Post Mortems
HTGAWM AJA NAOMI KING

HTGAWM's Five Craziest Twists — Plus: Aja Naomi King Talks 'Horrible, Horrible' #UnderTheSheet Reveal

Maury Povich, you’re off the hook.

Thursday’s installment of How to Get Away With Murder gave us a pretty strong clue about the identity of who got Laurel pregnant — thanks to a steamy, episode-ending hookup with Wes. (Bye, Meggie!)

Season 3, Episode 6 also ended with Asher alive and well (and drunkenly boogying down), which leaves Connor, Nate, Wes, Frank and the consistently dreadful Mr. Drake as the remaining candidates in the #WhosUnderTheSheet sweepstakes.

The other big whoppers from the hour?

* Wallace Mahoney’s son Charles (AKA the Richie Rich whom Annalise defended in Season 2 flashbacks for allegedly killing his fiance) got arrested for his father’s death — and we learned it was Frank who planted the murder weapon in the dude’s trunk. (All together now, “Delayed karma’s gonna get ya…”)

* As Wes contemplated submitting to questioning by visiting NYPD officers who’d been tipped off that he might have been more than an innocent bystander during the Mahoney murder, Connor dropped by and gave him a stern warning to follow Annalise’s plan and keep his mouth shut. “You mention my name,” Connor hissed, “and I swear to God, I will kill you.” Knowing this pair of Middleton law-school students are still potential victims in the show’s flash-forward death sequence, I’m wondering if this scene should’ve been Rated F… for foreshadowing.

* Annalise came down hard — and crude — on Bonnie for colluding with the enemy. “Did Frank finally spread your legs?!” she raged. “Did you miss Sam so much you threw yourself at the next most disgusting man in the house?” Bad kitty Bonnie, though, returned from Coalport with a dead mouse, of sorts: Frank’s confession, taped without his consent, to being the triggerman who took out Mahoney. (Also, Bonnie dropped a perfectly placed “I love you” into her mentor’s lap — though her delivery wasn’t quite convincing enough to convince me she wouldn’t have abandoned La Keating and run off with Frank to a fantasy future in Oregon — had he not dropped her like a kindergartener with a Brussels sprout on his fork.)

* Asher danced to “Cotton Eye Joe,” but Michaela inexplicably cut the performance short — making me question her sanity, her humanity and the entire HTGAWM team’s sense of loyalty to its fandom.

* And Annalise, her license reinstated under strict oversight by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, found herself getting pummeled like Trump in a progressive northeastern state by ADA Renee Atwood (aka that Capital B who’s sleeping with Nate) — but managed to pull off a win (of sorts) for her case-of-the-week client.

Below, Aja Naomi King breaks down Michaela’s tear-jerking interaction with Asher, previews what to expect from upcoming scenes with her biomom Trishelle (Brett Butler) and teases the heartbreak of the show’s approaching reveal of which central character is taking that grim walk off the plank of life.

TVLINE | Walk me through the big Michaela-Asher scene tonight: Her look of shock when he tells her she’s not his woman, she’s his family. And then finally, the way she breaks and whispers, “I like you, too.” I found myself actually getting teary-eyed — and I can’t say I would’ve predicted that kind of reaction from a couple who, when they got together, were a little comical and ridiculous and crazy.
I loved that scene and I loved that we were able to get to that place, having a scene where Michaela and Asher could have that conversation openly and reveal what’s going on with both of them. The way I see it, Michaela had been really caring about him and liking him, but she has this fear of opening herself up again. We’ve watched her with some pretty big misses when it’s come to other guys on this show. [Laughs] She’s been wounded in the past, and it’s a scary thing to be really honest with someone about how you feel toward them. Hearing what you mean to them, too. For Michaela to hear Asher say that [about being his family] meant so much — because for her, family is this whole other thing. She’s hinted before — the people she grew up around, the word “family” isn’t a right way to describe them. It’s not how she feels about them. For Asher to say that to her, and what that could potentially be for the two of them to truly be family together, is huge.

