NEW YORK – A murder — maybe two — a philandering husband, the discovery of a mysterious love child, an escape from a psychiatric hospital and a police sniper's deadly shot ending a confrontation.
It all rushed by in an action-packed, two-hour season finale of ABC's "Desperate Housewives" on Sunday.
The finale neatly closed the season-long storyline involving actress Alfre Woodard's character but otherwise seemed more intent on setting up plot twists for next season, which will be its third. The prime-time soap isn't the sensation it was its first year, but still ranks as one of TV's most popular shows.
Sunday's finale weaved in flashbacks to when everyone moved to Wisteria Lane, enabling viewers to see the character of Mary Alice. She typically provides the series' voice-over narration, since she committed suicide before the story began.
That device worked to give the season-ender its best visual punchline.
In one flashback, the husband of uptight Bree (Marcia Cross) is seen scolding his wife. "You have to relinquish some control, or else you're going to regret it," Rex says.
The next scene shows Bree grimacing against arm and leg restraints in a psychiatric hospital's bed.
Bree had her reasons for admitting herself to the hospital, and they had little to do with self-examination.
"I really don't have time for this nonsense," she told a prying psychiatrist. "Are you going to give me serious drugs or not?"
Bree escapes from the hospital and goes home just in time to find her daughter about to run off with Betty's (Woodard) son Matthew. Bree tries to stop them, telling her daughter that Matthew is a murderer. He pulls out a gun, points it at Bree's face, and...
Ping! The sound of a sniper's bullet is heard breaking through the window and Matthew falls silently to the floor, dead.
Hapless Susan (Teri Hatcher) is caught between two fistfighting suitors — her ex-husband and Mike, the plumber. The plumber wins out and is heading toward a rendezvous with Susan where it's expected she, or maybe he, would pop the question.
Thud! Instead, he's mowed down by a vehicle driven by Orson, the unhinged dentist, apparently worried that Mike would finger him for some shoddy jailhouse dentistry.
It's not clear whether Mike is dead or alive as the episode ends.
Convinced that her husband is having an affair, Lynette (Felicity Huffman) moves out on him. Tom says he's not cheating, but he did have a one-night stand before they were married with a woman from Atlantic City that resulted in a daughter, now 11. Now the woman has resurfaced, looking for child support.
Lynette and Tom try to pay her off, but she doesn't go away. She uses that check to buy a home five minutes away from theirs, promising plenty more uncomfortable moments next year.
Meanwhile, the libidinous Gabrielle (Eva Longoria) — one flashback shows her first assignation with the gardener — finds out what it's like from the other side. After a brief scare where she thought her husband, Carlos, had died in an accident, she finds out he's having an affair with Xiao Mei, the maid who also happens to be carrying Gabrielle and Carlos' child.
Whoosh! That's the sound of Carlos' clothes being tossed from a second-floor window by Gabrielle, with an assist from the maid, of course.
Wait. Didn't we forget a murder? That was the teenager Zach, who switched off the respirator of his grandfather after the man all but dared him to. Zach's reward was inheriting his grandfather's estate.
At the episode's close, Orson the dentist is seen approaching Bree's house with a bouquet of roses. He knows one of her secrets, having witnessed her escape from the psychiatric hospital. Bree invites him in.
Bree taking up with another psychopath?
Sounds like more fun is in the works for next year.