HTGAWM recap

How to Get Away With Murder Season 3 Premiere Recap: Burning Sensation

There’ve been a lot of gnarly sights over two seasons of How to Get Away With Murder: A Lady Justice trophy connecting with Sam’s juicy skull. The already mangled corpse of that relentless district attorney (freeeeee) free-fallin’ off a balcony. Wes’ face getting splattered with the contents of his biological father’s noggin.

But Annalise Keating rocking a flannel shirt and gardening gloves in the Season 3 premiere? The horror! In the name of all that is Shondaland, someone please tell me our heroine was surreptitiously tending to a batch of front-yard hemlock, part of her long-range plan to leave her enemies writhing on the ground and gasping their final breaths.

OK, OK, I suppose even Annalise needs the occasional break from guzzling vodka, terrorizing her underlings and making outrageous courtroom pronouncements that would get a lesser attorney dragged off to a cell and charged with contempt.

And let’s not forget, Annalise’s HGTV interlude was merely one of a dozen or so gasp-inducing moments that kicked off a flash-forward murder mystery, a devastating breakup, a possible execution and the introduction of a new character all of America is sure to despise.

Let’s recap ’em all as we break down the action from “We’re Good People Now.”

ALFRED ENOCHWE KNOW WHAT THEY DID LAST SUMMER | A series of flashbacks (with accompanying present-day scenes) fills us in on how the Keating Five and Annalise recovered (or didn’t) in the wake of the Hapstall murder case/bloodbath/frame job/madness at the end of Season 2. Laurel vacationed in Mexico with her mom — but is intermittently leaving love-hate messages in Frank’s still active voicemail box, despite swearing to Annalise that her MIA beau is dead to her. Michaela needed Annalise’s help to get her out of a driving-while-intoxicated charge — awww, Annalise touchingly offered up her liquor cabinet to her young protege to help her avoid a second strike! — but now Ms. Pratt is showing as much enthusiasm for her law classes as Sarah Palin finding one of those newspaper things outside her hotel door.

Meanwhile, Asher’s still estranged from his mother, penniless and working as an R.A. at the Middleton dorms to pay his tuition. Connor’s scored a promise from Annalise that she’ll never, ever, ever hire Oliver (more on that in a second). And after lying to police about his connection to sniper victim Wallace Mahoney (and screaming out his feelings in the woods with his rescuer Annalise), Wes is keeping an arm’s length from the Keating Five and dating a so-sweet-she-must-be-this-season’s-sociopath gal named Meggie.

BABY(FACE) DADDY | The episode begins shortly after Wallace Mahoney’s death in the Season 2 finale, and after Annalise picks up Wes and brings him to a desserted rest stop — raise your hand if you thought this was the moment they’d finally get it on… no? just me? — she learns it was Frank who brought Wes to New York City to meet his biodad. Annalise is convinced Frank fired the bullet and embroiled Wes in the ugliness so that Annalise wouldn’t be able to involve law enforcement. (Or at least I think that’s her working theory? Her logic felt a tad fuzzy to this recapper.)

Frank, meanwhile, shaves his face, buzzes his hair and manages to look 10 years younger and yet just as hot as he ever was. Bonnie wonders aloud if he’s dead, and then wonders if Annalise might be responsible. “I’m no killer, Bonnie. And God forbid I let Frank turn me into one. Bastard’s just not worth it,” the bosslady sighs. But wait just a second. Annalise has a burner phone in her jewelry box — the “xoxo” from her contact is kinda flirtatious, no? — and it turns out to be a new heavy she’s hired to track down Frank. When he does, he calls Annalise, tells her it’s “do or die” and asks what she wants him to do. As Annalise pauses meaningfully, Frank sneaks up behind the dude and begins to choke him out. And Annalise
Annalise’s new heavy has spotted frank — what do you want me to do? Annalise does what any sane person would do in this situation — flipping her phone shut, tossing it in a drawer and (I’m guessing here) using the Absolut to absolutely erase the memory from her consciousness.

