Desperate Housewives has a reputation for dragging mysteries out across seasons, but in tonight's episode a small secret that was raised in last week's instalment - who was the father of Julie's baby? - was resolved almost immediately.
After being evicted from their apartment, Porter and Preston move home - only to overhear Susan confiding in Lynette about Julie's pregnancy. Cue worried glances, followed by Julie asking to meet the father of her baby, followed by Susan overhearing the call and hiding in the cafe in proper spy mode, newspaper and all.
We soon discover that Porter is the daddy (which is weird enough, considering that - as Susan points out - Julie used to babysit him.) But this could work well for Susan, as Porter wants to raise the baby with or without Julie, meaning that she might not lose her grandchild after all.
Unfortunately, when she offers Porter support he asks her to tell Lynette about the baby... and Lynette has a full on, screaming, breathing-into-a-paper-bag reaction to it all. Susan can't convince her this is a good idea, but Porter might - he movingly talks about loving his daughter before she's even born, and it's really touching.
Still, Julie's furious with Susan - now whenever she comes home, Porter and her daughter will be there, adding to the pain of it all. Susan tells her she would never have been able to forget about her baby - she knows what it's like being a mum - but as she reaches out to touch her Julie yells: "No" and vows never to forgive her mother for taking her choice away. For a moment I thought Julie would roll over and play along, so I'm glad she was defiant and angry.
That wasn't the only mystery solved - in a much, much creepier storyline, we discovered that Orson might not have Bree's best interests at heart. Last week, I wondered whether his return - allegedly prompted by a phone call from the Housewives - would reconcile Bree and her friends.
In fact, Orson's become something of an obsessive - he's willing to do whatever it takes to keep Bree (I assume he wants some kind of twisted romance with her). When the Housewives come to speak to Bree, he refuses to let them in - then later tells Bree that they made horrible comments about her when she considers making things up with them.
Eventually, he persuades her to accompany him to Maine for a break... and maybe a longer stay. But in flashbacks, we discover that he's been stalking Bree for weeks, saw the burying of Alejandro... and was the one to write the infamous 'Makes me sick' note to Bree. Quiet emotional manipulation is always creepier than outright violence, and it's lovely to see Kyle MacLachlan back with a storyline to sink his teeth into.
Speaking of outright violence, Ben's in trouble after borrowing money from that loan shark (well, duh.) He dabbles in insurance fraud before having chest pains - yeah, it's not going well. But Mike finds out and involves Renee, who agrees to pay off the loan from her massive fortune. Stupidly, though, she agrees to meet the loan shark at her house... and to say he's menacing is an understatement. I don't suppose we've seen the end of this.
Elsewhere, Gaby's at the end of her tether with Carlos in rehab, so when Karen kicks out Roy - and she discovers how good he is at disciplining kids - she's pleased to welcome him into her home. But it's fair to say Gaby's slightly selfish, so when Karen and Roy make moves towards reconciling, she gets in their way.
Perhaps she has a change of heart at the end of the episode as Roy speaks sadly about the end of his relationship - but the real sting in the tail comes as we see Karen discovering that her cancer has returned (I think it's brain cancer, but my medical knowledge ain't great.) And it seems that she broke up with Roy because she doesn't want to put him through the trauma after his first wife got sick and died. Heartbreaking - and if they kill Karen, they'll have me to answer to.
Last week, I complained that Desperate Housewives was treading water a bit. This episode seemed to have much more momentum, especially as a couple of interesting mysteries were solved (particularly the note). My moan is that Gaby could have a bit more to do, but with Carlos soon out of rehab I'm sure there's more to come. Mainly, I can't wait to see what happens next with Orson...
- Lynette hiding from Porter and Preston when they returned home was pretty fun. (Also, Porter and Preston's "children of divorce" manipulation - "You had me at 'stupid girlfriend'.")
- I initially thought that there was no reason for Orson to alienate Bree from the Housewives - he can still be with her even if she's friends with them - but I suppose his campaign was so that she'd have no qualms about moving to Maine with him.
- I'm interested to see how Julie and Susan's relationship develops now - Mike warned Susan she could lose her daughter. Has she?
- "Enough nurturing your inner child. Come home and whack a couple of your outer ones."
- "I'm just saying. I've got rocks, they've got backpacks, and there's a lake on the way to school."
- I really don't need to hear about Roy's "komodo dragon". Or his "bladder of a fruit fly", come to that.
- Juanita's actually pretty funny-snarky: "Ooh, toast. Let me know when your cookbook comes out."
- I know the whole Gaby storyline was leading up to us finding out about Karen's cancer, but I can't help but feel she needs something meatier (plus it feels like we've had so many plots about Gaby trying to discipline her daughters... it felt a bit like a retread of old material).
- I'm enjoying all the different viewpoints involved in the baby storyline. Everyone has a good point - it's pretty balanced out (obviously, Susan acts insane as normal, but at least you understand that she doesn't want to give up her grandchild).
- "Do you know what happened to that puppy?" "No." "No-one does!"
- "You've never been able to commit to anything. Unless Julie's giving birth to a video game or new porn site, there's no way in hell you're ready for this."
- What on Earth is Orson's long-game? Just to be back with Bree? Discuss!