|"Finishing the Hat"|
|Desperate Housewives episode|
|Episode no.||Season 8|
|Directed by||David Grossman|
|Written by||Marc Cherry|
|Original air date||May 13, 2012|
"Finishing the Hat" is the 180th episode and the second part of the two-hour series finale of the ABC television series Desperate Housewives. It is the twenty-third and final episode of the show's eighth season and was broadcast on May 13, 2012. Although the season was promoted as "Kiss Them Goodbye", the series finale was promoted as "The Final Kiss Goodbye".
Katherine makes a surprise return to the lane having made a huge amount of money as the owner of a frozen food conglomerate in France and offers Lynette a job as the head of her United States expansion. At Renee's wedding, Lynette realizes that she is in fact happy and gives a lovely toast that is as much for the happy couple as it is for Tom when she advises them to never forget how great they feel at this moment to know that someone loves them and that that is enough to keep you happy. When Tom hears that Lynette is truly happy he says maybe she should take that job after all.
Gaby gets a big promotion at work and is nervous and excited about all the new hours and responsibilities. Carlos cheerleads for her until she starts missing dinners and trying to buy him off with fancy gifts like he used to do with her. He says he wants her time and for her to be present. He then scares her into realizing what she is neglecting by hiring a hot female gardener as a reminder of what she did with John Rowland all those years ago. She is angry about this since it is not funny for him to mock the most shameful thing she has ever done. At Renee's wedding they make up and complement each other on how much they have grown and how their relationship works now and vow to keep it great.
Susan finally reveals to her friends that she is moving. While seeing Julie through the last weeks of her pregnancy, Susan tries to set her up on a date with her OB, Susan later reveals she may or may not have another torrid romance in her life but the memories of Mike and her life on the Lane will be enough to keep her warm.
Julie, Gaby, and Susan are all helping Renee on her wedding day. In the limo on the way to the wedding Julie's water breaks... all over Renee's dress. They make a quick stop at Gaby's department store to get a new wedding dress. While they are busy stealing/borrowing the dress, Susan jumps into the driver's seat of the limo and takes Julie to the hospital.
Gaby and Renee emerge and when the limo is gone they hotfoot it to the wedding. Renee arrives disheveled and distraught but Ben says all the right things and the wedding goes off without a hitch and includes Lynette's lovely toast and Carlos and Gaby's reconciliation.
Meanwhile, in her turn helping Mrs. McCluskey, Bree is tasked with getting a particular hard-to-get 45 rpm record and a turntable to play it on for the dying woman. At the same time Roy and Mrs. McCluskey notice Trip constantly calling Bree and her giving him the brush off and this gives Mrs. McCluskey an idea. On the day of the wedding Bree stops in and sees that Mrs. McCluskey has the record and turntable and Roy says Trip got it for them. Trip then crashes the wedding and finally convinces Bree that he truly cares for her. She says she could not trust that he really liked her after he learned about all of her ugly secrets—the drinking, promiscuity, the cover-up. He says he does not want to love an ideal, but a person. Then they kiss and reconcile.
On her deathbed, Mrs. McCluskey listens to her record "Wonderful! Wonderful!" and we see a montage: Renee and Ben dance at their reception, Julie giving birth, Tom and Lynette kissing and dancing at the reception and then Porter running in and telling them about Julie and rushing off to the hospital. Just as the baby is born, Mrs. McCluskey dies. Bree gets a call and she and Trip run to Mrs. McCluskey's house to comfort Roy and grieve. Gaby and Carlos dance with their girls.
During a poker game, before Susan's departure, the girls vow that this would not be their last poker game, but as Mary Alice reveals via voice-over, it was. Lynette and Tom move to New York, where Lynette works as a CEO; they move into a penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park and spend the rest of their lives happily together with their six grandchildren. Gaby and Carlos left the following fall; with the help of Carlos, Gaby started a personal shopping website that led to her own show on the Home Shopping Network, and they then moved to a mansion in California, where they still fight but are truly committed to each other. Finally, Bree married Trip and two years after they leave the Lane, and move to Louisville, where Bree became a member of the Kentucky state legislature.
Susan moved first, but before she did, she introduced herself to the woman moving in and wished her well. The woman worries it will be boring in the suburbs but Susan assures her it will not be. Before she leaves Susan takes one last spin around the block with M.J. and Julie. As she drives away she is benevolently looked upon by many of the ghosts of the lane including Mike Delfino, Karen McCluskey and her son, George Williams, Juanita "Mama" Solis, Mona Clarke, Karl Mayer, Ellie Leonard, Nora Huntington, Rex Van De Kamp, Lillian Simms, Beth Young, Chuck Vance, Alma Hodge, Bradley Scott, Martha Huber and Mary Alice Young herself who says finally that even the most desperate life, is oh-so-wonderful.
The final scene shows that life goes on in the neighborhood, as Jennifer, the woman who bought Susan's house, hides a mysterious jewelry box in a locked cabinet while Mary Alice comments that mystery and secrets will continue to exist within Wisteria Lane.
The finale was watched by 11.12 million American viewers, earning a 3.2/8 rating/share with adults 18–49. It was the most watched program of the night, tied season high ratings with the season 8 premiere "Secrets That I Never Want to Know", and was the most watched episode of the show since the season 7 episode "Searching", watched by 11.35 million viewers. The finale was also up from the previous season's finale "Come on Over for Dinner", which was watched by 10.25 million viewers and received a 3.1 rating in the 18–49 category. The finale was also up from the previous episode "The People Will Hear", which was watched by 9.22 million viewers and received a 2.7/7 rating. The finale was competing against Survivor: One World Reunion on CBS, which was watched by 7.72 million viewers and held a 2.3/6 rating, and Celebrity Apprentice on NBC, which averaged 5.48 million viewers and held a 1.8/5 rating in the 18–49 demographic. ABC reported that the episode gained an additional 2.1 million viewers (rising to a total of 13.2 million viewers) and 0.9 rating in the 18–49 demographic (rising to a total of a 4.1 rating), in the week following the original broadcast due to DVR recordings.
In Canada, the finale was watched by 1.60 million viewers, placing seventeenth for the week.
The episode received critical acclaim from critics. Reviewers for The Washington Post called the episode "a tidy, affectionate send-off." Sabrina Ford of The Province called it a "happy ending. If it were [filmed in Wisteria Lane], we could count on a happy ending." Christina Tran of TV Fanatic gave the episode a generally positive review, saying "While this final season has had its fair share of ups and downs, I thought that Marc Cherry and company gave us a very satisfying ending. I wasn’t left needing more, but instead, only realizing how much I would truly miss Desperate Housewives." Alberto E. Rodriguez of the Toronto Star called the finale "a fitting way to end the series that was always seen through the eyes of a dead neighbor."
This episode was submitted for consideration for Kathryn Joosten due to her nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards.
For her performance in this episode (and the previous episode, "Give Me The Blame"), Brenda Strong was nominated for her second consecutive Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance as Mary Alice Young.