Post Mortems

HTGAWM EP Talks [Spoiler]'s Big Confession, Annalise's Darkest Hour

Is HTGAWM the new OITNB?

As the ABC drama returns from its winter hibernation Thursday, its protagonist Annalise Keating finds herself stuck in a crowded county jail cell — with no privacy whatsoever and no release date in sight.

“This is a really dark moment for Annalise,” says How to Get Away With Murder creator Pete Nowalk. “And what makes it worse is, there’s no easy way for her to get herself out of it.”

Before we jump into a post mortem Q&A with Nowalk, let’s recap the action from Season 3, Episode 10, “We’re Bad People.”

GIRL, LOOK AT THAT BODY | First things first: For those of you holding out hope that Wes’ murder had somehow been staged, it’s time to go ahead and mourn. Watching the medical examiner remove and weigh his liver, then send him back to the cold-storage drawer was a louder shout of “case closed!” than a dramatic 11th-hour courtroom speech from La Keating herself.

JAIL TO THE NO! | Stuck in the county clink, Annalise endures the humiliation of having to relieve herself in front of her cellmates, but one of the women, a wise old vet of the system, recognizes the attorney and uses the moment to wax poetic about how yet another bad-ass queen has found herself dragged back down by a stacked system. And despite Bonnie’s best attempts to get Annalise out on bail — yes, our heroine won’t have anyone but Lurky McChurchmouse defending her — Wes’ notations on Philly P.D.’s immunity agreement is enough for the judge to keep Annalise locked up ’til her trial. As the episode closes, we learn the D.A’s case isn’t just limited to Wes’ death, but could also include the mysterious, unsolved murders of Sam and Rebecca, too. Damn, these prosecutors are going straight for Annalise’s jugular — but let’s not forget, they’re probably still holding a grudge over the way their old colleague Emily Sinclair met a grisly fate at the Hapstall residence the same night Annalise took a bullet to the torso. (Did I mention even Hannah Keating gets in on the Murder on the Orient Express-style takedown of Annalise, calling the cops after her sister-in-law’s drunken, fire-night voicemail telling her she can take back the Keating homsetead?)

FRANK-LY M’DEAR, LAUREL DOESN’T GIVE A DAMN | Laurel, out of her coma but still very much pregnant and very much in pain, is so convinced Frank killed Wes that she viciously tells him she wishes he’d been the one who perished in the fire. “I loved [Wes] so much more than I have ever loved you,” she sobs, and it’s the final straw that sends her former lover right to his local precinct to talk about his role in Wes’ death. As the incredulous detectives take their seat across from him, he claims he’s the one who killed The Puppy. And as we see in flashback, it’s Frank who picks up Wes after he exits the precinct — and leaves his immunity deal unsigned — on murder night. Uh-oh!

KEEP YOUR SHIRT ON? | Nate gets called on the carpet for visiting Annalise’s cell (without permission) on the night of her arrest. Good thing he has a sexual harrassment lawsuit up his sleeve — take that, A.D.A. Atwood! — to help him hang on to his job, even if he’s not planning on using his position to help Annalise anymore. In fact, he tries to flip Bonnie against her boss — without so much as flashing his torso of doom — but by the end of the hour, he’s back at the medical examiner’s office wondering why she changed her story and is now saying Wes died of smoke inhalation, rather than having been dead before the fire broke out. CURIOUS!

IN OTHER NEWS… | Michaela reaches out and promises to be by Laurel’s side in the wake of Wes’ death. Asher gives Connor the whole “violent frat boy on steroids” treatment — pummeling his face while Connor shouts “hit me!” — after Connor’s horrific remarks about Wes at Laurel’s bedside: “You should just get an abortion now, because ‘Waitlist’ isn’t the kind of father you want.” (Yikes.) And Oliver and Connor continue their increasingly tedious one-step-forward/two-steps-back dance. Oliver has the nerve to declare, “You are my life, Connor,” even though he’s the one who got the breakup ball rolling. Connor, though, labels himself and the whole Keating crew as unredeemably toxic, which seems to make Oliver’s eyes go even moonier. He’s not a total Pollyana, though: An innnnnteresting scene at the end of the hour shows him backing up onto a flash drive the intel he wiped off Annalise’s phone on Fire Night. (Ollie, sir, you in danger!)

