How To Get Away With Murder Recap: “Go Big Or Go Home”

Photo: Richard Cartwright/ABC.
Last week's episode of How to Get Away with Murder was a whirlwind — it seemed like it would be impossible to top. But the writers and actors managed to do just that in tonight's installment of the show. There are so many plot points happening, it's hard to know where to begin, so let's start with Annalise (Viola Davis). The episode opens with Annalise in a hair salon, where Mary J. Blige, who's guest starring in the episode, offers some real talk. It's a great scene — and for a second, it seems like Annalise might not be doing too bad. (We quickly learn that's not the case.) Last week, we saw Nate (Billy Brown) leave Annalise, telling her she was an alcoholic who needed help. When Annalise recorded a video testimony saying she was an alcoholic after losing her license, many people — this recapper included — thought she was using it as an excuse to get the license back. But it looks like Annalise really does have an addiction, and the show is handling it in a thoughtful way. As Annalise packs up all the alcohol in her home — there's quite a bit, it turns out — she remembers a happier time, when she and Sam (Tom Verica) toasted their move into the house. After boxing up the alcohol, she does make it to an AA meeting, where she sees the Middleton University president, Soraya Hargrove (Lauren Velez). Annalise doesn't last long on the sober path, though, breaking down in her apartment and dancing with a bottle. (Eventually, Wes (Alfred Enoch) goes to her house and finds her in her sorry state, staying with her as she throws up.) The move-in isn't the only Sam and Annalise flashback, either. The episode focuses on when Sam and Annalise first met Frank (Charlie Weber). Sam visited Frank in prison as a favor to his sister, and asked Annalise to take on his case, pro bono. Frank was eligible for parole after being incarcerated for trying to kill his father when he was just 13. At first, Annalise thought Frank wanted to stay in prison, because he committed more crimes there. Eventually, though, Frank broke down and admitted to Sam that he felt guilty for what he did. Sam told Frank that he still has good in him.
Meanwhile, Laurel (Karla Souza) is still pining for Frank. She calls Bonnie (Liza Weil), hoping for any news, but Bonnie tells her she hasn't seen him. We quickly see that's not the case, though. Bonnie and Frank reconcile, and she thanks him for killing her abusive father. He admits for the first time that he was the one who killed Wes's father. It's more than just a friendly reunion for Bonnie and Frank, too — the pair end up hooking up, in a truly shocking scene. The Keating Five, meanwhile, aren't in court this week, and we still haven't seen who the replacement professor will be for Annalise's legal clinic. Instead, they're studying for an exam. Their fellow student/bully, Simon (Behzad Dabu) taunts them by offering to work with them and share notes, but the file he gives Connor (Jack Falahee) turns out to nothing more than a scan of his ass. (Truly an original trick, Simon.) Michaela (Aja Naomi King) gets the last laugh, though, when she steals Simon's laptop. She's hoping to steal his notes, but what Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) finds on the computer is much more sinister — it turns out Simon was behind the fliers with Annalise's face that were posted around the Middleton campus.
When the students tell Annalise about the file, she tells them she'll handle it. Which she does, by showing up at Simon's apartment and threatening to have him expelled, saying the fliers constitute slander, defamation, and possibly a hate crime. Annalise then goes to Hargrove, threatening a $50 million lawsuit against the university for retaliating against her after the fliers were distributed. When Hargrove questions the amount, Annalise retorts, "Go big or go home." The threat of a lawsuit works — Hargrove promises to make some calls. The confrontation, though, also allows for a surprisingly touching moment between the two women. Hargrove tells Annalise that she "can't get better alone." Could she become Annalise's sponsor? It'd be a sweet twist, given their complicated history, and it would be great to see Annalise get whatever help she needs.
As for who's under the sheet, tonight's episode offered some major clues. We already knew that Oliver and Bonnie are safe, and that a pregnant Laurel was also injured in the fire at Annalise's house. This week, flash-forwards revealed that Michaela wasn't at the Keating home at the time of the fire; she was with her mother. Michaela isn't the only one proven safe, though — a news report shows that an "unidentified male" died in the house fire. That means it's not Eve (Famke Janssen), Hargrove, or Annalise's mother (Cicely Tyson). The victim could still be Frank, Connor, Wes, Asher (Matt McGorry), Simon, or Nate. At first, we were sure it was Connor — he's had a lot of face time lately, and he did a stellar job defending a client at the legal clinic. But now, it seems like Frank and Nate are safe bets, too. We do see Oliver calling Connor's phone from the hospital, and it's not clear if Oliver knows who the other victim was. (The lead doesn't check out — for some reason, Michaela brought Connor's phone with her to her mom's house.) Plus, if it is Frank under the sheet, that could also explain why Laurel is injured, if she'd tried to stay with him or help him. And while Laurel's mind is still on Frank, Wes-Laurel shippers will be very pleased with this week's episode. As the Keating Five studies for their exam, Wes texts Laurel to meet him in the stairwell (so mysterious!). He says he'll break up with Meggy if Laurel wants to be with him, since Frank's out of the picture. Except that Frank isn't out of the picture — after Laurel's phone call, Bonnie texted Laurel that Frank was fine (leaving out the part about them sleeping together). Poor Wes. There's still hope, though — when Bonnie returns to the motel with coffee, Frank is gone, because no one on this show can keep track of him for long. Frank and Annalise are both on each other's minds, so it wouldn't be surprising if he does return to her house — possibly on the night of the fire. Annalise also drunk calls Nate, so we can't rule him out yet, either. But even aside from the "who's dead?" plot, this episode offered a lot of twists — and we can count on next week's to do the same.

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