We’ve managed to make it through another week without the dreaded climax to Annalise and Wes’ horrendously inappropriate relationship, and for that we should count ourselves lucky. Speaking of inappropriate relationships: this episode was rife with parental complexes, always a fun issue to explore on a Thursday night as your 3/4 deep into a bottle of wine. Let's dive in.
Tonight’s introductory flash-forward features the first character to exhibit any real concern for Annalise’s near death state: Frank. He causes a Grey’s Anatomy worthy scene in the hospital only to walk out…completely unphased. When did this man become the smoothest, most conniving character on the show? Probably sometime after he stopped wearing vibrant three piece suits that he stole from the Harry Potter costume closet, idk.
Frank casually strolls out to his car, no longer remotely concerned about his boss’ health, where we see that Catherine is lying in the back seat. Is she sleeping? Is she dead? I won’t bother making a prediction, because it will be completely disproved by next week.
Two weeks earlier, and Frank and Laurel getting to know each other. A lot. Also Frank is ripped. When did that happen? When did this man become smart and attractive? Who would have though that half way through season two Laurel and Frank would become one of our most functional relationships? Not I, that's for damn sure.
Maybe not all that functional, because Laurel is still snooping around trying to figure out why Frank would hide a trunk of money in a storage unit. If only she knew the answer was a simple "literally to just fuck with Wes." It would solve 90% of this show's problems.
In a surprising turn of events, everyone is actually showing up to class today. The murder crew are standing in public, yet again not quietly arguing about their latest involvement in a string of illegal activities: stumbling upon a suitcase full of money. Wes is convinced it’s sketch (because it is) and Michaela threatens to serial kill him if he doesn’t drop it. Seeing how he fully let her date someone who potentially wanted to murder all of them, this is probably not an idle threat.
Remember last episode when Annalise made Asher watch a video of his girlfriend being molested by her father? That was fucked up. Like, in case you forgot about that happening, take this time to remember how fucked up it was. Because Asher certainly remembers, as evidenced by his ill-timed flashback in class when Annalise calls on him.
After Annalise scarred Asher for life, he asked the very valid question of “Dear God WHY do you have that video?” Instead of answering, Annalise uses the Bonnie’s childhood trauma to guilt Asher into not testifying.
Annalise: Forget you saw this video
Asher: I will try and fail everyday for the rest of my life
In exchange for not testifying, Asher asks for help with the Trotter Lake situation that Sinclair is blackmailing him with. True to form, Annalise volunteers to cover up something undoubtedly unethical and illegal. Bonnie is incredibly suspicious as to why Asher would suddenly change his mind seeing how he was pretty dead set on it just the night before, and Annalise goes to such extremes that she actually complimenting her to get her to calm down.
Asher hilariously humble brags about this big secret between him and Annalise that he can’t tell the rest of the crew, and they all put forth the absolute minimal effort to appear impressed. Wes, ever subtle, continues his campaign of lurking in the corner of rooms and openly glaring at Frank. Being the super sleuth that he is, Frank picks up on the negative vibes and urges Annalise to do something about her lapdog before he does something rash like leave her for dead in a mansion approximately two weeks from now.
The task set for this episode: find a new suspect in the Hapstall case. As Annalise so blatantly puts it: Caleb and Catherine are filthy rich, and rich people generally have enemies. If I've learned anything from a lifetime of dramatic television addiction, it's that everyone hates rich people. The twins are also ethnically diverse, adopted, and (allegedly) incestuous, all things that crazy people would have no problem murdering someone for. The list of potential suspects is virtually endless.
While Annalise is debriefing her team another professor calls her with a new issue: she accidentally killed her husband. Annalise’s face when she receives the call is less “oh my goodness what a tragedy” and more “Jesus Christ I do not feel like covering up another ‘accidental’ murder today and I don’t even have anymore ex-lovers to frame.” She advises her newest client to call the police ASAP but to not speak to them until she’s there. I’m not sure how that’s supposed to work out, but honestly the second the cops hear that Annalise Keating is on her way they’ll probably just sit down and start drinking anyway.
Asher arrives at the murder twins mansion where Michaela, Laurel, Wes and Michaela are grilling Caleb and Catherine to try and find a new suspect. He enters the room and conversation by suggesting an estranged girlfriend killed their racist aunt because “old ladies can like vag, too.” Ah Asher, as much as I loathe to say it, it’s good to have you back.
Asher and Wes think it could be the twins biological parents’ and Michaela lets loose a pedantic tirade about how putting their children up for adoption was heroic and they shouldn’t be vilified for it. I mean, she’s right, but it doesn’t mean they can’t also be murderers. Caleb aggressively agrees with her and then they share a particularly long bout of eye contact. Connor notices instantly, because as a good GBF it is his job to instantly become aware of any sexual tension in the room.
