The Best Thing

Eli Scruggs (Beau Bridges) dies from a heart attack while fixing Susan Meyer’s roof, and shocks little Juanita Solis when she sees his dead body lying on the shingles being pecked at by a crow. Eli is a much-loved local character and flashbacks show his importance to the women in Wisteria Lane…

Bree remembers back to the time when it was her dream to write a classic cookbook but husband Rex scoffed at her idea. After Rex died, however, it was Eli who encouraged Bree to pursue her dream. He even gave her the half-written cookbook he’d fished out of the dustbin where Bree had thrown it after an argument with Rex. In a heartfelt gesture of thanks, Bree decides to make Eli’s favourite recipe, Cajun Meatloaf, for his funeral.

Edie also has special memories of Eli. He was the man who managed to satisfy her out-of-control-libido after her divorce from her gay first husband, while helping her test out the mirror he’d once installed over her bed. Lynette’s flashback is quite dramatic. The pregnant housewife’s waters broke, but instead of rushing off to hospital, we saw her on the phone trying to land her dream job. Later, after baby Penny was born, a forgetful Lynette left her newborn in a sweltering hot car. Eli saw it all and gently delivered the child to her mother, telling Lynette that she’d had a lot on her plate and he understood how it could have happened.

The handyman was also called upon to change the locks every time Susan’s relationships went sour. He saw Susan through divorces from Carl and Mike and the split from her young stud Jackson. As Susan said, Eli was the most consistent and reliable male relationship in her life.

Finally, we get to see Mary Alice again, instead of just hearing her ghostly voice narrating. She may have had the biggest impact on Eli, getting him established in the neighbourhood and giving him work when he really needed it. And he was the last person she saw before she killed herself. Her suicide had a profound effect upon Eli, because afterwards he vowed that he’d spend the rest of his life helping people when they needed it.