"Making the Connection" is the 159th episode of Desperate Housewives.
Susan discovers a dangerously thrilling way to help ease her guilt over being an accessory to the murder of her friend Gabrielle's evil stepfather, whereas Gaby herself plans a sexy surprise for Carlos to help him gain his sexual mojo back. In the meantime, Bree learns an interesting tidbit about Chuck's past after visiting Paul Young in prison, and Lynette and Tom find it hard to say "no" to their kids' sometimes outlandish requests so as to not come off as the "bad guy", as their marriage woes continue. Renee tries to win over hunky new neighbor Ben by finding out his passions.
Previously on Desperate Housewives
Renee was charmed by the new neighbor. Trying to protect Gaby, Carlos committed murder. And the women swore to protect the secret. But then Bree received a warning.
|Mary Alice Young|
- Renee becomes interested in Ben Faulkner, Wisteria Lane's newest resident. ("Secrets That I Never Want to Know")
- Carlos whacks Alejandro over the head, killing him. ("Come on Over for Dinner")
- Susan, Bree and Lynette all help Carlos and Gaby dispose of the body. They then agree not to tell their husbands or families about what has happened. ("Secrets That I Never Want to Know")
- Bree receives a blackmail note. ("Secrets That I Never Want to Know")
We fade from white straight into the scene. The episode begins from where the previous one left off: Bree has just opened the letter and her facial expression is one of shock.
When I was alive, Bree Van de Kamp was one of my closest friends. Maybe that's because we had so much in common.
The camera zooms in on the blackmail note as ominous music plays eerily in the background. The note melts into the note Mary Alice received the day she committed suicide - they are identical.
Like Bree, I had also received a menacing letter. One that threatened to shatter the perfect life I had worked so hard to create.
Mary Alice loads a gun with bullets in a flashback.
We see Mary Alice stare blankly at the note before looking up and down the street and shakily hold the note in her arms.
You see, I had once committed a desperate act of my own. And despite my best efforts to conceal it, someone found out and was determined to expose me. I thought about telling my friends, but I decided not to burden them.
Mary Alice's horrific reason for her suicide is revisited. She holds a kitchen knife in her hands, and the body of a woman lays beside her. She picks up her telephone and attempts to tell her friends, but decides against it. We see her load a small gun with bullets and close the barrel tight with a snap.
I had hoped that with one final act, I could coincide my deeds to history. But I had forgotten that history has a way of repeating itself.
Bree breaks down after she receives the mysterious letter.
Back in present day, Bree fumbles the letter around in her hands and begins to walk towards her front door nervously. "Something interesting?" a voice calls out. Bree gasps in shock. It's only Chuck. She lies to her detective boyfriend, telling him that it was just a letter from an old friend. Chuck can see his lover is shaken, and looks at Bree disconcertingly before asking if she is OK. Bree continues to lie and explains that her postman misplaced her and Gaby's water-bill. She politely dismisses Chuck inside, before walking down onto the road and begins to look up and down the street for any signs of life. She once again jumps when Karen McCluskey pops up behind her. Karen, like Chuck, can see Bree is on edge and asks if anything is wrong. Bree lies to Karen, so Karen suggests that Bree ignore the letter. The old woman brushes past Bree and makes her way down the street.
Yes, Bree Van de Kamp and I had so much in common. We shared similar lives.
A teary-eyed Bree sits down on her property, the letter grasped firmly in her palms. She curls up and breaks down crying.
And now Bree found herself praying that we wouldn't share a similar fate.
|Mary Alice Young|
In the divided world of the suburbs, everyone is looking for a way to connect. They fend off loneliness with casual conversation.
It is a perfect day on Wisteria Lane. And we see Mrs. McCluskey and a neighbor standing by a white picket fence, sipping coffee, and gibbering about the latest gossip.
They share old treasures with a young friend.
They help a neighbor make a difficult move.
Outside the Scavo home, Mike is loading cardboard boxes onto the back of his truck, as Tom heaves his suitcase on top of them.
