Post Mortems

HTGAWM's Five Craziest Twists — Plus: Matt McGorry on Asher's Trump-y Past

How to Get Away With Murder served up the most sadistic killing in its three-season history this week, and the moment proved a little bit… heartwarming?

Indeed, we finally learned that Frank wasn’t merely hiding out in Coalport, Penn., but rather, had concocted an undercover identity as a prison janitor in order to smuggle a cannister of hydrogen sulfide into the infirmary; hook it up to the oxygen line of Bonnie’s decrepit, sexually abusive father; and melt the monster’s lungs from the inside out. “Enjoy Hell, Bob,” wasn’t just Frank’s parting message, it could also be the epithet on the dude’s tombstone.

That was far from the only shocker in the hour (which also found Laurel admitting she knew Frank’s whereabouts — in the exact town where Bonnie’s dad died — and Bonnie whispering back, “Don’t tell Annalise.” Insert shockface emoji here.)

Indeed, after Annalise had her law license suspended on account of her brutal slap of last week’s ladykiller client — turns out it was a cohort of her Middleton boss, Pres. Hargrove, who provided the incriminating DVD to the Pennsylvania Bar — our heroine agreed to enter alcohol treatment to save her practice, not to mention her tenure. Question is, does Annalise actually need to get sober? Nate certainly seemed to think so, after a nasty argument led a day-drunk Annalise to call him “a little bitch” and he responded by predicting she’d wind up dying alone in her house.

Did I mention Nate promptly hooked up with ADA Renee Atwood (aka Annalise’s Season 3 courtroom nemesis)? (The hell?!) And that Annalise tried to reignite the flame with nonjudgmental Eve — only to learn her college lover has finally moved on with a new woman and is moving to San Francisco to be with her? (Their tearful, bittersweet farewell was a great moment for both Viola Davis and Famke Janssen.)

Meanwhile, Connor and Oliver reached something of a detente in their breakup — with the latter guy opening up about his HIV-positive status making it harder for him to find new romantic prospects. “Maybe don’t rub it in my face,” Oliver asked, referencing Connor’s string of “Humper”-app hookups. “I’m willing to rub other things in your face any time you want, though,” replied Mr. Walsh, still clearly pining for reconcilliation.

And finally, in the flash-forward segments, we learned who was found — with a pulse! — down in the basement of Annalise’s burning building. It’s none other than Laurel — and according to the middle-of-her-ER-rotation Meggie (!), Wes’ law-school bestie isn’t just suffering from burns and smoke inhalation, she’s pregnant, too.

We caught up with Matt McGorry, whose Asher served as first chair during a complex case of the week, to talk about his character’s growth since Season 1, future with Bonnie and not-so-confident courtroom performance.

TVLINE | How much anxiety have you experienced this season, knowing a core character is going to wind up dead under a sheet at Annalise’s house — and not knowing if that corpse happens to be Asher?
I’m a pretty good compartmentalizer, so I’ve been pretty good at not focusing on it. And after three seasons on the show, I’ve realized one of the things that makes the writing intriguing is that it’s very hard to guess what’s going to happen. I’m not the kind of person who gets a lot of joy from trying to figure those things out. There is no actual way to parse it out, point to certain [plot lines] and treat them like you’re solving a crime.

It’s almost the same for me as trying to figure out who’s going to win the election. Beyond supporting the candidate I want to see elected, I let go of things that are beyond my control. And, considering we live in Shondaland — where anything can happen — I find it’s more useful to focus on enjoying when I am alive, enjoying the job and the moments, because ultimately there’s not much I can do about my fate anyway. And for me, it creates better work. In life, if we worried about dying all the time, it wouldn’t be a fun way to live.

LIZA WEILTVLINE | We saw a lot of interaction with Asher and Bonnie this week — two characters who have stayed pretty far from each other since they threw a corpse off a balcony in Season 2. Is this the start of a romantic reconnection or is this more about a new chapter in their relationship?
At this point, it really is more about the work. We get to see their relationship evolve in a new way, which really is pretty great. They both respect each other in a deep and fundamental way that relates to each other’s intelligence and compassion. It’s a different level of maturity for Asher, to see him reconvene now with Bonnie and have her notice that he is a different person in many ways than when they first started dating.