VIOLA DAVISLAW & ORDER: STUDENT CLINIC | Annalise has launched a new and exclusive criminal law legal clinic/class — and naturally, Laurel, Asher, Michaela, Connor and Wes made the cut (much to the very vocal chagrin of a delightfully douchey fellow student known as Mr. Drake). The Keating Five freak out like Kris Jenner during a paparazzi blackout when Annalise pulls down her classroom screen and there’s a picture of her face with the word “KILLER” across the bottom. La Keating remains blasé (“At least they chose a good photo”) even after the same image gets wheatpasted across an outdoor bulletin board. Annalise is not even rattled when Wes (who landed first-chair thanks to his suggested defense) loses in the deportation case of an Iraqi refugee caught with marijuana.

We learn, ultimately, that the criminal law clinic was Annalise’s on-the-fly suggestion after Middleton University’s new president (Lauren Velez, an intriguing mix of threatening and reassuring) announces plans to transition Annalise into a research position, mainly because the five students she’s currently employing at her firm are all ranked in the bottom ten percent of their class. (Not bad considering all the murders they’ve been covering up at night, no?!) For the record, the quintet, ranked highest to lowest, read as follows: Laurel, Michaela, Connor, Wes, Asher. (And yet Connor got accepted at Stanford?!)

LITERALLY, THE WORST BREAKUP SINCE BRANGELINA | So remember how I mentioned Annalise promising Connor she wouldn’t hire Oliver. “We’d ruin him,” she theorizes. Well, fast-forward to Ollie dropping by with a portfolio, a case for hiring him (he could hack into Annalise’s system, no problemo!) and the confession about how he not only deleted Connor’s Stanford acceptance email but rerouted the university’s calls to his boyfriend to keep him put in Philly. “I can be bad, too,” he says, not sounding nearly as femme-fatalish as that might sound on paper. Annalise is convinced, and when she breaks the news to Connor, she spills the beans about Connor’s dark activities. He’s pragmatic about it when he gets back home to Oliver. “I was putting my feelings before yours — and I’m sorry for that,” he says. But Oliver isn’t accepting the forgiveness — insisting Connor ought to be angry, claiming he doesn’t know himself anymore and then announcing he wants to go through his self-discovery alone. Connor looks utterly baffled, so Ollie makes it clear — he wants to break up. I’ve shipped this couple pretty hard — though not as hard as Connor and the ill-fated copy-room dude with the watery eyes — but Oliver’s rationale is, well, borderline infuriating. I’m not ready to play Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together” on repeat loop, but Oliver, you’re on notice, buddy. (Is it too early to start trending a Connor-Asher hashtag on Twitter? #CasherHTGAWM?)

WHO DIES? | The episode ends with a flash-forward: Annalise arriving home at night to find a crowd of onlookers, a body being wheeled into an ambulance, and her house/office engulfed in flames. It’s one of the more ominous sequences in the show’s history — the use of Son Lux’s “We Are the Ones” definitely enhances the anxiety of the situation — and when Annalise peeks under the sheet, her hysterical, horrified reaction tells us the victim is someone in her inner circle. Whether the identity of the victim, the circumstances of his/her death, or the identity of the killer turns out to be Season 3’s big overarching mystery remains to be seen. But like Nate’s even-more-ripped abdominal muscles, it’s a rock-solid start to HTGAWM‘s next chapter.

What did you think of How to Get Away With Murder’s Season 3 premiere? Grade it in our poll below, then sound off in the comments!

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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76 Comments
  1. Kate says:

    I’m hoping its Bonnie or Nate that is gone. I was going to be really upset if something happened to Frank! Not enjoying them breaking up Oliver and Connor at all, but I’m hoping its short lived given Oliver is a regular this year.

    • Leo says:

      I think one of the Keating Five will bite the dust this season. Let’s face it, it’s already Season 3, and the death of one of the students will give the writers sooo sooo many juicy ingredients for Season 4. Just as long it’s not Connor + Asher + Michaela…. which means it will be one of them because characters I like tend to die at some point. :(

    • Katrina tan says:

      It could be someone we would never guess…like laurel? I was thinking maybe she chose frank over annalise and thats whay got her killed.

