Post Mortems
HTGAWM Season 3

HTGAWM Star Breaks Down the 'Ridiculous' Plot Against [Spoiler]

Somehow, Wes Gibbins is causing more chaos in death than he ever did in life. And that’s really saying something.

On Thursday’s episode of How to Get Away With Murder, the effects of Wes’ death continued to ripple through Middleton’s campus and the Philadelphia court system, leading to (1) a deeply uncomfortable funeral service, (2) an unsettling family matter for Annalise and (3) a truly “WTF?!” moment at the morgue.

First, a few highlights of the latest Murder installment:

* Laurel is discharged from the hospital just in time to give a eulogy at Wes’ memorial, which quickly gets derailed when she notices unfamiliar faces crying in the pews. “I bet you’re all glad he’s dead, because now your ranking will go up,” she says through tears. “You’re all vultures glomming onto someone else’s tragedy!” (Side note: Karla Souza has never been better than in this episode, as Laurel slowly gets hit by the reality of Wes’ death.)

* After the funeral, Oliver receives a call from the investigators in Annalise’s case, asking him to come in for questioning. Naturally, Oliver spirals into a panic attack at the thought of being questioned by detectives… but once he’s in the interrogation room, he plays it totally cool, easily lying about why he went to a campus computer lab the night of the fire. (“I was so emotional, I didn’t know where else to go,” he says, instead of folding like a house of cards to admit he wiped Annalise’s phone.)

HTGAWM Season 3* Much to Annalise’s chagrin, her parents show up at her arraignment, and she’s humiliated to have them see her looking so low. But her embarrassment is quickly replaced by horror as she discovers something’s not quite right with her mother: When Ophelia volunteers to take the fall for Annalise’s house fire, Annalise realizes her mom is talking about the other house fire — the one Ophelia set years ago, in order to murder her husband’s sexually abusive brother. Later, as Annalise’s parents wrap up their jail visit, her father confirms that Ophelia is experiencing early stages of dementia and goes through phases of confusion. (Even worse, Annalise is forced to inform her dad that the house fire of which her mother speaks is not a story; it really happened.)

Later, Annalise baits her violent cellmate into punching her (by accusing the woman of sexually abusing her kids), a stunt that conveniently leads to her release on bail. Once free, she lies to her mother that all charges against her have been dropped. Ophelia is overjoyed to hear that her daughter is “no longer” in dire legal straits — and the happiness on Cicely Tyson’s face is so heartbreakingly genuine that, for a minute, it’s easy to believe that Annalise actually has gotten herself out of her latest dilemma.

* In a flashback to the night of Wes’ death, he gets in a cab en route to Annalise’s house, shortly after his uncomfortable chat in Frank’s car. After ignoring a call from Laurel, Wes dials an In Case of Emergency number in his cell contacts — and when the mystery person answers on the other end, Wes replies, “Hi. It’s Christoph.” Intrigue!

And yet, the most puzzling moments of the episode involve Nate, who finds himself at the epicenter of the Wes scandal. After helping Laurel get access to the morgue, where she hopes to say a proper goodbye to Wes, Nate unzips Wes’ body bag… to find a completely different person inside. Nate is furious about the corpse’s mysterious disappearance and takes his concerns to the D.A.’s office — but when A.D.A. Atwood presents Nate with the transfer papers for Wes’ body, it’s Nate’s (presumably forged) signature on the dotted line. Um. Okay.

What’s more, we get another interesting glimpse into the night Wes died, via flashback: After Nate arrives at Annalise’s house to find it empty, he goes downstairs to investigate a suspicious noise. There, walking through the front door, is Wes, and as the two men exchange tense “Hey”s, the credits roll.

TVLine spoke with Billy Brown, the man behind Nate, to get his thoughts on that episode-ending revelation and whether viewers should be wary of the detective in the final weeks of Season 3.

HTGAWM Billy BrownTVLINE | Prior to getting the script for this episode, had you spoken with series creator Pete Nowalk about Nate becoming a suspicious factor in Wes’ death? 
No. That kind of detail would not be shared with me. When we did the pilot, and I probably had two or three scenes, I had no clue how they were going to relate to the following episode. Pete just said, “Don’t worry. It’s going to be great. It’s going to be a lot of stuff you probably haven’t done before. But just trust in the process.” And that stands true for Season 3, Episodes 11 and 12.

