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Image: "Desperate Housewives"
ABC
Even Mary Alice Young (Brenda Strong, third from left) returned in the 100th episode of "Desperate Housewives."
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msnbc.com
updated 1/26/2009 8:05:47 PM ET 2009-01-27T01:05:47

You're my handyman: When Wisteria Lane handyman Eli Scruggs (Beau Bridges) drops dead on Susan's roof, the show has a perfect excuse to celebrate its 100th episode by offering flashbacks of how Scruggs affected all the ladies' lives.

Leggo my ego: A lonely Gaby acts the only way she knows how -- braggy and stuck-up -- when she first moves to Fairview. Eli lets her know that she's alienated the other women, and it hits home. Gaby finally confesses to the other "Housewives" that she's just lonely and insecure, and they accept her. Score one for Eli...

Cooking the books: Bree's flashback features long-dead Rex (hi, Rex!), who shot down Bree's first mention of writing a cookbook. Eli later wins Bree's heart both by attending Rex's funeral and by praising her Cajun meatloaf. Now, with published book in hand, a thankful Bree plans to make that same meatloaf for his funeral.

Love on the rocks, sex on the beach: Sex-crazed Edie's husband-of-the-moment, Umberto, isn't giving her enough loving or self-confidence. She eventually learns he's gay, and in her shock, turns to Eli for a little lovin'. Remembering that one-afternoon stand, modern-day Edie, back from a Bahamas trip with Dave, plans to wear a sexy black dress to Eli's funeral. (Hmm, there was also a Bahamas commercial during this episode. Product placement, much?)

Married to her career: Lynette's flashback, to no one's surprise, revolves around her ambivalence about her children and her pursuit of a high-powered career. Pregnant again, this time with Penny, she goes after a new job, even discussing it on the phone while having contractions. But when a job phone call distracts her enough that she leaves infant Penny inside a hot car (for only seconds), Eli rescues the baby and reminds her of what's really important.

Marry-go-round: Susan's flashback shows her being comforted by Eli both after Karl dumped her (for a secretary named Brandy, who wasn't his only dalliance) and after her marriage to Mike broke up. Eli confessed that he hadn't had much experience with relationships in his own life, but that he's always admired Susan for continually trying, and getting up when she's knocked down. Turns out that just before he died, Susan told Eli she didn't know very much about him, and he promised she could ask him anything she wanted to know. Then the big heart attack happened, and she never got to ask.

Vase-by-vase basis: Even dead Mary Alice Young showed up for the 100th anniversary. Turns out she was the one Eli first approached when he was looking for work, and when she spotted a hole in his shoe, she worked hard to find him work. Later on, as Mary Alice was reading the note that led to her suicide in the pilot, she saw Eli again and made a gift to him of the vase that was the first thing he fixed for her. Eli was unable to save Mary Alice, and his guilt over that made him vow to try and help as many people as possible. And so the plot came full circle, from the 100th episode to the pilot and back again.

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