HTGAWM Recap: Fifty Shades of Cray

We begin this week’s How to Get Away With Murder recap with a quiz ripped straight from the pages of Cosmo (or is it Allure?) titled, “Are You Losing Your Damn Mind?” Let’s begin!

1. Your girlfriend was recently cleared of murder charges by your ethically challenged defense-attorney boss. Over time, you learn her former neighbor (AKA the previous occupant of your apartment) left claw marks on his bedroom wall, was carted off by police (thanks to your girlfriend’s 911 call) and ultimately disappeared without a trace. You react by:
A. Cooing, “Baby, I’ve got nothing but trust for you!”
B. Googling missing dude’s name in your limited free time.
C. Praying you got all your DNA evidence off the dude you murdered defending said girlfriend (who just so happens to be your boss’s hubby).
D. Hopping the nearest bus to the west coast, changing your identity and hoping nobody manages to track you down.

2. You’re a disgraced cop with a terminally ill wife. Your ethically challenged defense-attorney girlfriend rekindles your affair on the night her husband goes missing. When his charred, dismembered body turns up in a landfill, you:
A. Buy a burner phone you can use to communicate with your lover.
B. Follow your girlfriend’s advice to not speak to anyone on the force unless they take you into custody.
C. Engage in sexy phone conversations where you coyly refuse to answer questions like, “Do you think I did it?”
D. Call your closest friend on the force and tell him or her everything — so you’re out ahead of the story.

OK, so we’re only two questions in, but if you’ve answered anything other than “D,” then it’s really time to take a hard look at your life choices — or better yet take a hard look at your Yelp reviews for local psychiatrists who can help you get your head right.

Of course, HTGAWM‘s Wes and Nate are the subjects of Questions 1 and 2, and neither of ’em manage to pass his respective test. But they’re not alone: As the events of Murder Night sink into the minds of Connor, Michaela, Laurel, Rebecca and even Bonnie, we see them all defaulting to varying degrees of unhinged. Things are so bad, in fact, that even the mighty Annalise Keating ends the hour in bed, in the fetal position, and weeping “Mama, I need you” into the phone.

And that’s leading me to a very scary thought: Unless Annalise is 10 times smarter than anyone in the room at any given time – including Sam’s verrrry agitated sister, the stern lead-detective lady and everyone else she’s bound to encounter between now and the Season 1 finale — some innocent-ish soul is going to pay a brutal price for what was essentially a crime of self-defense.

Let’s recap the action from “She’s a Murderer”:

VIOLA DAVISTHE HANNAH PROBLEM | Annalise and Hannah ended last week’s installment with a détente over roasted chicken; midway through this week’s episode, A.K. is accusing her sister-in-law of an unseemly obsession with Sam, sneering, “Incest is best — put your brother to the test.” (Uh-oh… somebody just got crossed off somebody’s else’s Christmas card list!) All it takes for things to go so south so quickly is Hannah learning Sam’s not on the lam, but in a landfill. “She killed my brother! Arrest her, damnit!” the unhinged sibling cries to the cops who’ve come to break the news to a comparably stoic Annalise. Hannah’s not totally off the mark, of course, seeing how Annalise masterminded the disposal of the corpse, and she’s smart enough to realize she’s going to have to play a little dirty. “What if she threatened Sam’s life? I’ll testify to whatever you need me to.,” says Hannah to the lead investigator (while also implying that Annalise grew up in a violent environment). “Search that house!” I imagine the scene playing out in Hannah’s mind isn’t far from the truth: Annalise scrubbing away traces of Sam’s blood with bleach (a desperate moment we see later in flashback). When Bonnie goes to court to try to stop the search of Keating HQ, Hannah shuts her down with open disdain — sneaking in a story about Annalise having once hurled a paper weight at her brother at the end of a tense cocktail party. But it’s a short-lived win for Marcia Gay Harden’s icy alter-ego: Thanks to Annalise’s elbow grease, there’s no trace of blood anywhere in the home. All the fuzz finds are the pesky scales that are supposed to be attached to the “How to Get Away With Murder” class trophy — a fact that’s not lost on Lurky McChurchmouse. Which brings us to…

