Desperate Housewives

Season 4 Episode 8

Distant Past

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Nov 25, 2007 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
322 votes

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Episode Summary

Lynette's search for her missing mother leads her to a reunion with her former stepfather, Glen (guest star Richard Chamberlain), whereas Susan tries to set her daughter up with a college student named Barrett (guest star Armie Hammer), unaware that he is actually Mike's drug dealer. While Carlos is filled with guilt regarding what happened to Victor, Gabrielle does her best to hide the crime they commited. In the meantime, Adam (guest star Nathan Fillion) receives a surprising visit from a mysterious woman from his past, and Bree realizes her new life with Orson and the baby has taken a toll on her son Andrew.moreless

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  • another good one...

    this was another relly enjoyable episode from desperate housewives 4th season

    Im glad that victor isnt dead im sure that he is going to cause a whole lot of trouble for gaby and carlous now so cant wait for that

    i thought the story with lynette and her mum wasa really nice with a realy nice ending, im really going to miss stella she has been such a great character

    susan had a good storyine this week to i thought mike getting pills from orson was good im looking forward to what susan is gooing to say to orson

    we didnt have any katherine this week which was pretty sad cause she is great but we did get another mysterties character overall another great epsiodemoreless
  • Things don't look to good for Gabby! Brilliant episode.

    I loved this, as I always do. I thought Susan setting Julie up with Mike's dealer was funny, of course it has to happen to Susan. Whats going on with Mike? I hope he and Susan can make it, Susan should be happy. Lynette's step dad was a good character, I was surprised by the fact he turned out to be gay I was glad Lynette left her mother on a good note. Gabby seems to be in trouble. I nliked when she slipped Carlos the sleeping pill, so Gabby. Edie is such a b i t c h for doing that, Edie's face after Gabby walked passed shows there could be a lot of tension between them. Bree and Andrew finally forgive each other, well Andrew said he had done already. The coaster part was funny. So now Susan knows mike hasn't stopped, will she give out to Orson for giving them to him. Who knows? Can't wait for the next episode, looks brilliant.moreless
  • Season 4, Episode 8.

    A mysterious stalker from Adam's past shows up on Wisteria Lane. Detectives question Gabrielle about Victor's whereabouts. Danielle's baby puts stress on Bree and Orson's marriage. Mike's drug dealer drops by Susan's house. Lynette has a reunion with her long-lost stepfather, Glen (Richard Chamberlain). I absolutely HATED Lynette's storyline in this episode. I didn't really like many of Lynette's S4 storylines. She got pretty annoying at times. I liked when she was trying to put her mom's stuff in her sister's car, though. Hehe. Andrew moved out! :( It had to happen eventually, I guess. Sylvia is just weird! I liked the end when the new reporters and stuff wanted to ask Gabby stuff and she walked away after Victor was threatening her.moreless
  • Gabrielle & Carlos struggle to keep what happened to Victor a secret.

    Let me just start out by saying that I thought that this was a really good episode. Although, I have to admit that I didn't really care for Gabrielle and Carlos story line. I don't know why, but I just didn't really care for this story line. However, I absolutely loved all of the other story lines, especially Bree's and Susan's. I thought that both Bree and Orson had some pretty great scenes together, but especially when they're in bed together. They both had some really great lines in that scene and throughout the whole episode. I loved the whole thing about Susan trying to set Julie up with Mike's drug dealer. All in all, I thought that this was a great episode, and I absolutely loved it.moreless
  • Coming Back Written by Joe Keenan Directed by Jay Torres

    Julie: "Aren't you the one who told me not to judge a book by its cover?"

    Susan: "When the books has holes in it, it's not good".

    I'm surprised that little pearl of wisdom didn't actually wind up somewhere in the previous episode but what can you do? This week we get a case of people's past coming back to haunt them. Not exactly the most original of concepts.

    Let's start of with the Hodge family. We all know that baby Benjamin serve a purpose to help Bree in her nutty decision to right her past mistakes in a selfish way. It's part of the reason why she was more than content to pretend she was pregnant for the past few months.

