"Mirror, Mirror" is the 92nd episode of Desperate Housewives.
Flashbacks show us key moments that transpired in the women's lives during the five-year jump; Driven by a hidden agenda, Dave convinces Susan to throw Mrs. McCluskey a surprise party for her 70th birthday. Jackson wants to take his relationship with Susan to the next level. Meanwhile, Gabrielle's concerned she might be pregnant. Tom tells Lynette he's sold the pizzeria. A startling reason for the bond between Bree and Katherine is revealed, and an outraged Mrs. McCluskey has the entire neighborhood questioning her sanity.
It could have been such a lovely evening, Mary Alice says. She talks about a surprise party that went badly. We see Lynette splash a drink in Tom’s face, Susan watch Jackson kiss Katherine, Gabrielle get mad with Carlos, and Orson asking Bree for a divorce. And then Mrs. McCluskey comes into the party with a baseball bat!
Susan looks into the mirror; Jackson arrives, late. She agrees to give him space in the closet but he wants to move in. She looks into the mirror and flashes back to meeting Jackson as she showed him around her house where he could paint. He thinks her place has a good vibe but she mistakenly believes he’s coming on to her. He gets mad at her and is about to leave but she stops him and hires him. In another flashback, Susan and Mike are ready to sign their divorce papers. She asks and gets a moment alone with Mike. She wonders if they’re doing the right thing; he reminds her she’s the one who called a lawyer. They’ve been separated for a year. She thinks they can be good again, but he doesn’t think they can do it anymore. He signs the divorce papers and exits. In another flashback, Susan comes home to find Jackson painting. She asks him if he likes scotch and soon they’re in bed! He tells her he’s not looking to start anything; she’s happy about that but wants him to call her by her first name next time. She’s definite she just wants something casual. Back in the present, Susan tells Jackson she doesn’t want to move in together. He says he’s fallen in love with her. Susan opens the door to find Carlos and Gaby on the doorstep, exactly where they were when we last saw them.
Lynette checks for gray hairs in the mirror before going to the party. She calls for Penny, who’s sitting in Tom’s convertible. She goes out; Penny wonders if Tom’s dying, as she heard her brothers talking about it. Lynette thinks Tom’s going to live to a ripe old age. She flashes back… Lynette rushes into a hospital to learn Tom got a massive electrical shock at the restaurant but was revived. Was there any tissue damage, though? It will take 36 hours to find out. In another flashback, Tom wakes up in his hospital bed to find Lynette there. He tells her he thought he was going to die in a pizza place. He wants to find more in his life. In yet another flashback, Tom surprises Lynette with his new car! She’s skeptical but he’s keeping the car. She gets in for a ride. Back in the present, Tom comes home, late for the party. He reveals he wants to take the kids out of school for a year and go around the country in an RV! Oh, and he’s already made plans to sell the pizzeria! Tom heads towards the party as Lynette stares at him in disbelief.
Bree looks in the mirror; Orson enters, ready to reveal to everyone at the party he’s Bree’s partner. She doesn’t want to reveal it and admits she hasn’t told Katherine. Why is it hard to tell Katherine the truth? We flash back to a dinner party the night before Orson’s being sent off to prison for 3 years. Andrew and Lee make crude prison jokes as Orson enjoys his alcohol. While she’s getting Orson another drink, Bree takes a drink of her own in private, her first drink in years. In another flashback, Katherine finds a drunk Bree sleeping in bed when she should be catering a lunch. Katherine orders Bree up! Later, she admits how her drinking problem returned. Katherine thinks Bree should fill her void with work. Katherine tells Bree not to tell Orson about the problem; Katherine’s moving in with Bree to help her and vows to get her through the problems. Back in the present, Bree and Orson head out for the party. Bree still won’t reveal the truth to Katherine and is reconsidering having him as a partner. She fires him as they join Tom and Lynette and we’re right where we were when we last saw Tom and Lynette.