LIZA WEILTHE BONNIE PROBLEM | Along with her ability to scurry silently undetected through every room in Annalise’s home, Bonnie also has the power of deduction on her side. And once she learns Sam died of blunt-force trauma to the head, that Scales of Justice statue starts looking like a good candidate for the murder weapon. But wait! There’s more!  The police found carpet fibers and woodland debris with Sam’s corpse — and it doesn’t take a masters in interior design for Bonnie to notice that Annalise’s office seemingly dragged itself back to the Angela Adams showroom on Murder Night. She finally presents her case to her boss, telling Annalise that she’s not going to get away with it, that she knows that she’s doing it to cover for the Keating 5, and adding that Hannah loved Sam too much to not solve the case. “Don’t let them ruin you,” implores Bonnie, who appears more interested in keeping Annalise out of the clink than she is in bringing Sam’s killers to justice. And speaking of that quintet…

MATT MCGORRY, KARLA SOUZA, AJA NAOMI KINGTHOSE MEDDLING KIDS! | Annalise has a fantastic moment where she changes the agenda for her classroom and talks about the fifth amendment, which she boils down to a crucial six words for Laurel, Connor, Wes and Michaela: “When in doubt, shut your mouth!” But it’s Connor, moreso than his co-conspirators, who can’t shake the terrifying idea that Annalise is setting ’em all up. After overhearing one of several freakouts, Annalise calls He Who’s Overdue for a Risqué Sex Scene to her office and tells him to tell her to his face if he thinks she’s a bad person, heartless and a sociopath. Connor pleads that he wants to trust his professor/boss/protector, but it’s not coming naturally. “You’re not gonna trust me — that’s just not in your nature,” Annalise responds flatly. But then she adds this kicker: She’s his only option — so his trust isn’t required — merely his obedience to her plan. “The odds are better with me,” she offers, and it kinda makes sense. Trouble is, after Bonnie’s real talk, Annalise is conflicted. We see her swilling vodka — a beverage that is supposed to make you dance in your living room to “Chandelier,” but instead makes She Who Found Sam’s Penis on a Dead Girl’s Phone weep and remember the promises she made to protect her students. She picks up her flip phone, dials, and declares to someone we can’t hear or see: “I need you right now.”

The morning after — the police find evidence of where Sam’s body was burned in the woods — along with a ring. Michaela hears this rumor via Rebecca (who somehow has contacts inside the Philly PD?!) and a panic attack sets in. But it’s not her missing diamond after all, we learn when Annalise goes down to the station for questioning. It actually turns out to be Sam’s wedding band — containing a fingerprint of Nate’s lifted and transferred (presumably under Annalise’s directive) by Frank! Is Annalise really selling out her married lover to save the kids? Or is it all part of some larger, overarching plan where she’ll make sure everybody (Nate included) walks away free? I’m fearing based on Annalise’s end-of-hour breakdown — and subsequent call to her mommy — that she might actually be making Nate the patsy. Who knows? Maybe she’s mulling that brilliantly cheesy offer from her Mob boss client this week: “Chocolate and Italian wine always pair well together.”

