Post Mortems

HTGAWM Recap: Dude Looks Like a Goner — Plus: Liza Weil Talks Bonnie's Surprise Hookup, Split Loyalties

Awwwww, sheet!

Yep, we’re a whole lot closer to figuring out whose corpse is shrouded in low-thread-count ignominy in How to Get Away With Murder‘s “Fire Night” flashbacks — and it’s definitely a dude. Well, “definitely” if you’re someone who believes everything you see on the local TV news, anyway. #HowYourToothbrushIsSlowlyKillingYou

Yet while that “unidentified male dead in house fire” chyron likely removes from the slab San Francisco-bound Eve, Annalise’s boss Pres. Hargrove and Nate’s new ADA girlfriend, the mystery is far from solved. Even factoring in sightings of Oliver, Laurel, Bonnie and now Michaela, that still leaves Asher, Connor, Nate, Wes, Frank and the simpering Mr. Drake as possible dirt-nap candidates.

Any other candidates I’m forgetting? Drop ’em in the comments below while I offer the pithiest possible recap of Season 3, Episode 5 (“It’s About Frank”) and then cut to a Q&A with Liza Weil, the woman behind Bonnie/Lurky McChurchmouse.

SOMEBODY’S NOT GETTING AWAY WITH “MURDERER” | Mr. Drake’s computer goes missing, and when he tries to search the Keating Five’s bags, Michaela’s “hillbilly” comes out (and that chica, the one who almost slapped her mother-in-law-to-be, is ferocious). She later waves off her friends’ questions about where she grew up — “the people who raised me are trash,” she hisses — but turns out she’s got some dark tendencies of her own. Michaela’s the one who pilfered the laptop, and co-conspirator Oliver’s hacking reveals Drake’s responsible for the “Murderer” posters of Annalise popping up all over campus. La Keating terrifies the kid with words like “slander,” “defamation” and “hate crime” — but deep inside, she’s happy the culprit is just a whiny student, not someone with a deeper knowledge of the murders she’s helped to cover up. (Side note: Anyone think there’s more to this particular story? Raise your hand.) (Oh, and did I mention when we see Michaela in flash-forward, taking a call on Connor’s phone, it’s revealed that her adoptive mother is played by Grace Under Fire star Brett Butler!)

BLAME IT ON THE ALCOHOL | After getting a new weave and hearing her hairdresser’s discussion of beating a cocaine addiction using “God and sex,” Annalise attends her first AA meeting — and promptly runs into Pres. Hargrove. Our heroine’s struggle to resist the bottle leads to painful flashbacks showing us her struggles to conceive, her miscarriages and the toll they took on her marriage to Sam. Annalise’s bender results in a drunk dial to Nate, a brutal bout of vomiting (cleaned up by Wes, of all people), and finally, the burning of a concerned Hargrove’s olive branch. The manipulative administrator wants to help her colleague — or pretends like she does — but all Annalise wants is for her suspension to be dropped (or to proceed with her $50 million lawsuit against Middleton).

Side note: Did anyone wonder if Annalise might bust a move on Wes after he wiped vomit from her hair? Not a romantic moment, but the way she caressed his face, asked him if Meggie was too good to him, conjured up all those latent quesitons about whether she feels maternal for her young protege or some other type of way. And the fact that the encounter seemed to spur Wes’ desire to split from his med-school lover and hook up with Laurel, well, maybe he’s just looking for love at the wrong desk at the Keating firm?

IT’S ABOUT FRANK | We learn a full beard’s worth about Frank’s backstory — including how he was sent to prison at 13 for attempting to kill his father, how Frank convinced Annalise to take the troubled youth’s parole cade, and how Frank fought against his own release because — as he finally confesses — he planned his attack on his father for weeks, and then felt no remorse when the man was pinned like a screaming animal underneath a vehicle. “Sociopaths don’t cry,” offers Sam, and with that, their paths become inextricably linked — all the way to the death of Annalise’s unborn baby, the murder of Lila Stangard and so many other horrors.