TVLINE | We’re so used to characters on How to Get Away With Murder kicking ass and taking names. It was a jolt to see Asher sweating through his suit jacket and relying on his notes in his first stab at being first-chair in this week’s case, dealing with a troubled teen accused of credit-card fraud who, it turns out, was only committing the crime in order to prepare for the imminent arrival of his math teacher’s baby.
I really loved that Asher’s way of dealing with being first chair was different than I expected. It’s easy watching TV or playing a character or existing in real life to assume that we know all the different aspects of a person. And here we’re seeing Asher have his first chance at doing what he’s prepared to do for three seasons. We all know Asher is this brash guy, he’s not shy, he’s outspoken, he’s maybe even flagrantly obnoxious sometimes. In my experience, people that present that way in real life often are the ones who are hiding the most insecurities. That’s not always apparent off the bat, but get those people in the right situations and it becomes clear. Sometimes that insecurity can even be something a person wouldn’t admit to himself. But Asher thankfully is young and emotionally pliable enough and interested enough in being a good person that he’s willing to examine these aspects of himself.

Often the men who are the most lewd are also the most insecure. They’ve propped up their entire identity on these performance of masculinity, what we think it means and the way it causes them to objectify women. We see that with [Donald] Trump. There’s this entire way we see him talk about assaulting women — and it’s all about power. Asher is nowhere near close to Trump, but these are all related ideas to how we view ourselves as confident and “comfortable” men’s men. I guess that’s tangential. [Laughs] But getting to see Asher in a more uncomfortable position was fantastic. He does have more to lose. He got started in this position and got interested in this field of law because his father was a judge. And now his dad is dead. So we get to see that manifest in a clear and interesting way.

TVLINE | Walk me through the scene where Asher calls out Bonnie’s own prior experience of being sexually assaulted by her dad to question whether or not she should call Tristan’s teacher to the stand and trick her into incriminating herself for raping him. And Bonnie zings back Asher’s own shameful past not reporting the gang rape of Tiffany.
This episode, the case of the week, Tristan is dealing with sexual assault of his own, and Bonnie is obviously dealing with those issues from a survivor’s perspective. Plus, Asher was close to that experience himself as an outsider who feels complicit. So it’s a very ambiguous line — one I considered myself — on the subject of whether it’s ever anyone else’s responsibility to out someone about sexual assault. In this case, it’s statuatory rape, and Tristan is a minor, which maybe makes it different. There are legal ramifications and a very narrow window in which you can put the teacher in a place where she can get the proper treatment. But you never want to be outing someone who’s been through sexual assault. So even me, Matt, watching that, reading it, being in it — Asher maybe didn’t bring it up to Bonnie in the right way, but it was an important conversation to have.

TVLINE | I loved that Asher was the person who implicitly said that Tristan’s experience was not hot, but was actually rape. I’m not sure that’s what we’d have expected from him in Season 1 or even Season 2.
Asher has been evolving. A lot of the ignorance people have — a lot of what ends up being hateful and perpetuating the norms of rape culture – comes from ignorance, from men’s insecurities and quests for power. It’s easy to dismiss those things as locker room talk, but ultimately, when people are faced with humanity and in any way open to understanding experiences that are not their own — as Asher is — they can really evolve and change. Getting to work on Tristan’s case firsthand influences Asher, and I’m glad to see changes in him we might not have predicted had we looked at him last season or the season before.

What did you think of this week’s HTGAWM? Were you surprised by Asher’s evolution? 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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  1. Matt C. says:

    That was one of the best episodes of the whole series! Nonstop thrills and twists from start to finish…but that ending had me hollering at my TV! It’s got to be either Frank or Wes under that sheet, right?!

    • Alyse says:

      Frank, Wes, and Nate are my tops picks for who’s under the sheet. I really hope it’s not Frank though.

      • laurelnev says:

        Whomever is under that sheet has a VERY slim build. I know it’s just a dummy at this point, but details like that are not overlooked on this show…usually. That would rule out huskier/hunkier dudes like Nate and Asher…even Frank. My $ was on Eve from the start. With this Laurel complication, coupled w/ Ana’s reaction, I’d now put Wes as a frontrunner…or Connor. It has to be someone Ana really cares about. If it were Frank, you’d have seen a sense of relief. Ana’s never really liked Mikayla, so I doubt it’s her. And we know it’s not Bonnie or Oliver.

        • Cheyenne says:

          Annalise put out the hit on Frank so I think she’d be delighted if it was him under the sheet. So I don’t think it was him.

          But maybe Frank knows it was Annalise who put the hit on him and he burned down the house in revenge, hoping she would be in it. I don’t think he expected Laurel in there.

          I don’t think Annalise cares all that much about Michaela or Connor or Asher, so scratch those three. I’m thinking Wes, although I hope it’s not him. Maybe Frank saw him and Laurel together in the house and got jealous.