Now, let’s get EP Pete Nowalk’s take on the beginning of the end of Season 3:

TVLINE | It seems like a risky move to have Annalise in jail for what could be multiple episodes, to isolate the sun around which How to Get Away With Murder revolves from the rest of the core characters. What prompted you to go there?
A lot of the decision came out of talking with Viola — which I try to do as much as I can. I was very afraid of it. Obviously, there’s a very famous prison show already on the air, and it’s excellent, and no one is going to ever do better than that. But it felt like a rare opportunity to see Annalise in a new environment — and to see her struggle with that. And I always knew deep down I had Viola to lean on. I could lock her inside a closet with no windows and she’d be amazing. So, as scary as it was, when you know you have Viola Davis to perform and feel things, you’re OK. I’m excited we did it, and I’m excited for people to see where it goes.

TVLINE | Let’s talk about Frank’s confession. Just a couple episodes ago, he expressed a desire to die, and it felt like Laurel’s brushoff renewed his feelings of worthlessness. Still, when he goes into the precinct and confesses, the detectives’ faces don’t seem all that excited by what he’s saying. It’s almost as if he’s gotten in their way of a larger plan to take down Annalise.
Your instincts are very good. [Laughs.] The question is, is Frank telling the truth. You’re skeptical as an audience member, and the police would be as well. But there is a chance he’s not lying. I don’t want to tease too much either way, though, because there are a lot of twists and turns ahead. That said, this whole situation is the most complicated one this group of people has been in, and while they’re all doing their best to fix it, sometimes that just complicates matters.

TVLINE | It feels like you’re pulling at a lot of loose threads going into the latter half of Season 3: Wes’ death, Rebecca’s death, Sam’s death, even Wallace’s death. Hannah Keating reappaeared by voicemai, too. Was it your goal to answer a lot of these looming questions to make for an explosive conclusion.
We’re in our third season, and we were looking back on everything that’s happened to our characters. Annalise seems to have gotten away with a lot of things and gone under the radar, but I don’t think that necessarily felt very real. There are a lot of unsolved murders out there that surround Annalise, and I like the idea of taking the whole show into account and dealing with all these threads that are not settled.

TVLINE | As far as the medical examiner changing her story about Wes’ death — and now saying he died from smoke inhalation during the fire — how alarmed should we be by that? What does this mean for Annalise?
I would be suspicious of it, for sure. Annalise feels like someone wants her to go down, and they’re going to do anything they can to make that happen. Whether that involves corruption behind the scenes — which we all know happens in real life — remains to be seen. Is someone Making a Murderer of her? That’s the question for the back half of the season.

What did you think of HTGAWM‘s 2017 kickoff? Are you enjoying seeing Annalise as a fish out of water? And is there any chance she’ll take the fall for Wes’ death? Share your thoughts 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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31 Comments
  1. Coach Taylor says:

    Kinda boring episode

    • Chloe says:

      This!

      Way too much Wes. All those “flashbacks” were boring. I don’t care that Wes was buying jewelry or lying on the grass. It didn’t further the plot or give us any new information. They were just filler & snooze-worthy.

      • dan says:

        And when were these flashbacks supposed to take place? The Keating Five hasn’t had five minutes of down time since they started law school and we’re supposed to believe they had all this time to lounge around campus? The flashbacks added nothing to the episode except for keeping Alfie Enoch employed (nothing wrong with that).

        • Ken says:

          I was wondering when the flashbacks would have taken place as well. But I think they were to show the other characters interacted with him outside of the crazy murder plot and that they did care for him. So the flashbacks didn’t propel the plot forward, but did show the characters in another light.

          • Jbj says:

            Personally, I liked the flashbacks because it was a way to memorialize him sans sappy montage music. Anneliese’s was probably from before the premiere. Connor’s and Ash’s were probably a few weeks in to midway through. Remember that Wes broke with Meggy shortly after she threw him a surprise b-day party, and Michela & Asher were on the DL for a few episodes. Michela’s and Laurel’s were probably a few weeks before the Fall finale.

            While Wes’s death makes sense with all the hints that were given, my mom and I are sad because Alfie/angry Wes was starting to look hot! I had to swear to her that he going to still pop up through the end of the season.

      • Lizzie says:

        I felt a sense of relief at being able to see Wes alive again, even if it is in flashbacks. I wish they hadn’t killed him, but taking out good characters is how you get the audience to freak out and become more immersed in the why and the how of this sort of a series.

