Watching Annalise Keating lie in guilty shock with her deceased baby in her arms, I’m struck by two things. 1) Here’s another Emmy reel for Viola Davis, just in case November’s “Shoot me! Shoot me in the leg!” isn’t cutting it for the Television Academy come voting time. And 2) This was the moment, 10 years ago, that everything caved in for Annalise, the moment she turned away from possibility and potential happiness — literally flinched at it as her husband Sam reached out to comfort her — and wrapped herself instead in a toxic cocoon of guilt and self-blame. She’s been spiraling in place ever since, and it’s all her fault. That scene of her losing the baby is brutal, but it explains so much about Annalise’s past and present headspace, which let’s be honest, is the main sphere of this show. In the 2005 flashbacks, it’s clear the Mahoney murder trial has her grappling with the question of conscience. Does she have one? Should she? Can she afford to if she wants to keep her job? It seems Annalise’s fatal flaw was going against her more human instincts — to admit her true feelings for Eve, to do right by Rose — and brazenly operating within the system instead: marrying Sam and proving herself professionally at any cost. The car crash that landed her in the hospital for an emergency C-section was no accident and beyond her control. Yet since her own actions technically drove her there, she’ll always feel like she killed her own baby.
Okay, sticking to present tense now (unlike the show, which keeps hopping back and forth every few seconds and making my head explode): I love how Eve, Annalise’s real love and best/only friend, is the one who convinces her to just tell Wes the truth about his mother already. He’s an adult puppy, you know? Plus, we’ve all been waiting two whole seasons for this conversation; whatever it is, we can handle it. So after Annalise dismisses Eve as usual, this time with a sick “I’m dating Nate” burn (how is this legal? That’s Famke freaking Janssen you keep shutting out!), she has Dr. Frank hand-deliver her some liquid courage. She’ll need to get blisteringly drunk in order to leak out all the damaging pus, the whole truth, to Wes.
“I let ambition get the best of me, and you lost your mother as a result,” she confesses. But there must be more, and Wes prods her for answers. Why would she think killing herself would save her son? And reading between the lines: Why are you so obsessed with me, lady? My mom’s case was 10 years ago — what are you still protecting me from? Okay. This is it. Annalise takes a swig and pours it on him: Wes is the son of Wallace Mahoney, who repeatedly raped his mother Rose. Wallace is probably the one who put the hit out on Annalise, who was on her way to inform officials that her client, Rose, had been threatened by the Mahoneys. All of this helps explain Annalise’s hangup with Waitlist, her eternal Wes Stress: By bringing Wes back into her life as an associate, she killed two birds with one trophy. Keeping him so close lets her protect him and keep punishing herself. Actually, make that three birds — because now that Wes knows everything, they can potentially seek revenge on Wallace Mahoney together.
Whew! What about those pesky other characters? Confronted with the drink-or-die mentality of their cult leader, Annalise’s terrified ducklings take to the dance floor to grind awkwardly and hug it out. Consumed with guilt over getting away with murder, Asher begs Michaela to hit him, and she obliges — but ooh, it’s physical contact, and they’re very drunk. It’s…oooooh…skin… Yep, okay, now they’re screwing in the bathroom. He spanks her hard, just like Caleb did that one time. “My boyfriend’s missing!” Michaela yelps. This hookup is fun precisely because it can’t possibly mean anything. Annalise and Wes are sucking down all the gravity of the episode along with the vodka.
Wait, I almost forgot about Bonnie on the warpath. Having recorded Frank and Laurel’s laundry room breakup last week, she confronts Frank about killing Lila for Sam, but he’s all, “Sorry, Bonbon, you’re a killer too, remember?” Crap. Bonnie does. “We’re all bad people here,” she reminded all the household pests earlier that day. Not to be outdone, Laurel gets super drunk, barges in on Annalise as the boss is sobering up from her Wes-posé, and drops a bomb: Not only does she know Frank killed Lila, but according to him, he did it for Annalise, not Sam. “It was all you, all along,” Laurel slurs toward the woman she blames for all of her failed relationships. Damn, girl. Anna does NOT need this right now so pipe down, okay? Until you’ve blamed yourself for a bunch of people’s deaths for the past 10 years, you don’t even know what drunk is. On next week’s season 2 finale, two more corpses get thrown onto the pile. Can Annalise can get away with murdering Laurel? Might her mother (guest star Cicely Tyson) burn down the whole house and put them all out of their misery? Stay tuned, and don’t forget to save yourself from yourself.