It’s been a long summer for the members of Keating & Associates. After all the shit that went down last season you would think that these people deserve a couple months of stress-free sunshine, but this is a Shonda Rhimes show so of course that’s not what they got.
The episode starts with a quick backtrack to the season finale. You know, when Wes finally got to meet his piece of shit birth father just in time for him to be shot in the face. There is no winning for Wes Gibbons.
Annalise picks him up at the police station and tells him that Frank orchestrated the entire thing as a way to repay her. Just in case we weren’t already sure that Frank had a questionable moral compass, this just about confirmed it for us. After being revealed as the world’s biggest asshole at the end of last season, Frank very promptly shaved his head and got out of town. A haircut won’t change the fact that you facilitated Annalise’s miscarriage and then killed Lila, but it’s a start.
What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long traumatic
life night? For Wes and Annalise, it’s walking out into the middle of a forest and screaming into the darkness. Nothing like some good old fashioned student/teacher bonding.
Each member of the Keating Five spent the summer in their own unique way. Annalise receives a demotion as her five law students/business associates are one more dead body away from flunking out of law school. To be fair, all those murders they were covering up or staging should really have counted as some kind of work study.
The rest of her summer is spent interacting far more with her students than any teacher should. First, in May she gets a visit from Laurel, who’s come to tell her that she’s going to spend some time in Mexico. Annalise instantly assumes it’s a Frank thing, but Laurel swears it isn’t and promises Annalise that she’s on her side. This promise is brought into question when Laurel spends the rest of the episode calling Frank and leaving voicemails, but breakups are hard. Even breakups with cold-blooded killers.
Annalise pays Connor a visit in June, while he’s being his best self: on a roof, shirtless, feet in a kiddie pool, alcoholic beverage complete with tiny umbrella in hand (I hope). While he’s not thrilled to see her, their interaction is far more civil than any other they’ve had. Connor tells Annalise that under no circumstance can she give Oliver a job at her firm, which means that she will 100% turn around and give Oliver a job at her firm. Come on Connor, it’s like you haven’t even watched the show.
July brings back the world’s most unlikely couple: Asher and Michaela. The two are in very different stages of their life but still manage to come together for some truly frightening sex every once in a while. Cut off by his grieving mother, Asher goes to Annalise for a loan so he can finish law school. She laughs in his white, privileged face before telling him to get a job. Shockingly enough he does, as a very attentive RA. Honestly, he was kind of made for it.
On the other end of the spectrum, Michaela spends her summer drowning her misery and guilt in alcohol. Same, girl. Annalise bails her out of a DUI and then the two of them have an all-out drunken gutter fight on a crowded street. Ah, college.
And Wes? Well it looks like Wes got himself a girlfriend named Meggy, which really isn’t doing much for the palpable sexual tension between him and Laurel. TBA if Meggy is a drug dealing psychopath.
Literally not one member of the Keating Five is psyched to be back in law school. Their first day serves as a sharp juxtaposition from the pilot episode, in that Connor and Michaela are skulking in the back of the class while Wes arrives calm, composed and prepared. There’s a new sharp shooter in town, and he’s not a fan of any one of Keating & Associates, including Annalise. Terrible stance to take, my friend, you’ll be dead by midseason.
No longer teaching How to Get Away with Murder 101, Annalise has been reduced to some kind of research class. This was a little too boring for her hands-on teaching style, so she came up with a new plan: a pro-bono law clinic. Whoever can present the best defense in class gets to act as the actual lawyer in court. Absolutely nothing that could go wrong there.
Class ends when Annalise finds a flyer with her face and the word MURDERER underneath it. She’s very calm about the whole situation, probably because vodka dried out her last remnant of emotion about six months ago.
Keating Five: Why aren’t you worried
Annalise: Why should I be?
Keating Five: Uh we’ve killed a considerable amount of people
Throughout the episode Annalise keeps checking a sketchy flip phone that receives texts in size 150 font. Honestly, have a more obvious burner. Your tiny Samsung won’t attract any negative attention in 2016 or anything.
The case this episode is relatively tame in comparison to some of the shit we’ve seen. A very nice immigrant named Karim is up for deportation after he plead guilty to a possession charge. After winning in class, Wes gets to try and convince the judge to let Karim stay in the country, with the new kid Drake as his second chair.
Wes’ plan is surprisingly wholesome: use character witnesses to prove that Karim is an upstanding member of the community. Could that possibly work? Can these people win a case without manipulating a witness or hacking into the Philadelphia PD network? Apparently not, because even after Michaela rushes in mid-trial with new evidence, Karim still gets deported. Sad day.
Even sadder day: the end of Connor and Oliver. First Brangelina and now this? Love is dead.
During Oliver’s interview it’s starting to look like Annalise might keep her word to Connor. Oliver senses her hesitation and breaks out the big guns: hacking into Stanford to delete Connor’s acceptance.
Annalise: I can’t hire you
Oliver: But I have also ruined Connor’s life
Annalise: … go on
Trying to be somewhat honorable, Annalise warns Connor about the job offer and also about Stanford. He is remarkably calm about the entire situation, which is most likely just a side effect of his raging PTSD. Connor goes home to confront Oliver, and this is where existence as we know it crumbled around us.
First off, Connor APOLOGIZES to Oliver for making him feel like he had no other option but to hack into Stanford and fuck everything up. Oliver, clearly not expecting this course of action, immediately goes on the offensive and gets mad at Connor for not being mad at him. Relationships, am I right?
The night (and my life) ends with Oliver breaking up with Connor because he needs to “find himself.” Honestly, this is the worst thing that has ever happened in the history of this show, all murders and deception included in that statement. Have fun working together for the rest of the season.
Annalise’s burner phone finally rings, and we discover it’s a PI who’s been trailing Jarhead Frank. He’s tracked him to a shady motel and asks Annalise what she wants to do with him. Before she can decide, however, Frank leaps from the shadows and strangles the PI while Annalise listens horrified on the other end. In retrospect he was probably not a great guy to make an enemy out of, but hindsight is 20/20.
It wouldn’t be a season of How to Get Away with Murder if there wasn’t a flash forward to a grisly murder at the end of every episode. This year, Annalise arrives home to her house in flames and a dead body being carted off by an ambulance. Whoever it is, she was pretty devastated to see them. Fingers crossed it’s Bonnie; this show is depressing enough without her Debbie Downer Paris Gellar face frowning in the back of every frame.