Nothing is ever as it seems on How to Get Away With Murder — until it actually is.
Yes, showrunner Pete Nowalk and his deliriously twisted writers are masters of the curveball, but sometimes they zip one straight down the middle as we stand there with our bats over our shoulders, kicking the dirt and cursing our own gullibility.
Which is my roundabout way of trying to comprehend and discuss this week’s #OMGHTGAWM revelation: Wes’ mother Rose actually committed suicide — just like the police ruled way back in 2006.
Sure, we’ve been trained to look at every single plot twist in the third hour of ABC’s #TGIT lineup as if it’s the outer layer of a Berioska doll — just waiting for us to unveil layer after layer after layer, until all that’s left is the most distilled kernel of truth.
Which is why I have to give a slow clap to Team HTGAWM for letting law enforcement get a rare “W” in the way it closed Rose’s case.
Granted, just because Rose died by self-inflicted blade to the jugular does not in any way mean that there are no other parties responsible. The about-to-die woman’s final words to Annalise Keating (aka She Who Got Wes’ Mother Neck Deep in the Muck in the First Place) hinted that Adam Arkin’s Wallace Mahoney might turn out to be the one who killed his son’s fiancée in cold blood. But that’s a horror for another day — as is all that “Shock Gasp! Repeat!” madness we witnessed in previews for next week’s installment. O_o
(Apologies for the emoji at the end of the last paragraph, but I literally have no words for the preview hinting at the fate of Annalise’s unborn baby.)
OK, OK, OK, OK (as Beyoncé says in “Formation”), let’s get to recapping the action in “Something Bad Happened” (aka Season 2, Episode 13):
THE RETURN OF LURKY McCHURCHMOUSE | Here’s an important public service announcement: Just because Bonnie can play the boss when necessary — even tossing a body off a balcony with “Bye, Felicia!” casualness — she’s far more comfortable in stealth mode, playing the role of proverbial fly on the wall and gathering intel for future use. So when she spies Laurel and Frank fighting, she decides to put a tape recorder in the basement to determine the nature of their rift. That’s when she hears Frank admit (again!) to killing Lila Stangard – a crime everyone thinks the late, not-so-great Sam committed. Bonnie also hears Frank profess his love to Laurel, but she’s all, “Do you think [you’re] the type of person I want to love me?” followed by a breakup so definitive you can practically imagine Laurel dropping Frank’s toothbrush, boxers and favorite mixtape on his doorstep the next morning.
Oh did I mention Laurel also gets into it with Annalise? While demanding her boss make peace with Wes, Laurel hisses, “I know what you and Frank do to people!” But before she confesses to knowing about Lila’s murder — which she thinks Frank committed at Annalise’s request — she backs off. As Laurel later tells Frank, the truth won’t set any of the Keating Five free — it’ll just make ’em feel more guilty about killing/disposing of Sam when they learn he wasn’t the one whose hands snuffed out Lila’s life.
WHO NEEDS AN IMMUNITY IDOL? | Annalise takes Connor’s laptop — and all of what we’ve been led to believe are Philip’s blackmail videos — to the Philly D.A. She says they’ll help him nab the presumed killer of the Hapstalls — but she needs immunity, first. He agrees, but his plan to double-cross Annalise is thwarted through some brilliant and very funny chicanery involving Connor impersonating a judge’s clerk and the police searching Annalise’s home before the warrant’s been signed. Whoopsie! We’ve got a “fruit of the poisonous tree” situation on our hands, and the DA’s office once again is playing by La Keating’s rules.
SLEEPOVER TIME | Bonnie and Frank go to a bar and reminisce about the days they “weren’t covered in blood.” #GoodTimes Meanwhile, the Keating Five and Oliver (fearful of an attack from stalker Philip — although could it maybe be Caleb and an accomplice?) sleep over at Asher’s, and Mr. Milstone’s dinosaur PJs prove to be (Carly Simon song title reference in 5, 4, 3, 2…) the stuff that dreams are made of. Better still, we get a moment of real intimacy between Connor and Michaela. When she learns he’s applied to Stanford, they compare their class rankings — and while she’s slightly ahead of him, she eventually begs him not to apply: “I can’t survive here all alone.”
Wes is the only one who doesn’t cosy up on Asher’s couch — since he’s fallen out with Laurel over the fact that she discussed their Cleveland trip with Annalise. Little does dude know, Laurel hid from him the M.E. report suggesting he might’ve been the one to kill his mom — and is now using it to try to get Annalise to makeup with her former protege (despite his kill shot to her abdomen). That ignorance-is-bliss-ness doesn’t last long, though, as Wes breaks into Annalise’s house and finds the damning M.E. file that Laurel gave to Annalise. Later, as he returns home to dispose of all of Annalise’s files on the Mahoney case, he sees a document noting Eve was his mom’s lawyer — and off to NYC he goes to confront Ms. Rothlo on her role in his mom’s death.
THE PAST COMES BACK TO HAUNT | This week’s flashbacks are some of the series’ most harrowing. We learn that after Rose’s no-show as an alibi for Charles Mahoney, Annalise had her detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement — and then got old flame Eve hired as the woman’s attorney. Eve gets her sprung, but Christophe runs away when his mom suggests they need to flee Ohio to a safer place. When Annalise arrives at Rose’s apartment to shore up her testimony on Charles’ behalf, it’s clear the working-class immigrant woman has had more than her fill with rich people’s games. “We are not things to be owned and used!” she screams at Annalise. But when she realizes the elder Mahoney has threatened son Christophe’s life in exchange for an alibi for his son, she decides to take herself out of the equation. “Take are of my boy!” she tells Annalise, before plunging a knife into her neck and slowly, horrifically bleeding out on the floor.
Annalise flees the scene, but not before hearing from the hallway the sound of Christophe returning home, finding his dying mother, and screaming, “Mommy, no!” It’s bruising and sad and gives us some logical understanding of why Annalise has been so protective of Wes even when he hasn’t deserved it.
Did I mention those flashbacks also include a verrry pregnant Annalise expressing her ambivalence about motherhood to Eve (with whom she also argues about her own sexual orientation and subsequent marriage to Sam)? It’s a stark moment when a frightened and choked-up Annalise finally admits, “I want a baby.” And it might explain why she later digs down and tells Wallace that if he harms Christophé, she’ll make sure his son Charles rots in jail.
SOMETIMES THE BOGEYMAN ACTUALLY IS UNDER THE BED | Annalise ends the hour by heading to Wes’ to have a heart-to-heart, but after she sees a light under the door, then lets herself in, she learns via phone call from Eve that Wes has just shown up at the latter woman’s firm in NYC. Annalise barely gets out a gasp of “call 9-1-1!” when Philip emerges from under Wes’ bed and leaps on top of our protagonist. She probably won’t die — HTGAWM Season 3 sans Annalise would almost certainly have to take place in the State Pen, no? — but that doesn’t mean she won’t add some new emotional scars to her repertoire.
OK, your turn. What did you think of this week’s HTGAWM? Who really killed Charles Mahoney’s finacée? Sound off below!