Courtesy of: SPOIERFIX
Desperate Housewives Episode Recap: "The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened"
Jan 19, 2009 11:14 AM ET by Mickey O'Connor
Meet Eli Scruggs (guest star Beau Bridges), handyman extraordinaire who is like a Forrest Gump-type figure, the eyes and ears of Wisteria Lane, whose presence was felt in some significant plot developments over the years. We'll ignore the fact that such a crucial figure has never appeared on the show before and enjoy all the flashbacks! Eli's first significant contribution to Desperate Housewives' 100th episode is to die while fixing Susan's roof, hence we travel back in time to see how Eli helped our girls get their respective grooves back.
Eva Longoria slaps on a circa-2003 wig to play Spoiled Former Model Gaby, who is very lonely and hates living in Fairview. Eli, who is there fixing the sink, suggests that she invite her neighbors over for poker. When they arrive, Gaby's maid tells them she likes to make an entrance, and boy, does she wearing a wildly inappropriate gold lamι cocktail dress and more jewelry than Mr. T. As they shuffle the deck, she regales the ladies with boastful tales of her formerly fabulous life (she called Jon Bon Jovi "Pumpkin" and did vodka shots with Kate Moss!) while dissing their suburban lives. When Eli clues her in that Operation Full House was a bust, she crashes the ladies' next game, heart (and muffins) in hand, apologizes for her earlier behavior and confesses to them that she could really use some friends. "Now that's how you make an entrance," says Bree. And it's all thanks to Eli!
Bree's wig is a funny reminder of that severe flip Marcia Cross used to wear. Bree and Rex(!) invite the Scavos (including a molto-pregs-with-Penny-and-cranky Lynette) over for brunch, at which Bree complains about her erratic stove over an overcooked frittata, which leads to an argument about Bree not working. The Scavos break the tension with some funny. "If you're looking for a stove, we got one that's hardly ever used," Tom cracks. "I wish I could say the same for my uterus," Lynette cracks back. Eli is there, of course, fixing the van de Kamp's sink. Bree announces that she's writing a cookbook, and Rex is not very supportive about the idea. So Bree throws away her notes. Flash forward a few years to just after Rex's death, and Eli is there to fix Bree's banister and to return her cookbook notes, which he retrieved from the garbage all those many years ago. He encourages her to take another shot at it, and Mrs. van de Kamp is born! And it's all thanks to Eli!
Nicollette Sheridan is wearing long bangs. Apparently, Edie once had a husband named Umberto who liked to go to the gym a lot and have sex with Edie not so much. Eli overhears their argument about afternoon sex while he's fixing the sink in her bathroom (All these broken sinks! A plumbing conspiracy to summon Mike from Hottie Plumber HQ?). He reassures her that she is, in fact, desirable. Flash forward to the day that Edie's marriage crumbles when she discovers that Umberto is gasp a gay! Eli is there, and he again feeds her ego with more compliments, which leads to Eli snaking out one drain in particular, ifyouknowhutimsaying. So Edie's sense of self-worth is restored! And it's all thanks to Eli!
Lynette: long, bedraggled, pregnant-lady hair. When Lynette discovers that she's pregnant for the third time, she and Tom fight about the fact that she wants to return to work, not have another baby. Then we flash-forward to the day that Lynette simultaneously endures labor while negotiating the terms for her new job, which she gets. "Congratulations! The baby's arm is sticking out; why don't you high-five it?" Tom snarks. Cut to a post-partum Lynette on the phone with her new boss, forgetting that she left the newborn Penny in the car. But Eli is there, and he rescues her from the 85-degree heat, symbolically reminding Lynette of what's really important. And it's all thanks to Eli!
Susan's hair kind of looks the same. Eli is there to change the locks on the day that she discovers that Karl has left her for a secretary, and she is characteristically unhinged. He accidentally lets it slip that Karl's blonde secretary isn't the only other woman; he's also seeing a redhead. He was also there the day that she and Mike decided to get divorced... to change the locks. Eli tells her she's heroic for some reason (because she divorced Mike?). Then, like the Grim Reaper of Breakups, he shows up the day that Susan breaks up with Jackson in other words, the day he climbed up on her roof and died. But at least he's the "most consistent male relationship" Susan has ever had, which makes her feel good about herself. And it's all thanks to Eli!
Eli approaches Mary Alice on the Lane looking for work. When she notices that he has worn-out shoes, she asks him to help fix a vase. So it was Mary Alice who introduced Eli to all her friends, thus giving him a career. Two years later, Eli is there to deliver a handle or something, and a distraught Mary Alice gives him the same vase for being so nice. As he leaves, Mary Alice unfolds that famous note on purple stationery that reads "I know what you did. It makes me sick. I'm going to tell." Cut to Mrs. Huber(!) out on the street, telling all the neighbors about Mary Alice's shocking suicide. And as the camera pans down the street, we see all the neighbors wearing the same clothes they were wearing in the pilot episode. Nice touch. Then, we learn that Eli vowed to God that day that he would do what he could to help people fix their lives, lest Mary Alice's death be in vain. Props to Beau Bridges for bringing some real depth and humanism to a role that could have been the worst kind of hokey.
So, on the day of Eli's memorial service, the Wisteria ladies all pay tribute to him in their own special ways. Gaby bought the flowers. Bree made his favorite Cajun meatloaf. Edie, um, wore a sexy dress. Lynette went home and helped Penny with her math. Susan toasts to him posthumously since fixing her roof killed him before they could celebrate his retirement. As the coffin is lowered into the ground, Bree stops and rearranges its floral array. "I wanted to fix something for Eli for a change," she says. Sniff.
I'm not proud to admit this, but the end of this episode kind of gave me the chills. Eli's (albeit a bit corny) story reminded me how new and intriguing this show was at its premiere, and how much ground they've covered over four seasons. It brought everything full circle with a very satisfying roundness that this show's clever writing often demonstrates. Not surprisingly, this script was the work of series creators Marc Cherry and Bob Daily, so kudos to them. I really enjoyed it.
IN THREE WEEKS! The Solises are rich again! Bree invests in the Scavos' restaurant! Susan steals something from Katherine! And Tom decks Dave for some reason!
How'd did you like our trip down Wisteria Memory Lane? Did it make you appreciate the show more?