Spotlight On A "Desperate" Husband: The Intriguing Mr. Orson Hodge
JANUARY 7, 2007: Kyle MacLachlan's outstanding performance as the mysterious dentist and Bree Van De Kamp's new husband on ABC's "Desperate Housewives" have earned the actor status of a series regular. Before the show continues tonight, here's a little recap of what we know about the creepy Mr. Hodge.
Orson Hodge first appeared on the show in April 2006 in the episode "Don't Look At Me" (#219).
Initially, the character was conceived as a single man out on a date with his girlfriend at the movies who happens to help Susan make Mike Delfino jealous.
Orson then reappeared a month later after Susan's house burned down and was introduced to the neighbors as "Susan's dentist friend".
He then happened to bump into Bree Van De Kamp at a mental institution where she sought help following her mental breakdown and he was visiting his friend, a silent woman sitting by the window.
In the season finale episode, plumber Mike Delfino, who was about to propose to Susan, visited Orson with a tooth problem.
Orson noticed Mike may have served time in prison based on his dental work. Mike admitted to being in jail in Kansas. Then Orson said he worked in a prison during his studies in Virginia.
Mike said he thought he had met Orson before, but Orson dismissed that as impossible. When Mike noted Orson's diplomas stated he graduated from Minnesota, Orson simply said he was licensed in 3 states.
As the ominous season finale drew to a close, for no obvious reason, Orson ran over Mike with his car, putting the plumber into coma for over 6 months.
Then the following day, Orson visited Bree, who returned home, bringing flowers to her.
At this point, Marc Cherry and the new writing team decided to change the original storyline which should have taken a very predictable path of Orson being a con-artist and the lady at the clinic being his partner in crime.
Similarly to the disappointing storyline with Jeri Ryan last season on "The O.C." he was supposed to trick Bree into giving him money and he would then leave the poor Van De Kamp widow behind penniless and brokenhearted.
The writers who made a pledge to improve the quality of storytelling went back to the drawing board and entirely redefined MacLachlan's character. After all, the last thing everyone wanted to see was Bree dating a George in disguise and getting conned.
When the season premiered, the writers came up with a brilliant twist - Orson is a male version of Bree! And he is also a married man whose wife had disappeared after she realized how unhappy she was being married to a perfectionist.
Or did she? Enter Carolyn Bigsby, a nosy neighbor (kudos to Laurie Metcalf for her brilliant performance), a local busybody, a woman on a mission.
Instead of waiting half the season to slowly unravel the mystery plot, the writers accelerated the story six months - just as Orson was about to marry Bree, Carolyn crashed his engagement party and accused him of killing his wife Alma and cleaning the house with bleach to cover up his tracks.
The foundations of the season 3 mystery had therefore been put.
Orson assured Bree Carolyn was a deranged woman, because Alma had abandoned him leaving without a trace. Bree believed him and the happy couple tied the knot. This is when things got really messy.
The police uncovered an unusually well-preserved body of a woman buried in clay who died of a trauma to her head. Cross-checking missing persons reports, they believed the woman could have been Alma Hodge, Orson's missing wife.
When both Orson and Carolyn arrived to identify the body, they confirmed the woman was not Alma. However, as Orson was leaving the morgue, he turned around and dropped a bombshell, saying quietly "I miss you, Monique" in French.
How come Orson knows the dead woman? Is she connected to Alma? Is Alma dead, too? Is he a serial killer?
The next few weeks, Orson revealed even more traits - he showed love and compassion and helped Bree reconnect with her prodigal son.
He took Danielle's ridiculous suicide attempt very seriously shouting at Andrew suicide was the worst thing that can happen to a family and he would not have anyone make fun of it.
The Bigsbys then tried to make amends with the Hodges, but Carolyn's agenda was clear - get back on good terms with Bree so she listens. And Carolyn had plenty more to say.
She showed Bree photos of Alma all bruised up and said the photos had been taken by the police after Orson had hit her. Carolyn also had a copy of a police report to prove it.