Before going to the party, Gabrielle realized she hasn’t had her period. She talks to Juanita about this and says her “friend” who comes by once a month hasn’t come yet. She flashes back to her doctor telling her she’s pregnant. She slaps her doctor! It’s a disaster, she thinks, even as he says it’s a blessing. There’s a possibility of twins so she slaps the doctor again. Carlos thinks it’s a blessing; he will get a job and says he’s thinking of becoming a masseur. She gave up on her dream of becoming a mother but he wants to celebrate the occasion. In another flashback, her doctor again tells her she’s pregnant again. She’s not happy about this one either. She wants Carlos to put down baby Juanita so she can hit him. She wants him to get a vasectomy but he initially says no. Back in the present, Gaby tells Carlos she thinks she’s pregnant; she wants to get Bob to sue the guy who botched her vasectomy. He reveals he didn’t get a vasectomy as Susan opens the door to let them into the surprise party.
We’re at the party when Dave arrives with a cake. He looks into a mirror for a flashback of his own… In the flashback, Mrs. McCluskey and Dave briefly talk. Inside, Dave learns McCluskey’s turning 70 and he suggests a party. Dave gets Edie to have Susan host it, as he thinks McCluskey’s special. In another flashback, Dave and Edie talk about how Edie will distract McCluskey with drinks before the party. McCluskey comes over to go out. Alone with her, Dave is nice to Mrs. McCluskey but she’s not especially nice to him. In still another flashback, Dave breaks into Mrs. McCluskey’s house and moves things around. Back in the present, Mrs. McCluskey comes home to find things shifted around. She picks up a baseball bat he left there. Back at the party, Lynette argues with Tom about the RV plan. She splashes him in the face. Bree’s mad about Orson but he says he needs the job. He says he wants a divorce. Gabrielle privately is mad with Carlos about his lack of a vasectomy. She pushes him down. Susan reminds Jackson of their agreement to keep casual. She says she wouldn’t be bothered if he was with someone else, so Jackson passionately kisses Katherine. Mrs. McCluskey arrives at her surprise party with a bat. She attacks the cake. And then goes for Dave, mentioning everything he did, even describing the problem with the cat. Edie says McCluskey’s not making sense. She has to be pulled back. Gabrielle comes in, happy that she got her period!
The police and an ambulance have been called for Mrs. McCluskey. Jackson asks Susan if they have a future. She wants things the way they are. He walks away. Bree tells Orson about her drinking while he was in prison. Lynette tells Tom she understands he wants something different. She reminds him that the pizzeria was their adventure and that they need to go in for the night as they’re working tomorrow. Carlos tells Gaby he wants another kid; she’s mad he lied to her. He explains but then apologizes. She decides they’ll use birth control til they both think it’s a good idea to go without. They kiss. Orson meets with Katherine, having learned what she did for Bree. Orson will work for Katherine and Bree til Katherine decides he’s ready to be a partner. Dave gets a private moment alone with Mrs. McCluskey in the ambulance. He says he’s sorry. She thinks he’s up to something awful. “You don’t know what awful is,” Dave says. Dave goes home as Mary Alice talks about how Dave had to move carefully with his plan against the man he wants revenge on.
The episode was watched by 15.95 million viewers, and had an 10.0 rating and a 15 share. It was #5 for the week. On its UK airing of 19 November 2008 on Channel 4, the show received 1.77 million viewers, and with its E4 viewing which aired the previous Sunday counted in the ratings arrived at 2.29 million viewers. It received overwhelming critical acclaim from fans and reviewers of the series.
- The title is taken from the lyrics of "Who's That Woman" from the Stephen Sondheim musical Follies.
- Although credited, Charlie Carver (Porter Scavo), Max Carver (Preston Scavo) and Joshua Logan Moore (Parker Scavo) do not appear in this episode.
- When Bree says that Orson's time in jail wasn't that bad, she says that it wasn't like Attica; In 1971, 1000 inmates rioted and took control of the Attica Correctional Facility. After it ended, at least 39 people were dead, including 10 correction officers and civilian employees.
- The note that Tom shows to Lynette clearly shows the date of Tom's hospital admission, it's February 9th, 2012, which confirms that the year is now 2013. It also reveals that his full name is Thomas Scavo.
- In Lynette's flashback when Tom brings the Ford mustang home, you can see Dave Williams's car outside their house, even though Tom brought the car before Dave moved in.
Bloopers and continuity errors
- We learn that Gabrielle thinks Carlos has had a vasectomy, but in the episode prior to this one she had "condoms" on her shopping list which Katherine read out. Why would she need them if she thought Carlos underwent a vasectomy?
- Susan tells Jackson she might have some clothes she could part with from the 80s, yet in Season 2 her house burns down, along with all her belongings. So where have those clothes been?