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Desperate Housewives desperate no more

Desperate Housewives poster

Written by : published Monday 14th May 2012

As ABC's Desperate Housewives begins its two hour finale last night, there is still a lot going on. Bree (Marcia Cross) is standing trial for murder. Renee (Vanessa Williams) is days away from her wedding. Susan (Teri Hatcher) has to break some big news to her dearest friends. Lynette (Felicity Huffman) is facing a finalized divorce. Gabi's (Eva Longoria) marriage comes under new strain. Karen (Kathryn Joosten) is staring death in the face. And Katherine (Dana Delany) returns, stirring up trouble.

That's a lot to cover in two hours, and yet, Desperate Housewives makes it look effortless. Sweeping through plots without rushing them, building suspense, but not into anything too over the top, the final two hours hit every emotional note they need to hit, leaving viewers with specific impressions about where their favorite characters will be. The show knocks out the tears in the final moments, leaving a refreshing feeling of completeness.

At first glance, the ending is sad. Bree, Lynette, Gabi, and Susan have been through a lot together, and they reflect on this as they play their final hand of cards. They will not grow old together on Wisteria Lane, sharing more memories and moments, even though they were extremely important in each others' lives for so long.

But leaving Wisteria is for the best. The lane is full of gossip and murder, rumors and betrayal. For each of the four main players to live happily ever after, they must escape this cycle. And they all do. Perhaps they need each other to overcome their challenges, but not to sail off into the sunset. By moving away, they prove they are desperate no more, and finally find peace in their lives and marriages.

The beginning of the two hour finale starts with Karen. Her neighbors prove just how much they care about her by allowing her to spend her final days in her own house, with Roy (Orson Bean) by her side. As an ultimate thank you, Karen takes the rap for the murder, allowing Bree and the others to go free. With her failing health, Karen isn't charged with her own trial, and gets to slip peacefully off into the night, a beloved record playing her out. It's sweet and sad, but also celebratory of a life well lived, full of love.

This theme continues with the others. Renee is married to Ben (Charles Mesure), who proves to be an honorable man who will treat her well. While it might have been nice to have seen Renee's future, it isn't strictly necessary because of where she ends things. Besides, she is never as deep into the mire as the rest, anyway.

Bree finds romance once more with Trip (Scott Bakula). They move to Louisville, where Bree is finally surrounded by other ladies like her, and she rules them all. This is a fitting ending for Bree, who deserves a fresh start. What's more, in Trip, Bree may finally have found the perfect man, one who will treat her how she wants to be treated, and be her equal. It comes late in the game, but late is better than never.

Gabi supports her family with a successful business venture, side by side with Carlos (Ricardo Antonio Chavira), bickering all the while. Carlos's comment at Renee's wedding, that they dance a tango instead of a waltz, is fitting. There is a nice throw back to their very first story, involving a gardener, which really highlights where they've been, and what they are now. These two have been through so much together, and have shown the most growth of anyone in Desperate Housewives. They are richly rewarded for this.

Lynette and Tom (Doug Savant) reconnect. How can they not? They belong together. Katherine's last minute offer throws a monkey wrench into their union, but after what they've been through in the past year, anything else is an easy hurdle. What they both realize, with jobs and children stripped away, is that they mean more to each other than anything else. And so they move to New York City, Lynette as a CEO, finally succeeding as more than a wife and mother, and live in a penthouse apartment. Fitting.

Susan gets the least reveal of anyone, but then, her story is the furthest from being over. As Julie (Andrea Bowen) goes into labor on the way to Renee's wedding, Susan once more has to deal with a slapstick emergency, a theme in her life. Unlike the others, Susan's existence will never be calm. But moving in with her daughter, helping to raise her grandchildren, she will find what she is looking for. There may be a number of other challenges, but this cannot be told in a scant few moments, so we're left with the impression that Susan is beginning a new journey instead. She still has a long road ahead, but at least she's on the right path.

These women deserve to be happy. That cannot be said at the beginning of Desperate Housewives. Their trials and tribulations make them work for the joyous ending. But they do so, and they come out stronger because of it. The series is the story of this battle, and how they help each other through it. Now it's time to enjoy the spoils of their rewards, which would make boring television, so it's nice that they end where they do.

The final shot of Susan leaving the street, driving past the ghosts of Wisteria Lane, is powerful. Sans Edie Britt (Nicolette Sheridan), who recently engaged in an ugly court battle with creator Mark Cherry, just about every notable character killed off returns, dressed in white. There's Karl (Richard Burgi) and Rex (Steven Culp) and Chuck (Jonathan Cake) and George (Robert Bart), and even people who aren't Bree's exes, too! Beth (Emily Bergl), Martha Huber (Christine Estabrook), and many more return. And of course, Karen, Mike (James Denton) and Mary Alice (Brenda Strong) are there. It's not everyone, but it's a lot. It's hard to imagine a more perfect tribute, and it certainly will be an image that sticks with one through the years. Awesome.

Thank you to the cast and crew of Desperate Housewives for eight mostly wonderful years. While it was time to end it, you did so well, and you will be missed!

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV

JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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