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Desperate Housewives Episode Recap: "In a World Where the Kings Are Employers"
Feb 16, 2009 08:59 AM ET by Mickey O'Connor
Hey folks, sorry I wasn't with you last week. There was a perfect storm of the Grammy Awards and the Sunday-night announcement of the new Dancing with the Stars cast, so my able colleague Matt Mitovich graciously stepped in for me. Anyhow, let's get to Sunday's Desperate Housewives, which was perhaps the least satisfying episode for me in a while, despite having some bright spots both in terms of performances and plot development. While Susan, Lynette and Bree's families all fought about money, Gaby nabbed the Solises a little extra scratch, albeit by dubious means, while Dave's own dubious plans now include an insidious camping trip it's about time!
The Babysitting Blues
It's Susan and M.J.'s first day at their new fancy-pants school (in February?), and M.J. is sick. After a little back-and-forth "I love you/I hate you" with Mike, she leaves M.J. with him, and heads off to the salt mines. But when she goes to pick him up after work, Mike has had a plumbing emergency so he left M.J. at Katherine's house, where she has taught him all about blackjack ("double down on two aces" aw, cute, gambling lessons for kids!) and has otherwise charmed the kid who just weeks ago was stomping on her foot with malicious glee. On the plus side, little Mason Vale Cotton has had a chance to express something other than existential angst this week that is, until a few weeks from now when we (maybe) find out that he's actually the demon spawn of Yellow Satan.
Next, it's like Groundhog Day when the same exact thing happens again, but this time Katherine has made M.J. panini with provolone cheese, and inadvertently told him that the brownies-from-a-box that his mother makes him are inferior. Susan, because she still loves Mike but isn't ready to admit it (yawn), takes it out on Katherine, who was really just doing her best to create a serviceable relationship with her boyfriend's kid. Complicating things is the news that Mike is moving in with Katherine. Interesting.
(Aside: In an episode that saw Bree crazy-busy with new clients, I wondered why her formerly overworked partner Katherine had all the time in the world to play My First Panini with M.J., but never mind. More importantly, I'm wondering how Teri Hatcher and Dana Delany feel about these girl-on-girl crime scenes. To me, they ring as incredibly sexist.)
Money Changes Everything
Bree and Orson are the first guests in Andrew and Alex's extremely well-appointed new home. Orson is very impressed since the d้cor of his first place was "early American beanbag." He notes in particular a cut crystal bowl, the '96 Latour wine that Alex is pouring, and Andrew's new Mont Blanc pen. Alex reveals that Andrew has very good taste, but it also helps that his mom recently gave him a very generous raise.
All evidence seems to indicate the former ne'er-do-well Andrew deserves every penny. Besides his new role as Bree's truth-teller, he also seems to be a catering wunderkind. Orson is irrationally jealous of his stepson's new status, and wants to know how much Andrew is making. Bree naturally demurs, which isn't a good sign. So Orson calls the bank and tries to get (illegal) access to Bree's payroll records. When he doesn't know the account's password ("It's the name of her childhood pet," prompts the soon-to-be-fired customer-service rep), he is turned down.
This next bit would have been funnier if it wasn't in the service of such an appalling deception. In an effort to suss out Bree's password, he tries to get her to play the "What's your porn name?" game: your first pet's name + your first street's name. (For the record, mine is really good: Barnaby Ledgewood!) Password in hand Munchy! Orson discovers that Andrew is making twice what he's making, and is obviously pissed. Was anyone else as surprised as I was that Bree wasn't angrier about Orson's low-down-dirty violation of her trust? But in this case, truth is Bree's best defense, and she matter-of-factly tells Orson that he's worth less to her business. He takes it, but you can tell he's seething.
Now, from a dramatic standpoint, I can see how having Orson come to work for Bree would be tempting to the writers. But while it's clear that any man who is married to Bree is going to have to endure some henpecking, Orson seems to have found some comfortable middle ground between man of the house and, er, de-balling. Still, there are times that I wish that he had just gone and found another job somewhere else. It's a credit to Kyle MacLachlan's consistently fine acting that, for now, I'm OK with it.
In a last, revealing scene, Orson tells Andrew that Bree is lucky to have him working there. And then he pockets his schmancy pen and smiles an awesome Filthy McNasty grin that indicates that this storyline is just getting started.