          I almost hope it was Nate. He’s such a sh*t.

          • Frankie says:

            You have a valid reason why Frank may be the one burning down the house without knowing Laurel was there. I dont want Frank to be the one under the sheet. I mean Annalise was in shcok when she saw who was under the sheet who do u think sh ebe crying that much for, unless is a set up.

          • Matt C. says:

            I just feel like there’s so much that could happen between now and the night of the fire. We clearly already saw last night that Frank is trying to make up for his past sins and get back into the team’s good graces (at least, that’s how I interpreted him killing Bonnie’s father). I’m imagining a scenario where somehow, Annalise manages to forgive Frank…only for him to die in the fire.

        • Erica says:

          I think the one thing that we’re failing to account for here is that Annalise’s reaction could be all for the cops/witnesses – so I don’t really think that’s really the best indicator. It could be anyone :-/

        • Lisa says:

          I was thinking it was Frank or Nate but your guess of Eve is really good. She never even entered my mind. But I think Annelise reaction means it’s someone she really cares about so Eve or Nate make the most sense.

        • Indigo says:

          For all we know that emotional response by Ana could just be an elaborate act. So we really can’t assume she is genuinely distraught about who is under the sheet.

          • laurelnev says:

            I’m thinking it was a genuine reaxtion, and that Oliver’s was most certainly genuine. But we shall see in the upcoming weeks. Regardless, if that corpse ends up having an extremely different body shape when the sheet is lifted, I’ll consider that “bait and switch.” But you are right that at this point, the reaction could be as much of as red herring as it is a clue.

      • Larc says:

        The loss of Wes would ruin an important upcoming part of the story. So I’m thinking it’s not him. Probably not Connor either. Considering Annalise’s reaction, it’s likely Nate. If not him, probably Asher.

        • Nika says:

          I also could see Nate the one under the sheet but some fans say Nate is a key character on the show cause he is a cop who helps the team where other cop cant help,and sometimes Nate are given cleareance in certain situations, others see them as disposable. How do you view Nate? I mean a cop can be replace anytime but like you mention, the Keating 5 are very important to the story.

          I really dont want Frank to die really. Unless is a key character that noone is expecing but it is not the Keating 5, Frank or Bonnie but in that case it be impossible to predict who. I mean it could be a key character from past seasons also who happened to be at Annalise house the wrong time and the wrong place that is why Annalise reaction she was not expecting it.

          Oliver and Bonnie seemed calm so I doubt it could be Connor.

  2. JP says:

    I hate thinking it’s Connor… per the preview for next week, they only showed Wes, Asher, Conor and Makayla…. its got to be one of the main characters from week 1… it sucks, because each character has really embraced the role. For example, in season 1 everyone thought Asher was a jerk… but there’s definitely more going on beneath the surface… I hate to see one go, but at same point, don’t want to be bait switched and it’s Eve

  3. Kate says:

    I was really hoping it would be Nate or Bonnie, but obviously Bonnie is around and they seem to be implying it is one of the students. If that’s the case I am hoping for Wes or Makayla. Wes is just so boring that I don’t really have any interest. I like Makayla and Asher together though so I would hate to see him lose her, but outside of her relationship with him her character is kind of blah.

    • Chloe says:

      I’m hoping it’s Wes, too, for the same reason – he’s boring. And that would explain why Annalise would be so upset [even if Viola didn’t know it when she did the scene].

  4. jj says:

    When Meggie mentioned the person was pregnant I thought it was Michaela (with Asher being the father). I wonder if it will be Frank or Wes who is the father of Laurel’s baby.

    • Angela says:

      I wonder if it will be Frank or Wes who is the father of Laurel’s baby.
      This is my question, too. Right now I’m leaning towards Wes, simply because he and Laurel have had a lot of scenes together thus far this season and their storylines have some connections between them (plus, Laurel seems kind of…awkward around Meggie, like she’s jealous of her).

  5. Nicolás says:

    It could be Eve.

  6. Angela says:

    Great interview with McGorry. I definitely think he had some great scenes this episode, I like it when his more mature side comes out, and I think that’s one big reason I love his scenes with Bonnie, ’cause he tends to let his serious side out more around her. Their conversation about the rape issue on the case was one heck of a scene.
    So far I’ve been pretty happy with the who’s who of who’s survived thus far, but obviously I’m concerned about what the hell led Laurel to getting so beat up as she did. And I’m also wondering if this will affect her pregnancy. I’m alternately really curious about the storyline tha leads up to her in that hospital room, and nervous all at the same time.
    And I agree with the mention of Annalise and Eve’s last scene. So moving and emotional. So long as I know Eve’s out there and alive, and there’s a possibility she could someday return,, I’m happy.