Annalise comes to the swift realization that her client staged all signs of struggle at the crime scene. She’s not even mad, just impressed. Before she can get any details as to why this woman would claim self-defense and then fabricate the evidence, the cops show up with news of their own. Annalise’s client is a trans-gender woman and naturally the Philadelphia PD, who have already proved themselves to be colluding, immoral assholes, assume that she killed her husband because he found out her secret.
Professor Hartford admits to staging the struggle at the scene of the crime because she knew the police wouldn't believe her. Annalise tries to act upset throughout this confession, but you can tell inwardly she's psyched to be back on a case that lets her shit all over abusive, scumbag husbands.
Any woman anywhere: I killed my asshole of a husband and I don't even feel bad about it
Annalise: Hello. It's me.
Wes calls Nate presumably to discuss the impending orders of their "Ruin Annalise Keating" club sweatshirts, but is unceremoniously shut down. He reacts to this news the way he reacts to literally everything else: brooding.
The murder crew are back at the Hapstall's talking about
1. How hot Caleb is
2. How pathetic Michaela’s dating life is
3. How definitely guilty their clients are.
But then a situation straight out of everyone's worst nightmares comes to life: their shit talking was being recorded. Wars have been started over less. Catherine and Caleb decided they wanted to find out what their lawyers actually thought of them, and then weren't psyched when they realized it was overwhelmingly negative. They tell Annalise to keep the law students away from them, except for Asher who was once again off on his own while these four fucks did something stupid. This works out in his campaign of constantly sucking up to Annalise, because much like everyone else, his entire life is now in her hands.
Frank brings news to the office that Nate’s wife has finally died. Annalise does what an good ex-mistress would and drops off a peach cobbler at her house. Wedding vows may be condtional but etiquette is not, God dammit.
Michaela, Conner, Wes and Laurel are still trying to figure out who the new suspect could be, and for the first time in about 30 years Connor and Wes are on the same side: blame the birth parents. Michaela freaks out again, because she was adopted and refuses to put her personal feelings aside for Wes’ suspicions. To be fair, those suspicions usually royally fuck all of them over; but they are usually also right. Laurel comes in to save the day with an ever so poignant plan: ask Frank if he killed Rebecca. Everyone else is clearly uncomfortable with this plan, but Laurel is filled with the brimming confidence of a girl who is regularly having sex with a guy who is either a member of the mafia or the Illuminati, so they roll with her plan.
Frank has the gall to lie directly to Laurel’s face while he passive aggresively makes jibes about her habitual dishonesty. Shade goals. He tells them that he knew they stole the key and that the money was set aside to bribe Rebecca in case she ever resurfaced from wherever she’s hiding. He neglected to mention that she’s likely hiding in a water tank on some unsuspecting sorority’s roof.
Professor Hartford’s TA shows up unannounced to present evidence that the dead husband was beating his wife, which is so clearly false that Annalise can’t even get that mad about it. She uses this fake evidence to turn the case into a hate crime, but the cops aren’t having it. They know that the crime scene was staged, and are trying to take Annalise down for coaching her client. It would appear that the legal community in this town is finally catching on.
Asher gets a call from a reporter asking questions about Tiffany and instantly runs to Annalise. He melts down the way that only a kid who has been completely blind to the rest of the shenanigans in this show can, revealing that his dad hates her and will try and ruin her in the process. Like honestly, get in fucking line Judge Millstone, behind the Philadelphia PD, Wes, Conner on his off days, Nate, Sinclair, and just about every other person on this show.
Annalise sics Frank on Asher’s dad immediately after promising him that she would do nothing of the sort. Bonnie is conflicted because “love.” Annalise doesn't care because "prison." She then goes to the prosecutor with a proposition: drop the charges against Prof. Hartford and stop Sinclair’s witch hunt into the Keating Law Office staff, and in return get hella corruption dirt on Judge Millstone. He pretends to think about it for a hot sec before jumping directly into Annalise’s lap and purring. Honestly, this show should be called How to Manipulate the Hearts and Minds of Men. Shonda, if you’re reading this (which you obviously are), I have a proposition for you.
Thanks to some more handy hacking by Oliver, the law students find their new suspect. Plot twist: the racist aunt had a secret child that she put up for adoption and has been funding through the years with a false charity that she linked to a bank account in the Caymans. White people, am I right?
This mysterious cousin is probably named Deus ex Machina, but he makes for a fantastic scapegoat. In a very uncharacteristic move, Annalise gives the credit for this miraculous find to her students in order to win back the favor of Catherine and Caleb. I really don’t get what they had to be mad about. Catherine’s recording of them kind of revealed that they thought Caleb was guilty, but mostly revealed that they heavily appreciate his rockhard ass. Michaela runs out to apologize to Caleb and he’s like "So I hear your boyfriend is in jail…tight.” Solid pickup line, thank God you’re about to inherit a billion dollars.
