"Epiphany" is the 131st episode of Desperate Housewives.
The Fairview Strangler has been living among the women of Wisteria Lane, and we are introduced to the life and times of the mysterious monster that's been ruining lives, and we realize just how much the ladies of Wisteria Lane have affected and shaped him.
This episode reveals to us the background of Eddie Orlofsky, otherwise known as the Fairview Strangler, and the ways the women of Wisteria Lane have influenced his life, whether positively or negatively, directly or indirectly.
The episode begins with Mary Alice telling us about the monster that lives in a decrepit house in the town of Fairview. Inside this house, we see Eddie staring out the window, and his mother is in the couch, asking him what he's done to her liquor. Eddie says he didn't do anything, and he'll bring some home once he gets back from fixing Mrs. Scavo's car. Barbara then breaks into her son's room and, looking for a bottle of booze, finds his scrapbook instead.
Mary Alice met Eddie on a Monday. He was four years old, and out on the street as his parents fought inside the house. His father, Hank, rushed outside with his luggage, ready to leave, saying he never wanted a kid in the first place. Mary Alice becomes affected by this. Later, she stops by with a casserole, hoping to comfort Barbara, Eddie's mom. Barbara reveals to her she believes she is never going to find another man. However, Mary Alice assures her that there is someone out there for her. Some other day, Mary Alice comes over, carrying a teddy bear to give to Eddie, and learns that he is home alone, as his mother went out to some bar. Mary Alice tracks her down, and humiliates her in front of her male companion, who is less than pleased about her having a kid. Mary Alice demands she come home right then, and back at home, Barbara is mortified that she left Eddie alone, it's just that the babysitter cancelled when she was all ready to go out, and she desperately needs a man. Mary Alice lets her know she does sympathize with her, but being a mom means putting the child's needs above everything else. Barbara reassures her that she understands the lesson, and Mary Alice goes. Mrs. Orlofsky then hugs her son, telling him "It's not your fault you ruined my life."
Gabrielle met Eddie on a Thursday. He was nine years old, and it was her first day on Wisteria Lane. Her house was pretty much empty, and Carlos was working, so she was all alone. We see Gaby hearing a noise coming from the bathroom. She heads there, and finds Eddie playing in the bathtub. The two engage in a conversation, and Gabrielle learns that Eddie is not in school because it's summertime, and that he's been playing in that empty house ever since the previous occupiers leave. Eddie offers to help her unload the moving vans. Later, he becomes her helper with all sorts of chores, including painting nails, and also becomes her confidant and closest friend, as Gaby can't stand the women on the street. One time, Carlos surprises Gaby during lunchtime, and they have sex in the bathtub. Eddie catches them together, and the Solises freak out, leading to Gabrielle yelling at Eddie to go away. Later, Gaby has filled Carlos in on Eddie, and he tells her it's not natural for her to be best friends with a 9-year-old, she should go out and make some friends her own age. Gaby comes outside, where Eddie is striking a bush with a stick repeatedly, and lets him down gently, telling him they should make new friends in their own age brackets. Eddie storms off angrily. Once he gets home, he sees his mother making out with some guy on the couch, and he heads to his room to get a BB gun. Outside, he shoots a bird with it.
Bree hired Eddie to do some house work on a Wednesday. He painted the exterior of the house. Bree gives him some money for a job well done, and Eddie notices she's given him extra. Bree tells him he could use the money to get his girlfriend something nice, but Eddie gives it back, saying he doesn't have a girlfriend. He then lets her know girls don't think of him that way, they don't even notice him. Bree says perhaps the girls are waiting for him to notice them. Eddie says there's this girl at school he really likes. Bree suggests he compliments her eyes, and start talking to her and sending her gifts. Some other day, however, Bree stops by the Orlofsky house, and meets with Barbara, because it turns out the object of Eddie's affection was her daughter Danielle, who doesn't respond to Eddie's feelings. Bree asks Barbara to let her son down easily. But once Eddie comes home and finds them there, Barbara tells him she knows he's been harassing Bree's daughter. Bree is mortified as Barbara continues to humiliate her son. Eddie comes back to work for Bree, but solely because he needs the money. She takes the opportunity to apologize to him, and reassures him he will find some girl out there. At night, Eddie hires a prostitute, because he desperately needs someone to love him. He tries to give flowers to the girl, and she bursts out laughing in his face. He becomes annoyed, and kills her in an alley, therefore making his first victim.
