Desperate Housewives

Season 5 Episode 13

The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jan 18, 2009 on ABC
out of 10
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465 votes

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Episode Summary

When neighborhood handyman Eli Scruggs (guest star Beau Bridges), passes away, the residents of Wisteria Lane come to realize just how much he affected their lives. Gabrielle recalls how Eli helped her make new friends when she moved in, Lynette remembers how he came to her aide when she was overwhelmed and neglected Penny, Susan reflects on how he was always there for her as a shoulder to cry on each time a man walked out of her life, Edie looks back on their special friendship, and Bree thinks fondly of how a small gesture he once made helped get her to where she is today.moreless

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  • the 100th episode of Desperate Housewives!!

    I loved this epsiode and i thought it was the perfect way for the show to celebrate its 100th episode. Showing just how the female leads have developed and changed over the years was great 2 see and all through the local handyman.

    I loved Lynettes flashback and as well as being funny was also very emotional in the fact that she realised she was going to put work above her kids. Brees again was very emotional and showed just how far she has come as a person from being that perfect housewife to being a sucessfull business woman!

    Edies flashback was definatly the comic one of the ladies although Gabrielles featured some great comedy 2. Overall a great way for the show to celebrate its 100th episode and it was nice to see Mary Alice, Rex and Mrs Huber again!moreless
  • An interesting episode and we get to see some of our favourite ladies step a little out of the norm.

    This isn't my favourite episode, but that's ok. It's still a good one and we get to see a different side to the Wisteria lane women. We get to see them as themselves, but, also in a non-selfish caring way.

    I haven't seen Eli before and possibly we have (or not) I don't think it actually matters in this episode as we are on the journey to seeing how each of the characters has been affected by someone outside of their circle.

    I'm a sap, so, Susan's tears worked for me. I saw character differently than what I have done before and I got to see more of her evolution as well, in 5 mins I got more of her character than watching this on & off for the last few years.

    One of the reasons why I liked this episode is that it was a one off, not in the middle of any other story line, it was just there, diverted us a little from other storyline arcs we've seen.

    Good episode to put your feet up to.moreless
  • Desperate Housewives reaches its 100th episode and, frankly, the jury's out.

    Desperate Housewives reaches its 100th episode and, frankly, the jury's out. Perhaps wisely, Marc Cherry chooses to reject conventional expectation and eschews the action-packed in favour of a quiet, reflective piece that studies the personalities of our central cast through the eyes of an outsider. Beau Bridges is instantly loveable as the utterly selfless Eli Scruggs; he brings an understated intelligence to the part that prevents his 'role' as mechanic for the housewives' hearts from becoming overly clichéd or hokum. It is certainly fun to watch his rather overly successful attempt to reassure Edie that she hasn't lost her 'touch' (the moment that she pushes him onto the bed is priceless), and the sequence in which he comforts Susan in the aftermath of her break-up with Mike is one of the highlights of the season. The dialogue is pitched perfectly and contains a great deal that has needed to be said for quite some time: finally, Susan gets the recognition she deserves for being brave enough to open up her heart, time and time and time again. All too often, the show either berates her (usually through Edie) for not wanting to be single, or makes comedy out of her poor track record with men. It is good to see her strengths being highlighted here; it certainly makes a refreshing change. Eli's other contributions to the housewives' lives are also relatively interesting - particularly Lynette's, as Felicity Huffman proves she's the best damn actress on the show, yet again - but therein, perhaps, is the problem. The stories may be of interest but they don't truly grip: sure, it's nice to see how Gaby becomes accepted by the group but is there really anything in this to be truly excited about? Eli rescues Bree's first attempt at writing a cook book from the trash and gives it back to her following Rex's death. Again, a nice morsel of a plot point but nothing truly engaging. And the final sequence, in which the housewives gather for Eli's funeral, takes the episode into truly corny territory; Bree's 'I wanted to fix something for Eli' is a completely unnecessary vocalisation of activity. The scene would arguably have had a far greater level of poignancy without it. Clearly, this is the emotion Cherry was aiming for and, for a significant proportion of the episode, he achieves it. It's just a shame the things he had to say about our housewives couldn't have had a little more substance. Still, nice to see Mrs Huber, Yao Lin, Rex Van De Kamp and Mary Alice again.moreless
  • One of the best episodes of Desperate Housewives. Very entertaining. Great story.

    This is the 100th episode to air on a Sunday on ABC (the show's airdate in America has not changed since the series began). What a great episode! It resembles the first season. After the ones of the first and the fourth season, this episode has become one of my favourites. Beau Bridges received an Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series" for his performance as Eli Scruggs in this episode. He really deserves it. A great quote: "Susan: You can't retire. I break too many things! - Eli: I know! You're paying for my trip to Hawaii."moreless
  • A beautiful stand alone episode.

