The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened

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"The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened"
Desperate Housewives episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 13
Directed by Larry Shaw
Written by Marc Cherry & Bob Daily
Production code 513
Original air date January 18, 2009
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Desperate Housewives episodes

"The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened" is the 100th episode of the ABC television series, Desperate Housewives. It is the thirteenth episode of the show's fifth season and it aired on January 18, 2009.

The title of this episode is taken from the song 'Now You Know' from Stephen Sondheim's musical Merrily We Roll Along.


Eli Scruggs (portrayed by Beau Bridges), the neighborhood handy man, is at Susan Mayer's house when he is approached by an angry Karen McCluskey. McCluskey is annoyed that Eli has sent out cards to everyone in the neighbourhood announcing his retirement. While fixing the shingle on Susan Mayer's house, he suffers a heart attack and suddenly dies. Once Bree, Gabrielle, Susan and Lynette meet up for poker and to discuss Eli's funeral, they start thinking through flashbacks how much he affected their lives. Gaby recalls how when she moved into the neighbourhood Carlos was working a lot and she found herself extremely bored. She recalls how Eli suggested she host the girl's weekly poker game in order to make friends. Gabrielle flaunts her wealth in front of the other women and makes a bad impression which Eli berates her for. Gabrielle realises how obnoxious she has been and apologizes to the other housewives, admitting that her life isn't all it cracked up to be. Back in the present day Bree suggests that she prepares food for the funeral. Whilst looking at Gabrielle's copy of her cookbook she recalls a brunch she held with her late husband Rex, a heavily pregnant Lynette and Tom. Complaining that she needs a new stove, Rex suggests that she gets a job. Taking him up on his suggestion Rex walks in on Bree preparing notes for a cookbook whilst Eli is fixing the sink. Rex teases Bree about her idea and her skills as a cook. Disheartened, Bree throws the papers away. After Rex's funeral Eli reveals to Bree that he kept the papers and that, when she feels up to it, someday she should go ahead and write her cookbook.

In the present day news reaches Dave and Edie that Eli has died. Edie is extremely upset and recalls the time that when she was having marital problems with her ex-husband Umberto Roswell. Feeling insecure about her appearance Eli reassures Edie and makes her feel better. After Umberto reveals he is gay and leaves Edie, Eli is there and a man-hungry and drunk Edie cheers herself up by having sex with him. Back in the present day Lynette's daughter Penny shows up at Gabrielle's house, asking for her mother. Lynette recalls how when she was pregnant with Penny she planned on going back to work as soon as Penny is born. She finally realizes she is putting too much importance on getting her career back on track when she is distracted on the phone and leaves Penny in a hot car outside. Eli retrieves Penny and Lynette is moved to tears, disgusted with herself for putting work above caring for her daughter. Back at her house Susan opens a bottle of wine and looks at Eli's toolbox still on her kitchen table. She recalls how Eli changed the locks for her when Karl left her for Brandi and Mike left her after the car accident. Distraught at losing Mike, Eli comforts Susan by saying although he has little experience of love he is inspired by how Susan always manages to pick herself up again and move on after each failure with a man. Susan then recalls the day that Eli died, before he began working on her roof. Eli shows up with a spare set of keys he had cut for Jackson. Susan reveals that she has just broken up with Jackson but is remarkable calm about the situation. Eli then tells her that this is his last day as a handy man before he retires, so Susan's roof will be his last job. Susan rushes to the store to buy a bottle of wine so that she and Eli can toast to his retirement. When Susan returns, Eli has died. It is this wine that Susan is drinking and raises a glass in memory of Eli.

At Eli's funeral Mary Alice herself recalls how she changed Eli's life. She remembers how one morning before he had any steady work, he approached her and introduced himself. Initially commenting that she doesn't have any work for him Mary Alice changes her mind when she notices Eli is wearing worn shoes and had obviously fallen on hard times. She asks him if he will fix a vase she broke for her. Eli appreciates her sympathy and initially declines but Mary Alice is insistent. A few years later now that Eli has found steady work thanks to Mary Alice recommending him to the women of the neighbourhood, Eli walks in on Mary Alice reading a note. Mary Alice tries to be upbeat despite the fact that something is obviously troubling her, and offers Eli the vase that he fixed for her a few years ago. Eli gratefully accepts and leaves, worried about Mary Alice's fragile state but thinking it best to leave her alone. It is then revealed that the note Mary Alice was reading is the one she was blackmailed with and that day is the one that she killed herself. An ambulance arrives and the neighbourhood shows up in force to find out what happened to Mary Alice complete with Martha Huber (the blackmailer) gossiping with other women about Mary Alice's suicide. Eli watches from afar and regrets having done nothing to stop Mary Alice's suicide. From that day forward he makes a vow to not only fix people's belongings but their lives as much as he can as well. At his funeral the women gather around Eli's coffin and Bree fixes Eli's flower arrangement before the coffin is lowered, remarking that after all the fixing Eli did for them, she wanted to fix something for him.


Mary Alice Young (Brenda Strong) is seen in this episode for the first and only time in the fifth season. This is her 7th appearance on the show since the first season, having appeared in three episodes during the second season, one during the third and two during the fourth 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 the third season episode, "My Husband, The Pig."

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. Despite being rumored to appear, Paul & Zach Young did not appear, neither did Ida Greenberg or John Rowland. Although credited, Andrew Van de Kamp (Shawn Pyfrom), Porter Scavo (Charlie Carver), Preston Scavo (Max Carver) and Parker Scavo (Joshua Logan Moore) do not appear in this episode.

Out of the main cast Katherine Mayfair (Dana Delany), Mike Delfino (James Denton) and Orson Hodge (Kyle MacLachlan) appear briefly at Eli's funeral but have no speaking lines in this episode.

This is not Marcia Cross' hundredth episode with Desperate Housewives due to her maternity leave during Season 3. She doesn't make her hundredth appearance as Bree until Rose's Turn, seven episodes later.


  • Eli recommended to Karen a guy named Toby, handyman about 30 years old, but in episode "Liaisons" someone named Toby (Michael Guarnera) also appear and he was a handyman, who repaired Gabrielle closet.

International titles[edit]

  • French: Le meilleur d'entre nous (The best man between us)
  • German: Der beste Handwerker aller Zeiten (The best workman ever)
  • Hebrew: הדבר הטוב ביותר שיכול היה לקרות (HaDavar HaTov Be'yoter SheHaya Yachol Likrot; The Best Thing That Could Have Happened)
  • Hungarian: Egy ügyes kezű ezermester (A Handy Handyman)
  • Italian: Tutto si può riparare (Everything can be fixed)
  • Greek: Το καλύτερο πράγμα που θα μπορούσε ποτέ να συμβεί (The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened)