'Desperate Housewives': Monsters are created by monsters
"His name was Eddie. Everyone thought he was harmless," Mary Alice (who has to be the hardest-working dead character around) says in her usual introductory voice-over.
As you know, last week we were surprised with the identity of the “Fairview Strangler”: Eddie, Preston's and Danny's best friend.
But how did sweet, sweet, zit-faced, stringy-haired Eddie turn out to be such a cold-hearted killer? The episode decides to take a trip onto the good ol' storytelling vehicle that is the flashback.
Our first glimpse of Eddie is as a 4-year-old when a very much alive Mary Alice passes him as he sits outside, alone and unattended as his parents have a screaming match inside the house. Mary Alice, being the good neighbor she is, stays by his side even as his father walks out of his life and shouts that he never wanted him. Eddie’s mom turns to the sauce, as if booze will solve everything. She even tells her son, “It’s OK, it’s not your fault you ruined my life.”
It’s then that Eddie turns toward the other women in Fairview to fill that void.
Gaby gets a middle-school version of Eddie on her first day in Fairview (haven’t we already seen her first day on the Lane as a flashback already?). Gaby, being Gaby, turns the little intruder into hired help, sans the money. He unpacks for her, he paints her nails, he cleans and he even watches TV with her. He is her "best friend" – and of course at that small age develops a bit of protectiveness toward her, and possibly a crush. He is devastated when he discovers her nude in the tub with Carlos, who forces him to go home, where he walks in on his mother with her latest skeezy guy. Then he kills innocent birds in his backyard. And so a serial killer is born.
Bree later helps a teenage Eddie by giving him dated, but cute, advice on how to woo women, which backfires; the woman of his affection was Danielle, who was more into herself and older men at the time. It doesn’t help that his own mother laughed at him and implied that a girl like Danielle was “out of his league.” No surprise we see Eddie pay for sex from a prostitute. By now, we know Eddie’s tick – getting laughed at by women. When the prostitute laughs at him for bringing flowers (for what I’m only assuming was his deflowering), he strangles her. And that's probably the first handiwork of the “Fairview Strangler" -- snot-nosed and all.
Susan and Lynette somehow cross paths with Eddie later in life.
Susan helps him by nurturing his artistic talents (wished she would have told him to never turn to stand-up). This backfires when he finds out she is remarrying Mike. This is what led to him strangling Julie, whom he thought was Susan. Gosh, my theory was so wrong. He strangled Julie near the time of her Bolen drama, which of course I assumed maybe he was seeking revenge for his friend since we know he hates women who reject men. This notion that he thought he was strangling Susan explains things, but also confuses me more. If memory serves me correctly, a nice amount of time had passed since her remarriage and him choking Julie. I understand he lives off the Lane and thus is farther away – but come on, serial killers work a little faster than that, don’t they? Kinda hard to believe he’d wait that long. But now I’m nitpicking.
Lastly there is Lynette. What I love about her storyline with Eddie is that her take-charge attitude and lack of a filter actually works. She wouldn’t stand for the verbal abuse that Eddie’s mom displayed in front of the Scavos -- unlike Bree, who just mutters “I’m sorry” and leaves the poor boy with his drunken “mommie dearest.” Though I automatically knew her answer to the solution would be moving him in, which made me wince – I mean, is there even room? Sadly, he had already added another tally to his list: his mother.
If the show was hoping you’d feel sympathy for Eddie, it didn’t succeed. Sorry -- though I love my drama and the occasional revenge kill on the Lane, there is absolutely no excuse for his sick behavior. Mary Alice ends with “Monsters are created by monsters,” as we see Eddie pack his mother’s corpse in a shower curtain and throw her in the truck. Now make no mistake, his mother was a wretched piece of work, but her behavior – sad as this will seem – isn’t the stuff serial killers are born from. Though it certainly didn’t help, Eddie is just a twisted boy. Women turning you down is the reason you kill them?I wanted to feel some sympathy for Eddie, especially seeing how poorly his mother treated him and how much some of the women helped. I would have been able to “go there” and hop on-board with his character had he been a little less Disney and a little more Manson. At least if he relied on all the women as mother figures he should have made more of an effort to harm them. That would have been deeper to me. Instead, we see him propose to Susan. (I swear we’ve seen that exact same scene from another zit-faced, stringy-haired young lad on Wisteria Lane telling a very taken and very older Housewife that he has money saved to take care of her. Sigh.) I liked how they incorporated the warning signs of a serial killer – harming animals, abandonment, a trigger and my personal favorite -- a creepy, decrepit house.
Somewhere down the line someone forgot to tie together all the strings of this killer. Part of me thinks this was a less thought-out plot, and it showed in the sloppy execution of it. I didn’t even bother to pick apart how implausible some of the scenes were. I really hope from the beginning they hadn’t planned on the strangler being a teenager. Please, I’m begging.Well, judging by the previews for next week it looks like things will be turned up a notch. Was that Nick Bolen getting run down by a car? Yes, please.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy (Follow me on Twitter)
Photo: Mary Alice helps a young Eddie on "Desperate Housewives." Credit: ABC