    • Cheyenne says:

      I don’t want Bonnie to go before we find out her backstory. That woman scares the hell out of me.

  2. CK says:

    I’m kind of ok with Connor/Oliver breaking up for a little. We might see the return of steamy single Connor from season 1, and I’m not going to complain about that.

  3. laurelnev says:

    I think Frank is going to be the baddie…and Bonnie or Nate are the obvious under-the-sheet choices, so I’m guessing it is none of the above. Perhaps surrogate son Wes? Or part time lover Famke? Or even the fire was a set up to burn whatever the latest evidence they need to burn, and somehow, Ollie gets caught in the blaze, leading to massive guilt tears for our gal Analese.

  4. abz says:

    Yeah, I’m not super bummed about the Connor/Oliver break up at the moment. You know they’ll most likely end up back together at some point. I’m kind of hoping to see a glimpse of the sexy badass Connor again from the first season.
    Overall, I really enjoyed the premiere. Glad the show’s back :)

  5. Vol girl says:

    I can’t figure out or remember why someone thinks Annalise is a murderer. Who is she suspected of killing?

    • CK says:

      Maybe Catherine Hapstall thinks that she killed her brother at the end of the last season. I don’t know why they would want to revisit the Hapstall case again though.

      • William says:

        The Hapstall Case ended under such murky circumstances. From the reveal that Caleb was responsible for the murders to Catherine sitting in prison for a crime she didn’t do. I was actually surprised that we didn’t see anyone’s reaction to the ordeal because it weighed a lot on their life, especially Michaela.

    • Paul Penna says:

      Well, Levi probably thinks she killed his foster sister; Rebecca. And Hannah Keating clearly thought she killed her brother (and Annalise’s husband) Sam Keating.

      Plus, I kinda doubt those are the only messed up situations Annalise has been mixed up in. It could be related to something we simply don’t know about.

    • Thenayan says:

      Many people have a vendetta against Annalise…..it’s impossible to know who it is without any clues since there are so many people who want to see her locked up.

    • Mills says:

      I could be wrong but I believe it’s because school started AFTER the fire in her house (it said 2 months later). So maybe murderer comes from whoever is under that sheet

  6. dan says:

    Slow start to season 3, but I’m sure it’ll pick up in typical HTGAWM fashion! I like the reset with Asher having no money, Wes having a girlfriend outside the group, and Laurel seemingly on the outs with everybody (Frank is MIA and Wes can’t look at her). Not clear where they’re going with Michaela, but they gave her some balls this season! Disappointed about Ollie and Connor’s breakup, but Conrad Ricomora is a regular this season so he’ll be around. No opinion on Ms. Winterbottom yet, she didn’t do anything of substance this week. The ending was intriguing. Hopefully next week will be more exciting.

  7. Connor’s in the body bag, I just have a strange feeling it’s him or Oliver. My heart broke when they broke up, and it just sunk into the ground in the last scene because I know it’s one of them.

    • Rook says:

      And then they’ll come to the realization that they love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together. Then one of them gets murdered.

      • Always a bad sign. Once someone says :”when this is over, we’ll get married/have a baby/settle our problems etc…” and it seems like the answer to a prayer….they’re definitely dead.

    • Cee says:

      I think Connor is in the body bag too being that she hired his bf maybe he’s the one sending out the killer photos and found out what Connor and them did and killed Connor because of it out of anger. I think they are killing Connor. Please don’t let I think be Wes love him 😩😩😩

  8. kathy kadaja says:

    Having looked forward to the new season, Sept 22 “We’re Good People Now” had too much timeline jumping around, detracting from what could have been an interesting story. I hope this is not an indication of format for upcoming episodes, bcz it was disappointing format for a season opener.

    • abz says:

      This format is nothing new to the show. It served the premiere well in showing what each of the main characters were up to over the summer and how they’ve continued to interact with Annalise.
      And also the show did what it does each season with flashing forward to an event that will happen and giving clues each week until the current timeline catches up.

