On this week’s episode of How to Get Away with Murder, we find out that Wes is potentially crazier than we thought, Frank is a clingy boyfriend, and even level-headed Laurel has succumbed to parental-based emotional trauma. Let’s do this.
We’re once again treated to flashbacks throughout the episode of the case in 2006 that resulted in two very important things: Wes’ mom’s death and Frank’s wardrobe overhaul. Annalise recruits Frank for a month-long trip to Cleveland for the Charles Mahoney case, a rich af hedge fund manager who’s being accused of murdering his fiancée. Watching Frank as an eager law student is awkward and nostalgic in the same way that it’s funny to look at home videos of yourself before you were turned into a cynical mess by life and copious amounts of vodka. The shaggy kid in these flashbacks spends a lot more time eating ziti than he does murdering college girls and planting drugs on people, that’s for damn sure.
Rose is the driving force behind Annalise’s entire defense for Charles: the company cleaning lady who definitely saw the rich, spoiled white boy dozing off in his office while his fiancée was being bludgeoned by a law school trophy blunt object. She agrees to testify as long she can remain anonymous, because single mother immigrants of color don’t usually waltz in and out of courthouses unscathed. Annalise isn’t psyched about the prospect, but she has literally zero other options because this kid clearly murdered his fiancée, so she agrees.
Also not psyched: the Mahoneys, who don’t think a jury will buy a testimony from a blurred face with a distorted voice on a shitty courthouse TV. Papa Mahoney, in no uncertain terms, tells Annalise that she was hired because she was a black pregnant woman who would draw sympathy from the jury, so this had better fucking work. Spoiler: it didn’t work. Rose bailed, leaving a very angry Mahoney clan behind.
Annalise shows up to Rose and Wes’ home, at which point Rose promptly tells her to GTFO. She’s got a kid to think about and also was probably paid to lie for Charles. It turns out this will be their last interaction, because Rose dies mere hours later.
Wes: But mama, I want to watch TV
Rose: Jesus fucking Christ go to bed, Christophe
Wes: Looks like I have to stab you now
That’s right, the episode ends with a small Wes/Christophe standing over his mother while she bleeds out on the floor, a knife in his hands. I refuse to believe that they’d reveal something major like this just three episodes into the season, but Wes has also proved to be a sociopath when it suits him, so we’ll see.
Still reeling from Frank’s admission, Laurel storms out of his apartment and straight to Wes’ crack den, where she finds him poring over the Mahoney case files that Annalise so thoughtfully left him. As anyone who’s just found out that their boyfriend is a murderer would do, Laurel books an impromptu flight to Cleveland and puts it on her dad’s card. The Hardy Boys are going to get to the bottom of this case, their current shit storms of a life be damned.
This spontaneous jaunt to middle America has everything that your romantic road trip dreams require: days of grueling research, an admission to some severe daddy issues, a passionate but misplaced car make out sesh, and a few conspiracy theories about the suicide of your mother. A regular summer RomCom in the making, this trip.
After going over the autopsy reports, Wes concedes that this was indeed a suicide, and they head home with no new information. Or do they? After making sure that Wes had zero recollection of his mother’s death, Laurel snags a page of the report (illegal, so illegal) with this fun little note: “POTENTIAL HOMICIDE. SUSPECT: VICTIM’S TWELVE YEAR OLD SON.” It’s already been established that Laurel’s type is emotionally damaged men with a predilection for murder, so I foresee a few more makeouts in their future.
While Wes and Laurel are jet-setting across the states, the rest of the team is stuck at the office dealing with the blackmail video that heavily implicates all of them in the murder spree at the Hapstall mansion. You’ll notice I said all of them, because if even just one piece of Annalise’s already shaky story about that night were to be out of place, the entire fucking thing would come crumbling down. I, a simple recap writer, saw this plain as day. Annalise Keating, esteemed lawyer and person supposedly capable of thinking logically, did not.
When Conner comes running to Annalise with the video, she straight up says, “So what, I’m not in it.” Stone Cold Keating, reporting for duty. Yeah, she’s probably just fucking with him as payback for his mutiny the night before, but it’s still a pretty cavalier attitude to have about a piece of evidence that proves you perjured yourself, among the long list of other illegal shit that went down.
The videographer, who they all assume to be Phillip, demands one million dollars be deposited into his account within 24 hours, or the video goes public. Cue panic from everyone but Annalise, who is probably incapable of feeling fear at this point. Her plan: get the money from Caleb who, lest we all forget, is an actual billionaire in his own right, now that his whole family is dead/incarcerated, and then have him get information out of Catherine about Phillip.
Annalise: I need $250,000 right now, in cash
Michaela’s Panties: *drop*
But Catherine, still a little spurned from the whole “apparently I shot someone” thing, gives Caleb nothing. She in fact takes Phillip’s side, calling him the brother who “loved me like the way I always wanted.”
I can’t have been the only person whose mind instantly went to incest, right? Just me? Chill.
So, with no real plan and a deadline looming over their heads, Annalise sets everyone off for some good old fashioned debauchery before they’re all arrested the next day. Everyone was pretty fucking tame in the way they chose to spend their potential last nights of freedom, if you ask me. For example, none of them jetted off to another country and adopted a new identity, the only surefire way to escape this never-ending hellscape of a college town.
Predictably, Michaela hooks up with Caleb, Annalise runs to Nate, and Conner heads home with a partial truth for Oliver. Only poor Asher, who is still not in a great place, fails in getting some, as Bonnie shuts him down with the classic “I’m not your lawyer and I’m not your girlfriend” line. Frank probably spends his night weeping into a pan of ziti, as Laurel is still ignoring his calls and making out with Wes.
The next morning, after a pep talk from Nate, Annalise has come up with a plan: Do nothing. Sometimes I have more in common with this woman than I’d like to admit. While Conner suffers heart palpitations, Annalise explains her thought process: There is no timestamp on the video, and filming it implicates Phillip for being at the scene of the crime, too. No one else is comforted by these two measly points that Annalise came up with during her sex breaks with Nate, but Big Balls Keating decides to call Phillip’s bluff.
Cue 15 seconds of peace and a celebratory dance from Asher before Phillip sends his next video: footage of Annalise and Nate’s romantic dinner from the night before. So now we know that on top of the legal danger they are collectively facing, a potential serial killer is stalking them all. Chill, things were getting kind of boring around here.
Laurel chooses this unfortunate moment to storm in and demand a private audience with Annalise, at which point she accuses her of knowing about the whole “Wes might have killed his mom” thing. Annalise at least has the decency to look slightly ashamed.
Tune in next week, when we answer such important questions as: Will Conner get into Stanford after attending five classes throughout his entire law school career? Will Laurel and Wes continue to hook up and apologize to each other after? Will flashback Frank get a goddamned haircut? Only time will tell.