TVLINE | Let’s start with that final scene: Bonnie walking in right at the exact moment Laurel and Wes are telling Annalise that Bonnie saw Frank while she was in Coalport, Penn. We know from the flash-forwards that this betrayal doesn’t end Bonnie and Annalise’s working relationship, but can you tease how bad the fallout is going to be?
In Episode 6, we’re definitely going to see how Annalise reacts to Bonnie seeing Frank — and how Bonnie is going to spin that. It is a massive betrayal. But I don’t think Bonnie is massively surprised at Laurel coming clean, either. Laurel is someone who’s proven that she can’t help herself. She’s someone who is operating from a compulsion to do what she thinks is right. Plus, there’s an interesting, underlying thing in that Bonnie and Annalise are people who are constantly expecting betrayal on some level. That’s just how they’re built. They’re operating from a compromised state. But yes, there will be fallout and a surprise in what Bonnie has up her sleeve in dealing with all that.

TVLINE | That’s good to hear. I mean, it would be crazy at this point if Bonnie didn’t have an excuse cooked up in case Annalise found out about her meetup with Frank.
Bonnie’s very aware going into Coalport that putting herself in that situation could cause enormous upheaval. So she may, in fact, be prepared. I’d hope that’s the case for her at this point! [Laughs.]

TVLINE | What was Bonnie’s goal in going to see Frank: To try to be the dutiful right hand and try to fix Annalise’s rift with him? Was it a case of split loyalties between Frank and Annalise? Or was this merely a chance for her to own some power independent of her boss?
It’s all of those things. Since Frank has been gone, that’s been a considerable loss to Bonnie — and it’s a surprise to her how much she’s feeling that. She’s very much been questioning her identity and her role in Annalise’s house. The dynamic has shifted so much without him. She no longer has a touchstone there, and Annalise hasn’t been available to Bonnie in the way that she craves. So, once Bonnie finds out the details Laurel shares — how Annalise wanted to have Frank killed — she feels like Annalise hasn’t been entirely honest with her, and that she has to take matters into her own hands. Bonnie is operating from a primal need to restore this threesome back to its former glory. There was a time when this family of sorts functioned in a relatively healthy way.

There was a part of [this] episode that was really poigniant to me and helped me be reminded of something so crucial in this show. In the Young Frank flashbacks, when Sam is talking with Annalise about his quest to save Frank, you really see that the Keatings are making an attempt to fill this void of [not being] parents. Bonnie and Frank and Annalise and Sam — they all provided something very essential to each other that was missing. Bonnie feels very beholden to them, and it motivates drastic action.

TVLINE | It’s probably not accidental that all of Bonnie’s decisions occur right she learns about the death of her abusive father, as all of those awful memories are drudged up.
[Executive Producer] Pete [Nowalk] has done such an amazing job this season at reintroducing these backstory breadcrumbs for Bonnie and insights into how she operates. These past couple episodes, we’ve seen it building, and it comes to a crescendo in Coalport. The death of Bonnie’s father, though a huge relief, is still a loss. And it brings up feelings of her wanting to belong to something or someone. It brings up a need to create your own family — which really informs Bonnie and Frank’s fantasy of running away together — and hitting the hard reset button. She’s overcome so much to feel like she deserves friendship and companionship — she greatly craves that — so when Frank abandons her in that hotel room, all those destructive feelings of despair and shame and lack of self-worth bubble to the surface.

TVLINE | I wanted to ask you about Frank fantasizing out loud about running away with Bonnie. And how after he has a nightmare, she wakes him up, and then she indulges in the same fantasy of running off to Oregon and living a simpler life, and how it leads to sex. Do you think that’s the first time these characters got intimate? Or could this have happened in the past, too?
Pete has an interesting way of working. He has ideas, and then they change shape when he sees what actors do with them. Charlie [Weber, who plays Frank] and I know that Bonnie and he are bonded in a very strong way. Frank’s proven himself to be a bit of a womanizer — and he’s got a history with students for the most part. Young Bonnie, when she first came to that house, wasn’t really equipped for or looking to have a real relationship. But there’s a recognition they have with each other — and that goes a long way now that it feels like everything’s been torn asunder. I was surprised as well, though, watching the scene that it seemed like maybe this wasn’t their first time. But then again, that’s Hall of Fame Pete Nowalk to leave that subject open-ended.

