How to Get Away With Murder Recap: The Writing's on the Wallpaper

Jane Austen probably isn’t rolling in her grave, but she might be cursing out an angel or two if they forgot to set the celestial DVR for How to Get Away With Murder.

Who can blame her, really? This week, the original queen of the romantic comedy unexpectedly finds herself in the crosshairs of ABC’s vicious, delicious legal thriller — a bubbling cauldron of adultery, illegal legal strategy, workplace hanky-panky, skipped bail and a fair bit more than the recommended daily allowance of vodka on the rocks. (Pro tip: Two wedges of lemon in your cocktail allows you to enter it into your Weight Watchers “points” journal as a single serving of fruit.)

Over the course of the hour, we learn that one of our two central murder victims, Lila Stangard, used to refer to Sam Keating, her married lover (and coincidentally, our second murder victim), as “Mr. Darcy,” Pride and Prejudice‘s crushable leading man. Hrmmm… I don’t recall any scene in Ms. Austen’s novel where the haughty gentleman in question bequeaths a penis pic to Elizabeth Bennet. But as accused killer Rebecca points out, Lila was more spoiled sorority girl than intellectual trailblazer. “She thought it made her sound smart,” Rebecca notes of the “Darcy” moniker, “not like every other dumb girl obsessed with Jane Austen.”

That’s far from our only revelation, though. We get a closer look at Laurel’s love life (and a possible hint about her upbringing), a nasty frost spreading among Annalise, Bonnie and Sam, and Rebecca’s discovery about the Keatings that has her fleeing the City of Brotherly Love. Oh, and did I mention the massive shift in power dynamic between Annalise and wide-eyed Wes?

Let’s discuss… while posing some questions about the various story arcs…

KARLA SOUZA, CHARLIE WEBER, LIZA WEILCASE OF THE WEEK | Annalise and her “Gang of Five” defend a cop’s son who put “hot lead in daddy’s head” in order to defend his battered mother. The good professor explains that this kind of emotional case hinges on juror selection, but when the carefully screened jury begins to lean toward the prosecution — despite Connor seducing one lumberjack member via sex-app and exposing his pro-police leanings — Laurel takes matters into her own hands. Her decision to leave in the courthouse hallway a document about “jury nullification” (aka the right to vote with one’s heart, not based on the evidence) — which could get Annalise disbarred if it leads back to her — leads to a mistrial, and thanks to public outcry over the poor kid’s plight, the case gets kicked back to juvenile court. It’s a win, of sorts, for the defense (even if it’s hardly HTGAWM‘s most interesting legal conundrum.)

With the week’s focus on Laurel’s part in the ongoing cases, we see more development in her illicit romance with Frank. He’s the one who warns her — and catches her — with regard to the jury nullification scheme (shouldn’t he have warned her to wear gloves when printing out copies?). But by episode’s end, their sniping session ends in a passionate kiss that Laurel breaks off, then picks up back at the Legal Aid office — and then some! — with boyfriend Kan. (I hope she at least had a mint in between sexytimes!) It’s clear from Laurel’s passion for the case that perhaps there’s some sort of domestic violence in her own past — through Asher’s tears after getting the win are, to be honest, more shocking. And while Laurel never gets the credit she wants from Annalise, she does openly challenge her Prof. in the classroom — revealing a backbone that might be stronger than those possessed by Michaela, Connor and Wes. Is the quiet, insecure one perhaps the baddest of the bunch? Girlfriend certainly seems to know how to fly under the radar when needed, but also the appropriate time for using her claws.

SAM’S MURDER | We get another flash-forward to the night of Sam’s murder, with our gang of four out in the woods and Laurel ignoring calls from Frank. Michaela, still freaking out over her lost engagement ring, pulls it together long enough to demand Laurel answer the phone (it’s better for an alibi) and to screech that Laurel had better not share their group misdeeds with Annalise’s bearded, hunky right hand. Ultimately, though, Laurel pays Michaela no mind — why should she? — and after agreeing to return the immunity trophy (aka murder weapon) to Asher, goes to Frank’s, asks him if he meant when he said he’d do anything for her, and then finally begins what could turn out to be a confession — or at least part of one: “I need your help.” But help doing what, exactly? And will it require Frank to take his shirt off (the way he is in Laurel’s #unrealistic cell phone pic)? And can Frank’s allegiance to Laurel — built over a six-week period — possibly trump his relationship to Annalise? If Hirsute McVesterson is on #TeamAnnalise, is it possible Professor Keating is the one who’s attempting to get away with murder, and using her eager charges as pawns? A longshot, but one I’m not ruling out.

