Everybody lies. Defendants, lawyers, witnesses, husbands, and even law students. And as our anti-hero Annalise Keating points out, that makes pretty much everyone unknowable -- so much for an uplifting show on your Thursday night.
Kicking off with a flashforward, we learn there’s a mysterious “she” involved in the murderous foursome’s killing of Sam Keating. As Wes is running back with the murder weapon, Michaela, Connor, and Laurel are questioning whether he and the mysterious “she” are trying to pin the crime on the three of them. Remember, no one trusts anyone in this show.
Back to the present, a now-alive Sam is making sketchy statements about how the dead attractive female student Lila Stangard has probably corroded enough in the water tank that it’ll be hard to catch her killer. Because innocent people wonder out loud to their defense attorney wives about the status of decomposing students they may or may not have been involved with.
Annalise leaves that disconcerting conversation and heads on over to the her second home: her classroom. The lesson and case of the week hammer home the moral ambiguity central to this show as Annalise spells out that she doesn’t care if her clients are innocent or guilty -- her job is to defend them. In case you were unclear last week, cheering for Annalise doesn’t always mean cheering for the good guys. But if you’re like the millions who tuned in again tonight, that’s what makes the show such a thriller -- you’re not quite sure who the good guys are, but you want our protagonists to win out anyways.
The case of the week revolves around an incredibly creepy millionaire Max St. Vincent (whose last name should be taken very ironically) who is accused of violently stabbing his second wife to death. In short order, it’s clear St. Vincent has some serious mental stability issues, and even if he didn’t kill his second wife, you wouldn’t want to be stuck in a room alone with him.
Back to a flashforward we go, and it becomes clear that Wes has become a defacto ringleader when he lies to the group about flipping a coin in order to get the others to help him get rid of Sam’s body. He’s also seen later in the episode buying a disposable phone and conferencing with the mysterious “she” behind the others’ backs. What happened to doe-eyed waitlist boy to get him to this murderous spot?
When we head back to the courtroom, Wes and Laurel come out of their shells to contribute the most ammunition to Annalise’s case, to which she salutes the “quiet ones” for stepping up their game. Connor also manages to wrangle more information (and perhaps, a longer relationship?) out of his tech boytoy from last week. Last week’s gunner Michaela pretty much whines this episode, so here’s to hoping she gets back on her A game next Thursday.
As the trial continues, Annalise has a fight with her boyfriend, who’s understandably pissed after she threw him under the bus on the stand last week. He vows he’ll tell her husband if she doesn’t leave him alone. So much for the extra hottie on the side, Annalise.
Back in her home, Annalise makes her suspicions that her husband was sleeping with the dead coed clear. Sam, as she notes, does an admirable job looking her in the eye and denying it. But, it turns out, he’s slept with students before. (Could this explain Annalise’s slightly creepy come-ons to Wes? Or is that just Annalise demonstrating her power with her physicality?) The emotional vulnerability Annalise shows in the scene is incredible -- murderers, attorneys, and others can’t get under Annalise’s skin, but her husband can.
Annalise and associates go on to get their very creepy client (who is innocent of this crime, but not of killing his first wife) off scot free. However, St. Vincent threatens to kill his own daughter, the true murderer, afterward, further hammering home the idea that Annalise doesn’t defend wonderful people.
Upon returning home after her big win, Annalise snoops around Sam’s phone for the second time, only to find he’s deleted all correspondence with the dead coed. Uh oh -- somebody’s got something to hide. She runs out of the romantic dinner the sleazeball has prepared and surprises her (former? current?) boyfriend on the street. She proceeds to relay her fears that Sam could be involved in Lila’s death, and could Nate please, please, please figure out if Sam actually has an alibi for the night.
Annalise argues at the top of the episode that the lying of her clients, and her students, make them unknowable. But as she pleads with Nate at the end of the episode to discover the truth about her husband, it’s clear that philosophy is not enough for her. She, like the rest of us mere mortals, still needs to know.
Nate conveniently caves, but really, who wouldn’t to the onslaught of sheer force that is Viola Davis as Annalise Keating? The range of emotions, strength, and vulnerability she has displayed in two episodes has her as an early frontrunner for the Emmys in my book.
Still unsure of her husband’s innocence, Annalise decides to head on back to the homestead and sleep with him to see. Judging by the crying afterward, she’s not convinced by their romp that he’s innocent.
Back in law student land, Wes comes to realize, after seeing his punk neighbor Rebecca arrested for the murder of Lila, that her shower stripping move was all to hide a mysterious cell phone in his bathroom. Is it Rebecca’s phone? Lila’s? A drug dealer’s? What’s baby-face Wes going to do?
Whatever the choice, Wes doesn’t appear to get that mad about the mysterious phone, because in the final flashforward, Rebecca is revealed to be the mysterious “she” that has so much sway over him. It’s hard to recognize her without the punk braids and piercings, but what’s easy to see is that she and Wes are in love. Could she be the one that killed Sam? Is she a murderess or just someone caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, twice?Odds and Ends
- Best line of the night: Asher: “Maybe he’s her secret baby, like she gave him up for adoption and he doesn’t even know?” Michaela: “Because all black people are related?”
- These students, and Annalise, are supposed to be brilliant. How did no one think to check out how the first wife of St. Vincent died?
- The prosecutor's wardrobe just looked pathetic in comparison to Annalise’s leather and statement jewelry.
- Bonnie has some serious hots for Sam, and he knows it.
- Two episodes, two instances of the Philly PD messing with evidence -- no love for the men and women in blue on this show.
- Nate’s “You won your case, got laid -- so how else can I be of service to you?” gives Jake Ballard a run for his money on bitter lover statements.
- What’s up with Wes’s apartments’ former inhabitant, Rudy, and his headboard biting and wall scratching issues?
- Asher’s taking photos on a tablet -- what is he, a tourist in this crime scene?
- Asher’s slang is also a bit reminiscent of 2009: “I kinda agree with her yo” followed last week’s “yeah bro, for realz.”
- The way this show is progressing, with about two weeks an episode, we’re going to be caught up to the flashforward by episode six.
- And is anyone else getting dizzy from all the high-speed shots? Or is it just me?
"How to Get Away With Murder" airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. EDT on ABC.