    • Ross says:

      I reckon she’ll lose the baby after the fire. Laurel would either leave the kid (doubt it) or look after it (that’d get in the way of the show tbh) . So it’s probably Wes’s baby (Frank isn’t here, no one predicted Laurel’s pregnancy and she didn’t know herself (idk if she did), so she was probably impregnated recently. Frank’s been AWOL for a while so that leaves Wes. If he is the one under the sheet that would be drama

  7. Frankie says:

    I dont know if im the only one but I dotn want Frank to be the one under the sheet. For some reason the creepier he is the sexier he looks. I dont know, he has this je ne sai quais being the crazy creepy guy he is now that makes him look sexier.

    I think Frank killed Bonnies father as a promise he made to Bonnie probably in the past.

    Laurels baby could be very well Frank, probably Wes sure but in what episode of what season Wes and Laurel had sex? I dont recall seeing them having sex on screen unless it was implied.

    I mean Annalise reaction when she saw who was under the sheet, it was a reaction toward a person she really cares.

    Annalise does not care that much for any of her Keating 5, look the way she had treated them so far like doormats to do what she wants them to do. The only one she seems only to care is Wes like an obligation to what happened to Wes mother in the past that she was involved with it. Other than that. She wont be crying that much for Connor Michaela or Asher. She could be crying for Bonnie or Wes, but we rule out Bonnies now as she will live. I dont think she be crying that much for Frank, do you think she be really crying that much for Frank if in the first place wanted to kill him?

    • jj says:

      Keep in mind Viola filmed that scene not knowing who was under the sheet. I don’t think we can make any assumptions based on her reaction.

      • Vanessa says:

        I agree that we can’t make too many assumptions based on her reaction.

        Plus, regardless of her varying feelings for the different members of the team, I think seeing their dead body right in her face would have an emotional effect on her at that moment, so I don’t agree with the “well she wouldn’t react like that if it were so and so” stuff.

  8. Grace says:

    I think Wes is the father of laurel’s unborn child, if it was frank she did be 5months far along, who ever slept with her did it recently, and the look on Maggie face shows it might actually be Wes or that Maggie that Wes is also in the fire

    • jj says:

      She may end up having sex with Frank prior to the events of the house explosion/fire. Whether it’s Wes, Frank, or some else, the sex hasn’t likely taken place yet.

      • betsymac says:

        At this point in the story, though, we’re only 4 weeks from the pregnancy reveal. Not likely that Wes is the baby daddy that fast. Which isn’t to say that he isn’t the baby daddy … just that maybe it happened before Meggie? b/c weren’t they flirty at the end of S2?

  9. Graceangel says:

    I think Wes is the father of Laurel’s child, if were frank she did be 5months far, whatever unprotected and unplanned sex she had just happened recently, and we will be seeing who the father of the baby is, next week or in two Weeks time. I want him to be Wes, Frank is already far too gone, and laurel has gone through a lot of complications, it will be nice to have some level of normalcy in her life

  10. Graceangel says:

    I think Wes is the responsible for Laurel’s pregnancy, if were frank she did be 5months far, whatever unprotected and unplanned sex she had just happened recently, and we will be seeing who the father of the baby is, next week or in two Weeks time. I want him to be Wes, Frank is already far too gone, and laurel has gone through a lot of complications, it will be nice to have some level of normalcy in her life

    • jade says:

      You’re forgetting that the scene in which she is pregnant is set in the future. She may see Frank any time from now and get pregnant :0

      • Adidas says:

        But the current events lets say of yesterdays episode was marked just 4 weeks before before the fire so if it be Franks baby Laurel has to see him like now and have sex with him like NOw in order that for whe nthe fire takes place 4 weeks after, she at least has to be 4 weeks pregnant, the same could apply to Wes.

  11. Garbo says:

    Aja Naomi King could be an Oscar nominee by January for The Birth of a Nation and that usually comes with months of (campaign) events and high-profile film offers. If she seriously thinks she could have a chance at that – I think she does – she may have asked the producers to write her off the show and they may have jumped at the opportunity to turn it into a season-long mystery. Just a guess. Having said that the show is only 15 episodes / year per Viola Davis’s request and her off-time still allows her to get involved with Oscar-hopeful fare like Fences, so leaving behind a steady paycheck (the show no doubt still has a few seasons in it, needs 3(x15 episodes) more for syndication) and already gives her enough time to pursue other projects, may not be a wise move on any cast member’s part.

