Warning, spoilers abound below.
Quick show of hands: did anyone see this happening? Anyone see it going down like this? Yeah, definitely did NOT see any of the final five minutes coming.
The only way to top an episode like last week's is to throw in reveal a season-long in coming and another mystery to chew on until the fall when "How to Get Away With Murder" returns (yay for the season renewal announced at the end of the episode!)
Which is why the 20 or so minutes we spend on the case of the week are painfully wasted. Although there's something to be drawn from the fact that the only client Annalise fails is one who admits to his guilt to save someone he loves. That Annalise and her crew could take a few tips from the priest who killed a fellow priest who was a molester, and then confessed to keep the woman he chastely loved from incriminating himself is alarming in itself. Also, the above story barely phases "How to Get Away With Murder" viewers, speaking to the number of twists we've been through this season already. It takes a lot to rile us up.
In plot points that we care about, Oliver decides to do the responsible thing and asks that he and Connor go get tested for HIV. The episode turns into a bit of a PSA midway there about the need for protection, but hey -- more power to Shondaland for speaking out about an important issue.
Back in Rebecca's flashbacks, we see the dirty destructive truth of her last hours with Lila before her death. She did sleep with Griffin after lacing him with drugs in order to prove to Lila he wasn't worth her time. These flashbacks are juxtaposed with Wes piecing together the gaps in Rebecca's previous story.
Meanwhile, Annalise has the genius idea to have Frank's jail sources beat up her boyfriend who she's framing for murder to get him out of jail. But instead he gets thrown in solitary. Seriously, how much can poor Nate take? When he gets out of jail after this, they'll probably have to kill him too as he'll start asking about Rebecca…
Bonnie and Frank enlist Asher's help to get the judge off of Nate's case, and Bonnie adorably has qualms about it since she now has feelings for him. By the end of the episode, Bonnie and Asher are the last couple left standing, which is a whole new level of ironic.
Wes and Laurel slowly unravel the truth about the night Lila died, leading to the dramatic mid-episode kidnapping (anyone think for a second Rebecca had killed herself in that slow bathroom reveal? She had threatened to before). After Rebecca puts them in a corner with the information about the campus cop who could place them at the scene of the crime, they snapped. Because of course these idiot kids kidnapped Rebecca the first time she showed the possibility for original thought. They're so preoccupied with their future, and so past the gray zone with their other murder, that kidnapping and potential murder is the first thing that comes to mind when they panic, setting them on a dangerous spiraling path for the rest of the finale and the seasons to come.
As a side note, Wes' complete collapse of faith in Rebecca here, while warranted for a normal person in that she was lying to him, seems a bit unfair. He knew she was a drug dealer, broken with secrets, who was involved with a murder from the get-go. She started the season by planting a phone in his room and screaming of DANGER, but only now does Wes seem to second-guess his feelings for her. Have to say, you've got to feel for Rebecca here. This is a bit of an unfair turnaround from puppy eyes.
When the kids bring in Queen Annalise to fix the situation, she realizes she's a bit out of her depth. She asks Wes to break it down for her, and even he thinks Rebecca may be to blame for Lila's death. They decide to drag the bound and gagged Rebecca back to the Keating house of death. We should have known then it was all over.
There Judge Annalise decides the kids should have the trial they never had, and puts Rebecca on the stand for Lila's murder. Connor, Michaela, and Laurel present their best stuff, but Annalise says it's all speculation. Wes has nothing to add.
In the time it takes the new prosecutor to get Annalise to fabricate some sort of fight between Sam and Nate (she has to explain how that fingerprint got on the ring after all) and Asher to almost bust in on the group, Rebecca accuses Wes of killing his mother, who allegedly committed suicide, and texts someone "Eggs 911. Lawyer's house." Seriously, no one can do anything right when Annalise is gone.
But who in the world could Rebecca be texting? It seems the girl has no friends, and yet someone on the other end of that phone will apparently be looking out for her next season.
Laurel has a convo with Frank, basically asking him to kill the problem. Harsh Laurel, harsh. You're accusing your pseudo-boyfriend of being a hitman, and also asking him to kill someone. Yikes.
In meal from hell news, Michaela has a meeting with her ex-future mother-in-law. She breaks out a killer Southern accent and shows the strength in her vulnerability we've been looking for all along. She stands up for herself when crazy Mrs. Walker begs her to get back together with her son. She knows he doesn't love her, and she chooses to love and believe in herself in one of the most courageous moments for any of our characters yet this season.
Back in the house from hell, Annalise tries to pry out of Rebecca all that she knows, but that girl is not giving an inch. Annalise tells Wes to buck up and get some information out of his girlfriend, in yet another one of the weirdest student-teacher interactions of all time. Wes finally faces up to what's happening and gets Rebecca to spill the beans.
