In a Word: Secrets and lies are unwrapped and re-wrapped. New schemers arrive in town and add zest to the old mix. But they're not as much fun as the favorites we lose.
The Action: Jane and Syd make lousy murderers — Richard is still alive. But not for long. He tries to extort money from them, overplays his hand, and dies for real in a police shootout. Jane buys the boutique that Sam told her about. Alison and Jake try to keep their relationship a secret, but Billy and Jane find out anyway. Billy punches Jake, and Jane accidentally starts a fire at Alison's new apartment building. She saves Jake and Alison from the fire, but then goes way off the rails: making harassing phone calls, slashing Alison's tires, tossing a brick through Jake's window, etc.
Billy starts dating Sam, and Jane tries to mess that up too. Finally, Jane accepts Alison and Jake's relationship and realizes she was taking her anger over Richard out on Jake. She goes home to Chicago and finds out she's adopted (but Syd's not). Jane's bio-mom, an ex-actress named Sherry, lives in L.A. They slowly become friends. Jane rejects her family to spend all her time with Sherry. But when a thief pulls a gun on Jane at the boutique, she goes back to Chicago and leaves the store to Syd.
A detective tells Amanda her new hubby, Peter, is wanted in Kansas City for murdering his wife, Beth. She goes to KC and finds out that Peter's wife was dying of cancer. Her journal entry shows she actually killed herself, but Peter tells Amanda he did kill Beth. When Kimberly wakes up from her coma, she can't remember the night of Bobby's death. But she still helps Peter by recalling another witness. Peter gets out of jail and moves in with Amanda.
This chick Taylor McBride shows up from Boston, having read about Peter's arrest in the newspaper. She rents Jo's old apartment — turns out Jo decided to go to Bosnia with Dominick after all. Pretty soon, Taylor's husband, Kyle, joins her, and they buy a restaurant. She meets with Peter and has Amanda handle the restaurant's advertising. Later, Peter hangs around the restaurant and drinks a lot. Amanda is miffed. They argue all the time, and Peter ends up on the McBrides' couch one night. Taylor knows Peter — in fact, she's the younger sister of his dead wife, Beth. They get friendlier, and Kyle gets jealous.
Kimberly and Michael get back together, but they have sex problems. So Michael sleeps with this chick Megan, who turns out to be a hooker. Kimberly has an inoperable brain tumor — which is why she hired Megan to keep Michael happy. Michael finds out Megan is a prostitute and wants to take care of her. (He doesn't know about her deal with Kimberly.) Kimberly pretends to catch Michael and Megan in bed together and files for divorce. But she still wants Megan and Michael to be together. Her big plan is to die in a staged accident — by crashing her car on a rainy mountain road — so that Michael can have the insurance money. At first Michael doesn't want to get divorced, but finally he signs. He and Megan marry in Vegas. Megan becomes the receptionist at Michael and Peter's practice.
Peter tells Michael about Kimberly's brain tumor, and Megan tells Michael about the staged-accident plan. M&M race to stop Kimberly and end up crashing into her. Kimberly gets a badly hurt Michael out of his car. Later, Kimberly asks Michael to sleep with her one last time. He does, and Megan is mad. But she forgives him. Then Kimberly's tumor goes into remission. This freaks Megan out, but Michael wants to stay with Megan. Michael and Kimberly argue, and she collapses. She has an aneurysm but won't get surgery. Michael thinks Kimberly's faking, but then finds her near death at the beach house. He calls her mom to come to L.A. She arrives, and Kimberly soon dies. Michael acts tough, but he is sad ... and, somehow, so are we. Poor Kimberly.
Matt steals Michael's prescription pad so he can get more speed. One of his professors figures out he's hooked. Michael finds out too. Matt goes to rehab, where head doctor Dan seems interested in him. So, when Matt gets tossed out of med school for being an addict, he thinks Dan told on him. But Dan says it was really the fellow student who got Matt hooked in the first place, and he helps Matt get back into school. Because Dan LIKES Matt. Later an ex-patient/lover of Dan's tells Matt that Dan is a control freak. And indeed, Dan starts trying to win over Matt in controlling types of ways. Pretty soon he's abusing Matt too. So, of course, Matt figures the thing to do is move in with Dan. And Dan keeps on abusing Matt. Peter steps in and threatens to ruin Dan's career, so Dan gets counseling and tells Matt he's sorry. Later, Matt becomes the guardian of his teenage niece, Chelsea, after his bro Luke dies in a plane crash. He has trouble adjusting to fatherhood, but when Chelsea's mom comes back from Europe and tries to gain custody of Chelsea, he fights for the kid. Eventually, Chelsea's mother leaves her with Matt.
