Life is but Annalise Keating’s stage, and protection against a near-indecipherable chain of events is futile: The original murder of How To Get Away With fame has sprouted arms and legs and a curlicue tail so fast that it’s more like a murder monster now. A murder puppy? Nooooooo! But YES. Wes, the hangdoggy shy guy of the group (and the actual killer of Sam Keating) is the one who shot Annalise in all those flash-forwards at the Hapstall mansion. And the biggest twist of all? He aimed to kill. Presenting the tall tale of MansionScam 2015… Emily Sinclair the yappy prosecutor accuses Nate the beefy cop of tampering with the Hapstall murder suspect’s criminal record, and she’s right. He did do that — on his day off, too, the dummy. But the man who served hard time for Sam’s murder just because Annalise knew she could get away with it sits in his boss’ office all cucumber-like, glowing with immunity: “I’m not cool with being charged with crimes I didn’t commit.” Sick burn! So we think Nate’ll be the one to mow down the snobby ADA in the parking garage. But instead it’s Asher, who needed a much stronger trigger than his mom disowning him to begin truly processing his father’s suicide — and there was Sinclair, taunting him about what a terrible man his pops was and how everything happens for a reason and you know what? He officially can’t right now, okay? Screeeeeeeech! Bitch, BYE. Doucheface sits in shock. He can’t believe none of the Keating 4 have called him yet or that he just killed that lady underneath his car. Someone needs a Bonbon. And here she is now, high on adrenaline, relishing total control of a situation involving someone else’s haunted past for a change. She glistens with resolve, determined to keep protecting herself from her greatest enemy: also herself. “We can’t keep doing this, Frank,” she’d implored the firm’s accomplice-in-chief hours earlier. But on this show, that’s a lifetime. Getting away with murder is her sweet spot and James Bon is back. She calls Annalise and bots out the consequences for everyone not named Asher if they don’t help Asher deal with this body right now. Damnit. The list is long. Time to stage an elaborate scam, stat!
Annalise spins with fear and the vodka shakes, or maybe just the camera does. Confirmed: It’s both. The spinning stops, but the shakes give her wings, so she flies to the murder mansion and croaks out the plan: They’ll say that Catherine Hapstall, who’s probably guilty of murdering her parents anyway, killed Emily Sinclair upon her triumphant return from running away. Aha! Now we finally know why Frank dropped an unconscious Catherine into the forest a few episodes ago. He intercepted her at her motel (I’m trying to ignore the fact that the team might get away with this latest murder due to the random timing of Catherine’s hankering for a grape soda) and drugged her up with the pills originally intended for Annalise to help kill Nate’s dying wife Nia. Got all this so far? No? Perfect. “We just need it to look like chaos!” Annalise hisses to her four quizzical interns and millions of bug-eyed viewers. “It’s their job to make sense of it, not ours.” Bonnie and Asher roll in the Yule Log: Emily Sinclair’s carcass wrapped in a red plaid blanket. It’s too festive for the occasion, but “JUST DO WHAT I SAY AND ASK QUESTIONS LATER,” Annalise roars. She calls the cops and lies her ass off: “Help. Catherine shot me. The ADA’s here, too. Please hurry.” Her fake sobbing dies down along with the Keating 4’s collective will to live. At this point I’ve stopped breathing so I can lean into my fear and just feel this scene so hard. Now which one of Annalise’s ducklings is ready to “SHOOT ME. SHOOT ME IN THE LEG”? Will it be Connor, who already considers her a cult leader who destroyed him? Michaela, who throws herself into the crossfire begging her bestie not to shoot? Or maybe Laurel, if Annalise promises her the trophy again? Nope. Laurel’s out, too, suggesting maybe they should all just go to jail, because the show’s not even back ’til February and they can probably get out on good behavior by then. Only the puppy remains. “REBECCA’S DEAD, WES.” Ooh. Good one. This could work. “I made it up that she ran away,” Annalise reels him in. Wes peers more closely at the dragon-lady who’s kind of his mom, kind of his lover, and definitely manipulating him at every second of every day. He grips the gun. “I’ve been lying to you, over and over. Shoot me. I deserve it.” And finally, Wes agrees. Murder-agrees. He raises the gun at the last second and pops her one in the gut. As he stands over his prey and aims again, she whimpers, “Christoph. Christoph.” Wait, who’s this now? Christoph sounds even less important than Rebecca! Close: It’s Wes himself. Ten years earlier, Annalise (with bitchin’ braids) and Eve (with sideswept bangs) were directly involved in the case of Wes-toph’s mom. Her death was ruled a suicide, but clearly something more sinister was going down in that interrogation room. After all, it’s not like twisted murder-puppies can just emerge overnight. Many influencers with a variety of hairstyles must have had a hand in creating this monster. Thoughts on the winter finale, even though it’s still fall? Will Asher get away with murder? And was there anything more Emmy-worthy this season than Viola Davis begging like a madwoman to shoot her, shoot her in the leg?