Near-death experiences, the “life review,” and — Desperate Housewives?

My wife is a Desperate Housewives fan, and we just finished watching last night’s (March 11) episode, and I’m here to report that I was fairly thunderstruck by the final scene. This is the episode that ends with the beloved character of Mike Delfino being murdered (a development that was revealed/leaked to the public ahead of time when somebody mentioned it in court last week amidst the lawsuit brought against the producers by a former cast member), and I was riveted by the scene’s unexpected and explicit portrayal of a “life review” along the lines of what’s reported almost universally by people who have had near-death experiences.

The phenomenon in which a dying person experiences a spontaneous, compressed, cinema-style recall of his or her life experiences is a subject of much interest, discussion, and investigation among a wide body of laypeople and researchers. I’ve always found the very concept of it, not to mention the accounts of it from people who have actually had NDEs, to be profoundly moving, because I’m gripped by the thought / sense / intuition that this experience encapsulates or encodes the very meaning, the purpose, the deep raison d’etre, of embodied human life. I can’t even contemplate it for very long without experiencing a wave of profound emotion.

And I think the way it was portrayed by the producers of Desperate Housewives was astonishingly effective, especially given the surrounding context of a show that, for obvious reasons, I wouldn’t have expected to feature such a thing.

Here’s some intrepid YouTuber’s helpful sharing of the scene in its entirety. Note the deep and tender emotion of Mike’s final subjective experience, which contrasts sharply with the objective nature of his death.

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD, GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES, and HORROR LITERATURE THROUGH HISTORY.

Posted on March 12, 2012, in Psychology & Consciousness, Religion & Philosophy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *