ENTERTAINMENT
10/10/2014 07:58 am ET Updated Oct 10, 2014

'How To Get Away With Murder' Recap: Nobody's Happy

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Marriage gets a bad rap in this episode. No one’s happy with their spouse, and the romantic ideal is a fugitive bomber running away with her lover, who is a cult leader recently released from jail. That’s the standard that’s preferable to the marriages (and engagements) in this show -- what a high bar.

The number one unsettling line Annalise has for this episode is, “Choose your husband carefully, Miss Pratt. You only have yourself to blame if it ends badly.” And with that, the show steps into Gone Girl territory as the latest pop culture piece to question the institution of marriage in the heyday of wedding glorification. Annalise makes it clear that the choice inherent in picking someone to marry will determine her students’ futures, and she obviously regrets hers.

In our first flash-forward sequence, Michaela continues to spin out of control at the murder scene, and Rebecca officially makes it a murderous quintet when she’s seen rocking back and forth next to Sam’s body.

Back to the present, and we finally meet Michaela’s fiance, aka the giver of that MASSIVE engagement ring. Their pillow talk after some hot miss-you fun revolves around nannies and chefs, and it’s clear Michaela wants them both on the Hillary-Bill, Michelle-Barack fast track so they can “take over the world” together. Oh, the ambition of law students.

Annalise gets cornered by Middleton’s administration, who want her to save their asses by defending the star quarterback accused of Lila Stangard’s murder. Annalise is a bit conflicted, because you know, she thinks her husband killed the coed. Decisions, decisions.

The case of the week revolves around a soccer mom whom Annalise gets off for soliciting a random man in public. But wait, she’s not just a soccer mom prostituting herself -- she’s an extremist who has been on the run for 20 years after a pipe bomb she planted killed a janitor at the World Financial Institute. Because ordinary soccer moms don’t exist in Shondaland.

We then have our one classroom scene of the episode, where we learn the merits of arguing a mind control case (you’ve got to love the Patty Hearst references). My biggest complaint about this episode is how short our time is with Annalise in the classroom. The chemistry she has with the chalkboard is absurd, and almost rivals the intensity she shares with Nate. Almost.

Back to our murderous group in the woods, and Laurel comes up with the bonfire as an alibi while Michaela continues to blubber away. The four head on over to the festivities, jumping around, taking selfies and sending texts to prove they were having a good ol’ time partying away while Sam Keating was being bludgeoned to death. You have to wonder, does Michaela’s total mental break mean she’s the one most responsible for Sam Keating’s death? Or does she think she has more to lose?

Back to soccer mom’s meet-up with her brainwashing extremist ex-lover (only on a Shondaland show would all those adjectives be linked together), and the great takeaway is Annalise, Michaela, and Bonnie are all jealous of soccer mom’s love. Ladies, get a grip! How can you be jealous of someone on trial for blowing up a building with a pipe bomb?

Back at the Keating household, Annalise is playing cat and mouse with her own husband, who didn’t get the job offer from Yale (probably because he was too busy killing Lila Stangard, since Nate can’t verify his whereabouts the night of the murder).

Back in Annalise’s house/office, football star Griffin shows up and tells a truly heartbreaking tale of calling Rebecca for cocaine, since she was Lila’s friend and knew how to get it (plot twist -- sorority girl Lila wasn’t as squeaky clean as her missing posters suggested). Griffin says he got too messed up on drugs and slept with Rebecca, despite having promised Lila they’d wait til marriage -- what a standup guy. Griffin then detailed how Lila walked in on them and freaked, while Rebecca smiled at her unhappiness. This makes Rebecca the murderer in his eyes (or at the very least, an easy target to pin the murder on).

Wes, who has some serious neighbor attachment issues, decides it’d be a brilliant idea to fake an attorney ID to pose as Rebecca’s lawyer after hearing Griffin throw her under the bus. As a law student who should know the consequences of such an act, Wes continue to baffle me. Why is he risking everything for his emo neighbor, who kicks him out saying the kid is stalking her and posing as a lawyer. She does not seem to share the same neighborly obsession (yet).

At a law review party, Laurel hits it off with a legal aid stud, all the while missing Frank’s appearance to win her over. But not to worry, based on episode one’s flash-forward, they get together.

The big reveal of the episode that Connor was hinting at finally comes out at the bar -- Aiden slept with Connor in boarding school (But hey, he got you a massive rock, Michaela!). The engaged couple has the required blowout fight, and Aiden decides to leave a night early.

Back at the jail, Annalise goes to rescue Wes from his identity issues, and he then gives a grandiose speech about defending the little guys (which apparently includes the neighbor that tried to hide incriminating evidence in your bathroom, but whatever). Love the speech, but when Wes asks, “Isn’t this why you do this, defend people so they get a fair trial?”, you have to ask yourself if he’s paid attention to the last three cases.

Back in the courtroom, Connor continues to rub his hookup with Michaela’s fiance in her face. The prosecution calls soccer mom’s lover to the stand, who cut a deal and sold her out in the process for a get-out-of-jail-free card. Michaela figures out soccer mom has been calling her lover in jail right before we find out she’s run off with him. Does anyone get punished for their crimes on this show?

With that, Nate re-appears to lie to Annalise about Sam’s whereabouts the night of the murder AND reject her advances. That’s just cold, Sam, just cold.

Back to the night of Sam’s murder, and Michaela has lost her engagement ring. Not only is that rock of diamond going to be hard to replace, it could tie her to the murder. When we then flash to present day, Aiden assures her that he’s not gay and is in this relationship for the long haul. At no point in the conversation do either of them say they love each other -- their future careers are the largest bone of contention, which bodes well for their future happiness.

While the show thus far has had a warped sense of justice (all three of Annalise’s clients have been murderers and all three have escaped), Annalise bows to Wes’ pity speech and takes on Rebecca as a client. That whole Nate lying about her husband’s whereabouts is going to come back to bite her, and hard.

But before the dream team arrives to save the day for Rebecca, she confesses. Well, this show wouldn’t be the crazy ride it’s been so far if the case was a cakewalk.

Odds and Ends
  • Do these kids have other law school classes? Or homework for those classes? Isn’t law school supposed to be hard?
  • Wes is too good at making fakes for this to be the first time.
  • According to the timeline, it’s around late September. Why is Michaela wearing spring clothes? It’s cold in Philly in September.
  • Connor’s “Smile, or go to jail” is the new standard for taking a good selfie under pressure.
  • Bonnie really, really, really wants Sam. And he toys with her over it. Paris Gellar Bonnie you can do better!
  • But really, how many carats are in Michaela’s ring?
  • So Frank’s not a lawyer -- where’d Annalise pick him up? Is he the Kalinda of “How to Get Away With Murder?”
  • Did we know Lila was strangled? Or did Griffin slip up by telling us that?
  • If Annalise and Sam have been married 20 years, were they college sweethearts?
  • And in Asher lines of the week: he bought a round of “buttery nipple” shots. No one is surprised.

"How to Get Away With Murder" airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. EDT on ABC.

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