TVLINE | I found the sex scene almost too intimate to watch at first — they way Bonnie and Frank are laying there on the floor, whispering, caressing each other’s faces. How did you feel when you shot it and watched it?
I am not an actor that is well-versed in doing things like that — and Mr. Weber is, so… [Laughs] We’re all very close friends, but it’s always nice when you can do those sorts of things with somebody you’re very comfortable with. Charlie made me feel safe. I kind of black out and don’t really know what I’m doing. So, he was able to say “And now we do this. And now we do this,” which was really helpful. And it all went a lot faster than I’d expected. We had a very succinct director in Jan Turner. She knew what she wanted, so it was relatively painless. I was surprised it wasn’t more of a process. I have seen a cut of the episode, and I have a similar feeling to you. I have a hard time watching myself anyway, but I found it a little uncomfortable. But I hope the weirder and more uncomfortable it is, that it lends itself to enhancing the show.

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 episode was so crazy! I love how the show continues to dive into Annalise, Sam, Bonnie and Frank’s pasts. That Bonnie and Frank hook-up left me SPEECHLESS! As usual, I can’t wait to see what happens next week…

  2. laurelnev says:

    Well…my female bets have been eliminated from the pool. Drake would definitely feel like a cheat–I’m sure I’m not the only fan who wouldn’t recall his name if it wasn’t in the recap. The fact Oliver is calling Connor at all seems to eliminate him…I always had Wes in the lead if it was a male, and I think Frank just went back into the mix. I’m thinking the bloody Asher in the coming attractions is a red herring myself.

    Poor Bonnie! She really HAD been talked into running off with Frank. You could tell she had fantasized about a life together, hidden away.

    • dan says:

      I think Connor will be one of the last to be revealed as living. They want to build up the suspense that he is the dead male. My money is on Asher. Don’t know why, just a gut instinct.

      • Dave says:

        That’s too weird. I saw last weeks episode last night and I had same thought. It’s between him and wes who’s storylines basically are running dry but I feel like wes will stick around ad he’s 2nd main character since 1st episode

      • laurelnev says:

        I would have disagreed with you a few weeks ago, but I think you may be spot on, especially the way Bonnie is acting…

    • Bill says:

      Oh such a cheap move if us Drake. I THought I remember reading it was a main character. My bet is conor.

  3. Angela says:

    (Side note: Anyone think there’s more to this particular story? Raise your hand.)
    Yep. That doesn’t seem the sort of storyline to end in such a pat, simple manner. Especially given it’s Annalise being targeted with those fliers. Agreed that Michaela telling Drake off was quite fun, too :D. I want to see that side of her way more often.
    Also agreed on the weird tension when Wes was tending to a very drunk Annalise. Even if Wes does decide to break things off with Meggie, given we see her in the flash forwards, it’ll be interesting to see how she still factors into whatever’s going on with him and his friends.
    As for Bonnie and Frank’s hookup, I’m just curious to see how that’ll affect Laurel if and when she learns about it, given her own history with Frank. Laurel and Bonnie have had an odd sort of…bond and connection over their respective histories with Frank, and yeah, Frank and Laurel aren’t together anymore, so he can sleep with whomever he wants, but still…there’s bound to be some awkwardness there nonetheless. Especially since Bonnie’s spent so much time trying to warn Laurel away from remaining involved with Frank.
    I do look forward to seeing how Annalise will handle this whole thing with Bonnie and Frank. I always enjoy scenes between Bonnie and Annalise because of the “frenemies” history they have, so it’ll be fun to see how that plays out.
    So supposedly our dead person’s a man, eh? Hmmm. I’d be fine with it being Drake-maybe Annalise’s reaction to the dead body has less to do with it being someone she’s close to and more to do with the fact their death means she and the Keating 5 are in even more danger? After all, if the review is right that this whole storyline with Drake putting up the fliers isn’t over, then maybe there’s something in that storyline that could lead to his death and put everyone at risk as a result. Dunno. Just throwing out theories.

  4. Dannie C says:

    Loved the whole episode, Pete is amazing I’m nervously looking forward to seeing who’s under the sheet & what else is in store this season.Hoping it’s not one of my favourites but as everyone says they’re heartbroken so I’m preparing for the worst. Liza & Charlie acting is absolutely stellar left me wanting to know more of Bonnie and Franks backstory.