But for Carlos and Gaby Solis, the only connection that mattered was the romantic one.
Carlos returns home from work, places his brief case down, before spotting a trail of rose petals on the floor which traced up the stairs.
And when it came to maintaining it, Gaby was willing to pull out all the stops.
|Mary Alice Young|
Carlos follows the trail of petals with his eyes, which leds to a sexily dressed Gabrielle waving a bottle of champagne in his direction. She yanks the cork out of the bottle and smiles at her husband. "What are we celebrating?" Carlos asks her. "A new record," Gaby replies, "It's been 38 days since we last had sex and that streak is ending tonight." Carlos is shocked at how long it has been, but tells his wife he can't tonight as he has too much work to do. "Uh uh, no excuses. I changed the sheets, shaved my legs, and dumped the kids at McCluskey's. So, drop ya pants cowboy and saddle up!" Gaby exclaims as she marches down the staircase. Carlos pulls the champagne bottle out of Gaby's hand. "Yes 'mam!" he says, before carrying his wife up the stairs towards their bedroom.
We cut to Gaby and Carlos in bed, who have just tried to have sex. Going by the look on the pairs faces, it was not a as enjoyable as they had hoped. "Don't feel bad, it happens to lots of men" Gaby explains. "Not to me," Carlos replies, "And not to us." It is revealed through the pairs following discussion, that Carlos found difficulty in getting an erection, thus ruining their love making. Carlos gets out of bed, as Gaby tells him to relax as he has been under a lot of stress recently. She suggests that she give him a massage, they finish drinking the champagne, and have another try. Carlos declines her offer and walks off. Gabrielle lets out a sigh and falls back into the sheets.
The next day, we see Susan wheeling a trolley out of a supermarket, heading towards her car. She wears a face of mixed emotions, but mainly that of guilt.
Like Carlos, Susan was also feeling disconnected. Her guilt made the world a strange and scary place. Where she could be exposed at any moment.
|Mary Alice Young|
Susan crosses the road but spots a policeman in a nearby car looking at her. Out of fear, Susan starts to quickly dash away. "Hey! Hold it right there!" a voice yells out, as the supermarket security officer dashes after her. Susan stops and lets the guard catch up with her. "I know what you did..." he tells her. She nervously asks what
he means. And he tells her that she walked out without paying for a box of soda. Susan apologizes, before an older security officer jogs up behind the pair. The older officer asks for Susan forgiveness - he has known Susan for years and understands that she would never commit a crime, she just accidentally forgot to pay for the soda. Susan tells the officers that she is indeed a bad person and that she has done a terrible thing and that she deserves to be punished. The younger officer pulls out a pair of hand-cuffs, but the older officer refuses to let Susan be arrested. Other shoppers begin to group around the scene to watch what is happening. Eventually, Susan ends up arresting herself by locking her hands in the cuffs. The young officer excitingly escorts her back inside the store, and Susan is strangely happy to be punished.
Back on Wisteria Lane, inside Wisteria Lane's newest resident's house, Mike is busy fixing the pipes underneath the kitchen sink, as Ben watches over him. Mike explains that he fixed the pipes for free, and Ben is thankful. Just as Mike begins to leave, Ben stops him and asks if Mike would like to work for him on a property he is
working on (Ben is real-estate developer) - Mike is interested.
Later, Mike leaves Ben's house and places his toolbox in the back of his truck, before Renee calls over to him. Renee explains that she is interested in Ben and wants to get to know him better. "You've been on the inside, what can you tell me about him?" Renee asks. After Mike jokes around with her, he eventually remembers that Ben had an award plaque for his work with the elderly on display in his home. Renee is surprised, but tells Mike she likes old people too. "Thanks for the tip, friend" Renee says cheekily, before strutting off.