    Of course trying to go where she went wrong with Andrew and Danielle isn't that simple. Yes they've both behaved extremely badly but in a lot of ways, Bree did contribute to that. She was too overbearing and judgemental. It doesn't justify the crazy antics her kids got up but it did contribute to it.

    In the previous episode both Bree and Orson came to blows over the way she undermined his feelings on circumcision. This week they conflict over the way Bree is insisting that Benjamin sleeps in the bed with them. For a conservative like Bree, it does seem to a bit of a new age approach.

    It is also one that bothers Orson more because not only can he not any action but Benjamin's crying also means that he can't get much sleep either. The annoying thing is that for the second episode in a row Bree is dismissive of Orson's feelings again and if she keeps it up, she might go too far.

    Fortunately at least she does make a conscious effort to try and come up with a solution to the sex dilemma. Going to Tom of all people for advice is a nice move on the writer's part. It's nice to see two characters that don't interact with each other a lot (or at all) actually talk to another.

    It's also a good thing that Tom's little pep talk ends up being useful. Okay Bree might not have needed to know certain details but its fun to see her at least takes Tom's advice and have some fun with it.

    Let's just say that Orson might have gone into work feeling tired but when Bree shows up, he got an afternoon delight. Bree's little seduction scene might be a redux of the one she had with Rex in "Running To Stand Still" but at least here both her and Orson got to have some fun and it's a terrifically executed little scene to boot.

    However the big issue of the episode in regards to Bree's attempts to mend her past parenting ways involved Andrew. He was understandable annoyed when Bree alluded to him as a mistake and even moved out. The thing that was interesting here was that Andrew wasn't attempting to be malicious when he did that.

    Fortunately again Bree saw the error of her ways and decided to apologise to her firstborn. In a maturely written scene, Bree did finally realise that Andrew has changed for the mostly better. Pity it took him to move out and a year's worth of mostly saintly behaviour for Bree to figure that one out though.

    Speaking of progress, Lynette is also a strange one. When Stella first arrived, Lynette couldn't wait to get her out of the door. Now that neither Lucy nor Lydia even care about their mother, never mind look after her, Lynette seems to want her mother back. Then again Lynette has been exposed to a better side of her mother recently and her sisters actions have clearly made her think twice. While Tom isn't that broken up to see her gone, Lynette wants to know that Stella is at least okay but in all fairness, Stella is hardly that helpless. People like Stella always find some way of landing on their feet.

    This becomes more obvious when Lynette gets a call from her stepfather Glenn. He's back to help with Stella after the woman begged him for cash. Both of them are successful in luring Stella into a false sense of security and she is none too pleased with being duped by her former husband and daughter.

    In fact during the little reunion Lynette and Stella get into another argument and Glenn is forced into admitting he's gay in order to get Lynette to back off. So it wasn't Stella's vile behaviour that drove him, just the fact that he didn't love her. Nice to have that cleared up for us.

    Casting Richard Chamberlain in the role was a good touch too. What with the Thorn Birds and his guest appearance in Nip/Tuck's fourth season, it's good to see him in a rather likeable role. You get that Glenn cared a lot for Lynette and Stella and Stella must've cared something for him too if she was willing to let Lynette go for decades thinking she was responsible for Glenn leaving.

    It's also this moment that helps clear some air between Lynette and Stella. They may never totally get on with each other but you get to see a better sense of Lynette understanding her mother. Plus Glenn bails Stella out by offering her a place to stay, which only goes to prove that people like Stella aren't down and out for too long.

    Like with the last episode, I'll happily admit that I'll miss Stella. She was a fun character and I do hope that the writers find some way of bringing her back later on in the series. They also bring back Glenn too because he was just generally great and it's nice that Lynette still has a good relationship with the guy.

    However one person who I wish would happily go away and never return would be Victor. I bet we were supposed to believe that Gabby had actually killed her dangerous husband last week but alas her attempts of murder/self defence/whatever just didn't work. Victor's not dead yet.

    Of course we then had to go through the episode with her and Carlos bickering about whether or not they should go to the police. Carlos actually wanted to do the right thing and tell the police what they did. Gabby didn't want to risk jail and even resorted to drugging Carlos to stop him from going to the cops. Actions like this are why I just can't ship these two as a couple.

