If It's Only In Your Head

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"If It's Only In Your Head"
Desperate Housewives episode
Episode no.Season 5
Episode 24
Directed byDavid Grossman
Written byJeffrey Richman
Production code524
Original air dateMay 17, 2009
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Everybody Says Don't"
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"Nice is Different Than Good"
Desperate Housewives (season 5)
List of Desperate Housewives episodes

"If It's Only In Your Head" is the 111th episode of the ABC television series Desperate Housewives. It is the twenty-fourth and season finale episode of the show's fifth season and aired on May 17, 2009.


The episode begins with Mary Alice explaining the marriage of Lila and David Dash, three years earlier. The scene continues with Lila wanting to go out for ice cream as a family; however Dave states that he cannot go; having brought work home. He promises that the next night they will do something together as a family. Returning to voice over, Mary Alice states there would be no tomorrow for Lila and Paige as it is the night they crash into Mike and Susan. The flashback ends with Mary Alice stating that the last thing Lila thought about was what her death would do to Dave and is lucky she would never know.

Mike has a weird feeling about Dave, but Katherine tells him that is just how Dave is. But when he wants to call them, Katherine tells him to put their bags in the car so they do not miss their flight. Katherine wants to stop at the store to get videotape for the camera, but Mike tells her to grab one from the desk so she grabs the tape that Dave made during the previous episode. At the airport, Mike calls Susan and finds out everything is fine. Katherine asks Mike if he wants to go through with the wedding because she feels he is still hooked into Susan, but Mike convinces Katherine he loves her. When Katherine pulls out her purse to go get some coffee, she accidentally turns on the video camera in her bag as she leaves for the coffee shop. Mike sees the tape Dave recorded and realizing the danger Susan and M.J. are in, grabs the camera and rushes away, telling a waiting lady to tell Katherine that he had to leave on an emergency. The lady repeats the message to Katherine, but fails to mention the word "emergency", so because of how the woman phrased Mike's message, it appears to Katherine that Mike could not go through with their wedding and left her.

Karen and Roberta break into Edie's house and while searching through his briefcase, they find the name "David Dash" on the pill bottles. The two investigators show up asking to speak to Dave and catch Karen and Roberta inside the house. The detectives got confirmation from the receptionist that David Dash was a patient there and is the same one whose wife and daughter died in the car crash. Karen tells them that she remembers that crash because her neighbors, Mike and Susan, were in that crash so Roberta tells them that is weird and wonders why he would move onto the same street as the people who killed his family.

Mike calls Susan and tells her that Dave is actually the husband of the wife they killed in the accident. Mike tells her they are in danger and need to get away from him. Susan tries to find ways for Dave to pull over so she and M.J. can escape, but he is determined to get to the lake as soon as possible. Dave agrees to pull over and Susan takes M.J. to "go to the bathroom" in the woods. When the detectives call Dave to inform him they know everything, Susan hits him over the head with a rock and tries to get the keys out of his pocket, but he grabs her hand. Susan gets her hand free and tells M.J. to run, but she trips over a rock and tells M.J. they are playing hide and seek and not to come out for anything. Dave grabs her and demands that she calls for M.J., but when she refuses he points his gun at her face, so she does, but only to tell him not to come out so he knocks her out with his gun. Dave eventually finds M.J. hiding behind a gravestone and gets them back in the car. When Mike calls, Dave answers and Mike tells him to let Susan and M.J. go and take him instead so Dave tells them to meet him on the same road where the accident happened. Dave ties up Susan and informs her that he and M.J. are going to pull into the intersection just as Mike goes speeding down that road. He wants Susan to watch as Mike kills their son just like she killed his daughter. Dave unbuckles M.J.'s seatbelt and when he looks through the rearview mirror he sees his daughter in M.J.'s place. Susan manages to get free and tries to get Mike to stop, but he crashes into Dave and Susan is devastated until she sees M.J. standing on the side of the road as Dave told him to get out. When the three of them gather together, Mike and Susan share a passionate kiss. After the crash Dave is put back in the psychiatric hospital in Boston where in his mind, his family never died.