Wake up and smell the economy, Solises! Out to dinner with insta-friends Bradley and Maria, the couple announces that Carlos saved their marriage by alleviating some of the professional burden that kept him away from home so often. Bradley also announces that the company is forgoing bonuses this year because of the economy. Which makes Gaby, everyone's favorite morality boomerang, pout because it means she can't have a bracelet she wants ha! Wasn't it just last week at Israeli military boot camp that she learned that you have to work for the important things in life? This week: Bracelet shiny! Oh well!
While she's visiting the elusive bracelet at the store while Juanita and Celia are presumably drinking drain cleaner and jumping out second-story windows, she catches Brad sucking face in his car with a blonde that most definitely isn't his wife. And whaddya know? By the time Gaby gets home, Brad is there, and Carlos is getting that bonus after all, all $20,000 of it! Eva Longoria Parker really owned this scene, as her bemused secret knowledge alternated with her fierce negotation skills. Much to Carlos' astonishment, Gaby blackmails Brad up to $30,000, which means she can get her bracelet after all. All is right in the world. Phew!
Except now Maria, who has apparently gotten over the drinking problem she demonstrated in her earlier appearance, wants to be Gaby's friend and chit-chat about what kind of golf club she should buy Brad. When Carlos walks in on Gaby telling Maria she should go back to marriage counseling, Gaby comes clean with Carlos about what she witnessed. "This is illegal; I'm getting a bonus based on blackmail," Carlos protests. "You're welcome!" Gaby replies. But it gets better.
Maria is pregnant and she and Brad want Gaby and Carlos to be the baby's godparents. The hell? "You are such good people, so kindhearted and decent, and that is the kind of influence we want in our baby's life," says the eminently na๏ve Maria, making all of America laugh heartily.
Business is bad at Scavo's, and Lynette thinks they should sell before they go bankrupt. Tom is in his rah-rah "We can do it, Lynette" mode, so he thinks that the better idea is to fire his entire staff and use his children as slave labor. For some reason, Lynette goes along with this plan. All I have to say is that after all this is over, Tom is going to owe her, big time.
The kids are obviously terrible at running the restaurant. Penny loses her Band-Aid in the salad greens. Parker wants to short the customers on change. The Horndog Twins fight over a hot-lady customer, whose table Lynette has to take since she's the only one who can serve her "without knocking over a glass with my pants." Heh.
They also don't want to wait on their classmates because they're embarrassed that they have to work in their parents' restaurant. It's at this point that Tom's temper flares and he practically puts Porter through a wall before Lynette intervenes. Putting aside for a moment that he probably deserves it for being such a teenager, I'm surprised that this shocking moment wasn't dealt with more directly.
Maybe Lynette was just relieved that Tom finally agreed that it's time to sell. Relieved and... turned on? While Tom attempts to get their accounts in order, Lynette decides it's time for a little tonsil hockey, which is a little weird and it must be said kind of un-sexy. "I think all this can wait until the morning," she purrs.
Life Is But a Dream
"Life is brief and mostly sucks. Grab all the good you can while we're on this side of the dirt," which is a really profound way for anyone, let alone Edie, to say that she wants to go to a spa for the weekend. But things are about to get really deep for Edie, so I suppose it's appropriate. She's also hearing some buzzing noise, which, it turns out, is Dr. Heller's cell phone, which Dave is using to maintain, via text-message, the ruse that the good doctor is still on this mortal coil to his secretary. But the jig is up on the 15th, because if Dr. Heller isn't back by then, she's going to tell everyone that she doesn't know where he is.
This deadline motivates Dave to action. He asks Mike and Katherine to go camping with him and Edie. Then, when Edie of course says she'd rather be burned alive than go camping ("Have fun wiping with leaves!" she trills), Dave asks her not to tell Katherine that she isn't joining them, since he's planning to kill Katherine this weekend and doesn't want Edie to ruin the surprise. Or, at least, that's my theory, since now he's got a gun in the garage. Noooooo!
So, what did you think of "In a World Where the Kings Are Employers"? Is Wisteria Lane the place to address the economic downturn? Will Katherine pack a large knife? How will Orson deal with the news that his stepson appears to be the man of Bree's house?
IN TWO WEEKS! The Oscars are on next Sunday night so be sure to come to TVGuide.com for our complete coverage of the night's events, and then I'll meet you back here on March 3. (Can you believe it's almost March?)