We find out Rebecca discovered a drowned Lila in the water tank, and threaded water with her dead body for a while to evade suspicion. Once Lila got back to her apartment, poor Rudy asked what was up with her being wet and her fight with Lila earlier. Dude, famous last words. Rebecca laces his drugs with "Purple X," resulting in the nail-scratching break down. As a side note, how did Rebecca possibly go back to that apartment, where she had to look at the scratches in the wall every time?
The only saving grace of the conversation is that Wes turns around and stands up for Rebecca. He gives a moving speech about living a life of hard knocks, and everyone buys it but Michaela, Connor and Laurel.
Annalise leaves the house for all of an hour or so to tell Nate he's going to get off, and then she comes back to go free Rebecca. Only problem is Rebecca's gone. Really guys? Teacher's gone for an hour and we can't keep it together?
In the last minutes of the episode, Annalise comforts a crying Wes in her lap, declaring that they have to chose the series of events where Sam killed Lila. It's the only thing that will make both of them feel better, she says.
Then we get a horrifying rundown of revelations. Laurel ends up giving Michaela back her engagement ring, which she's had this whole time as insurance to keep Michaela quiet. Ice cold Laurel, ice cold. Genius, but ice cold.
Oliver confesses that he tested HIV-positive to Connor, who is heartbroken (as is the audience). We have no time to recover before we finally discover who killed Lila.
In the final flashback, Sam professes his ultimate love to Lila, saying he will leave his wife and they will make a future together. Then he makes a call to Frank, gets back in his car, and drives to New Haven. That resulting strangulation of Lila at Frank's gloved hands is brutally drawn out. We see the light fade out of her eyes, and to know that Frank did it at Sam's behest is almost too much to bear.
While Frank did the dirty deed, Annalise is right that Sam is Lila's murderer. Frank wouldn't have been there unless coerced, and Sam set the events in motion with his affair. But what did Frank do to make himself at Annalise and Sam's beck and call? Does Annalise know? And why did he lie to Laurel about being a hitman? And just WHAT? Watched this episode four times before publishing this, and every time it still shocks.
Mostly because, in the closing minute of the episode, Annalise tells Wes they'll find Rebecca as he sadly walks out the door. She then takes a stroll downstairs, where she and Frank ask each other if they murdered Rebecca. Turns out Rebecca has been lying dead in the basement since this afternoon in the best twist of the season. We have absolutely no idea who could have killed her, but here's why our best guess on why each of them could have done it:
- Annalise -- she's worried Rebecca could out her students, believes she may have killed Lila, blames her for the death of her husband.
- Frank -- he killed Lila after all. Maybe Rebecca knew or would have figured it out eventually. Or that if the attention was turned off of Rebecca, it could be focused on him. He also knew, with Annalise, that Rebecca was dead before the others.
- Wes -- his girlfriend that he murdered for lied to him, implied he killed his mother, and pretty much hates him now. Maybe he overreacted?
- Michaela -- Girl finally came into her own this episode when she stood up to her ex-future mother-in-law. She might have decided to take care of business.
- Connor -- Kid's a genius and a "worrier." Could he have wanted to stop worrying?
- Laurel -- She's the brains of the whole deal. She knows this is a loose end; she wanted to tie it up?
- Bonnie -- She could still blame Rebecca for Sam's death (that speech at the end about what the kids have taken from Annalise was totally about what they'd taken from Bonnie) or want to prove her worth compared to Frank. There's something in those eyes.
We'll spend all next season figuring out whodunnit, and we couldn't be more excited. Thanks for following along for the wild ride folks -- til next season.
Odds and Ends
- What were the last two songs of the episode? All too excellent of a choice.
- Amazing to see how Laurel and Wes are the ringleaders considering how they started off at the beginning of the season.
- Why did we have a procedural this week? No one cares about the case of the week. No one.
- After a lovely take on religion and the question of God in a recent Grey's Anatomy episode, this season finale danced around the edge of religious questions without drilling further into the topic. A bit disappointing that "How to Get Away With Murder" didn't tackle the issue with the same vigor, but you can only fit in so many ground-breaking show elements in two hours, right?
- You've got to love the way Annalise finds herself irredeemable in her conversations with her priest client and yet fights tooth and nail for her life.
- Nate ends up calling the lawyer Annalise suggested, because he's a sucker. Dude, get out of her web of lies.
- Asher gets targeted as the weakest link in the case against Annalise the prosecutor is trying to formulate. Uh oh.
- The following seasons of this show will be a sexier retelling of the Agatha Christie "And Then There Were None," also known as "Ten Little Indians." And Annalise Keating will be the last one standing.
"How to Get Away With Murder" will return this fall on ABC.