's predictable, but we're used to that by now. Anyway, it turns out Parker called Tom because he drank way too much and he's in the car all covered in sick (lovely). Tom thinks it's all Lynette's fault because she let him come, while Lynette argues that she was giving Tom a chance to stand up and be a father.
The pair take Parker home and put him to bed, and then it's time for an awkward conversation. Tom heartbreakingly points out that he always used to know everything was OK because he'd check in on all the kids before bed, so he's going to make the little time he has with them now the best part of their week. On her side, Lynette tearfully admits that when she sees how excited the kids are to see Tom, she worries that she's losing them. The pair come to an uncomfortable agreement to stop worrying about "who wins". Considering how ridiculous Desperate Housewives can get, it's touching how real and upsetting this storyline has been so far
So, what are we hoping for next week? Well, more Lynette and Tom drama, of course, though hopefully it will remain as grounded as it has been so far. More Susan and Carlos as they struggle together to get through their guilt. Some more information on the link between Bree, Chuck, and the note. More details on Ben. And, naturally, more Gaby one-liners...
What did you think of the episode? Leave your comments below!