    Gabby's fundamental selfishness has really gotten past breaking point. Yes, Victor's a bad person but she left him to die and blatantly lied to the police. If she had actually reported what happened to them, she would've at least come across as a bit sympathetic for once.

    Even Edie's act of malice by telling the cops about Gabby and Carlos doesn't compare to the way Gabby behaved in this episode. Is Carlos really that insane to want to be with her? It's the kind of question he should be asking if the writers weren't conveniently dumbing him down to accommodate this plot.

    There's a part of me that was happy when Victor told Gabby he remembered everything. I didn't even feel for her when he threatened. That doesn't mean I want Victor to win but I also hate the way Gabby tends to treat people, even bad people like it's her God given right.

    As for Mike, he's another reckless person in this episode. Taking pills is bad enough but the idiot can't even pay for his own drugs and has to blackmail Adam (who blackmails Orson) into getting drugs. Mike, you have a problem and it's a damn noticeable one because apart from Susan, everyone else seem suspicious of you.

    Having Barrett then interact so much with Susan and Julie only amps up the suspicion factor. Barrett could've ruined Mike when he was exposed as a drug dealer to Susan. Yes, Susan was stupid enough to try and set Julie up with him and got quite the land when she learnt that Barrett was a drug dealer. Nancy Botwin this dude ain't, which I guess could be seen as a compliment too.

    Susan might have been furious about Barrett but I'm actually surprised that Julie had to spell it out about Mike's behaviour. As if Bree's warning in the previous episode wasn't enough. Oh well at least now that Susan knows Mike's a druggie, perhaps she'll do something about it before it's too late.

    Last but not least Adam seems to be given his plot this week. While I don't find him to be the most fascinating of the male characters on the show, it's nice to see him bond with both Orson and Mike (when blackmail isn't involved) and basically just to have stuff that doesn't feature Katherine.

    His plot however is as predictable as they come when Sylvia showed up at his door. Bob and Lee made enough allusions to the fact that Adam might have done something to get the boot from his place of work in Chicago and given that Sylvia is radiating creepy bunny boiler type vibes, it doesn't take much to guess that Adam might have screwed around on Katherine.

    Also in "A Distant Past"

    Given the water references in this episode and how heavy they were, maybe a better title would've "Troubled Water".

    Carlos: "Ouch".

    Gabrielle (to a cleaning lady): "He took the Lord's name in vein".

    Carlos always seems to resort to prayer when things really get bad for him. It's nice to see that little consistency with the character.

    Bree: "Sex is the last thing women want after giving birth".

    Orson: "But you didn't give birth. You watched and served refreshments".

    Andrew: "So what, I'm the first pancake?"

    Bree: "Don't be so sensitive".

    Although I don't need to see can we have a little update on Danielle? Also does Phyllis know that Benjamin has been born?

    Lynette (to Glenn): "Oh, just a little cancer but I kicked its ass and I'm fine".

    Susan: "Oh Mike. You're home. I was dreaming we were ponies".

    Mike: "That's nice. Go back to sleep".

    Tom's ideas of "creative" involved the office, the car and Bree's home when he and Lynette had to housesit. Gabrielle: "Are you okay with tequila?"

    Carlos: "Only if it's the good stuff".

    Gabrielle: "Oh I think you'll find it has a real kick".

    Detective (re Carlos): "Have you seen him lately?"

    Gabrielle: "Boy, let me think. No I haven't".

    It seems like Julie now has a thing for different looking guys. Derek has tattoos and piercings.

    Stella: "I know we're the same age but how do you look so much better than me?"

    Glenn: "I don't drink or sleep in a car".

    Bree: "You forgive me?"

    Andrew: "Actually I forgave you a long time ago. You just never noticed".

    I loved Andrew's little line about the coaster with Bree. Maybe he is his mother's son after all.

    Stella (regarding Glenn): "You know he's always talked like that. How did I not know he was queer?"

    Lynette: "You want that around?"

    Chronology: A day after "You Can't Judge A Book By It's Cover".