KATIE FINDLAY, ALFRED ENOCHLILA’S MURDER | We resume last week’s “Why is your penis doing on a dead girl’s phone?” confrontation already in progress. Sam tries shrugging off his affair with Lila as a mere physical thing, but Annalise isn’t buying what he’s put in his “I was thinking with my winkle” coupon book. She accuses him of liking his mistresses to be “weak, broken, messes that you just clean up” — a string of words that she (shockingly) uses to describe her own self when she (apparently) came between Sam and his first wife. Sam’s reaction to Annalise’s increasingly noisy screed — pushing her down on the bed, covering her mouth — is the kind of creepy, knee-jerk violence that flies in the face of his “I’d never hurt her!” protests. But if Sam’s not guilty of Lila’s murder, who is?

My money is on Bonnie, who lurks at the border of Annalise’s home office and eavesdrops on the yelling. I don’t blame her for that indiscretion — I mean, this stuff is juicy! — but it’s the wide-eyed, trembly churchmouse look on her face while her ears fill up with gossip that icks me out a little. (Kind of the same “Oh, don’t mind my milquetoast blonde self” response she had when Sam caught her digging around for snacks last week. I still think she was up to no good — mainly because I don’t believe she really snacks between meals.)

Later, though, Annalise finds some of Bonnie’s crumbs where they don’t belong. Indeed, Nate breaks it off with Annalise after accusing her of telling his boss about his affair with her (and his investigation into Sam’s whereabouts on the night of the murder). (Side question: Did Annalise drive drunk to meet Nate, or was that alleyway near her home?) Annalise, though, instantly guesses that it was Bonnie who fed the info to police brass, and when she thanks her underling for “protecting my husband,” the “and no thanks at all for selling me out, bitch” is so clearly and implicitly implied it might as well be written on the wall behind Annalise in Bonnie’s tears. Why, though, doesn’t Annalise fire Bonnie on the spot?

Despite Nate unraveling Sam’s alibi on the night of Lila’s death, you can tell she kinda sorta believes her hubby’s not the killer — which doesn’t stop her from using his shattered alibi for her own gains: Yep, Annalise is expecting Sam to do a psych evaluation of Rebecca, or rather, use a psych evaluation to find out how much Rebecca knows about the identity of the naked guy on Lila’s phone. That’s where we learn that not only is Rebecca super smart and fairly paranoid, but also hear about the Mr. Darcy nickname and Rebecca’s suspicion that the older lover might’ve killed Lila in a jealous rage after she broke things off. At no point, though, does Rebecca connect the therapist across from her with the man in Lila’s penis pics — not ’til she heads to the bathroom.

There, she makes the curious observation that the purple and gold pattern in the Keating’s loo is the same exact backdrop for the infamous penis pic. She makes her exit, goes home and packs her stuff, and skips bail. “Did you know they were in on it together?” she asks Wes over the phone, aghast, and then spills her discovery. Wes, who continues to exhibit a blatant disregard for Annalise’s privacy, busts into her home office, marches into her master bath and starts soaking up the decor. His boss emerges in her night glamour with a “student, please!” look on her face.

“You lied to me… the wallpaper,” he stammers. “The picture on Lila’s phone, it was taken here. Your husband’s Mr. Darcy.”

No, it’s not quite the “last nine words” that dropped 10 million jaws across America, but as cliffhangers go, it’s not a bad one: Annalise’s face, for the first time in HTGAWM history, betrays a deep, unsettled fear. The other shoe has dropped at least, and now, she’ll be lucky to have seconds, let alone minutes, to spin a plausible yarn/mutually beneficial strategy to keep Sam’s cellphone indiscretions out of law enforcement’s hands. Do we think Wes will choose Rebecca’s well-being over Annalise’s? Or can Annalise sweet-talk her way back into Wes’ good, naive graces? I’m voting the latter.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK (After Connor’s “8 Is Great” dating app screen name is revealed by a judge)
Asher: “What’s your screen name mean?”
Connor: “I can show you.”
Asher: [horrified] “Oh, dude!”