TVLINE | So, in that case, what was your reaction to learning that Nate and Wes encountered each other at Annalise’s house, prior to the fire? Did it make sense to you, since we did know that Nate was in the house at some point?
I was surprised that Wes pops in. Because keep in mind, from the beginning of the season, the actors were confronted with each of their characters possibly being under the sheet. There was always heightened speculation about that. So, yeah, I was surprised [when Nate and Wes saw each other], but you get acclimated to low-oxygen survival. It’s a high-altitude tightrope act.

TVLINE | Nate seems to be at the center of a lot of shady business. The medical examiner first tells him that Wes’ cause of death was not the fire, then says it is the fire. Then, in this week’s episode, someone signs Nate’s name to the transfer papers for Wes’ body. Can you speak to how soon we’ll get an answer about what’s going on?
With this being Episode 12 out of our 15, there’s a lot you’re going to find out quite quickly in the next three weeks.

TVLINE | Do you have any guesses as to who signed Nate’s name on those transfer papers?
No guesses. But it was done in such an amateur-ish way. To think that you’d be able to forge Detective Lahey’s signature, and have him and others not immediately raise an Olympian amount of suspicion, is almost absurd, in Lahey’s assessment. He thinks, “This is the most f—king ridiculous thing ever.” So it can’t be someone with too big a brain. It emboldens Lahey to move forward on that trajectory, and his force of will grows greater and greater with every possible impugning of his character. He’s not faltering at all in the face of these growing storms around him.

TVLINE | Where do you think Nate’s loyalties lie right now?
To himself. To himself, for sure.

TVLINE | Should viewers be trusting him, then, if he’s only looking out for himself?
Lahey can be trusted. The question is more pointed if asked, “Who can trust Lahey?” Because those in his immediate orbit can’t trust themselves or one another. Lahey’s reaction of only having loyalty to himself is based entirely upon prior circumstances, generated by the scallywags and all the skullduggery that continues to bombard his shores.

TVLINE | That’s a very poetic way of putting it.
Oh, thanks. I wrote that down at the start of the season, and I’ve been waiting to use it. [Laughs] But I have to say, it really just gets better. Everything that’s been crafted up ’til now, with the suspicions and back-stabbings and unknowns, it really gets deeper and darker. There’s huge things that have happened with respect to the Mahoney family. That’s definitely something to lick your chops over.

With that, I toss it to you, HTGAWM fans. What did you think of Thursday’s episode — and how might Nate be involved with Wes’ murder? Drop a comment below with all of your thoughts.

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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30 Comments
  1. Cheyenne says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if that ADA forged Nate’s signature, to pay him back for dumping her.

  2. laurelnev says:

    Well, I’m sure it had to at least have been a black male who forged the signature, or that morgue attendant is really clueless. :) I’m sure Nate is not exactly unknown. But more likely, it was someone in the ADA’s office, or one of the ME’s who forged the sig, someone who is in on the set up from the start. I still think JellyFace, Ana-wannabee ADA figures into all of this, and that Meggie is somehow related or otherwise linked to Ms JellyFace. Maybe even in conjunction with the Hapsells…

    • Padmé says:

      I was thinking that too! First of all the ME’s decision to change cause of death all of a sudden, right before the hearing (I bet she was blackmailed to change cod and to accept the faked signature). Then there’s Meggie.. What was up with her trying to cuddling up to pregnant Laurel and not wanting Nate to see her do that? Meggie has to have some sort of influence in all this since she totally changed her personality.

  3. Cobra says:

    Here’s my theory: Laurel killed Wes. We know, from the original ME report, that Wes was killed before the fire. My guess is, thinking he could trust Laurel, Wes told her he was going to talk to the police about Analise. This caused a fight because she knew this would endanger all of them. So, she killed him. The fire then was started either a) by someone else or b) was in fact an accident caused by the liquor that was so close to the fire.

    • dan says:

      I suggested several weeks ago that Laurel killed Wes. I still think it’s a strong possibility. Bonnie is also on my short list.

      • KayCeeCee says:

        I really hope not.

        • Angela says:

          I hope not, too, but I can see where the possibility of Laurel being the killer exists. If she did kill him, though, I would bet it was accidental somehow. I can’t see her ever getting that angry at him that she’d shoot him. Maybe if she felt in fear of him for some reason, but…yeah. I can’t see her killing him intentionally.