Michaela constantly has to put on this facade and pretend to be something else, especially now with all this chaos happening in their lives. And the idea of being able to be open with someone and not have to hide anything is so meaningful and so terrifying. And because it’s so scary, it makes it harder to admit it. She’s really risking something opening her heart up to him in this way. You see Asher in these silly ridiculous moments and think, “Ugh, why would Michaela ever like him?” But then he has these touching, endearing, honest moments where you see where he’s coming from and what his needs are and how his life has been turned upside down. And when you look at all the craziness in their lives, it starts to make perfect sense that the two of them would be together. I loved that scene. We got to really take our time and expose ourselves to each other in a really beautiful way.

TVLINE | Sometimes, Michaela’s exterior is so convincing you forget how she was hurt by her last three love interests, or that we’ve gotten hints of her difficult upbringing. Last week’s episode when she dismissed her adoptive family as “trash,” it was such a harsh word. How much more of that family dynamic will we see in the weeks to come?
We are definitely going to see more of Michaela’s mom, Trishelle, and that’s really exciting. It’s going to give us a better understanding of what Michaela was talking about [with that comment] and why she admires Annalise so much. Thank about the way the episode ended with Michaela saying to her mom, “Don’t steal anything.” What?! That tells us a lot about what this relationship has been for her. To say that to anyone, but especially to your mother, it’s like “What is happening here?” [Laughs] We’ll get to see inside that a little more and how that informs the obvious reasons Michaela loves the idea of Annalise.

TVLINE | I don’t know why, but I was surprised her adoptive mom was white.
I know! That was something [creator] Pete [Nowalk] and I had talked about from the very beginning — that Michaela would be adopted, and her parents would be a different race. That excited me, because then it hints about cultural differences that may have happened growing up, and that makes the story so much richer. Plus, casting Brett Butler? Awesome.

TVLINE | The sex scene at the end of the hour between Michaela and Asher — you actually see her defenses coming down. He tells her how it turns him on when she says “I like you.” And then she’s almost giddy, repeating those words back to him. Like the Bonnie-Frank sex scene last week, this one almost felt like we should turn away, that this was too intimate a moment to be watching.
[Laughs] Because in real life I feel so close to Matt, these scenes become very easy. It’s super simple to say, “I’m gonna start over here.” “Then I’ll roll this way.” “Oh, yeah, you can touch me there.” We have a different director every episode, so I like to be a part of arranging what the choreography is going to be, of what that scene is and what it should look like, and how to start it, navigate it, where the camera should be. Because we’re not wearing a lot of clothes and we’re rolling around. [Laughs] You’ve got to make sure everyone feels comfortable. That way I can just live in that kind of giddiness and what that moment is for Michaela where the rest of the world slips away and it’s just them.

TVLINE | Michaela’s friends called out her “hillbilly side” last week — which is really in contrast with this tightly wound, hard-charging law student she likes to present to the world. Will we see more of that side of her character this season?
We will get to see more of that side this season, but a seed that’s been planted throughout each season of the show is that Michaela really does have a temper, she runs a little hot and can be just a touch violent. [Laughs] It’s something I really like about her — if someone’s going to make an assumption about her, she’s going to lose it and jump down your throat. She’s innately a fighter. It’s allowed her to survive and get to where she is. She really doesn’t take any stuff. But at the same time she can be graceful and polished and poised. It adds a nice dimension to her character.

TVLINE | We’re working up to a reveal of “who’s under the sheet?” How shocking, sad, over the top is that moment going to be? I know you can’t tell us who dies, but what can you tease about that moment?
We are getting very close now. All I can tell you is that in real life, I’m still grappling with it — and I’ve known for a little bit of time now. It genuinely breaks my heart to think about it every time, because it’s going to be horrible. It’s horrible. It’s horrible. And I feel bad for everyone else who’s going to find out when it happens. So, treasure these episodes before that knowledge becomes clear. [Laughs]

What did you think of this week’s HTGAWM? Did the Michaela-Asher scene leave you choked up? And #WhosUnderTheSheet? Sound off in the comments?