Susan first noticed Eddie on a Thursday, as an employee at The Coffee Cup. She notices him drawing a female customer and is blown away by his talent. She does, however, say he needs to perfect his techniques, and offers to play the part of his drawing teacher. During a meeting of theirs, Susan tells Eddie he has gone a long way, and he says it's because he's had a great teacher. She then tells him he actually outgrew her, and makes it so that he takes some art classes, which she paid for. Eddie is beyond happy. His happiness is destroyed when he comes back to find that Susan, whom he developed a crush on, is about to get married to Mike Delfino again, that same day. Susan is a bit nervous and uncertain, and Eddie offers to marry her. Susan interprets it as a joke and laughs at him, thanking him for calming her down. She then goes upstairs to eat the éclairs he brought her, and Eddie rips a drawing he made of Susan in art class. During the wedding, Eddie sits in the back, angrily. That same night, he returns to the lane, intent on killing Susan, and ends up strangling Julie instead. He stops once he notices he missed his target, and runs off. At the hospital, while Julie's in a coma, Eddie is sitting there staring at her, and Susan walks in. She is disgusted by whatever monster did this to her child, and Eddie says this must've been by a piece of trash who doesn't even deserve to be in this world. Whoever did it should just kill himself. Susan says that someone who's capable of doing something awful like this doesn't have the guts to commit suicide. Eddie realizes she's right.
Lynette was clued in on Eddie's life on a Friday, when she had him over for dinner and charades. As they're all playing, Barbara shows up because she wants to know what Eddie has been doing with her liquor. She knows he's hiding it from her. Eddie tries to walk his mother home and calm her down, and Lynette tells Barbara she shouldn't be rude to her son. Barbara tries to take Lynette down a notch, by telling her she knows the Scavos are up to, trying to be inclusive towards Eddie so they can soothe their consciences. The following day, we see Eddie is looking at a kid with his mother playfully passing the time outside. Eddie leaves his house, after his mother asks for booze. He's going over to the Scavos' to fix Lynette's car. Barbara breaks into his room. Meanwhile, Lynette tells Tom she feels livid at herself because Barbara got away with humiliating her son the night before, since they did nothing to stop her. She then reveals she is tired of doing nothing, when she knows something bad is taking place in the Orlofsky house.
When Eddie gets home, bringing liquor, his mother has his scrapbook, and asks him why he would keep pictures and articles of girls that have been attacked and even killed in their town. She then asks him if he had something to do with it all. Eddie becomes very nervous, and Barbara realizes her son is the Fairview Strangler. She is shocked, and says she didn't raise him to grow up that way, to which Eddie replies "Didn't you?" Barbara is infuriated by this, saying he is not gonna pin it on her. She then grabs the phone in order to call the police, and tells him he's the biggest mistake she ever made in her whole life. He grabs the bottle of liquor and angrily strikes her over the head with it. Barbara drops to the floor, and then gets up and tries to beat him. He grabs her by the neck and starts to choke her. Barbara tries to fight him off, but her son quickly kills her by means of strangling. He lets her go and she lies dead on the floor. As he prepares to leave, he notices Lynette on his doorstep. She talked things over with Tom and they decided to let Eddie stay with them, because they know he's currently in an abusive environment. She notices Barbara's body on the floor, but doesn't realize she's dead, Lynette just thinks she's out cold due to beind drunk. Eddie tearfully accepts to move in with them. Lynette tells him to pack his stuff then, and asks if he would like her to speak with his mother first. Eddie says that would be no avail, she wouldn't hear a word. She then leaves.
Eddie rips off the shower curtains and conceals his mother's body with them. He then puts the body in the trunk of his car, and Mary Alice tells us that monsters aren't born that way, they are created by other monsters (thus referring to his negligent mother).
This episode was watched by 11.437 million viewers in its original broadcast. and received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics and fans.
- Although credited, Kyle MacLachlan (Orson Hodge), Dana Delany (Katherine Mayfair), Drea de Matteo (Angie Bolen), Maiara Walsh (Ana Solis), Jeffrey Nordling (Nick Bolen), Madison De La Garza (Juanita Solis) and Mason Vale Cotton (MJ Delfino) are absent from this episode. Kathryn Joosten (Karen McCluskey) and Beau Mirchoff (Danny Bolen) are too absent, and therefore are not credited.
- However, Mason Vale Cotton (MJ Delfino) and guest star Steve Tyler (the Minister) do appear in archive footage.
- This episode marks the return of Andrea Bowen (Julie Mayer), who had been absent from seven episodes in a row. It's her final appearance in the season, however.
- This episode marks the lowest number of appearances by regular cast members for the year, with a total of nine regulars absent.
- Brenda Strong (Mary Alice Young) is seen in this episode (for the only time in season six).
- The title of this episode comes from a song of the same name in the Stephen Sondheim musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street".
- The end of the episode is a reference to the Alfred Hitchcock directed film "Psycho", in which the main character, Norman Bates, kills a woman, wraps her in a shower curtain and puts her in the trunk of a car. In the film, Bates also kills his mother, like Eddie.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.