  9. William says:

    Frank needs to go. He’s responsible for two women failing to reach the full terms of their pregnancy, in addition to killing one of them. His character’s irredeemable and it would be such a reach to allow Annalise to welcome him back in her life. Frank needs to suffer for what he did just like Sam.

  10. Frankie says:

    I mean why bring Oliver to be a regular carácter this season only to break him up with Connor? I hope they wil get back together later in the season

  11. Angela says:

    First things first, this review wins simply for quoting Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'” :D.
    .
    Second, now Ms. Pratt is showing as much enthusiasm for her law classes as Sarah Palin finding one of those newspaper things outside her hotel door. – *Snorts* :p
    .
    Sooooooooooo, yeah, THAT was one hell of a surprise ending! I really hope that’s going to be the overarching mystery of the season, ’cause that’s the one I want answers to the most. But I do love this twisted setup going on with Wes, Frank, and Annalise, too, and I’m very intrigued to see how that’ll play out. My guess is, obviously, not very well. For any of them.
    .
    (On the note of twisted dynamics, my moment for the weird Annalise/Wes vibes you speak of was when they were in the forest. For the briefest of moments I thought she was going to kiss him!)
    .
    I had the same thoughts about Meggie that you did. I hope she’s nice simply because I think Wes could use some more stable people in his life, but yeah, this show taught me otherwise (on that note, I am all for something happening to Drake, too. Yes. I think it took less than, like, two seconds for me to despise him).
    .
    I already feel for poor Michaela with all she’s been through-that car accident story is one I would like to revisit at some point. And I’m also glad they addressed the weirdness between Wes and Laurel after their little flirtation last season. I hope they can regain some footing in their friendship, because I do love their interactions and dynamic in general.
    .
    As for Connor and Oliver, I’m presuming/hoping they’ll be back together eventually, so while it’s sad to see them break up, I can deal with it for now. After all they’ve been through lately, I’m not surprised they would need some time to individually regroup and sort some personal issues out. I liked Oliver confessing about the Stanford thing to Annalise, simply because I just really like the idea of everyone feeling compelled to confess their wrongdoings/sins to Annalise at some point :p. .
    .
    So! Looks like we’ve got some very promising and exciting storylines being set up for this season. I’m both deeply curious and very nervous to get the answer to the “who’s under the sheet?” question. *Starts mulling over theories* Can’t wait to see where this season will go from here.

    • Maybe it’s just me but i felt like though Wes s reason for him avoiding Laurel wasnt the one he told her.I mean why talk about her to the extent that Maggie reacts like she did if all she did was remind him of Frank.

  12. Briana Janel says:

    Did anyone else have A MOMENT OF SILENCE for Frank’s beard? 😭

    • Frankie says:

      Haha. Probably but he looks as hot as ever without the beard and no hair. I mean he looks completely as a total different person without those things

  13. Craig says:

    So he stops him from going to Stanford and then breaks up with him anyway?! Connor can do better.

  14. I reasonably suspect that it’s Oliver under the sheet, which would be sad, but the foreshadowing was placed when Annalise and Connor were talking about a job for Oliver.

    However, maybe we’re overlooking yet-another-murder being staged. So perhaps the one under the sheet is Bonnie, after torching the place to cover wrong-doing by Bonnie and Frank. Or perhaps it’s someone else we haven’t seen yet. I doubt it’s any of the Keating 5 unless one of the actors says they aren’t returning or the series is wrapping up.

    The most obvious ones would be Nate or Wes, for Annalise to have that reaction naturally, but I think if either of them are killed off, it’s the end of the series, since one of the unsaid rules about TV drama is you never remove a lead character without replacing them.

  15. Brad says:

    I’m sorry. But once frank shaved all I thought of was “Ben is Glory”

    • CK says:

      “Excellent. Now. Do we suspect there may be some kind of connection between Ben and Frank?”

      Actually, I felt stupid I didn’t know it was him till he shaved!