Meanwhile, Lynette is busy folding the laundry. Just then, Tom arrives with Parker, Penny and Paige. They've been visiting him at the hotel where he's been staying. Lynette is annoyed at Tom when she discovers that he gave Penny a slushy because now she'll be awake all night because of sugar makes her hyper. Lynette refuses to be the bad guy now they are separated and she tells Tom that he needs to learn to say 'no' to his kids. Tom explains that things are different now they are separated, and so he doesn't have to listen to his wife argue with him - he leaves, and Lynette frustratingly tosses a towel into the laundry basket.
Susan, Bree, Gaby and Lynette are all sitting around the latter's kitchen table, playing a game of friendly poker. Gaby is moaning about her sex life. "It's bad enough when we weren't even having sex, but to try and fail?!"
Gabrielle tells the girls. Gabrielle continues to tell her friends that sex is important in her and Carlos' relationship and that she is worried what will happen. She then turns to the 'gals and asks them how she can spice up their love-making. They are all surprised that Gaby is asking them for sex-tips. Lynette suggests Gaby and Carlos watch a porno, Susan suggests having sex in public, and finally Bree explains that role-play helped her and Orson bond. Lynette then mentions how one of her friends hired a stripper to give her husband a lap dance, and hints that perhaps Gabrielle should do the same. Susan interjects and tells Gabrielle that she understands where Carlos is coming from. "Something you want to talk about?" Lynette asks her, while shuffling playing cards around in her hands. Susan explains what happened at the supermarket - Gaby calls her crazy, but Bree is flustered and tells Susan to stop attracting attention.
Later, Bree is in her kitchen, staring at the note eerily. Chuck walks up behind her and she quickly conceals the note in her pocket. He announces that he is home for lunch, but Bree tells him she has stuff to do. Chuck then asks Bree if anything has changed between them - she tells him nothing has changed between them, just her daily schedule.
Ben is watering his lawn. Carefully, Renee sneaks past him and up onto Mrs McCluskey's porch. McCluskey opens her front door. "Hello there, Karen!" Renee shouts loudly at the old woman. Ben looks up from his chore, and looks on at the two woman. Renee pretends to offer Karen a cooked dinner - instead, she is actually bribing her with a $50 bill - Renee explains that Ben has a soft spot for the elderly and as far as Ben knows, so does she. Karen and Renee agree on $100 and the two continue to pretend to be friends. They hug and talk. "Hands off, he's gone" Renee says, before walking away.
"You think I sent this?", Paul Young asks Bree. They are sitting in a prison communication cell, with telephones up to their ears, speaking to each other. Bree has shown Paul the mysterious note she received. Paul angrily hangs up on her and begins to walk away, before Bree hammers on the glass and calls out his
name for him to continue speaking to her. "It has the exact same wording as the letter Mary Alice received!" Bree explains. "Yes - that's very weird," Paul replies, "But why are you so worked up about it?" Paul tells Bree that Mary Alice was hiding something, but Bree isn't, so why should she worry about the letter - he is in the dark about the secret Bree is really keeping. Bree says that it is obviously just a cruel prank but she would still feel more comfortable knowing who wrote it. The two conclude that it must have been someone who knew about the original note. Paul lists off the people who knew about the note and subsequently asks if she has shown the note to Susan, Lynette and Gaby. Bree explains that she hasn't shown it to the girls because she isn't sure what it means. Paul turns serious and warns Bree not to keep it to herself. "If Mary Alice had shared the note with you girls... things... might have turned out in a whole different way." Paul says sadly, as Bree's lower lip begins to shake.
The next day, Susan continues her efforts to overcome her guilt by getting punished for doing petty crimes. First, she mixes her trash and recycling bins up to annoy the garbage men - which fails, as the garbageman doesn't care. Secondly, she pretends to smoke in a 'non-smoking' area of Fairview Memorial Hospital - this again fails, as the security officer asks if he can join her because his wife made him quit. Finally, Susan purposefully eats all of the free samples of cookies (despite a sign warning customers to only take 2 each) on display at a local coffee shop - like previous outings, she doesn't get in trouble, as the saleswoman informs her that the cookies were gone off.