    I love the story arc and this tale stands alone and proud. Connecting with past Desperate Wives tales it pulls in the streets ladies deepening characters in a way beautifully told. Funny and sentimental. I have only recently got into the show and have watched through them ever so fast. This stopped me in my tracks, dynamically clever story arcs, with character driven comedy that although sometimes pushes the envelope of belivabilty in its storyline never chooses to sell out the charcters. Well done for this episode. "You're my hero" had me choked and the baby in the car was perfectly realised and superbly acted, Felicity Huffman is something else. Thank you.moreless
Beau Bridges

Beau Bridges

Eli Scruggs

Guest Star

Matt Cedeño

Matt Cedeño

Umberto Roswell

Guest Star

Kathryn Joosten

Kathryn Joosten

Karen McCluskey

Recurring Role

Lucille Soong

Lucille Soong

Yao Lin

Recurring Role

Christine Estabrook

Christine Estabrook

Martha Huber

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Goof: Eli started to help out the residents in Wisteria Lane as a result of not being able to prevent Mary Alice's death. However early in the episode in Gabrielle's flashback Eli helped Gabrielle get her friends when Mary Alice was still alive.

    • This episode marks the third time a character has had a husband that turned out to be gay Sophie Bremmer's third husband, Stella Wingfield's husband Glen (Lynette's step-father), and now Edie's second husband, Umberto.

    • Goof: Martha Huber's hair color and style look different from the pilot when she discovered Mary Alice's body. Back then she was a redhead and her hair looked quite messy while in this episode it has a blondish look and is more blow-dried.

    • Goof: For the flashbacks, Mary Alice's house was painted yellow again, only one mistake - they forgot to paint the side facing Bree's house. This can be seen when Eli rescues baby Penny.

    • This episode does not feature a Previously on "Desperate Housewives" segment. This is the second time that's happened this season (after its premiere), and the third time that's happened starting with the pilot episode.

    • This is the 100th episode to air on a Sunday on ABC. The show's airdate in America has not changed since the series began.

    • For this 100th episode, Christine Estabrook and Lucille Soong reprise their respective roles as Martha Huber and Yao Lin for the first time since the first season.

    • Mary Alice Young (Brenda Strong) is seen in this episode for the first time in the fifth season. This is the 99th episode narrated by Mary Alice, due to Bree's deceased husband Rex Van De Kamp (Steven Culp), who also makes an appearance in this episode, narrating an episode in the third season (although Mary Alice provided original narration for the Previously on "Desperate Housewives"... segment of that same episode).

  • QUOTES (24)

    • Susan: You can't retire. I break too many things!
      Eli: I know! You're paying for my trip to Hawaii.

    • Eli: Come on! You've had a gay guy sleeping with you for two years; now those guys are pretty hard to land.
      (Eli and Edie both laugh)
      Eli: Now trust me, no need to be sad. You're a knockout.
      (Eli kisses Edie's hand. In response to this, Edie holds Eli's hand tighter)
      Eli: I...I need this hand back. It's hard to be a handy man without a hand.
      (Edie gives Eli a very passionate kiss)
      Eli: Ms. Britt, what are you doing?
      Edie: Put the mirror over my bed. (pushes Eli backward onto the bed) You know exactly what I'm doing. (climbs onto the bed and prepares to ride Eli)
      Eli: Are you sure about this? I don't want to take advantage over you, unless I have to.
      (Edie rips open Eli's shirt)
      Edie: Oh, I'm sure you'll be gentle. (rips open her own shirt, exposing her bra)

    • Lynette: Allright... Time for my luck to change. This hand is for Eli. (Looks at her cards) Hmm... next hand is for Eli.

    • Eli: The ladies in this neighborhood are actually pretty nice.
      Gabrielle: Yeah. They came by. Brought muffins. One of them wants her basket back.
      Eli: (laughs) That'd be Bree.

    • (Susan is crying)
      Eli: Are you alright? (Susan shakes a no with the head) No, of course you're not; I heard you and Mike are getting divorced. I'm sorry. Probably not what you wanna hear but I thought you were a great couple.
      Susan: (Crying) Thanks.. sweet.
      Eli: Do you maybe remember what you wanna me to do?
      Susan: (Still crying) Locks.

    • Lynette: I got the job!
      Tom: Congratulations, baby's arm's sticking out, why don't you high five it?

    • (Gabrielle's thinking about Eli, and what he has done for her)
      Bree: Gaby?
      Gabrielle: I'm sorry, what?
      Susan: We're getting a wreath for Eli's funeral, are you in?
      Gabrielle: Actually why you don't let me pay for it? It could still be from all of us.
      Lynette: No, you don't have to do that.
      Gabrielle: I sort of do.

    • Gabrielle: I've only lived here a month and I want to put a gun to my head, (laughs, slaps her hand on Mary Alice's arm and looking at her) know what I mean?

    • (Lynette's throwing up on the toilet)
      Tom: Oh my gosh Lynette! Are you okay?
      Lynette: The doctor just called. I'm pregnant.
      Tom: This is fantastic!
      Lynette: (sarcastically) Yeah. Whooptiduh!

    • Bree: Do you have your copy?
      Gabrielle: I'll go get it. (Gabrielle took the book from under a table.)
      Bree: You use my cookbook to balance your table?!
      Gabrielle: Oh, it's only temporary. Juanita needed her coloring book back.