      • Frankie says:

        Imagine what a shaved beard and haircut can do to a person, it can completely change the person appeareance. I mean in the case of this actor Charlie Weber, without a beard and with a haircult this guy looks like a total total different person, like he is another guy and not him.

    • Frankie says:

      Who is “Ben is Glory”

      • Jbj says:

        It’s from Buffy the Vampire Slayer…the other major show Charlie Weber is known for. The big twist was revealed when Good Guy Ben literally morphs into or from Big Bad Glory, and he didn’t even know it had been happening.

  16. ToyCannon says:

    They promised to reveal one character each week that is not dead. I think it is a certainty that Wes’ fate will not be revealed until the very end regardless of whether he turns out to be the victim or not.

    • Larc says:

      If they do it that slowly and none of the characters is around until his/her reveal, they will have to bring in new characters to fill the void or Annalise will be alone for awhile. Unrelated, but will this mean a new house for her? Her old one is clearly a total loss. But of course there’s always “Hollywood magic.”

  17. Eva says:

    Think about how sweet Coliver’s road to getting back together will be! Because that’s what’s happening. No other option is acceptable. Nope. End of the season at the latest, they’re back, you hear me, Mr. Nowalk?

  18. Terry says:

    I have watched the first two seasons of this show, and have decided not to put myself through another season of red herrings, and over acting. In real life they would all be in jail by now.

    • jj says:

      haha if you want everything to be what would happen in real life, stop watching tv. Almost every single tv show out there has unrealistic elements.

    • Frankie says:

      So why you watch the show anyway? The focus of this show is exactly that to keep us in the edge of our seats and fill us with surprises each time and things we are not expecting

  19. Lilly77 says:

    Hate Oliver and Connor breaking up. They are really the only reason I’ve stuck with this show through all the crazy situations and often unlikable characters. If they’ve done it so they can show them having an f-fest with other people, that’s just not going to work for me. The show needed at least one good character to hope would end up happy, but now they are destroying Oliver too. Grumpy now!

  20. Allee says:

    I guess the writers all went to school before you could check your application status online (yet are too young to have college age kids) no way would Connor not have found out. Unless he didn’t want to. Also no way they’d accept someone with less than mostly A’s.

  21. Connor and Oliver broke up? ): Okay, I can’t watch this then…

  22. JP says:

    Oh my goodness! Definitely worth the wait! This looks to be the best season yet! As for the body, they could go for the obvious which would be nate. Although he is so obvious, it would be a surprise. Does that make sense LOL. Or it could be someone that would be a surprise the it would be a surprise. Does that make sense LOL. Or it could be someone that would be a surprise but not really. What if it was Eve? she Does come by periodically. We all assume it is frank getting his revenge. Although what if it was frank that is the body. What if they totally flip the script on us and someone lured Frank back to the house, killed him, then set the fire to cover it up. In that case it would be either moral or bal Frank back to the house, killed him, then set the fire to cover it up. In that case it would be either laurel or Bonnie. It’s going to be interesting to see. I love the way they are building up the suspense by revealing each week who is not dead. Leave it to the genius of Shondra to keep us on our toes with unexpected twists and turns.

  23. Sheila says:

    This show just can not keep my interest any longer. I don’t enjoy the flashback between past and present, too many characters. Very erratic story line.

  24. LKE says:

    I say Nate or Wes…leaning towards Wes. I think the screaming was a clue.

  25. Gerri says:

    I was never a shipper of Oliver and Connor. (Oliver ruined a really strong interesting character.) He is an idiot to break up with him for that reason. I hope they stay split. Be even better if he wasn’t a series regular, but I know that there are too many shippers and they will want them back together for end game. (I shipped the copy room guy more also)
    I hope Frank is innocent somehow.
    Under the blanket…. Wes???

  26. Bramblingon says:

    Some continuity problems: Blood splatter on Wes’s head and jacket in shot scene, and none in questioning scene with police. Who says Mahoney is really Wes’ dad? He has the blood to prove it and it should be the first thing they do this season. This really bugs me and is a big hanging clue here.