Ben knocks on the Renee's front door and explains how he has been talking to Mrs McCluskey and how much he misjudged Renee's character. He tells her that he regularly helps out the seniors around Fairview himself. "Get out, look at us having things in common!" Renee says excitedly. They both smile. Renee asks, "So, is there something else I can...help you with?" Ben asks if Renee is free tonight, and she looks at him, surprised.
Parker returns home and asks his mum if he can attend a friend's party. Lynette won't let him go because she remembers from past experiences how wild his friend's parties get. Just then, Lynette sees Tom step out of his car through the window, and decides to test Tom and see if he can say no to one his his kids outlandish requests. Parker asks Tom about the party, and Lynette and Tom begin to argue back and forth about which parent should say no. Both Lynette and Tom don't say no, thus letting Parker go to the party. Lynette is aggravated.
Over at the Solis household, a stripper -Dakota- (from Karl Mayer's old club, Double D's) has been hired by Gaby to install a pole in her and Carlos' bedroom and begin to give her lessons on pole-dancing. Gabrielle explains to Dakota how Carlos is having issues getting an erection, and the stripper cheerfully tells her not to worry, as this is a very common problem with "older women". Gaby pretends to be younger than she really is, after learning Dakota was born in 1992, and later orders her to hurry up and show her what she is going to learn how to do. Dakota begins an exotic pole dance, which impresses Gaby. Gaby wants to have a go. Dakota doesn't think Gabrielle will be able to do such an advanced move, but Gaby is determined to prove her wrong. Gaby proceeds to climb up the pole and manages to hold herself up. Dakota then tells Gaby to put her "ass up and legs out" and that "slow is sexy". Gabrielle tries to sexily slide down the pole, but comedically ends up falling to the floor, with a high yelp. Dakota helps Gabrielle up and tells her that she should pick up the technique and be able to pole-dance at an advanced level in 6 months tops. Gaby is not pleased. "Basically, I need to be you by tonight!"; Gaby then asks Dakota "Hey, what are you doing tonight?". Dakota tells her she's headlining at Double D's, and Gaby asks if she'd willing to perform in her house that night if she paid her more.
Ben takes Renee to their "romantic" dinner – Renee is happy because the "restaurant" seems to be full of older people, which makes them the youngest people around.
Ben gleefully smiles and tells her that this isn't a restaurant. Inside, it is revealed to Renee that they are actually at a senior center, where they will spend their 'date' serving old people food. Ben hands Renee a hair-net and something to wear over her clothes, before hitting her on the back. Renee's mouth hangs open in shock.
Meanwhile, Gaby pulls a blind-folded Carlos into their bedroom and sits him down in a nearby chair. She smiles at a semi-naked Dakota, who then proceeds to giving Carlos a lap dance. Carlos eventually gives in and begins to enjoy the experience, before Gaby removes the blindfold, showing Carlos who was really giving him a lap dance. Carlos himself out of the chair - he isn't comfortable with the whole idea. Dakota tells Gaby to take his place in the chair and tries to encourage a little girl-on-girl action to turn Carlos on. Carlos figures out that Gabrielle has told the stripper his problem and is highly embarrassed. Gabrielle tells the stripper to leave, as Carlos begins to raise his voice. Gaby expresses how much she wants everything to go back to normal. “We’re never going back to normal!” Carlos snaps, finally admitting that the guilt is with him all the time, even when they’re in the bedroom – something Gabrielle is just going to have to live with.
Back at the senior center, Renee is serving food to Fairview's oldest residents. She encounters an old woman who tells Renee that Ben is messing with her by taking her to the senior center on their first date. Renee struts over to Ben, gives him her hairnet, and leaves. Ben follows her and jokingly admits that he took Renee there to make fun of her, and calls her out for not being truthful about her personality. In turn, Renee opens up to him, telling him that after her mom died she were bounced around to places like this and hated it. Ben says he knows what it’s like to claw your way out of something too, and just like that, the two have found something in common.
