Desperate Housewives Series Finale Recap: A Trial, Then Tribulations

Spoilerphobes beware: The following recap spells out exactly how Desperate Housewives tied up all its loose ends, so if the episode is still on deck on your DVR lineup, don’t say you haven’t been warned!

And they all lived…well, not exactly.

Desperate Housewives wrapped its eight-season run with a two-hour finale that featured a death, a birth, a wedding, a reconciliation, a dramatic courtroom confession, and (rather surprisingly) all the members of the original poker-playing quartet exiting Wisteria Lane for good. There were at least two guaranteed tearjerker moments (Tom and Lynette admitting they were still in love; Karen succumbing to cancer as a 45 of her favorite song, Johnny Mathis’ “Wonderful Wonderful,” spun on the record player) and plenty of laughs (thanks mostly to Gaby, Carlos, Lee, and Renee).

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And after a “happy endings” montage peeking into the futures of Bree, Gaby, and Lynette, we got an ominous denouement: Susan taking one final drive down her street, with the (many!) ghosts of all those who died over the past eight seasons watching over her, and then a new housewife moving into the Delfino residence, frantically hiding a box in a cabinet.

That last burst of creepy, with Mary Alice reminding us all that “most people just go on, day after day, trying in vain to keep secrets that will never stay hidden,” was the perfect tonal tonic to her prior platitude (“these ghosts watch, wanting people to remember that even the most desperate life is oh so wonderful”). Because indeed, as much as Desperate Housewives will rightfully be remembered as a frothy suburban comedy, it was its seedy (if not always consistent) underbelly that made it a nervier, more interesting series than it might have been coming from a less puckish mind than Marc Cherry’s.

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Anyhow, here’s how the Wisteria Four’s stories (and others) came to an end:

* Susan, meddling to the end, tried to fix up Julie with her hot obstetrician, but while sparks did indeed fly, we didn’t see if they turned into a fire. Instead, the recently widowed housewife packed up her daughter, son MJ, and grandchild and moved north to help support Julie’s dream to get her Ph.D.

* Bree saw the murder charges against her get dropped when Mrs. McCluskey confessed to the killing of Gabrielle’s stepdad, and eventually wound up pursuing a new romance with her defense attorney Quantum Leap Trip Weston. The epilogue featured the duo getting married and moving to Kentucky, where the most conservative of the housewives got elected to the Kentucky state legislature. (Sadly, no final appearance by son Andrew, whose prickly chemistry with Bree frequently resulted in her best zingers.)

* Gabrielle decided to protect Carlos (and Bree) and confess to the murder of her stepfather, until she got beaten to the punch by Mrs. McCluskey. Eventually, she got promoted to head of VIP sales at her department store, and wound up finding herself and Carlos in a reversal of their Season 1 dynamic: Gaby, job-obsessed breadwinner using gifts to placate neglected Carlos; Carlos, petulant spouse, hiring a hot lady gardener (Without a Trace‘s Roselyn Sanchez, in a sly, wordless cameo) to make his wife jealous. Of course these crazy kids worked it out, and the epilogue showed Gaby opening her own personal shopping site, then scoring a show on QVC. (One complaint: Not enough Juanita!)

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* Lynette finally reconciled with Tom — after a few more silly obstacles — in a very romantic scene in the middle of the lane. But then she questioned everything when Dana Delany’s Katherine Mayfair returned from Paris with an offer to launch the US operations of her booming frozen French food business. One problem: The job required a move to New York. Tom accused Lynette of never being satisfied, but in her matron-of-honor toast at Renee and Ben’s wedding, Lynette realized the hole in her heart she was always looking to fill wasn’t really empty at all. She and Tom made up, and then he encouraged her to take the job. The epilogue showed them in a Manhattan penthouse overlooking Central Park, and later playing in that great green space with their six grandkids.

* Renee married Ben after a ridiculous/hilarious snafu where Julie’s water broke — directly on her wedding gown, Gaby brought her to the department store where they pilfered a $6,000 wedding gown, and the duo walked/ran to the wedding after Susan hijacked the limo to bring Julie to the hospital.

* Mrs. McCluskey passed away at home — but only after Lynette, Gaby, Bree, and Susan intervened: Agreeing to help with around-the-clock care for their ailing neighbor so she didn’t have to go to a Hospice facility.

Quotes of the Night
“Wow! It kind of smacked me back!” –Susan, after spanking Lee’s surgically enhanced rear end

“Correctional facility isn’t exactly my dream venue.” –Renee, lamenting Ben’s trip to jail on the eve of their wedding

“Don’t touch me.” –Bree, surreptitiously hissing at Trip after faking a fainting spell during Gaby’s explosive testimony

“I’m wearing a wig and toting an oxygen tank: Does it look like I’m gonna make it to Monday?” –Mrs. McCluskey, nudging Trip not to delay her testimony

“Honey, I’ve always been in charge.” –Gaby, responding to Carlos’ plea that she tell the girls that she’s in charge once their daddy winds up in prison

“I followed him in, I picked up the candlestick, and I killed that son of a bitch.” –McCluskey, making a dramatic courtroom confession and exonerating Bree (Seriously, though, the prosecution just let the old woman off without a slap on the wrist?)

“The women don’t shave and the men carry purses.” –Katherine, describing her confusion over who’s a man and who’s a woman in France

“Carlos, you help the poor and downtrodden, a group of people with a very flexible schedule.” –Gaby, trumping her husband’s calendar

“Mom, I just felt the baby tap out ‘make her stop’ in Morse code.” –Julie, trying to get her mother to stop setting her up with her OBGYN

“You had nine months, and this is the moment you picked?” –Renee, reacting to Julie’s water breaking on her wedding gown

“That’s easy: You and me are doing a tango.” –Carlos, responding to Gaby’s question why other people seem to waltz through life without arguments and drama

“That hole in your heart that you’re trying to fill is already filled: You just forgot. Don’t ever forget. Always rememember how much you wanted to be loved, and are loved.” –Lynette, apologizing to Tom through her wedding toast to Renee

And now it’s your turn: Hit the comments with your own opinions on how Housewives ended! And for all my TV recaps and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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