For the couples on Wisteria Lane, it was all about getting on the same page Sunday night. Bree and Orson had to find hope for a life together, Lynette and Tom had to have a breakthrough together to understand a big part of their dynamic, Gaby and Carlos had to figure out how best to deal with their niece and her boyfriend, and poor Mike had to jump on board Susan's crazy train and let a stripper move in with them. (Yeah, I'm not really crying for him. But I'll keep the Susan-hate on slow boil in honor of Tanner who spent his night doing bang-up job of live-blogging the Grammys. He starts at 8:20)
And in the middle of all that we found out just a little more about the Bolens' past, while Gaby and Carlos found out that the Bolens were hiding a secret past. (I can see Carlos going with a live-and-let-live take on the Bolens and their secret — though his concern for Ana dating Danny should actually make him very invested — but Gaby will certainly not let it go.)
For Angie and Nick, getting on the same page meant Angie needed to suppress a big aspect of their shady (environmental protester?) past. But not before clueing Gaby and Carlos in on the fact that they had a secret life to protect. Turns out that Angie is really into recycling and the fact that the nasty Mrs. Kinski wouldn't separate her glass and plastics, no matter how sweet Angie was about it, really burned the not-really-reformed militant. Nick told her ''You don't care about that stuff anymore...You can care, but don't blow our cover.'' But things got really cold when Angie invoked the anything-for-the-cause motto of her onetime lover and fellow outlaw, Patrick: ''Sometimes you chain yourself to the tree, sometimes you go after the guy with the saw.'' ''We don't talk about Patrick anymore,'' Nick said chillingly.
Angie might have been able to control herself if she hadn't gotten pushed over the edge and had her mama bear/mother Earth instincts kick in once she saw Carlos roughing up her half-dressed son (more on that later). As Angie strode home from her Solis confrontation, Mrs. Kinski foolishly baited her by mingling recyclables into the cans that Angie had taken the time to separate. So the warrior princess stalked over, kicked the cans over with her hot-ass boots, and gave the old lady a look that should have sent shivers down her spine. The fight that later ensued between Angie and Nick (because the old lady was threatening to sue them) was loud enough for Gaby and Carlos to hear Nick say ''This rock we're hiding under is not that big. And if people start poking around, we're done!'' (If you had a big secret to keep, don't you think you would whisper any references to it? At least not yell so loudly that people could hear you outside?)
Orson's despair leads to a renewal
But let's back up to the episode's real emotional heart. I have to say, I was concerned about how they would handle Orson's decision to take his own life. It is DH after all, so they'd have to make with the funny. (''It's really more of a suicide rough draft,'' — Orson when Bree found his note on the computer./''Being bored to death wasn't how I was planning to go but... we can try it your way,''— Orson when Bree forbid him to kill himself and threatened to stay with him 24/7.)
But as much of a whiny pain in the butt that Orson's been, his depression over his paralysis and his desire to kill himself did need a bit of a soft touch. Leave it to Marcia Cross to strike the right balance between being the control freak with guilt issues that Bree is, and the woman who remembers that she once loved Orson and wants to share that love with him again. It was totally like Bree to bring home some inspiration for Orson (special shoutout to Daryl ''Chill'' Mitchell, an ambassador for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and its Paralysis Resource Center (PRC), for his funny search for an exit strategy when things turned ugly between Bree and Orson.)
And even though at first Bree couldn't tell Orson that she was staying with him and taking care of him out of love and not out of obligation, all it took was going to one couple's 50th wedding anniversary party and being reminded that a life together could just mean sticking it out through the awful times for Bree to commit her heart to Orson again. That was one passionate kiss she laid on him but was I the only one who thought they'd end up rolling into the swimming pool and end the scene on a wacky note?
Meanwhile, Lynette and Tom's therapy with Jane Leeves' Dr. Graham continued, with Lynette feeling like she was continually being cast in the role of ''controlling bitch.'' So she wasn't exactly thrilled when Tom dragged her to the good doc's community theater debut in Anthony and Cleopatra. But she was tickled pink once they realized how dreadfully bad Dr. Graham was in the role (she burped during her death scene!).
Lynette saw the woman's lack of self-awareness (for thinking she actually had a gift for acting) as a good reason to doubt her judgment when it came to their therapy. But Tom really didn't want to leave his ''safe place'' and even went so far as to lie when Lynette asked him to tell the doc what he thought of her performance (his original assessment was that Lincoln had a better time at the theater). And after Lynette's impassioned rant about the position his need to be liked put her in, Tom admitted that yes, he really needed to be liked and it was unfair to her.
It was touching and funny and all but I feel like we've gone over facets of their dynamic ad nauseum. Off the top of my head, just earlier this season didn't Tom explain to Roy that he allows Lynette to take control because of her childhood needs? I feel like we get it. Tom's a child, Lynette's the grown-up. They rub up against it but it works for them both on some level. The key will be if we actually see any real growth.
Susan's busybody streak had her talking a stripper, Robin (Julie Benz), into quitting her job but since the stripper had aspirations but no money or plan after nine years of stripping (developing skills that revolve around picking up a dollar without using her hands), she turned up on Susan's doorstep asking what to do next. An attempt to pass her off as a teacher's assistant didn't go well when one parent recognized her from the Double D's.
M.J.'s crush on Robin left me feeling all kinds of icky. — ''You can give me a bath if you want to...'' eww! By the end of the episode Robin was moving in with the Delfinos. No one but Susan could possibly think this was a good idea. Even Mike felt sure her asking if he minded a stripper living with them was some sort of trick question. They better be careful before Dexter comes looking for her. (Yeah, yeah. I know. But I'm in denial about all that.)
Meanwhile, Gaby and Carlos' boundary-pushing niece was busy steaming things up with her boyfriend, Danny, and that didn't sit right with Gaby. As always, Gaby had some of the best lines of the night. (''So they're by themselves, with the door shut. Just a couple of teenagers alone with their genitals,'' she said to Angie. ''Why don't you just crack a bottle of champagne on Ana's pelvis and wish Danny a bon voyage.'')
It's interesting to see Gaby in this really parental role but without losing her edge. She toyed with the idea of having a big talk with Ana, imploring her to refrain from sex for moral or medical reasons. But instead she showed that she really understood the teen and knew that she was ''the kind of girl who responds to cold hard cash'' and cut her a big check that she could cash in if she graduated high school without having had sex (or more sex, as the case may be).
Of course, Ana had to take it a step too far and get it on with Danny in the Solis house, only to have Carlos walk in on them and have all his anger management issues come to the front. He grabbed the kid by the neck and raked him over the coals. Angie, spying the scene from outside, walked into the Solis house, threw a vase, and told Carlos that she'd kill him if he ever touched her kid again. Later, Gaby felt they needed to apologize for Carlos' manhandling of Danny and went over to the Bolens' with a plate of cookies. Instead, they ate the cookies standing outside the front door and got that earful that left Gaby eyeing Angie wearily.