    Okay this was pretty fun as an episode. "A Distant Past" isn't exactly one of those episodes that covers new terrain or anything but its nicely advancing stuff which most viewers will appreciate a lot.moreless
Richard Chamberlain

Richard Chamberlain

Glen Wingfield

Guest Star

Sam Stefanski

Sam Stefanski


Guest Star

Soledad St. Hilaire

Soledad St. Hilaire


Guest Star

Polly Bergen

Polly Bergen

Stella Wingfield

Recurring Role

John Slattery

John Slattery

Victor Lang

Recurring Role

Nathan Fillion

Nathan Fillion

Adam Mayfair

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (20)

    • Orson: (holding a prescription) I'm not entirely comfortable giving this to you Mike. Pain medication only helps your symptoms. If this is chronic you need to be seeing a physical therapist.
      Mike: You know what I need? Orson, I need to take a few weeks off, but I can't cause I've got to work. For the baby, for Julie's class trip, for the patio furniture and everything else Susan's got me paying for.
      Orson: You okay Mike? You sound a little unhappy.
      Mike: No, no, I'm happy. I don't mean to put all of this on Susan. It's just, when I signed up for this suburban-dad thing I didn't exactly know what I was getting myself into.

    • Bree: Hello, doctor.
      Orson: Bree, what a wonderful surprise. I've got a new patient coming in.
      Bree: Umm... yes, you do. I'm Mrs. Zimmerman.
      Orson: Eh... your message said you have a cavity that needed filling?!?
      Bree: I was in a very naughty mood when I left that.

    • Andrew: (about himself) Can the mistake have the salt?

    • Mary Alice: Yes, the mistakes of our past have a way of drifting back into our lives. And when they do, we have to pay for them.

    • (While at the church, Gabrielle hits Carlos with her purse.)
      Carlos: Ouch!
      (There's a cleaning woman standing next to them and heard Carlos yelling and looks at them. Gabrielle sees that she's looking and says)
      Gabrielle: He took the Lord's name in vain!

    • Carlos: I can't take it anymore. We gotta go to the cops.
      Gabrielle: Oh, okay! And say what? Yes, officer, my lover and I knocked my husband overboard twice and left him for dead! Okay, bye bye! I don't think so!

    • Mike: (On the phone) This is Mike. I'm only going to say this once. I'll get you your money. But don't ever come to my house again. Do you hear me? Ever!

    • Bree: Andrew, I understand you're angry with me about what I said but, I do have a good reason for wanting to raise Benjamin differently. Let's be honest, you put me through hell.
      Andrew: You're right. I know I did. But that's why I'm mad, because I changed and you never noticed. I got a job, a car, my own health insurance. I've turned things around.
      Bree: Well, I know that.
      Andrew: Then why haven't you said anything?
      (Bree realizes she didn't.)
      Andrew: It's because you've been so focused on your new husband and baby.
      Bree: Andrew..
      Andrew: Mom, it's okay. I know you got a new life. I think it's time I did too.
      Bree: I just don't want us to part on bad terms again, like we did two years ago.
      Andrew: You mean when you left me on the side of that road?
      (Bree feels guilty)
      Andrew: Mom, I was spinning out of control. You forced me to grow up. If I haven't said it before… Thank you.

    • Glen: OK, what's the plan?
      Lynette: Once she shows up, you'll meet her and give her the money. Then ask her to walk you back to the car. I'll jump out and grab her, and while you open the trunk…
      Glen: Lynette!
      Lynette: Fine. The backseat. But you're just gonna spoil her.
      Glen: (laughs) I see you still have that wicked sense of humor.
      Lynette: (laughs) Yeah. It's the one good thing you get from a crappy childhood.

    • Gabrielle: (to Carlos) You can stop feeling guilty. Victor's alive, and we're screwed!

    • Bree: Did you and Lynette do the family bed when your children were babies?
      Tom: It wasn't exactly a choice, they just kept crawling in there.
      Bree: So, um.. not to pry but.. um.. did that create any issues… for you?
      Tom: You mean sex?
      Bree: (chuckles) Apparently "not to pry" wasn't necessary.
      Tom: Well, it did put a crimp on things first, but that just forced us to be more creative.
      Bree: Oh. Again, not to pry, but…
      Tom: The office! We did it at the office. Once in the car. And do you remember when you asked us to wash the house when you guys were going out of town?
      Bree: OK (chuckles) Thanks, yes um.. we'll be going now!