On that note, I turn it over to you. What did you think of Episode 5 of How to Get Away With Murder? Sound off below!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. abz says:

    Does everyone have a key to Annalise’s house? Woman seriously needs to learn to lock her doors!!
    I seriously think Bonnie did or is at least heavily involved in Sam’s death somehow. My hope is that they don’t make Annalise the murderer. That would be WAY too predictable.
    Love the Connor/Mickaela back-and-forth. It’s so much fun to watch.

    • Micheala is the better of the duo, the female interns are the most well written of the characters.

      • abz says:

        Connor’s still my favourite though. Yeah, hopefully they’ll develop all the students a bit more, but the show is still in its infancy so I’m just enjoying watching it all play out right now.

    • the girl says:

      Thankfully they established in the first episode that people often forget to lock Annalise’s doors or else that nonsense would start to get annoying.

      • TigerLIL says:

        You ain’t kidding, the house is a house of drama too many people going in and out, need to move the office to an office good grief…

  2. Cheyenne says:

    OMG so Olivia’s ex-boyfriend got fired? That’s going to come back to haunt her sooner or later.

    • analog says:

      Annaliese, not Olivia.

      • Cheyenne says:

        Oops. My bad. That’s what I get for bingeing on ABC every Thursday night. Nate is one bad MF. I would not mess with him. Annaliese is going to pay for that big time, even if it was Bonnie’s fault.

    • TigerLIL says:

      I actually think it is going to bring them closer together. It obvious to me that she is something special to him and she seems to adore him. He claims he done with her crazy but you running all over the place risking your job for her, then playing games to keep her on the line yeah he whipped…LOL They gonna wind up needing each other for something and good night dude is just fine and dude’s body… oh wee… I be running it down too…LOL

  3. James says:

    After watching this episode, I think they also killed Annalise. Or at least that they have her kidnapped somewhere. The flashforwards are starting to get intriguing. I think, that would be a great twist to the story. That way, the following seasons they could follow how the students keep the secret quiet. Because I really don’t know what is going to happen after the mystery is resolved.

  4. Nick says:

    5 minutes before the end I was about to call this episode “minor” respect to last week’s one – before the final shocking discovery. After all, even if the two main plots (Lila’s murder and Sam’s murder) both were developed a little bit, there were no jaw-dropping moments… till the end of course. When first Rebecca then Wes find out that Sam is Mr. Darcy.
    I knew something was up when they showed Rebecca asking for the bathroom… that’s not a filler scene, so something had to happen.
    Anyway, it’d be interesting to see if Annalise can get back her power on Wes and Rebecca. Even if she could convince Wes, there’s no way she would get Rebecca back on board about not mentioning the relationship Sam-Lila to the police.
    Overall, she is faced with this huge dilemma. She has an easy way to win Rebecca’s case, but it involves throwing her husband to the police. Is she gonna do it? I don’t think so – even if clearly he’d deserve it.

    One thing I don’t really understand: if Annalise is that great of a lawyer, why doesn’t she choose a better staff? Bonnie is a untrustworthy liar who is infatuated with her husband, and Frank sleeps with the students… They need to make those two characters more capable in their jobs, to justify them being part of Annalise’s firm.

    • the girl says:

      Frank isn’t a lawyer, so she can use him to get away with all sorts of illegal things that she can’t do herself. That makes sense to me, but Bonnie still doesn’t make sense.

      I’m thinking that Bonnie is the former student who Sam slept with before (remember when Annalise said that to him, it’s happened before?) but I don’t understand why Annalise would hire her (she would have to be BRILLIANT for me to put aside the affair and offer her a job, I mean super brilliant, and we have not seen that yet).

  5. Veronica says:

    Here’s a possibly ridiculous theory: Bonnie was Sam’s first wife!

  6. Scott says:

    File under ridiculous or “shocking” theories: Final episode: Annalise killed both Lila and Sam, because she knows “How to Get Away with Murder!”

    • David4 says:

      She didn’t do, she asked her students to for her.