IN OTHER NEWS | The case of the week isn’t really noteworthy — except that by accepting it, Annalise makes herself look unsympathetic to the cops. “You gonna arrest me because my grief doesn’t look the way you want it?” she grumbles, in one of her more “right on!” zingers of the week. Oh, and the prosecutor on the case implies a couple of times how his cooperation will ultimately make Annalise’s case easier — a bridge she sets ablaze after exposing his prosecutorial misconduct. And finally, there’s Wes’ growing obsession with the previous occupant of his apartment. When the building super lets slip that the dude disappeared without his deposit — shortly after Rebecca had called the cops on him — you can see a lightbulb flicker dimly over his head. But then once again he’s overcome by Rebecca’s charms. “I can still tell them it was all me!” she says — because making a not-entirely-truthful confession to police is easier the second time around. Wes won’t hear of it, though, and even though deep down I think he knows those claw marks should be accompanied by “Rebecca Wuz Here” graffiti, he tells her he does trust her, and their disagreement is put to rest. (Side note: I’m gonna put 2-1 odds on Rebecca being Lila’s true killer, with Annalise a close second choice at 5-2.)

As I Google whether or not there’s a Vegas linemaker taking wagers on the identity of Lila’s killer, I turn things over to you. Is Nate going to take the fall for Sam’s death? What’s Rebecca hiding? What other wild theories are percolating in your heads? 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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36 Comments
  1. 007 says:

    Great episode. Was just non-stop drama tonight, loved it! LOL! This show gets better with each episode, I’m so shocked how much I love it. God bless TGIT, indeed.

  2. Cheyenne says:

    Somebody tell Shonda, you can scrub till the cows come home but you can’t beat the luminol.

  3. Irene says:

    “When in doubt, shut your mouth!” Annalise Keating I freaking love you! <3

    • TigerLIL says:

      And best line of the night but my best line is “you have the right to remain silent and I suggest you do just that” I heard a cop tell a suspect one time getting a rested for acting a fool….lol

  4. Angela says:

    “You gonna arrest me because my grief doesn’t look the way you want it?”
    Ha, I liked that line, because man, I’ve lost count of how many true crime shows harp on the fact that a suspect “doesn’t show the sort of grief one would expect” after a murder/disappearance. And sometimes it’s indeed a sign of guilt, while other times, it’s just people simply not being the openly emotional sort. And in Annalise’s case, she’s ridiculously good at holding her emotions and unleashing them when need be, so if anyone’s going to look at her reactions for a sign of guilt, they’ve got an uphill battle ahead of them.
    I’m still debating on whether or not Rebecca killed Lila-no doubt she’s looking shadier and shadier as time goes on, but again, in some ways that almost makes her too obvious a suspect, too. Do I think she might know something about Lila’s murder, though, was a witness or helped in the coverup somehow? Yeah, that I can totally buy.
    I loved the twist with the ring. Poor Michaela. I won’t argue she should’ve found a way to hold on tight to that fancy ring of hers the night of the murder, but I still can’t help but feel for her regardless. Simply because I can totally sympathize with her panicking and freaking out-that’d so be me if I were in her shoes, too. But while she can let out a sigh of relief right now over it not being HER ring that was found, it’s only a matter of time.
    Totally surprised to see Nate being the one carted away at the end. If his and Annalise’s relationship wasn’t screwed up enough already, this will not help matters…not unless she comes to fight for him. Course, then he’ll be able to hold that over her head if she does…
    And finally, can we get more Connor and Annalise scenes? I rather liked that one between them tonight.

    • Grey's Fan says:

      Nate was surprisingly calm when he was arrested – I think he and Annalise plotted this out.
      In a similar situation I would react similarly to Laurel – I’m not the type to get emotional in a crisis or in public. It’s more likely I’ll do what needs to be done and then breakdown when I’m alone.

      • eva says:

        I they’d planned this together, why would Frank have to transfer the finger print from the glass? Couldn’t Nate just actually touch the ring?

        • Lucie Loing says:

          As she represents Nate, she will argue that he was framed. Somewhere in Annalise’s grand plan, there is a difference. Maybe the tape will leave some sort of residue? She may be planning to pin it on the DA who set up the mob guy.

      • TVPeong says:

        I think he was just resigned to the fact that Annalise betrayed him. This is the second time she did this to him. I hope she gets him off.