    • (Bree is reading in bed, with Benjamin next to her, Orson wants to put him in the crib)
      Bree: No. He'll be sleeping with us!
      Orson: Why? Is he running a fever?
      Bree: He's fine. But, I've been doing some reading, and more and more people say that babies sleep better next to their parents. It's called the family bed.
      Orson: Oh. I've heard of that. Isn't it designed to facilitate breastfeeding?
      Bree: Partly. What's your point?
      Orson: You're not lactating. If our son needs to be near the milk, he'll have to sleep in the refrigerator.
      Bree: Eh. This isn't just for me and Benjamin, this will help you bond with him too.
      Orson: Perhaps. But it's sure not gonna help me bond with you.
      (He gets closer to kiss her, she pulls away)
      Bree: Darling, sex is the last thing women want right after they've given birth.
      Orson: But you didn't give birth. You watched and served refreshments.
      Bree: Well, that doesn't make caring for an infant any less tiring. Can we just give it a chance?
      (Turns off the lamp and lies down)
      Orson: I suppose.
      (Lies down with her)
      Orson: What if I roll over and crush him?
      Bree: Don't!

    • Mary Alice: (narrating) One day in the early fall, Mike Delfino hurt his shoulder. To ease his pain, he took a little white pill recommended by his doctor. The pain persisted, so he took another, and another. Unfortunately, when Mike's pain began to subside, his need for the little white pills did not. But Mike never shared this with those who cared about him, only with those who could not have cared less.

    • Gabrielle: What are you doing now?
      Carlos: I'm praying for a miracle.
      Gabrielle: Carlos, if Victor had lived, he would've killed us. I'm thinking we already had our miracle.

    • Julie: I am going to kiss Derek good night.
      Susan: Oh, fine. Break my heart.
      Julie: Why are you freaking out? We're just dating. It's not like he's trying to put a ring on my finger.
      Susan: Trust me. Your finger is not where he'd put it.

    • Susan: Did you kiss that boy?
      Julie: No, I was kind of interrupted.
      Susan: Oh, well, you're gonna thank me. Do you know that he has his tongue pierced?
      Julie: Yeah. He showed me. How do you know?
      Susan: I checked out his web page.
      Julie: You did not.
      Susan: I did too. And do you know what else he has pierced? And if you do, you're grounded.
      Julie: OK, yes, mom, Derek has bought into the whole piercing craze, but aren't you the one who told me to not judge a book by its cover?
      Susan: If the cover has holes in it, the book is no good.

    • Mary Alice: The past is never truly behind us. Ghosts lurk in the shadows, eager to remind us of the choices we made. But, if we look back, we might find an old friend with open arms or an old enemy with a hidden agenda or a grown up son with a forgiving heart. Sadly, some of us refuse to look back, never understanding that, by denying the past, we are condemned to repeat it.

    • Mary Alice: We think of the past as water under the bridge, a current that carries away the mistakes of our youth, the loves we lost, the addictions we gave into, the opportunities we threw away. But, sooner or later, reminders drift back into our lives of the mistakes we made and the sins we committed.

    • Orson: After two nights of sleepless bonding with my son I nearly dozed off while repairing Mrs. Colby's cracked molar. I doubt if the crown I put in will last her a year.
      Bree: So, you'll replace it for free.
      Orson: That's not the point. How is a dentist supposed to feel when he can't give a 90-year-old a lifetime guarantee? Bree, I'm sorry but this whole family bed thing has to stop.
      Bree: Oh, give it some time. We're still adjusting, and Benjamin is sleeping so soundly.
      Orson: He can sleep just as soundly in a crib. From what you've told me, you and Rex didn't haul Andrew into bed with you.
      Bree: No, and I wish we had. If we did he mightn't have turned out so...
      Andrew: So, what? Stupid? Lazy? Short?
      Bree: I was going to say angry.

    • Orson: (to Bree) I need to either sleep, or get lucky tonight. I'll have a better chance at both if I'm alone.

  • NOTES (3)