  5. flicker says:

    Slezak, I think you’re off on Annalise and pres H. My gaydar tells me they’re hooking up, and soon. My prediction was actually that it would be Annalise’s new found love that would end up under the sheet. But now that we know it’s a dude, I vote for Nate, a nice wrap up to that storyline, leading nowhere.

    As for Wes, it’s clear as day to me a mother son relationship, and for both of them.

    • Bob says:

      IA with Wes/Annalise’s relationship. i love that they are there for each other and we all know that Annalise needs a friend right now.

    • Becky 'icebox' O'Shea says:

      this. I’ve been thinking since she first appeared the president and Annalise definitely have some story. The way they look at each other..if something hasn’t happened in the past, I can see something happening in the present time.

  6. Bob says:

    did Frank have something to do with his father being in a wheelchair? interesting.

  7. Frankie says:

    What are the odds that Frank may be under the sheet? I dont want Frank to be the one but what are the choices he could be???

  8. Nona says:

    Do we know or eeard or read if any of the male cast on that show is getting new TV projects after the show is over for the season or too soon to find out? I mean if we at least there is some news out there that one of them has a new Project or something maybe that is a tiny slightest hint that that be the man under the sheet. Just saying

    • jaiden says:

      nope that is probably with held but publicly we know that jack falahee (connor) is on mercy street

      • Lee says:

        He was on Mercy Street last season too. They don’t seem to conflict, so I’d say with only 15 episodes of HTGAWM, he can likely do both pretty easily.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    “Lurky McChurchmouse.” God love you, Sir Slezak.

  10. K.D.S. says:

    It was probably Frank on the phone with Bonnie and i don’t think they would kill Connor. I think it’s Nate or Wes under the sheet.

  11. tara17 says:

    I think it’s Nate under the sheet. He’s a great character but I don’t see how much more the writers can do with him. Also: Annalise’s extreme distress. I love this show!

  12. Amanda says:

    What if it’s a smoking gun… gut feeling is that they want us to believe that there’s someone under the sheet and really they will be hiding them during the 2nd run of the season. Like with homegirl in the basement and they made Wes think she was on the run when she was really dead, I think they are doing the reverse now and at the true end of the season, this person will be in the wind, with the possibility of returning. I think TPTB don’t want to kill off another main cast member, but having them on the run can set up future seasons.

  13. Rachel says:

    Sam seemed way too invested in Frank for a normal person. Were they more than friends/acquaintances? Maybe Sam is Frank’s bio dad? And that will be the reason Annalise will have to forgive/not murder him.

  14. Stevie says:

    Also we have to know why is a man the person under the sheet and it was not a woman. I mean the producer of the show has something up in his sleeve by keeping all the females alive but not the men. I mean it be interesting to find out why a man is the one who has to die and not a woman, given that all the women now are safe. What is vital for this show to keep a a woman and not a man?

  15. Stevie says:

    What can you say about Frank/Bonnie twisted relationship?

  16. Erin B says:

    I was thinking it was Frank under the sheet with Annalise faking being upset either because she is the one who set the fire or because she did not want to look suspicious. Last week when they revealed Laurel was in there, I really thought it would be Frank because she secretly went there to see him. Now though I am not so sure. I cannot think of who else Bonnie would be talking to on the phone & tell that Laurel is pregnant. Annalise is in jail & would not be able to call her. I kind of hope it is Nate only because I do not want to lose anyone else.

    • Stevie says:

      I hope is Nate he is useless. I dont want to be Frank cause Laurel being pregnant and if Frank is dead I mean there wont be more interesting stories in the next season.

  17. SoMuchHope says:

    I think that it’s Eve or Nate. I don’t know where the show would go if it’s one of the Scoobies/Keating 5.

  18. Kimmy Moores says:

    It definitely isn’t Wes, let’s be honest:
    1) He’s the 2nd main character
    2) Annalise’s reaction would have been infinitely worse if he’d been the dead one. She sees herself as the mother figure for him considering she feels responsible for his hard life.

    It’s either Asher, Conner, or Frank.

  19. Bill says:

    This season has been so good. I thought that the person under the sheet is someone we would care about, eliminating Drake (although I wouldn’t be shocked if he started the fire).i hope its not Asher or Nate