Susan has parked her car in a 'Fire Zone' area - she is busy filing her nails and awaiting a policeman to arrest
her. Just then, a motorcycle cop pulls up behind her. He approaches her, tells her not to do it again, and says he'll let her off with a warning. Susan is confused and asks why she isn't in trouble. The cop reveals that he is a new father, and so full of love, he is letting people get away with crimes. Susan has had enough, and angrily steps out of her car to confront the cop. "Laws have been broken - there must be consequences!" Susan shouts at the cop. He tells Susan that he wants to get home to be with his baby and he pulls a small photo out of his wallet. Susan pulls it out of his hands and rips up the picture. The cop expresses his anger, but luckily he carries a back-up. Susan's fuse snaps and she kicks over the policeman's motorcycle, which crashes to the floor. He quickly turns Susan around and hand-cuffs her. Susan smiles at the satisfaction of being caught.
Mike is busy fixing his lawn-mower, as Ben walks over to him for a chat. "What's the problem?" Mike asks - "You," Ben replies, "Who know? Mike Delfino, suburban dad, the guy who has the neatest lawn on the block, ex-con..."
Mike acknowledges his past. Ben asks when Mike was going to tell him about his past and Mike apologizes but says that he doesn't generally lead with that statement because he isn't that guy anymore. "That cop tried to rape your girlfriend and you fought him to protect her. Tell me why you wouldn't want to be that guy anymore?" Ben says eerily. Mike explains that that was a long time ago and he was a young man who has since learned that life is a lot more complicated than he originally thought. "No...No...Life is brutally simple," Ben continues, "Life is getting what you want, protecting who you love, and everything else is weakness. A guy like you knows it." Mike is confused and tells Ben that if this is his way off explaining that he can't hire him then it's alright. Ben shakes his head and adds, "I didn't say that. I just said I couldn't bond you. I can definitely use you."
Susan is released from prison. It is revealed that Carlos has come to pick her up from prison and Susan tells him about what she’s been doing, admitting that while the rush of getting caught is fun in the moment, it doesn’t
really help her feel any better in the long run. Carlos tells her that he’s glad someone finally wants to open up about their secret rather than hide from it, and the two bond over the fact that despite what everyone else thinks, things really are not all well and good in Fairview. They both agree to go and get some coffee and speak about the situation.
At the Scavo household, a worried Lynette decides to call Parker to find out where he is, and thus confirming her concerns that the party is indeed a little more wild than movies and hot dogs. She goes to the party and instead of finding her son, she finds Tom. Tom explains that Parker called him, asking to be picked up, because he had gotten too drunk. Tom and Lynette both argue about what happened, before a furious Tom walks off, leaving Lynette thinking about the situation that occurred.
Back at the house, Lynette walks down the stairs and Tom asks if Parker is sleeping. Lynette confirms this and she decided she'd let him sober up before she punishes him. Tom apologizes to Lynette and acknowledges that he shouldn't have let his son go to such a rowdy party. "But right now, saying yes, is the only move I've got," Tom tells his estranged wife, "Lynette you have no idea what this is like for me. For 20 years I had the same bed-time ritual. I'd brush my teeth, then I'd go look at each kid sleeping. And no matter what crap happened during the day, I knew the things that mattered would be OK. Now my ritual is - I brush my teeth...so yes, I'm doing everything I can to make the little time that I spend them is the best time of their week." Lynette sits next to Tom on the sofa, quietly listening to what he has to say. "Wow, well you're succeeding," Lynette replies, "When I see them sprint out to the car, so excited to see daddy, part of me thinks - great, they're okay with this - and part of me thinks - oh crap. I'm loosing them to you." Lynette concludes that the only way they're going to get through this is if they stop thinking about who wins.
Bree has shown Gabrielle the note.
She apologizes for burdening Gaby with it. Gabrielle say it isn't so bad because even if someone knows, at least they aren't asking for money and that unless anything happens, they should act as if everything is normal. Bree suggests telling the other housewives. "Well, we can't tell Susan. She's already flipping out!" Gabrielle replies. Gabrielle then tells Bree she needs to break up with her detective boyfriend, Chuck, despite the fact Bree wants to keep him around because he makes her feel safe. "Bree, you've got to end this, and you've got to end it now" Gaby orders.
