How To Get Away With Murder Recap: Finally, Justice Is Served

Photo: Nicole Wilder/ABC.
Two episodes into the third season of How To Get Away With Murder, we're one step closer to finding out who dies in the fire at Annalise's (Viola Davis) house. Tonight's episode put us one (tiny) step closer to understanding what's going to happen in the two-month flash forward. But unlike in last week's episode, the case was front and center this time. It was dramatic, heartfelt, and, frankly, more compelling than what's going on with the Keating 5. This week, the students at Annalise's law clinic are defending Irene, a woman who brutally murdered her husband after enduring years of physical, sexual, and mental abuse by his hands. Their task is to argue in favor of her parole application — which is no easy feat, since she doesn't regret her actions and refuses to apologize. After meeting with each of the students, Irene selects Connor (Jack Falahee) to work for her, and he takes the lead on the case. Connor isn't thrilled at first — he thinks it's a losing battle. But he ends up delivering an impassioned speech denouncing victim-blaming to the board responsible for Irene's decision. He argues that they're focusing on her actions — they've implied that she wasn't in imminent danger at the exact time of the murder — rather than focusing on the actions of the man who abused her for years. (The board actually asks Irene why she didn't leave the relationship.) Connor tells the board that by punishing Irene for what her husband did, they're continuing the cycle of abuse. During a meeting with Irene, Connor tells her that he, too, has committed murder, but he got away with it. It's probably not the best thing to tell a stranger — and Annalise, who's listening to the conversation, is definitely less than thrilled. But after that, Irene opens up to the board, describing painful moments when her husband raped her with a hose, or tried to drown her in a toilet bowl. Irene tells the board that her husband took all of the doors off the hinges in their house, so that she would't be able to get away from him. The account is devastating. Irene tells the board that killing her husband was the "one decision that finally set me free." They grant her parole application, ordering her immediate release. The victory is sweet, and not just because a member of the Keating 5 has actually used their legal training to do something positive. In one small moment, justice has actually been served.
As for the show's overarching plots — a.k.a., "Who's going to die in two months?" and "Where's Frank (Charlie Weber)?" — there are new developments there, too. First off, we know Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) isn't the one on the stretcher. We see Annalise hand him a mysterious cellphone after she looks at the body. She tells him to wipe it clean — and then she's arrested. The fact that Oliver's alive isn't terribly surprising — it's hard to imagine Annalise weeping that much for Oliver's death — but it does mean each of the Keating 5, as well as Nate (Billy Brown) and Bonnie (Liza Weil) still aren't guaranteed safe. Annalise still doesn't know where Frank is, but she enlists Nate to help. As always, she neglects to tell him the whole truth about what's going on. She does mention, though, that Sam (Tom Verica) was Frank's doctor in prison, a tidbit that's sure to come up again in future episodes. Unfortunately, Nate realizes Frank could be anywhere, thanks to a fake IP address. And while we don't know where Frank is, we know he's not up to anything good. In a short conversation with Annalise through her burner phone (which she later destroys), Frank tells her, through tears, that he "didn't have a choice" about killing the PI she sent to look into him. We see Frank crash a car, drag the PI's body into the driver's seat, and set it on fire. He might not be on the run for too much longer, though — at the behest of Bonnie and Annalise, Laurel (Karla Souza) leaves Frank a voicemail saying she loves him and wants him to come back. Meanwhile, Asher (Matt McGorry) and Michaela (Aja Naomi King) are still getting it on, despite Michaela's informing him that she sees him as nothing more than a "meat stick." Asher tries to convince Michaela that he's changed, but she's not buying it. Their secret is out, though, when Connor shows up at Michaela's apartment after moving out of Oliver's place, since they're broken up. And Laurel is preoccupied with the Mahoney case, worried that Wes (Alfred Enoch) or Frank could be suspects, since no one's been arrested yet. But she's not the only one worried about Wes after his father's death. Annalise asks Wes to live with her (ostensibly, to save money; presumably, because he may not be safe after Mahoney's death), opening the door for a lot of roommate-sitcom fanfic. Wes declines the offer, but at the end of the episode, he brings pizza to her house, which they eventually eat together. (Even if there's no murder involved, I would definitely watch a show about Wes and Annalise being roommates. Wes talking about how Laurel is his "best friend" through a mouthful of greasy pizza is so delightful, it would truly be a shame if he's the one under the sheet.) And back at Middleton, the board wants to suspend Annalise because of the fallout from the "killer" fliers posted around campus. They tell her they need to protect the "integrity of the university," to which she says, "no." She threatens the university with a lawsuit, saying, "You can't keep me from teaching my students." Now that's dedication! We still don't have many answers. Who put up the fliers? Will Frank ever come back? Who the heck is dead? But this week's episode proved that the cases on How To Get Away With Murder can be just as good as the guilty-pleasure cliffhangers, which is what makes it such a great show.

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