  12. K says:

    Oh, I thought Frank was calling Bonnie’s dad ‘Pop.’ I thought they were revealing that Frank and Bonnie are brother and sister! That would be kind of awesome. I know Frank has a family, but I was just thinking that they were both abused and then separated and that was his foster family.

  13. Jen M says:

    I very much enjoy reading interviews/tweets from Matt McGorry. He comes across as a very intelligent guy, passionate about his work and the world around him.

    So I hope it’s not Asher under the sheet! Don;t think it is though, my gut reaction when Annalise started crying was that Nate was under there, but we’ll see…

    • Nika says:

      IT is said Viola filmed the scene without knowing who was under the sheet so her reaction was of total surprise for anyone.

      • Jen M says:

        Wow, just another example of what an awesome actress Viola Davis is, that she can emote so well without knowing the emotional relationship between the characters to draw on for her reaction. Amazing! Thanks for the info :)

  14. Vanessa says:

    I’m confused about stuff related to the video of Annalise slapping her client. I thought everything in the room, be it verbal, video, audio etc. was privileged? Why is there even a camera in there to begin with? And is a board member sending the video not grounds for some type of dismissal on his part or a formal grievance on Annalise’s part?

    Anyway, am I supposed to feel bad for Oliver? Because I don’t. Not even a tiny bit. You dumped him, for a reason I still don’t even get, and now you want to pout because he’s getting action and you’re not? Get over it. I’m so annoyed with the upgraded status of his character.

    As for who’s under the sheet, I guess I want it to be Asher or Connor. I really don’t want it to be Wes or Laurel or Frank. I’d also like to keep Michaela but I could see them getting rid of her since they haven’t gone into her background and past the way they did with the others.

  15. Adidas says:

    We also will have to check on entertainment sites or news in the following weeks if there are any news regarding who from the main cast had been cast to appear in other TV shows if that happens, that way it can give us a tiny tiny hint who is leaving and probably that person is the one under the sheet but also we dont even know if the show will have a Season 4 anyway. until much later

    • Jax&Juice's Girl says:

      That was crazy!…….Laurel pregnant who’s the father? Plus why the hell was she at Annalise’s house?

      • Adidas says:

        People are saying Frank or Wes but in this case we have to know the time, exactly when Laurel had sex with either one so we can do the numbers on Laurel. I think Maggie did not say how much pregnant Laurel was but it seems she could be just a few weeks or maybe a month?

        I mean if we take yesterday episode. Laurel does not seem so pregnant, so if she will be pregnant 4 weeks from now when the house burning take place, she will have to run into Frank soon and have sex wth him right away or she has to have sex with Wes too so she will be only some weeks pregnant.

        Unless Laurel has more than weeks and probably one or 2 and that is the reason why she desesperatly wanted to look for Frank since the first episode to tell him the news.

        What do you think?

        I want Frank to be the baby daddy even if he is so creepy but it seems Laurel cares for him. I assume

  16. Amaan says:

    I really don’t want it to be connor, but i have a gut feeling it may well be. Maybe it’s frank and Annalese is just pretending to be remorseful and then why wouldn’t she ask Oliver to wipe that hard drive clean or its Eve

    • Adidas says:

      I dotn think it is Eve, accordgint to what the EP said it is a core character so everyone is guessing it includes one of the Keating 5, Frank or Nate. Eve is not regular

  17. Zika says:

    For me Nate does not add anything really importnt to the show. I mean sure he is a cop and in certain situations he has cleareance to give info to Annalise but so far he seems like to only show off his physique. In the premiere we all see him shirtless on what purpose?? Then last week once again he was all sweating and showing off his physique so Oliver can drool over it.
    And yesterday episode he had to sleep with another girl to get information. really?? Once again he is ben used as a piece of meat.. He does nto need to be always shirtless and showwing off his body,cause that is not adding anything important to the show that I blame the writers Is like the do it on purpose his showing off does not look natural but forced.

    I wish Nate to be under the sheet. A cop is replaceable, the rest of the characters are not. My opinion.

  18. Rodd says:

    I believe it’s Nate. With all the emergency vehicles and personnel there, and Nate not being there. They may have had a fight but he cares deeply for her. He’d be a first response.


  19. Kerri H. says:

    I think the person under the sheet is Annalise’s mother. Nate brought her up last episode during their argument.