  2. laurelnev says:

    Wow. What a comeback. I’m extremely suspicious of that DA, who seems particularly out to get Ana. She stole Nate away, but never really trusted him, and I could see her setting up Ana just to hang on to her man. And speaking of Nate, I’m so not sure which team he is playing for, especially after the sexual harassment threat. But Nate only hooked up with DA Beyotch to make Ana jealous anyway, and to try to hurt her after he’d had enough. Considering his history of not exactly being the honest cop, I’m not ruling out his involvement in this setup. But I don’t believe Frank did it for a second. He might have had something to do with the explosion, but I think he would have lost it more to Laurel had Wes’s death been a crime of passion.

    And it took me a LONG time to place her, but wasn’t it great to see Rose (Lost) back on TV, playing a very Rose-like character? At least Ana got one good cellmate! :)

  3. Cheyenne says:

    Two words: YAY ASHER!!

    • Angela says:

      Seriously, Connor deserved to be punched for those remarks. During that whole hospital scene I just kept thinking, “Stop. Talking.” whenever he started ranting. His behavior here is reminding me a lot of Asher’s behavior after his dad’s death last season, and it has me wondering if he’s going to spiral the way Asher did for a time. Maybe that’s part of why Asher went off on him like he did?

      • Jbj says:

        I totally get Connor’s head space, but yeah, he was asking for a smack down. I was kind of annoyed at Michela for not forcing his apologies as well. I might have been chanting “Morning After pill” during Laurel’s flashback, but it’s not cool to be that insensitive to her grief. I am guessing some of Michela’s reaction is going to be fleshed out with her back story.

  4. Uno says:

    I’m just glad Connor got his smug face pushed in.

  5. Angela says:

    Loved Bonnie’s efforts to try and help Annalise tonight. It hurt to see Annalise so broken and beaten down (but given the circumstances, it’s certainly not surprising she’d be like this), so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what all Bonnie, and possibly Nate (every time he thinks he’s out, they pull him right back in!), will do to help free her and clear her name…for the fire and Wes’ death, at least. How they’ll try and keep all the other stuff Annalise was involved in from blowing up, however, that I’ll be especially curious to watch.
    .
    Oliver’s in so deep with these people now. I’m definitely sharing in the “you’re in danger!” reaction. His loyalty is admirable, but sometimes I just want to shake my head and tell him to get out while he still can. If he still can.
    .
    Thinking Frank’s confession is part of some big sacrifice he’s making to help the others right now, but that end scene with him and Wes driving off certainly did look quite damning. Given his shady past, though, it won’t surprise me if he does wind up being involved in Wes’ death somehow.
    .
    And I just need to give Laurel a big ol’ hug. My heart went out to her so much in this episode.
    .
    I liked this episode, personally. I think it set the stage for some pretty interesting storylines the remainder of this season, and I like that they acknowledged the hole Wes left in the group.

    • dan says:

      Frank is protecting somebody. I assume the flashbacks with him and Wes will continue as the season progresses until we finally know who is responsible for the explosion and Wes’s death. Maybe Frank is protecting Laurel and she has no memory of killing Wes whether intentionally or not. Or Bonnie. I don’t think Ana or Frank are responsible and pegging it on Connor is too obvious since he has been so vocally anti-Wes.

      • bramblingon says:

        He’s protecting Annalise who paid him to torch her house. He’s protecting Bonnie who may have killed him in the fireplace.
        I don’t think the ME is corrupt, though I think a lot of episodes will be developing that. I think Wes died in the house before the gas explosion. That was an EXPLOSION, not a fire. That means a trained arsonist. Probably hired by Annalise in her drunken stupor. That means probably Frank. He will fall on his sword. A long shot: Possibly an arsonist hired by someone else — maybe Mahoneys or Laruel’s dad for reasons to be revealed.

  6. BKLYN FINESS says:

    I Think Nate killed Wes and Laurel heard Nate leaving from the basement. OR Wes is in witness protection and/or Meggy is the killer because she found out about Laurel nd Wes

    • Jamie says:

      I kind of hope that Meggy did it because otherwise her boring filler character will continue to feel insanely unnecessary.

      • bramblingon says:

        Why would Nate kill Wes? i’d eat my hat.