Bree returns home. She heads up to her bedroom and calls out Chuck's name. Just at that moment, Chuck emerges from the bathroom, with a towel wrapped around him. "Well, isn't that funny. I was just wondering to myself 'How am I gonna wash my back in the shower'?" He seductively tells Bree. Bree refuses his offer and Chuck asks if something is on her mind. "It can wait..."
Bree replies, with a fake smile plastered on her face. She tells him to go ahead and take his shower, which he reluctantly does, despite seeing that something is bothering his girlfriend. He returns to the bathroom. Bree sits down on the bed and decides to go through Chuck's clothes. She finds his police badge, which she feels in her hand. The bedside telephone begins to ring, which she answers quickly. It is Paul Young. He reveals that he has been thinking about what they previously spoke about and he remembers someone else who knew about the note and his wife's suicide. He confessed the murder of Martha Huber to a detective with a 'short last name.' "Was it Vance? Chuck Vance?" Bree slowly asks Paul, looking back to the bathroom door. Paul agrees, and Bree quickly excuses herself and hangs up the phone. She hurls Chuck's police badge back onto the bed, just as Chuck reemerges from the bathroom. "I know that was like the shortest shower ever," Chuck remarks, "But I really didn't like that look on your face. Are you about to break up with me?" Bree's face once again snarls into a fake smile. "Of course not," Bree replies calmly "In fact, let's get you back in that shower!" The two of them begin to kiss.
Yes, in the divided world of the suburbs, everyone is looking for someway to make a connection.
Chuck smiles and makes his way back to the bathroom door. As his back turns, Bree's face melts into one that is serious and cold.
Some seek to connect by focusing on a greater good.
Lynette and Tom both hold cups of coffee in their hands, and return to the dinner table to talk to their son, Parker, about the party.
Some, by revealing a common history.
Renee and Ben are sat at the table of the former's home, sharing a meal of fast food burger and fries.
Some, by sharing a pain no one else can heal.
Carlos and Susan are sitting in a coffee shop, talking about the secret they share. Susan breaks down in tears and Carlos gracefully hands her a tissue.
Then there are those who once sought to make a connection...
Bree and Chuck are lying in bed together. Chuck's arms are wrapped tightly around Bree's shoulders. She peers out from the darkness, staring at the gun and badge lying on the bedside table.
...that they now want desperately to escape.
|Mary Alice Young|
"Making the Connection" was written by Matt Berry and directed by Tara Nicole Weyr. The episode features the final appearance of Mark Moses as Paul Young. Moses' onscreen deceased wife, Mary Alice Young, appears in a flashback, portrayed by Brenda Strong.
The episode was watched by an approximated 9.16 million viewers, with a 3.0 rating among its key demographic (18-49). However, ABC reported that the episode gained an additional 2.7 million viewers after it's initial broadcast due to DVR recordings. These figures were low for Desperate Housewives, and it lost out to what could be considered it's main competitor, The Good Wife, which was watched by 11.08 million viewers.
"Making the Connection" received generally positive reviews from television critics. Catriona Wightman, of Digital Spy, praised the continuing mystery surrounding Bree's blackmail letter, as well as Gaby's comedic one-liners. However, she was critical of Susan's storyline, saying it was "really quite weird - I'm not saying it's not a side effect of guilt, but it was all very bizarre."  Fans responded positively to the episode also. They commended Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria's acting but were frustrated with the episode's slow pacing. Ultimately, the general consensus was that the season premiere was a better episode.
- The title of this episode comes from a lyric in the song "Putting it Together", taken from the Stephen Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George.
- Although credited, Madison De La Garza (Juanita Solis) does not appear in this episode.
- Brenda Strong (Mary Alice Young) is physically seen in this episode.
- The stripper Gabrielle hired mentioned Karl Mayer's club, Double D's.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.