The Starter Wife Review: "Her Old Man and the Sea" (Episode 109)

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This week's episode of The Starter Wife opens with the series' newest mystery looming over Molly's well-coiffed head. We've just found out that Joan and Pappy are missing. The only clues? A charge at a Godiva store in Monte Carlo, and an ATM withdrawal.

In other news, Molly wants to kill her ex-husband, Kenny, for his power-hogging in their new business partnership. Zach hasn't gotten over Molly's break-up fling with "Ken," but he's invested enough in the freshly-patched-up relationship to give our girl a copy of his never-been-cracked-open manuscript. Unfortunately, she can't find the time (or eyelid strength) to read the thing.

Then, back to the Where-in-the-world-is-Joan-McAllister? plotline. Molly runs into David Shea, Joan's former paramour, at the neighborhood gourmet grocery store, and spies a box of Godiva resting on top of a cart full of goodies. He abandons his shopping rather unceremoniously and Molly dashes out behind. She follows David to his home, meanwhile calling Rodney to join in the chase. And voila! Mystery solved. There's Joan, greeting her new beau at the car, carefree and looking the happiest we've seen her in the series.

And what a let-down. Each week, The Starter Wife has been hinting at a new commitment to lighthearted intrigue, and each time we're deflated by a lame, decisive ending to the suspense. First it was the stalker. Now Joan and Pappy. These mysteries are getting progressively shorter and less engaging.

But wait. Is this merely the reaction the viewer is expected to have? Are we being set up for long-term gratification by these little, diverting disappointments?

As it turns out, Joan did kick Pappy to the curb, coming back to America to find her lover and have a weeks-long, romantic vacation from the outside world...sort of a bummer of a solution to that problem. But when Molly insists upon escorting her best friend to the police station, to settle the missing person's case, the two are informed of Pappy's death. His body washed up on the shore near Monte Carlo.

So the mystery continues! Also, the last moments of the episode revive the Dizzyland drama. Rodney and his closeted superstar boyfriend have been outted (picture and all) on Hollywood's premiere gossip blog. Will this prove just another misanthropic deed, or a threatening act of sabotage?

And will this week's episode propogate the mystery at all? The previews for Friday's season finale suggest that the installment will be all about romance. It's Lou's wedding (he's the guy who "accidentally" proposed to Molly earlier this season), and each relationship we've been following seems to be encountering a moment of crisis. It's crash or commitment for the six couples, and USA has promised that Molly will make a big decision regarding her future with Zach.

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