      • TigerLIL says:

        That is a good one, but I think it might be the boyfriend. Hey it’s open to all although I really believe he could have easily punch the dude out. I think it might be Annalise and she got Wes to gather the troops and clean it up. In the scene when they are picking up the body Rebecca is at the office what for, another physic evaluation, maybe Rebecca and Sam was hitting it on the side and things got dicey and she hit him over the head. Rebbeca was already running game on Lila and her boyfriend, sleeping with the boyfriend and then all up in the last guy video who had the room before Wes. How she know about the rabbit sex she in the room too? I think two people killed Lila but only one person killed Sam. It’s going to be two jaw drops Annalise and Wes…stay tuned…LOL

  7. Hayes says:

    Connor and Asher will get it on before the season is over.

    • vallikat says:

      I agree. Asher is in so much denial it’s not even funny.

    • RAGGEDT says:

      THIS. At first, it just seemed that Asher was a classic closet-case both repelled and intrigued by Connor’s overt sexuality. But in this episode, Connor’s reaction when Asher teared up after they won case was phenomenal. He seemed suddenly attracted to Asher’s showing his sensitive side. Great moment.

  8. Laurel is definitely the highlight of the episode and quickly becoming the stand out character for me.

  9. Rand says:

    I love this show so much. I mean not just for the drama-romance-shocking moments but for the legal bits. I actually Google “jury nullification” to see what it’s about and I just find the jury selection scene so educating. Plus I just find out that a jury can be dismissed, like the lumberjack. (How is Connor’s sext admissible though? Is it a different thing for jury?)
    So aside from that law stuff, this episode is awesome because Laurel show some backbone. I especially love her, snapping at Annalise for trying to embarrass her.
    p.s. Okay I need to know what 8isgreat mean because I have no idea. I find Asher’s reaction so hilarious. In Fact, I think Connor and Asher needs to happen. Lol.

    • RAGGEDT says:

      Jurors can’t publicly display any sort of bias, so telling someone in a text — in the middle of a trial — that the defendant is a cop-killer demonstrates he’s already made up his mind. So, the judge dismissed him. If it was discovered that Connor sent the text, he could be charged with jury tampering, but that’s it.

      Given that the app Connor was using was a thinly disguised GrindR (a gay hook-up , it’s safe to say that “8isgreat” was a reference to the length of Connor’s organ (thus, the “I can show you”).

      • Rand says:

        Thanks for clarifying about the dismissed jury thingy. So it’s like an anonymous tip to the judge. Though it is so obvious that the tip comes from the defendant’s side but with no prove Annalise’s team can’t be charged.
        Haha so 8isgreat is about the size, I thought it’s a position or technique. Lol.

  10. TigerLIL says:

    Oooo excuse me took me a minute to stop laughing from the write up, I love good humor in writing its the style I use too. I love this show I spend a whole hour before hitting it for the night completely cracking up at these jacked-up characters and the unbelievable drama they go through each week. I mean Annalise tore Bonnie a new one. I seriously doubt Bonnie is the killer of the Lila girl who ever committed that murder had to have some help getting that child into the tank. If Sam did it he tripping can’t finger him but can’t rule him out. Maybe, it was him and Bonnie? The funnest few minutes of the show is Annalise and that boy friend Nate, I mean he flat-lines that girl every time they come into contact. He seems to love her to death but he lets her know who wears the pants in that relationship as he doesn’t give her an inch. I’m like dam give the girl a break he either jabbing or throwing a straight right any time they come in contact, he certainly is an expert at leaving her hanging….LOL

  11. Eva says:

    Sooo…. now that millions of people were educated on what exactly “jury nullification” is, does it mean juries all around the country will start making their decisions based on their “gut”? That would be funny :p

  12. Cate Amos says:

    I think it’s telling that Laurel admitted to killing Sam. This happens when he tries to sexually assault her in the office, or she finds out about some abusive behavior in his past that needs to be rectified. Once she drops the meek and mild facade, I’m sure Laurel has no qualms about opening a can of whup ass on someone. I like the theory of Bonnie being Sam’s ex-girlfriend, but not his first wife. I can’t imagine someone wanting to work for the person who broke up her marriage.

    • TigerLIL says:

      Yeah I kinda agree with that working for someone who broke up you marriage that would be a little shady and who would want to turn their back on that where would be the trust?

  13. Babs says:

    Why the couch? In a house that big, why not the guest room for Sam?