    Wes and Analise primal screaming in the woods was ridiculous. Getting DNA tests is more in character.

    Also, why not have Wes come forward as his heir and get tons of money? It would n’t implicate Annalise.

    Another big assumption not proven yet is that Frank shot Mahoney. Annalise projects her drama onto the situation, but really it’s a big mislead. Remember what Mahoney was talking about on the phone before he was shot? It was some illicit relationship. Maybe a later pro bono court case will tie back into this plot gap.

    Annalise is not a killer by the skin of her teeth. I liked that. But what was Frank doing there?
    I don’t think Nate would approve of her hit man.

    Will Framke make another appearance this year? I need to look at the sheet over the body to better guess if it was man or woman, but they probably wouldn’t give that away.

    Intriguing structure to show this season. Little pro bonos instead of an over arching case/mystery. I hope the story line is tight and logical.

    Annalise house gets burned down, sounds like anger issues. Bonnie? Too soon to tell.

    The time line jumping was a little hard to follow and maybe unnecessary. Did they need it because they are going to fill in more of the gaps on the Wes and Annalise night? Maybe some big scenes with Frank are missing to explain his plan and hair cut. Is there more to it which warrants screaming in the woods? Hmm. Cute chin though. And when does the house burn down exactly?

    Fun fun fun

  27. Danielle says:

    Did anyone else get the impression that who ever was in the body bag had a baby bump??? This may be going off on a limb but Laurel was the only one not drinking at Connors place and Michaela jokingly said it was because Laurel is pregnant with Frank’s baby… So my guess is that Laurel bites the dust.

  28. ChicagoDan says:

    Yeah it Fanke’a character. Two reasons: 1) the emotional response from her; and 2) TB spin-off – obviously doesn’t permit her to be on much. I don’t think the K5 or Frank/Bonnie will be touched.

  29. Marci says:

    I hate that they broke up Connor and Oliver and hope it doesn’t last long.

  30. Simiao says:

    I’m still dont know who killed Caleb, what happend with Catherine and the fathers of them… Was revealed last season? Help me!!! My brain is so confuse

  31. Kaiz says:

    I’m going to think outside the box and predict that it’s Annalise’s mother under the sheet …

    I don’t know why, I don’t know how but it’s just a gut feeling.

  32. The Truth says:

    Just finish watching Murder. Pretty good season premiere. I really hope the person under the sheet is Wes. No one cares for his character, he is ignoring and a complete psycho. But chances are its Nate under the sheet. There not going to kill Wes because he sort like Annalise surrogate son and 2nd star of the show

  33. Amy says:

    Ok…. putting this out there. Any thoughts on Oliver being a bad guy? He’s the one character we inherently trust and love yet we never really get to know him. Why the strong interest in working with Annalise? Maybe his guilt about being a bad guy is why he breaks up with Conner when Conner keeps loving him? Thoughts?

  34. I really hope that the dead body is Wes.
    I can’t stand him anymore. He is sooo boring, oh please!
    By Annalise reaction, it was Wes or Bonnie! They are her pets.
    But i hope it’s not Bonnie because she has sooooo much to show! And i barely saw her on the episode. MORE SCENES FOR BONNIE, PLEASE.

  35. Gwg says:

    It better not be Nate under that sheet. Shirtless Billy Brown keeps me tuning in every week. On second thought, can he just get his own show where he never wears a shirt?

  36. Brock says:

    Victim? Eve, killed by Frank.

  37. gillianrosh says:

    Wes is the one on that gurney

  38. QueenB says:

    I think its one of the Keating 5. I hope it’s not Bonnie or Frank. I hope they explore Bonnie’s backstory further this season. Will Bonnie have a smaller presence on the series because of the Netflix revival of Gilmore Girls? I really hope not because she’s such a talented actress and portrays the second best character on the show

  39. drake4e says:

    Stop with your Connor/Asher train. So annoying.

  40. Nancy says:

    Loved it
    Missed it
    Can’t wait to see who died
    This show is about great writing imagination as usual