The Solises are waiting for Ana to arrive and because her father walked out, her mother is in jail and she has been bounced around from relative to relative, and the Solises want this to be the end of the line for her. Carlos wonders if she will remember him because he has not seen her since she was six. Carlos remembers doing fun stuff with her like taking her to the swings in the park, buying her ice cream and giving her piggyback rides, but when she steps out of the taxi, he tells Gaby he does not remember that (Ana had since grown into a very attractive young lady). Gaby explains the house rules to Ana and is shocked to find out that Ana gets designer clothes from guys for making them think she will have sexual intercourse with them. Gaby comes back from doing errands and sees that Ana got the Scavo boys to do all the chores for her. Gaby scolds Ana as it sets a bad example for her daughters so Ana accuses her of being jealous because she is too old to get guys to do things for her. Gaby threatens to throw her out on the streets if she makes another comment like that. Ana goes outside and pretends to cry and tells Carlos that Gaby wants to kick her out so he tells Gaby to start acting like an adult, that Ana has had so much grief in her life without Gaby making things worse.

Karl is surprised that Bree told Orson about the divorce. Bree is worried because she is being blackmailed and if she does not pretend to love Orson, he will send her to prison. Orson is attacked by a man who warns him to let go. Otherwise, next time he will not. Orson thinks Bree hired the man to attack him, but realizes that Bree would never physically hurt him. Bree inadvertently changes Orson's mind and he decides to stay as she did not know he had a packed suitcase and was ready to leave. Bree is furious that Karl hired someone to attack Orson and accuses him of turning her into a completely different person. Karl tells her she is the most fascinating woman he has ever met and when she fires him, he kisses Bree and they both enjoy it.

Lynette starts to feel sick so she calls the doctor, saying she thinks the cancer is back. Meanwhile, Tom is excited because not only did he pass the exam; he got in the top five percent while drunk. To celebrate, Tom takes the whole family out for hot fudge sundaes. Lynette strongly believes it is cancer, but is stunned to find out she is pregnant with twins again. The news causes Tom to wonder about college and Lynette about her job.

Two months later, everyone is attending a wedding. Gaby is still trying to keep Ana in line, catching her flirting with a man at the wedding. Lynette excuses herself as she rushes to the bathroom, likely due to morning sickness. Bree is seen sitting next to Orson, but slowly turns to look at Karl, indicating they are likely still seeing one another. The scene ends on Mike as the groom, kissing an unidentified bride.


  • Although she does not appear in this episode, Nicollette Sheridan (Edie Britt) is credited as a series regular for the last time.
  • Although credited, Shawn Pyfrom (Andrew Van de Kamp) does not appear in this episode.
  • This episode included a clip from "You're Gonna Love Tomorrow".
  • This is the fourth season finale to feature a cliffhanger featuring Mike:
    • In season one he entered his house where Zach Young was waiting and planning to kill him.
    • In season two he was run over by Orson Hodge and left for dead.
    • In season four it was unknown what had happened to Mike in the five year jump due to Susan's new relationship with Jackson.
  • This is one of four season finales to feature a wedding. In season 3 both Gaby and Susan get married. In season 4, Bob and Lee have a civil ceremony in this episode, Mike gets married to an unknown bride, and in season 8, Renee and Ben get married.
  • The Minister marrying Mike and the unknown bride was played by Steve Tyler, and is the same Minister who married Susan and Mike in "Getting Married Today".
  • The title of this episode are lyrics from the song "Putting It Together" by Stephen Sondheim, from the musical Sunday in the Park With George.
  • This episode was watched by 14.66 million viewers on its original airing.
  • When Ana arrives at Carlos and Gabrielle's house, the taxi comes from the left of their house. The entrance to Wisteria Lane is to the right. Unless the taxi drove through Edie Britt's house, this is not possible.
  • The original idea that Marc Cherry had teased for this season finale was to have Mark Moses returning as Paul Young. Unfortunately, at the time Mark was shooting another series, Mad Men.
  • Marc Cherry had originally wanted to have Katherine getting married with Mike, but since many fans of the show were against the idea, he put Mike and Susan back together.
  • In this episode Bree reveals to Orson her wish to divorce. However Orson is the one who leaves exactly one year later in the sixth season finale "I Guess This Is Goodbye".

International titles[edit]

  • España: Si solo son imaginaciones tuyas (If It's Only Your Imagination)
  • French: Dans la peau de Dave Dash (Into Dave Dash's body)
  • German: Showdown
  • Hebrew: אם זה רק בראש שלך (Im Ze Rak BaRosh Shelcha; If It's Only In Your Head)
  • Hungarian: Képzelődsz... (It's your imagination...)
  • Italian: I tarli della mente (The woodworms of the mind)