        Meggie seems only there for plot connections and coincidences. (Remember she was at the hospital when Wes and Laurel get his med records. She is there with the pregnancy info and just happens to recognize Laurel.) Do they only have one hospital in Middleton? and only one nurse?
        But in this role of plot facilitator, I hope she runs some under the table DNA tests on Wes and Mahoney’s blood on his jacket from when Mahoney was shot. Or some amnio – DNA test with Laurel to find out if Wes or Frank is the dad.

        Let’s get some facts into this drama.

        • Jamie says:

          It’s even more ridiculous when you think about where they are – Middleton is the name of the school, but the show is set in freaking Philadelphia! Do you know how many hospitals there are in that huge city? And how many people would work at each one?
          But I still need Meggy to get more interesting if she’s gonna stick around. And being paid by the Mahoneys to kill Wes would make her more interesting. Bc as random plot facilitator, she is just too freaking boring.

          • Bklyn Finesse says:

            @ jaime, You’re absolutely correct about Meggy storyline. I am starting to think Oliver is a mole for the ADA. But I do remember sering Nate follow Wes out of the precinct to Annalise house.

        • Jbj says:

          Meggy is a med student at Middleton, which arguably makes the amount of her presence more questionable, but justifies the liklihood that she would work at the hospital nearest to campus/Anneliese’s home.

  7. Ben says:

    Connor obviously has a past that makes him act the way he does. The way he only seems to truly care about Oliver makes me feel that Oliver broke down one wall but Connor has many others. He was acting like an asshole, but I don’t believe tor a second that Connor acts that way for any other reason tan to keep everybody at arms length. I don’t think Frank killed Wes, and although I never hated the idea of Wes with Laurel, their flashback scene made me really dislike them as a pairing, especially now when she was telling Frank she loved Wes ohhhh so much when they were together for five seconds. I think Frank is going down for two reasons, because Laurel wants him to suffer, and because he wants Annalise to know he is loyal. I really hope that Frank’s confession and flashback is another red herring like when they tried to make everyone believe Wes was okay because he was at the police station.

    • Jbj says:

      Laurel & Wes might have only been together for a minute, but she had begun mooning over him while she was still with Frank.That said, Laurel seems like the type who likes tortured relationships with inscrutable men.

  8. Matt C. says:

    I loved the episode. Very dark and depressing (like, more so than usual!), which is appropriate given Wes’ death. I’m glad the show slowed down enough to let the characters grieve in their own ways before we move forward with solving the mystery. I don’t believe for one second that Frank actually did it! But that scene with him and Laurel was so heartbreaking.

  9. kn1231 says:

    I don’t think I’m on the Frank and Laurel train anymore, but for her to even suggest her relationship with Wes was more legit than her one with Frank is ridiculous. I’m going to make a bold prediction right now and suggest that Laurel or Connor killed Wes. she was extremely hard on Frank, perhaps out of guilt?? Who knows, but I can’t wait to find out.

    • dan says:

      As I said in my post above, I think Laurel may have killed Wes (either intentionally or not) and she is blocking it out. Frank is protecting her. The other option is that Frank is protecting Bonnie. I think Connor is too obvious a choice because of his anti-Wes rants over the first half of the season and this show doesn’t do obvious!

  10. vallikat says:

    I don’t think committing more murders is really the best plan for how to get away with murder. It has served them so far, but as we see, it’s about to come crashing down on them.

    I will be really curious to see how they pull all of this off. I mean the DA’s office has a solid point regarding the number of unsolved murders that have happened in Annalise’s orbit. Frank confessing to Wes doesn’t fix all of it. But outside of Frank, I can’t see any of the other mains ending up in jail or going down for anything else that has happened and the DA is out for blood. So what do they do? Sacrifice the Puppy since he’s already dead anyway? There is a narrative that would make sense and there is some truth anyway since he killed Sam.

    On a side note, since she’ll be in jail awhile, I fully expect that Annalise will end up defending both of her cellmates and/or at the very least giving them enough advice to help them.

  11. Larc says:

    I can see who killed Wes and torched the house being dragged out for the entire season and being the main point in a cliffhanger at the end of it. :(

  12. Dennis Pauly says:

    This show is so over. Who cares anymore? All this nerd angst. It was good to see the wonderful L. Scott Caldwell as Annalise’s inmate. She is always terrific. There are just five episodes left and let’s put it out of its misery. And lets hope Viola wins the oscr.

  13. Saedie says:

    Do you still work for TVLine?