    • TigerLIL says:

      Angela you on the money I think Rebbeca was in on the murder cover up of Lila but I think somebody else chocked her and I just had a nagging feeling Rebecca and Sam had entangled before. Why finger Nate I almost fell out my seat although I thought he would become a suspect. Annalise got a plan I believe to get Nate off the hook hope so who else gonna be tossing her on the wall. Can’t wait to see Mrs. Tyson she is Viola Davis favorite actress and her inspiration for acting. I don’t know if those students can hold it in they are falling apart and fast this is a mess oh weee…lol

  5. laurelnev says:

    Well, I think we’ve found the PERFECT match for Lucious Lyon; they seem ethically and emotionally matched on SO many levels! But somehow, deep down, I still think Ana is better. I’m thinking he romp with Nate will be Nate’s alibi in the long run. Ana’s moves, as she told the police, can be corroborated by her cell phone records. If she was with Nate, then went straight home, however could he beat her back, off her hubby, and dispose of the body, all without Ana walking in at some point?

  6. itsafysel says:

    By far one of the best episodes in recent memory.I was so scared for micheala!!
    What does analise have on frank to make him so loyal?the things he has done for her are too much
    My fave line was when the mob boss said that chocolate and italians go well together and that he’s single now.

  7. jason says:

    Who thinks the cop that saw the Keating 4 drag out the carpet on bonfire night will testify??????

    • TigerLIL says:

      That cop might make Nate’s arrest go out the window and the students become the new suspect because they told the cop the professor was out of town and that she asked them to bring the rug to the barn fire. It’s gonna get dicey I hope they told Annalise about robo cop….lol

  8. Fred says:

    Great episode! For a moment, I thought Annalise and Frank were going to frame Bonnie. It turned out to be Nate, whose reaction was kinda surprising to me. And I loved all the teases/reveals about Annalise’s past.
    Looking forward to next week! Cicely Tyson!

    And great recap by the way, very funny!

    • dan says:

      Me too Fred! I was convinced that the phone call to the mystery person (Frank) and the transfer of the fingerprint from the glass to the ring was all to set up Bonnie. I was surprised when the cops knocked on Nate’s door. I wasn’t surprised that the ring turned out to be Sam’s and not Michaela’s (it is too soon for them to find Michaela’s ring in terms of storytelling and there had to be a reason we saw Wes give Sam’s ring to Annalise a few episodes ago). My biggest complaint was with Sam’s sister so obviously lying and exaggerating for the cops without anybody seeming to care. At first the lady cop was suspicious of the twisted sister, but then she suddenly bought everything that Hannah said and next thing we know there is a probable cause hearing. I guess they needed a plausible way to get a search warrant issued for Annalise’s house. Good episode and great recap!

  9. Anon46 says:

    I thought from the beginning that weird girl killed Sam’s girlfriend and had something to do with the claw marks & missing neighbor. Maybe she was sleeping with Sam too & disposed of his Lila problem. Maybe she & Annalise conspired together in Lila’s murder. And the missing neighbor witbessed something so he had to go. I don’t know if Annalise is truly selling Nate down the river or using him as a red herring. Since he’s suddenly so besotted with her again, maybe he’s trying to help her GAWM. There is no evidence linking him to Sam’s murder-that we know of-so he shouldn’t get convicted. I wish there was some way to frame Hannah for somebody’s murder because I hate her. Everyone seems to lose their bowels when she directs her gaze in their direction. I had stopped watching commercial tv years ago because everything is boring & has been done to death, but I love this show! I hope the writing, suspense & surprises hold up through the season finale.

    • cyndyc624 says:

      “I wish there was some way to frame Hannah for somebody’s murder because I hate her.” 😄👏 Anon46, I TOTALLY agree with you!!! 😄

  10. Lucie Loing says:

    Could TVLine please hire all the great, displaced EW writers so you and they are all in one place, please?