          • herman1959 says:

            DITTO.

          • dan says:

            Agree. My theory is that Laurel either did it accidentally or doesn’t even know she killed him. Then she has blocked the memory due to her own injuries and the effects of medication. Or Bonnie did it purposely just like she killed Rebecca.

    • bob says:

      imo the fire was internally set bc from one of the flashbacks (not sure which one cuz i forgot) there was a shot of the fire Annalise started that had died out.

      i think they chose that shot to set up the scene to prove that Annalise did not start the fire that cause the explosion.

  4. sj says:

    I still say Wes is not dead, and this is all an elaborate part of his plea deal.

    • David says:

      I feel you. But if he is not dead, (what did we see during the autopsy?) I kind of feel that’s jumping the shark. They’d have to execute that better than anything yet. Peter Nowalk is amazing he could pull it off but still I worry…

      • SusieT79 says:

        If they do a “Wes isn’t dead” then I think the show will go to the “read recaps only” file. I’m not naïve enough to think they would care, but I think it would be lane to pull such an old “twist”. It would suck all of the air out of this season. Especially the length and detail of the autopsy & makeup to just fake it.

    • Eran says:

      No more Dallas repeats for you.

  5. Angela says:

    Agreed on Souza’s performance this episode, especially at the funeral. My heart’s going out to her so much. I loved the way Michaela looked after her throughout, the way she’s been quietly supporting her thus far. All for more of that going forward.
    .
    Everything with Annalise and her mom was equally as heartbreaking. I’m glad to see Annalise out of jail, though. Can’t wait to see how she reunites with the students and how things play out from there.
    .
    And everything with Wes’ body is just…wow. Man, even in death that guy can’t catch a freaking break. Hoping they’ll find it soon, and he can finally get his proper burial.
    .
    Hard to believe we’re already so close to the end of this season! Cannot wait to see how these remaining episodes play out.

  6. Charlotte says:

    Oliver is so damn annoying.

  7. A oliver says:

    I don’t think Wes is dead I just think he wanted out n Nate is helping him that’s why Nate won’t help Annalise

  8. Okay… so I have all along thought that Wes was not dead, in fact that is my hope. I really think I will miss Wes if he truly is gone.

    With that said. I have an out there theory after tonight. What if Annalises mother actually did kill Wes. She showed up to visit in an altered state, and killed Wes thinking it was the past and that Wes was Clive. In that case it could explain a lot of things. Nate could in fact be helping Annalise, by covering up what her mother did.

    Something just is screaming to me, that when Ophelia was confessing, that it would be a real shocker and the way Annalise told Bonnie to take care of her mother, it seemed like maybe they are all covering up the sad truth, Because the fact that even if killing Wes was an accident, the only way to defend her for it, would be the tell that she had killed a man years before.

    I hope I am not right, Because I still hope Wes is not dead, but we will see.

  9. kn1231 says:

    Souza has to be getting performer of the week, right? She was on fire (no pun intended) this episode!

  10. I feel like Nate has been the obvious suspect all along? Which means he can’t be the one that did it.

  11. Sarah says:

    Cicely Tyson is amazing and her scenes with Viola Davis are magical. Two powerhouses doing what they do best. I seriously could watch them act together all day long.

    • David says:

      I was heartbroken about Ophelia’s dementia. But maybe that’s an excuse to have her close by? It was nice to see the three of them at the dinner table.

  12. Beth says:

    I am going to be really irritated if Wes is not dead…but I am beginning to think that is where this is all going. If it comes out that Wes is alive and well…I will be done with this series. It would just be too cliché…

  13. Maybe the Mahoney matriarch found out about Wes (being bastard child), ordered the hit on Wes and tried to frame Annalise for his murder? She is mad that his son had been framed for her husband’s murder. Rich people like her may have connections in the DA office.

    • Catt says:

      Good theory. I think the Mahoneys did it. They probably didn’t like the idea that Mr. Mahoney had another heir to his billions out there.

  14. Eran says:

    Do you all think you’re watching Passions or Dallas 3.0 to be even suggesting Wes might not be dead? Pete Nowalk has confirmed he’s as dead as a door nail. Alfred Enoch has flat our said his character is dead. Does this look like a show that does faked deaths and shocking resurrections?!