Annalise shows up to drop off more cobbler for a grieving Nate, and he isn’t happy about it.
Nate: I can’t eat a cobbler. You know I’m on an all carb diet. God Annalise, you’re so STUPID.
Turns out he’s mostly angry because a lot of the time he spent wrongfully imprisoned in jail could have been spent with his terminal wife. Fair. He’s also the one who gave her the pills that let her die, so a lot of this anger is probably a little misplaced right now but we’ll let him have his moment because he’s grieving. After telling Annalise that he never truly cared about her he slams the door in her face. Way harsh, Nate.
Annalise turns around to find Wes doing what he does best: loitering in corners and eavesdropping on other people’s conversations. Although Annalise isn’t technically doing anything suspicious in this very moment, Wes still storms away as if he caught her covering up the murder of his girlfriend. Oh, wait.
Frank is whisking Laurel off to a mysterious date when she casually throws in a barb about him killing Rebecca. You know, testing the waters.
Frank: I’m honestly so hurt that you would think I’m capable of that.
Laurel: Are you saying you didn’t kill a college aged girl?
Frank: Woah, woah, woah, let’s not be hasty here.
In the most heart-wrenchingly adorable thing I’ve seen since the last mention of “Ollie,” Frank brings Laurel home to meet his family. It’s a monstrous gathering of the most stereotypical East Coast overbearing Italian family, the second of my worst nightmares to appear on this episode.
Asher’s dad low-key breaks up with him once he finds out that the DA has opened up a full investigation into all his cases courtesy of Annalise Keating. Strike 1,000 for parents in this episode.
Sinclair meets up with Bonnie in a parking garage, where it would appear all illicit legal interactions go down. In a last ditch effort to fuck up every relationship within the practice, she fills Bonnie in on the unsavory details of Trotter Lake. They unfortunately hit a little too close to home, as it turns out the mysterious Tiffany was gang-raped.
Oliver, the world’s most perfect boyfriend, lets Conner know that they’ll probably end up in jail together because he took his hacking to a whole new level AKA finding the mysterious adopted cousin and hacking into his computer. Conner is concerned for Oliver’s safety and Oliver feels like a hero and this would all be a super interesting development if the MURDEROUS COUSIN WEREN’T WATCHING THEM FROM OLIVER’S WEB CAM. Idk what kind of Criminal Minds bullshit Shonda is trying to pull, but if Oliver dies I am rescinding my previously mentioned pitch.
Frank is seen briefly interacting with Bruno, the graveyard guy. They discuss man things like girls who aren’t interested in them as they casually transfer what we all assume to be Rebecca’s body from one car trunk to another. This show might be more damaging to Italian reputations than The Jersey Shore.
Wes comes home to find Annalise loitering at his door. Classic. She’s like “Hey, I think it’s time we had a talk,” and Wes is just like “YEAH ABOUT FUCKING TIME I THINK.” He accuses her of killing Rebecca, or at least knowing who did, and she denies it and then pulls out the lowest of blows: his mommy issues. The angry sexual tension is making me so physically uncomfortable and if this ends in rage-fueled manipulative sex I am going to chuck my laptop across the room.
Annalise lays out all of Wes’ trust issues (which stem from his MOTHER'S SUICIDE like honestly what the fuck Annalise) blaming them for undermining their relationship. This would probably be a pretty valid diagnosis if all his misgivings weren’t 100% legit. A lot of screaming ensues and Wes’ eyes get crazier than usual and now I’m leaning away from sexual tension and more towards murdery vibes. This scene is more of an emotional roller coaster than the Oregon/ASU game last night, made all the worse by the fact that I pause it every six seconds to furiously write shit down.
It seems like they may have made up after Annalise promises to never leave Wes and to stop keeping secrets from him. If you were to just read a transcript of this conversation you would probably assume it was occurring between the two main characters of a Nicholas Sparks novel and not a law professor and her student.
While Annalise waxes on about how sorry she is about Rebecca being missing, Frank is shown burying Rebecca’s body in the woods. Solid juxtaposition there. Annalise doesn’t even wait to get out of Wes’ apartment building before calling Frank to make sure the deed is done. For someone who is involved in as much illegal shit as she is, you think discretion would come a little more naturally.
Ending flashback: In a nice parallel, Frank is seen leaving another body in the woods. There are two main differences this time around, however:
1. The body is Catherine
2. She is alive
What horrors and reveals will next week hold? I'm not sure, but I'll be sure to be drunk for all of them. Until then, trust no one and stay away from Philadelphia.