Distant Past

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"Distant Past"
Desperate Housewives episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 8
Directed by Jay Torres
Written by Joe Keenan
Production code 408
Original air date November 25, 2007
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover"
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"Something's Coming"
List of Desperate Housewives episodes

"Distant Past" is the 78th episode of the ABC television series, Desperate Housewives. It is the eighth episode of the show's fourth season and originally aired on November 25, 2007.

The episode title Distant Past was taken from the title of a bit of underscoring in Stephen Sondheim's film score for Alain Resnais's Stavisky.


Victor has been missing for two days and Carlos wants to tell the police what happened and plead self-defense. Gaby convinces him to keep quiet since no one will suspect they were on the boat with him. The police find Victor's empty boat and question Gaby, who tries to plant the idea that Victor was despondent over her leaving him and possibly suicidal—a tough sell since the complete lack of fingerprints on the boat points to foul play.

Edie reads that the mayor is missing and tips off the police that Gabrielle and Carlos were having an affair. Gaby denies it, claiming that Edie's just being spiteful because Carlos dumped her. Just then the police get a call: Victor's been found alive. They escort Gaby to the hospital, where she's relieved to find that Victor says he has no memory of his accident, not even of being on the boat. After the police leave, he grabs her by the throat and tells her he remembers everything.

Bree insists on having baby Ben share their bed, which means no sleep and no sex for a cranky Orson. Bree explains that she doesn't want to make the same mistakes she made with her first children, which Andrew overhears and takes as his cue to move out of the house so Bree won't be reminded of her past "mistakes." In an attempt to get Andrew to move back home, Bree visits him at his new apartment with his favorite home cooked meal. Andrew refuses to come home and reveals that his real motive for moving was to start his own life and give his mother the opportunity to begin her new life with Orson and Benjamin. Bree admits that her real fear is parting ways with Andrew on bad terms again and is surprised to learn that Andrew had already forgiven her for abandoning him two years earlier. Even more, Andrew thanks his mother for "forcing him to grow up". Bree then realizes that she had been oblivious to the fact that her once angry teenage son became a mature and forgiving adult. This conversation implies that the dark chapter in Bree and Andrews' lives has officially closed. In a final twist of irony, Andrew insists that Bree use a coaster for her beverage, which nearly moves Bree to tears.

Bree asks Tom how he and Lynette dealt with the lack of sex when their kids were young and he explains how they got creative in finding other places to make love. Bree books an appointment with Orson as "Mrs. Zimmerman," and tells him she "has a cavity she needs filled," and drops her raincoat, revealing nothing underneath, to Orson's delight.

Lynette feels guilty about having run her mother off, so she's glad when her former stepfather, Glen, helps track down Stella. She refuses to come back to live with Lynette after she called her a bad mother. Lynette is prepared to list all the terrible things Stella did, starting with her cheating on Glen, the only stable parental figure Lynette ever knew, when Glen says it's time they tell Lynette the truth. He didn't leave Stella because she cheated on him, he left because he realized he's gay. This changes everything for Lynette, who now can understand her mother's drinking and all the men in her life. She asks her mother to come back once more, but Stella is sure she'll just mess things up again. Glen offers to let her stay with him, as he's lonely since his partner died and he has a free guest room. Stella is thrilled to accept and Lynette is pleased to have both parents back in her life.

Mike needs more pills, but his dealer, a student named Barrett, has raised the price. Barrett shows up at the house to collect and Susan, hearing he's a college pre-med student, decides he'd be a perfect match for Julie.

Sylvia, a woman from Adam's past, shows up and he angrily tells her she already ruined his life once. Mike is over fixing a leak, so she leaves, for now. Mike agrees not to tell Katherine, if Adam writes him a prescription for painkillers. Adam really can't, being a gynecologist, so he asks Orson to write one for him. Orson is reluctant and Mike says it's not just the stress and financial burden of being a "suburban dad," but continued pain from the time he was run over by an unknown driver. Orson, clearly feeling guilty, writes the prescription.

When Mike hears that Barrett was at the house, he calls and orders him to stay away, but doesn't realize Susan's already invited him back. Mike finds Barrett chatting happily with Julie and blurts out the truth: he's his drug dealer. Susan assures Julie that Mike's addiction is a thing of the past, but Julie isn't so sure: She saw Mike filling a prescription just that morning.

That evening, Mike sneaks out to his truck when Susan says she'll be in the shower, but she's really watching him out the window. As Mike sleeps, Susan inspects his truck and her worst suspicions are confirmed when she finds the bottle of pills—and sees who prescribed them.

International titles[edit]

  • Czech: Dávná minulost (Distant Past)
  • French: Erreurs de jeunesse (Youthful Indiscretions)
  • French Canadian: Tapis dans l'Ombre (Hidden in the Shade)
  • German: Treibgut (Flotsam)
  • Great Britain: A Distant Past. The episode name slightly dithers from the one used in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it has added the word A to the beginning of the title.
  • Hebrew: שגיאות מהעבר (Shgi'ot MeHaAvar; Mistakes from the Past)
  • Hungarian: Távoli múlt (Distant Past)
  • Italian: Un Passato Lontano (A Distant Past)
  • Polish: Odległa Przeszłość (Distant Past)
  • Spanish: Un pasado triste (A Sad Past)
  • Greek: Μακρινό Παρελθόν (Distant Past)


This episode attracted 18.64 million viewers in its original US airing. 13.86 million viewers watched this episode in the UL, finishing 3rd in the week it was aired.


Although credited, Katherine Mayfair (Dana Delany), Dylan Mayfair (Lyndsy Fonseca), Danielle Van De Kamp (Joy Lauren), Preston Scavo (Brent Kinsman), Porter Scavo (Shane Kinsman), Parker Scavo (Zane Huett), and Kayla Scavo (Rachel Fox) do not appear in this episode.

Awards notes[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Official 2008 EMMYS Episode Submissions". The Envelope Forum, Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 8, 2008.