desperate_housewives_castBy: CT

Last year, I’d all but written the women of Wisteria Lane off for good. The season’s mystery was as slow-moving as it was predictable, and the subplots were mostly one-episode self-contained silliness with the emotional depth of a puddle. The entire mess built to a cliffhanger — who did Mike marry? — that wasn’t exactly going to have people sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for the show to return.

Well, guess what, kids? The HOUSEWIVES are back, and they are on fire!

Two episodes into the new season, the entire show feels reinvigorated. There’s a new family on the block, as usual, but unlike the Applewhites or Mayfairs, the Bolens are both intriguing and mysterious. There’s the brutish dad, tough-talking mom and thuggish son, all of whom were thrust immediately into the unfolding action. By the end of the first episode, Susan’s daughter, Julie, had been strangled, setting off a “who done it” that at first glimpse seems fairly obvious and yet might well have been designed to deceive.

Better still are the secondary storylines involving our beloved wives: In perhaps the boldest story to be told on the primetime sudser in years, Lynette is pregnant (again) with twins (again), and finds herself realizing that she might not actually want more children. Felicity Huffman has, for my money, always given HOUSEWIVES its soul, and she’s never been better than in the scenes in which Lynette tries reconciling what every woman is “supposed” to want with the unsettling fact that she doesn’t. Meanwhile, the affair Bree started last season with Susan’s ex-husband, Carl, has been given unexpected resonance in the wake of his daughter’s attack. I’m not quite sure what to make of seemingly-unbalanced Katherine, who has gone a bit nutso since being dumped by Mike, but Dana Delaney is giving a stellar performance that makes it almost believable. Even Gabriella — a character who has never really developed in accordance with the blows life has dealt her — seems more mature this season as she deals with Carlos’ teenage niece and the chaos she’s brought into their lives.

So far, it’s looking as if HOUSEWIVES is making an early bid for the title of “Most Improved Show” on our annual Year In Review list. After two lackluster seasons, Wisteria Lane is once again the place to be on Sunday nights!

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  • Nick

    Not having watched any DH this season, by “strangled,” do you mean “dead”….or just attacked and still kicking? I assume I’m okay asking a spoilery question, since you mentioned the strangulation.

  • Angela

    I guess it’s safe to inform-Julie is not dead (it was revealed in the previews for yesterday’s ep the previous week), just in a coma. I agree that this season is way better already. I hope that the conflict within for Lynette is not over, as it seemed it might be on Sunday’s show. I hope they develop that story more. If it weren’t that Dana Delaney is a great actress, I might be more annoyed with Katherine. I still miss Edie!

  • Ace

    I have to disagree with you. DH seems to be falling into the same traps that have gotten them in trouble the last few seasons. It looks like they will have a year-long mystery in the form of the new family (how original), one of the wives is having an affair with another wife’s ex (also original), lives were temporarily in the balance and all interesting plot lines were resolved in two episodes (Lynette’s baby situation). *sigh*

  • ct

    Ace — I agree to a certain degree that the storylines feel repetitious. But whereas Dave and/or the Applewhites dragged, I’m already very sucked in by the new family on the block and how very quickly they’ve been sort of meshed in with the rest of the neighborhood.

  • Kristen

    So who does everyone think did it? There are quite a few people I suspect. There’s obviously the new family, any one of them could have done it, although I’m starting to suspect the dad less and less. Then there’s Ana, out of jealousy. SPOILER ALERT! It could be whoever would’ve been the dad, had she been pregnant. But my main suspect is Katherine. She’s so coocoo that in her mind, that would be the perfect revenge!

  • Ace

    Kristen — You nailed all of the ones I’ve thought of. The only other person I could think of was creepy Zach from the prior seasons. Some others have been saying maybe Orson as a way to get back at her dad for cheating w/ Bree, but I don’t think he knows about them yet.

  • Manju

    I agree, I checked out last year, but went and saw the premiere just to see how it was doing, it was fantastic. Crazy good drama and truely interesting storylines, mixed with character development for those who we really care about and a dip of good old humor. The housewives are back in business!

  • Kristen

    I don’t think it would be Zach or Orson just because they’ve kind of already covered those storylines for both of them.