The Desperate Housewives Season 7 premiere picked up where the shocking Season 6 finale left-off: the return of Paul Young (Mark Moses), the questionable parentage of a child on Wisteria Lane, and the long-awaited repercussions for Andrew (Shawn Pyfrom) after his hit-and-run incident with Juanita Solis (Lupe Ontiveros). The following review does contain spoilers, so please be advised! Need a recap of the Season 6 finale? Read over my review for a quick rundown.
The premiere episode opened with the routine voice-over from Mary Alice (Brenda Strong) remembering her happier days on Wisteria Lane with her neighbors, followed by the arrival of the letter-and the drama-which eventually resulted in her suicide. This quick recap of Paul and Mary Alice’s personal storyline illustrated the series of events which led to Paul’s incarceration, and announced his official return to the neighborhood. Susan’s neighbors were unimpressed to learn that she didn’t realize Paul Young had rented her home. “Innocent or not, that guy still gives me the creeps,” Gabi (Eva Longoria Parker) informed the Wisteria Lane lynching mob after leaving Paul’s new residence.
Felicia Tillman (Harriet Sansom Harris) was discovered alive and well during the summer break between Desperate Housewives seasons, thus releasing Paul from incarceration as her murderer. “Paul can now receive the punishment he’s entitled to. Just between us girls,” Felicia explained rather diabolically to her unnamed cellmate, “Paul Young will be dead within six months.” The only aspect missing from the scene was maniacal laughter and the villain’s crazy, twitching eye.
One major mystery introduced in the Season 6 finale of Desperate Housewives involved a dying nurse confessing that one of the families on Wisteria Lane is raising a child not their own. Juanita, the oldest daughter of Carlos (Ricardo Chavira) and Gabi Solis, was apparently switched at birth. According to hospital lawyer, Gabi and Carlos’ biological daughter-and the family raising her-had yet to be located. For the first time in recent memory, the latest heart wrenching storyline doesn’t involve Susan; the writers seem to finally be evenly distributing the clichés this season. Carlos decided to threaten the hospital with a lawsuit, demanding that they cease the investigation for Juanita’s real parents-and his biological daughter-and bury the whole incident, including keeping Gabi in the dark.
The Season 7 premiere also saw the highly anticipated confession from Bree (Marcia Cross) to Gabi about the identity of her mother-in-law’s killer: her son, Andrew. “Remember that night that Carlos’ mother was run over by a car?” she asked Gabi, provoking a collective sigh from the audience. “You shouldn’t have told me at all. Now I have to tell Carlos, and he’s going to kill Andrew, and then he’s going to have to go to prison,” Gabi exclaimed. “So, thank you for sending my husband to prison, Bree-nice work.” Ultimately, she concluded that it would hurt Carlos and their marriage too much to share the details of this private confession.
With Carlos harboring the secret of Juanita’s parentage from Gabi, and Gabi hiding the truth from him about his mother’s death, the writers have lit the fuse attached to a very large powder keg.
Viewers were also introduced to eternal-victim Susan (Teri Hatcher) and Mike (James Denton)’s new home. At the end of Season 6, Susan announced that due to financial troubles she and Mike had decided to rent their gorgeous Wisteria Lane home and reside in a much more modest rental. Upon arriving at the new location, MJ (Mason Vale Cotton) was unimpressed by their new surroundings; “This is where we’re going to live? So, are we poor?” A beautiful illustration of how spoiled the children on Desperate Housewives are, considering the new apartment actually looked rather nice-especially the skylight. “No, Honey, we’re not poor,” explained a chronically misfortunate Susan. “We’re just lower middle class; poor people wish they could live like this.”
Lynette (Felicity Huffman)’s biggest conflict during the Season 7 premiere was the arrival of her long-time college friend, Renee (Vanessa Williams), who happened to be obscenely rich with a husband who plays for the Yankees. Her unexpected visit sent Lynette into a cleaning frenzy, and she prompted dressed her family to impress the wealthy frienemy. Verbal sparring ensued, which remained all in good fun until coffee with the remaining Wisteria Lane women. The digs turned into judgmental insults issued from both Lynette and Renee, and a few embarrassing secrets revealed. Renee finally confessed that her husband is leaving her, her discovery of his affair, and the true reason for her visit: she needed a place to stay.
If the promotional teasers are to be believed, Renee is the new housewife for Season 7 of Desperate Housewives, apparently replacing the mandatory resident “bad girl” role that first Edie, and then Katherine, vacated.
Susan’s primary conflict, other than her son’s disapproval of the roof over his head, came by way of her landlord’s recruitment attempt. It seems the merry widow runs an adult website, one featuring housewives cleaning in expensive-but modest-lingerie. While many housewives in their forties might be flattered by a request to be filmed, while clothed, for a considerable amount of money-even if they politely declined-Susan was scandalized, and immediately refused. When Mike broke the news that the bank refused his loan request, and that he was considering a year on an oil rig in Alaska, Susan decided to try her hand at on-camera cleaning.
Orson (Kyle MacLachlan) and Bree’s plans to divorce continued, and viewers watched as Orson finished moving out of the couples’ home. After his departure, Bree stumbled into a new project by way of a rogue corner of wallpaper; it seems her latest method of coping with a loss will be the remodeling of her home instead of a bottle of Chardonnay or a business venture. Keith (Brian Austin Green), the hunky contractor helping Bree with her remodeling project, promises to be one of the best new arrivals to the Desperate Housewives cast. With Orson’s fledgling relationship to his physical therapist, Bree seems poised to undertake a rather steamy new outlook on dating.
Ultimately, Desperate Housewives Season 7 began with a shocking start full of complications for each member of the cast. With the series likely drawing to a close-and rumors speculating that Season 7 may be the finale run-fans are likely to see more drama, chaos and mystery this season than in recent Desperate Housewives memory–count me as one viewer who will definitely be tuning in.