Michael and Peter compete to be the hospital's chief of staff. But Peter loses a patient on the operating table and gets paranoid about doing surgery. Which isn't the best quality in a chief of staff. Taylor comforts him. Kyle's jealous, so he sleeps with Syd. But Kyle wants to make his marriage work. Peter doesn't get the hospital job and starts playing a lot of golf to cheer himself up. Amanda's OK with it, until he loses a big golf bet to Kyle. Taylor talks Peter into lighting a candle for Beth with her on the anniversary of her sister's death. Then she tells him she faked the Beth diary entry that "proved" Peter didn't kill his wife. Later on, Kyle's old Marine buddy Nick shows up and stays with the McBrides. He's kind of a jerk, and Taylor doesn't like him.
There's a ton of drama around D&D when this guy Craig takes over. Amanda later tricks Craig into giving her half of D&D. When Craig and Amanda take a business trip to Palm Springs, a jealous Peter shows up, finds them having dinner, and wrecks the restaurant. Amanda throws him out of the apartment. Peter moves into a new house and wants to get back with her. Taylor helps Peter blackmail his way into the chief of staff gig, but he'd still rather be with Amanda. There's a lot of back and forth, and Amanda finds out that Peter's sleeping with Taylor, so Amanda does sleep with Craig. It's just for revenge: Amanda doesn't really want to be with Craig. But Taylor really wants to be with Peter — she even goes along with becoming more like Beth to make Peter happy. Michael decides to help Taylor because Peter is acting like such a freak. Taylor and Michael scheme to make Peter think he has a medical problem called rage epilepsy. This backfires. Peter finds out and throws Michael through a window. He may not have rage epilepsy, but he does have a little problem with anger management.
Sam and Syd clash when Syd throws her out of Jane's old apartment. Billy wants to ask Sam to move in with him, but Sam sues to stay in the apartment with Syd. Except they hate each other, so Billy does ask Sam to move in. Later, Sam's ex-con dad, Reilly, shows up. He says he was released from prison, but he's actually escaped. Sam won't turn him in, though. Instead, she takes money from Billy to help her dad cross the border. The cops show up and bust the couple for harboring a fugitive. Sam's dad does the sensible thing and kidnaps her.
Alison goes back to D&D temporarily, which Jake doesn't like, so he offers her a partnership in Shooters. She decides to spend a year learning the ropes before actually becoming his partner. Then Alison gets pregnant, and she and Jake get engaged. Jake finds a great house, but Alison waffles about moving in. Billy thinks maybe Alison and Jake aren't ready to get married. Alison proves Billy's point by bailing on the City Hall marriage she and Jake planned. She moves in with Amanda and stays at D&D. Jake goes off to find his ex-girlfriend Colleen and their young son, David. Billy and Alison get closer, and Sam's not happy. But then Alison takes Jake back when he comes home. Alison's pregnancy has complications, so she has to stay in bed. After Alison overhears that Kyle is Peter's brother-in-law, Amanda confronts Peter and makes him see that it was no coincidence that the McBrides showed up in L.A. Peter wants to kill Taylor, but she says she's pregnant.
Alison has a miscarriage and finds out she can't have children. So she proposes to Jake. And they elope. But she thinks he'll never be happy with her, since she can't have kids. Alison bows out by faking a drunken sexual encounter with another man, driving Jake back to Colleen and his son. Alison divorces Jake and moves to Atlanta. Enter Jennifer, Michael's sister, who stays with him at the beach house and becomes pals with Megan. Jennifer has a past with Kyle; they had an affair back in Boston. Later, Kyle gives her a job.
Syd gets caught up in an accident-lawsuit scheme with a sleazy lawyer, Harry. She stands to get $5 mil from suing D&D after she throws herself down the stairs during a party at the agency. But Craig plans to fix it by sleeping with Syd. Amanda tries to hide some of her assets by giving Kyle money to start a jazz club. They both get divorced to protect the jazz club from Peter and Taylor. Craig and Syd actually fall for each other, start their own ad agency, and steal all of D&D's clients and employees. Amanda tries to back out of the jazz club to save D&D. She has a breakdown as the agency slides away from her. Victorious, Syd and Craig get married. But remember Sam and her convict-kidnapper dad? While he's escaping from the cops with Sam as a hostage, he loses control of the car. It crashes into Syd and kills her (and Reilly) while wedding photos are being snapped.
Our Take: Kimberly's exit was kind of touching, and that seemed right. Even though she went crazy, there was always something human about her. It's nice that Michael seemed truly sad. We'll also miss troublemaker Syd, whose exit also had the perfect tone: a totally spectacular disaster.
Your Take: Wouldn't it have been easier if Alison just told Jake the truth instead of doing all that fake falling-off-the-wagon stuff?