The Husband:

Surprisingly, both Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters kept it remarkably simple last night, a welcome respite for my currently over-serialized brain (where are my Privileged posts? They’ll come in a bit, after all my other delayed posts). DH especially took a time out from its mysteries to take us on a nice, if relatively pointless, series of flashbacks, and on a nice national holiday like today, it’s the perfect gift for a lazy day.

In fact, I think I can sum up DH pretty quickly and not feel like I’m shortchanging anything. Beau Bridges plays Eli Scruggs, Fairview’s favorite handyman, who has just had a fatal heart attack the day before he was to retire. As all the main gals play poker and get ready for his funeral, they reminisce about how Eli affected each and every one of their lives.

For Gaby, it was how Eli helped her fit in better upon her moving into the neighborhood so many years ago, as she was still an egotistical, socially inept former model struggling with Carlos’ decision to bring them to the suburbs. With Eli’s help, she is able to apologize to the main women in the cast for her rudeness and is finally accepted into the inner circle.

Well, thats nice, Gaby, but youre still kind of a bitch.

Well, that's nice, Gaby, but you're still kind of a bitch.

For Bree, it was that Eli gave her the confidence to stand up to her man (the now-dead guy thanks to a heart condition and Roger Bart’s malfeasance) and finally be able to write the cookbook that we see now has brought her so much wealth.

For Edie, Eli helped her understand men better by prompting her to realize that her muscley trainer husband Umberto was actually gay, and then he helped her understand men better by simply having a penis, as she jumps him out of desperation.

For Lynette, it was that Eli helped her get out of her I-don’t-have-a-career-because-I-keep-getting-pregnant funk and made her realize that her children are her most prized items in her life.

For Susan, it was making her aware that her husband at the time wasn’t just cheating on her with one woman but perhaps even several. And then years later, upon finding that Susan has broken up with Jackson (which is fine because now Gale Harold doesn’t have to literally phone in his performances anymore), he helps her understand that sometimes it’s good to simply live alone for a bit.

And finally, Eli was there the day that Mary Alice killed herself out of grief for her season 1 crimes, and upon learning of her death mere hours after talking to her, devotes the rest of his life to helping people live their lives better.

The. End.

Eli Scruggs is dead. Long live Eli Scruggs.

Eli Scruggs is dead. Long live Eli Scruggs.

Like I said, the episode had no forward momentum, no real connection to this season and provided no extra clues to what we needed to solve, but it was nice going back to the show’s heyday and even before, so we could get a better understanding of these women (who, let’s be honest, we pretty much understand completely anyway). And it was nice to see Beau Bridges take a break from living in Camden County and dealing with his karma-obsessed ex-con son Earl Hickey and move on over to Fairview, where he could be all savior-y on ABC.

Aaaaaand over here in Pasadena, we have our Walkers on Brothers & Sisters. Also framed as a flashback episode, the show opens with Nora, Sarah and Rebecca one-by-one getting onto a hotel elevator, each looking unkempt and, as we are meant to infer, all looking very post-coital. We flashback 48 hours to see what led up to this.

While Rebecca, in a tiny subplot, seems to have bitten and has become an unknowing pawn in Tommy’s evil plan to overthrow Holly as the CEO of Ojai Foods, but this is pushed aside so she can be all jealous that Justin has taken in a new sponsee, but, against the rules, it’s a female sponsee.

And while Nora freaks out about how expensive her Cancer House charity is going to be, Kevin accompanies Robert on a quail-hunting expedition with some very powerful Republicans in order to secure their support for Robert’s run as California governor. Kevin is not happy at all the digs against his gay and liberal beliefs, so he loses his shit, but for his own peace of mind as well as Robert’s political future, he apologizes just in time to let the Republicans drop their support for a Humboldt County official also interested in the governorship and throw their weight behind the McAllister campaign. Now that Robert is just about ready to get all crazy political now, how is this going to affect his marriage to Kitty as well as the baby that’s on the way?

You know, Id eat quail at a five star, but Id rather not kill it myself, you know?

You know, I'd eat quail at a five star, but I'd rather not kill it myself, you know?

But the central purpose of the episode is to get everybody to Greentopia’s launch party, where the booze is flowing and Sarah, already on edge thanks to her 10-year-old daughter arguing with her over her little child desire to wear slightly inappropriate attire, is about to lose her mind if the Greentopia website does not find an investor. Fortunately, it does, and everybody celebrates in his or her own ways.

Ethan, the dark-haired founder of Greentopia, tells Sarah in a moment of boldness that he has had his eyes on her since they first met, and they go up to one of the several rooms leased out for the evening. Rebecca, meanwhile, is upset that Justin could not show up to the launch party, because he’s with his female sponsee and doesn’t realize that it’s his and Rebecca’s first anniversary as a couple. Dejected, Rebecca lets the other Greentopia founder, Kyle, bring her up to the honeymoon suite she had decorated for the occasion. And Nora, battling over price with Roger, finally realizes the sexual chemistry that has been going on between the two of them for 30 years now and brings him up to her room.

Ahhh…but the show twists around on us, and instead of doing something drastic for, say, bigger ratings, lets us as viewers know that it would never forsake its characters just for the sake of drama. Here’s the fun part — none of the three disheveled women actually sleep with any of their prospective beaus. Nora, right after she and Roger begin making out, passes out drunk immediately. Sarah realizes that she’s only giving herself up to Ethan because she’s treating him like a charity case. And Rebecca — who I might have started hating if she actually cheated on the wonderful Justin simply because he had some responsibilities as a recovering alcoholic — doesn’t even let Kyle get his hands on her and simply sleeps alone in the honeymoon suite. So the next morning, everybody’s fine, and everybody has learned various lessons about the ways they have been behaving.

This was a wonderful episode that could have gone horribly awry, and it’s only real misstep was the Kevin story which was pretty much just a reiteration of everything that has been going on between him and Robert ever since Kevin joined his team as communications director. I especially liked the way Sarah, after overreacting to her daughter’s obsession with this short, sparkly dress, goes to the mall and buys the dress for her again, and then has a talk with her that while often the daughter is allowed to have a say about these kinds of things, Sarah is still the mother and she has the right to overrule Paige on occasion.

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