    • (Gabrielle knocking on Lynette's door. Lynette opens the door)
      Gabrielle: I brought muffins.
      Lynette: (Nodding trying to be polite) That's so nice. We were just..
      Gabrielle: ..playing poker, and I wasn't invited. I know, I get it. I just wanted to tell you guys, I know I made a terrible first impression. Now you know why models don't usually talk. Because we say a lot of stupid patronising things that make people avoid us. What I should have said was:"My husband is never home.. I miss the city.. I miss my life.. I'm lonely all the time.. and I could really use some friends. (Giving to Lynette the basket of muffins) Anyway, here.

    • Gabrielle: (Opening an expansive present from Carlos) What's the catch?
      Carlos: What are you talking about?
      Gabrielle: You never buy me presents unless I'm mad or about to be mad, and I don't think I am mad, so why am I about to be?

    • Bree: (To the undertaker. She fix a rose that have fallen from the wreath) Wait. I wanted to fix something for Eli for a change.

    • Mary Alice: (closing voiceover) Eli Scruggs sat in his truck for almost an hour, devastated that he had done nothing to save me. He then made a quiet vow to God. From that moment forward, he would do what he could to help people. To help them fix their lives. And for the rest of his life, that's exactly what he did. (To Eli's funeral, Bree fixes his wreath, that was missing a rose) And somewhere in a place reserved for the very best of us, Eli Scruggs smiled and said 'thank you'.

    • Mary Alice: (voiceover) Eli Scruggs was buried on a Saturday and all the people that Eli had helped over the years came to pay their last respects. But one person was missing. Someone who had changed Eli's life in a way he never forgot.

    • Eli: You're doing alright though?
      Susan: Oh, well, on the one hand I got dumped, for a pair of headlights named Brandy. On the other, I reported Karl's credit card stolen and I cut the pockets out of all his pants so, a little from column A, a little from column B.

    • Lynette: We agreed I could go back to work after I gave birth.
      Tom: After, Lynette, not during.

    • Lynette: (to Tom) I swear if you touch this phone, I'll have this baby right here and then beat you with it.

    • Edie: Wait a second. What do you think of my ass?
      Eli: Sorry?
      Edie: My ass, on a scale from one to ten?
      Eli: I, uh...
      Edie: Tick tock!
      Eli: Ten. It's ten.
      Edie: And the boobs? Perky and firm?
      Eli: You've named them?
      Edie: Oh, come on, Eli. My husband won't have sex with me! I just need to make sure it's

    • Tom: (to Bree) If you're looking for a stove, we've got one that's hardly ever been used.
      Lynette: I wish I could say the same for my uterus.

    • Eli: By the way, you made quite an impression at the poker game.
      Gaby: Really?
      Eli: Oh yeah, the ladies can't stop talking about you.
      Gaby: Aw, I'm sure it was kind of exciting for them to have a star in their midst.
      Eli: Oh, let me think, did they say star? I heard stuck-up, obnoxious, bitch.

    • Mary Alice: (voiceover) It took an hour for someone to finally notice the body lying atop Susan Mayer's roof. It was less than ten minutes later that the neighbors began arriving. Each determined to get a look at the various paramedics and policemen who were all frantically trying to figure out exactly how to bring the body down. And it took two days for my friends to realise this tragedy had affected them more than they were willing to admit.

    • Mary Alice: (voiceover) With that, Eli Scruggs climbed his ladder for the very last time. And once he had finished making his last repair, Eli Scruggs, quietly, with no fuss, had a heart attack and died. And, most importantly, without leaving a mess.

    • Mary Alice: (opening voiceover) Eli Scruggs was the handiest of all handymen. You could ask any of his customers and they would tell you there was nothing he couldn't fix. Whether it was a broken vase, a leaky pipe or a shaky banister, Eli always knew how to get the job done. But sadly, the man who had fixed so many things for the residents of Wisteria Lane, was now about to break their hearts.

  • NOTES (4)


    • We see Gabrielle making the remark: "I've only lived here a month and I want to put a gun to my head". She then turns and gives Mary Alice a friendly pat on the shoulder. It is well known that Mary Alice actually killed herself by putting a gun to her head and shooting herself.

    • Gabrielle: I guess I'm just gonna have to get used to the fact that the best part of my life is behind me. "Goodbye" drinking vodka shots with Kate Moss and "Hello" to sipping international coffee with you girls.

      Kate Moss is an English model born on January 16th 1974. She is very famous for her tiny frame that is pretty uncommon among models.

    • Gabrielle: So I said, 'Pumpkin', that's what I call Jon Bon Jovi, I said 'Pumpkin, even if I could steer a yacht, I'm certainly not about to do it in 5-inch heels.

      Jon Bon Jovi is an American musician and songwriter. He was born on March 2nd 1962. He is the leader of his rock band called Bon Jovi.

    • Episode Title: "The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened" is a lyric in the song "Now You Know" from the Stephen Sondheim 1981 musical "Merrily We Roll Along".