Orson again assured Bree Carolyn was a liar and he only shoved Alma after she had attacked him because she couldn't take his perfectionist ways any longer. Bree decided to stand by her husband as she desperately wanted to believe him.
Harvey, Carolyn's husband, meanwhile revealed to Orson he had cheated on his wife with a flight attendant named Monique.
Shocked to learn Harvey had actually slept with his former lover, Orson made an anonymous call to the police telling them the dead woman was called Monique and suggesting they question Harvey Bigsby.
In the meantime, the police uncovered even more evidence. The dead woman had a phone number written on her hand and it turned out to be Mike Delfino's. The plumber had just come out of his coma and started recuperating at the hospital while suffering substantial memory loss.
He did remember, however, the dead woman the police showed him the picture of. Did he also sleep with Monique?
Then a tragedy stroke.
Carolyn asked Bree whether she was leaving her husband. Bree who wanted to hurt Carolyn for trying to soil her husband's name told the woman to mind her own business as her own husband was cheating on her, a fact Orson was happy to share with his wife.
At that moment, something snapped inside Carolyn and she went berserk. She stormed into her husband's supermarket with a gun, shooting at him, and then taking hostages when he locked himself in his office.
The brilliant episode involves each and every soul on Wisteria Lane and climaxes with two deaths, including Carolyn herself. And if the woman had any more secrets about Alma, Orson or Monique, they were all gone with her.
As the residents of Wisteria Lane tried to cope with tragic events, the police closed in on Mike Delfino. According to the latest findings, the woman who died had traces of paint used by plumbers on her body.
Suspiciously, Mike's tool box that may contain the woman's DNA went missing before the police got a warrant to search Delfino's house.
That mystery was quickly resolved, as a truly unique character, neighbor Karen McClusky, revealed to Mike she borrowed his toolbox (as just about everything from his garage) while he was in the hospital.
Did you think it couldn't get any more confusing? Think again.
Enter Gloria Hodge, Orson's theatrical mother. Dixie Carter's truly amazing character returned into her son's life only to poison Bree with even more doubt. The woman clearly holds a grudge against her own son.
Gloria revealed to Bree Orson had been cheating on his wife Alma by sleeping with "his precious Monique".
Bree, who was more shocked to hear Orson had known the woman at the morgue (although he claimed he didn't) than she was to hear that he had cheated on his wife, was devastated and demanded that he leave her house.
In the meantime, Mike who truly couldn't remember the events that led up to his hospital stay (luckily for Orson) feared he may have done something wrong and went into the forest to bury the tools, but the police who put him under continuous surveillance stopped him just as he was about to get rid of the incriminating evidence.
Mike went to jail and Susan who had already been worried about Orson marrying Bree entered the scene and tried to help Mike despite being romantically involved with Englishman Ian.
She tried to persuade Bree to go to the police and tell them what she knew about Orson. Bree who again wished her husband could come up with some reasonable explanation was reluctant to do so and she was even angered by Susan's demands.
That is why Susan broke into Orson's office just as he and Bree were about to kiss and make up. Hidden in his storage, she found a secret box containing interesting information about the dentist's past.
When he was a 17-year old student, Orson was committed to Elm Ridge mental hospital in Sagamore, CT. The reason for commitment was psychological depression. He began his treatment on August 10, 1981.
Susan also uncovered a photo of a young Orson sitting next to his mother in front of the sanatorium.
Finally, just as "Desperate Housewives" was about to go on a well-deserved December hiatus, the mother of all cliffhangers revealed Alma, Orson's first wife was alive and well and scheming behind the scenes with her former mother-in-law Gloria.
What is the woman's agenda? Did she kill Monique? If so did Gloria help her? Or did her crazy and now deceased best friend Carolyn have something to do with it?
And why did Orson run over Mike? If Orson believed Mike had killed his precious Monique, why did he tell the police to question Harvey instead?
What if Orson running over Mike has nothing to do with Monique, but rather their mutual past in prison and is only used by the writers to confuse the viewers?
Tonight, some of these questions may get answered as the storyline takes yet another surprising turn and Monique appears in flashbacks. You can read more about that by following a link to an article with spoilers for tonight's episode.