  11. kn1231 says:

    Did anyone else think for a minute that Annalise killed Bonnie and was calling Frank to come help her dispose of the body? I was really rattled for a minute. Also, I find this show gets really boring and then something crazy happens that pulls you back in. I was ready to give up the show last until the last five minutes, and now I will definitely be watching next week!

    • dan says:

      I agree that last week’s episode was boring. I had already figured that they had lost the magic from the first half of the season, but then last night’s episode pulled me back in. I still think Bonnie killed Lila (or she was involved in it somehow; maybe she knows that Sam or Annalise did it).

  12. dawn says:

    Didn’t Nate throw away evidence that the husband traveled to the school that night and other things he collected. It seemed like he knew that Sam killed Lila and lied to Analise

  13. rachelle says:

    That twist was. In. Sane. I honestly had no idea she was gonna set Nate up. For a second, actually, I thought she was gonna set the kids up. I was in such shock! She’s always screwing him over. Poor Nate. Should’ve learned your lesson the first time! This episode was freaking amazing, this show is amazing and I just cannot wait to see how everything unfolds.

  14. Jax&Juice's Girl says:

    This episode was WTF good! I say Annalise and Nate planned out the whole arrest. When Bonnie walked in on Frank and Annalise I was like oh sh… she knows something is up. His face expression gave it away! I’m excited to see Cicley Tyson next week….it’s going to get a lot more CRAZY!

  15. TigerLIL says:

    My goodness another Shonda land dinger, I was left shaking my head but I know Annalise got a plan, but placing Nate at the scene with a transferred finger print, we might have enough technology to determine it was a trace print and not an actual trace print I don’t know to think you could be accused of a murder like that is creepy at best. I know everybody crying foul why set Nate up. He was going to be a person of interest suspect anyway. Guess they have to determine the time of death to really know where he was they can certainly put him and Annalise in the location near his home based on a phone call made to Sam. This is a mess that is going to just come apart in a short run as oppose to the long. I had a feeling Nate was going to go down first for the murder and then once they find Michaela’s ring that puts the both of them on the hook and how is she going to get an acquittal? Oh the writer mention that the only charge for murder that night was self-defense I don’t if that is accurate. To my knowledge when someone is killed in the commission of a felony the charge is murder, but because he was not actually killed in the commission of the felony as he fell down the stair case first the writer may have a good point because the felony was over and the choking of Rebecca was self defense. But since the burned the body it will be hard to tell if he had a previous injury that could collaborate the student’s story. OMG this is a truly hot mess…Stay tuned…lol

  16. Virginia says:

    I told my sister 2 weeks ago Rebecca did it,& she said no way. You just said it, yeah, thanks.

  17. Karl Wiggins says:

    Annalise told Frank to take care of it. Did she intend for him to frame Wes or did Frank decide to frame Wes?

  18. Evan says:

    I don’t get why they didn’t go to the police in the first place, frankly. Aside from Rebecca (essentially) breaking into the Keating home to steal info from Sam’s computer, they had a good argument for self-defense. Sam caused himself to fall over the bannister and they only hit him over the head with the trophy because he was strangling Rebecca.

    It doesn’t take a 2L to see that they had an “out” if they had just been truthful early on.

  19. jbj says:

    Honestly, I think Annalise’s plan is to also frame Bonnie, then have it so there are so many viable suspects that it impossible to convict anyone beyond a reasonable doubt. I got this idea after Bonnie touched the presumably clean trophy…especially since she admitted to the police that Sam kissed, but hid where she actually we she went after she left.

  20. valerie says:

    I totally stopped breathing when they were testing her house with the luminal. Holy crap!

  21. Christine says:

    Totally. Did not. See that. Coming. I love it when a show can throw in a twist like that and really surprise you. So many shows are formulaic, and this one is not.

    I was confused about how Bonnie knew that the students were the ones who killed Sam and that Annalise was covering for them. Was it because Asher only saw Connor’s car parked there?

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