White privilege is alive and well in the United States — but it doesn't have to be that way.
That's the message that tied the A and B plots together on How to Get Away with Murder this week. Annalise (Viola Davis) won her first case since being reinstated as a lawyer, while Connor (Jack Falahee) was forced to confront the reality of his own privilege.
The episode hearkened back to the show's earlier days — before every episode was about who was under the sheet, or who killed Wes (Alfred Enoch), may he rest in peace. "I'm Not Her" showcased what How to Get Away with Murder does best: presenting a moving procedural case while still driving the show's plot forward.
But unlike the show's season 3 premiere, in which Wes and the others failed to save a client from deportation, "I'm Not Her" takes a hopeful note. Annalise's first client is Jasmine (L. Scott Caldwell), one of her cellmates from the time she spent in jail.
At first, Jasmine's case seems hopeless — she's being tried for illegal possession of a firearm after being stopped for solicitation. And it's far from her first arrest. But after Jasmine makes an offhanded comment about Annalise going back to the start of her troubles, when her father sold her into sex trafficking at age 13, the gears start turning for the former Middleton professor. She finds Jasmine's original sealed record, in which she was charged for solicitation as a teenager instead of being treated as a victim of sex trafficking.
Annalise presents this to the court, putting the now-retired judge who presided over Jasmine's first case on the stand. Her defense is incredibly moving, but Annalise saves the kicker for last. The judge presided over several similar cases, where the defendants were sent to rehabilitation programs, while Jasmine was the only one charged. The difference? All of the other defendants were white, while Jasmine is Black.
Annalise's arguments about how the justice system failed Jasmine are so moving that her client calls her a "female Johnnie Cochran" before the judge delivers the verdict. He, too, is moved by Annalise's reasoning, saying the justice system owes Jasmine an apology. Not only is Jasmine's case a victory, but the judge also agrees to seal her entire past criminal record, the closest thing she'll have to a fresh start. It's an incredibly moving storyline, and one that the show's writers and cast depicted with unflinching honesty.
While Annalise is in court, the Keating Four are at a legal job fair, now that they're no longer employed. Things are going especially well for Michaela (Aja Naomi King), who's put her "beast mode" agenda into full effect. Her prodding helps Asher (Matt McGorry) succeed, too, despite the fact that he's wearing adult diapers under his armpits to mop up his nervous sweat. (We can always count on Asher to be the show's comic relief.) Connor, though, doesn't fare as well, and it's not because prospective employers want details about Annalise. Connor can't answer why he wants to be a lawyer when asked during an interview.
Later, when the group is back together discussing the law fair, Connor suggests that he doesn't have an answer because he doesn't want to be a lawyer. And Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) calls him out on it. Oliver criticizes Connor's "nerve to have an existential crisis" at a time when their classmate recently died, and all of them lost their jobs. Before he got involved with Annalise, Connor, and the others, Oliver had a high-paying IT job; now he's working at a company that forces him to wear a purple polo shirt and doesn't pay a high enough wage for him to afford rent on his and Connor's apartment. Oliver says that Connor is acting "so white" — and he's right. The students are at the bottom of their class and were recently laid off; the fact that they're getting legal interviews at all is a small miracle.
Still, Connor doesn't totally get the lesson until he goes back to the job fair. The woman manning the booth for Philadelphia Legal Aid is still packing her things up, and Connor starts a conversation with her. He's angling for a callback interview, even though he didn't originally express interest in working for the group. But she, too, calls him out, sensing immediately that he's only talking to her because he didn't get called back for another round of interviews at any big-name firms. Connor walks away from the legal fair with no career prospects, but he does get a harsh dose of reality about privilege. Hopefully, he and Oliver won't be too bad off financially, though — by the end of the episode, Oliver has decided to start his own IT business.
As for Bonnie (Liza Weil), whom Annalise fired along with the Keating Four in the season 4 premiere, she's found a way to move on, too. She's now the ADA, a job she admits to Nate (Billy Brown) she got by blackmailing District Attorney Todd Denver (Benito Martinez). Nate, meanwhile, has secured a promotion to lead investigator under Denver's reign. And an offhanded joke he makes to Bonnie about needing a support group from everything they dealt with because of Annalise suggests these two might become more than coworkers as the season continues.
And Frank (Charlie Weber) and Isaac (Jimmy Smits) are still up to something. Frank helps Annalise obtain the sealed file, even though she understandably still hasn't forgiven him for the car crash. And during a therapy session, Isaac tells her he was once a heroin addict — and she quickly faults him for opening up to her. The last person who did that was Sam (Tom Verica) — a therapist Annalise saw and later married.
Happily, though, the show's other most strained relationship is becoming a bit less tense. Connor visits Laurel at Wes's apartment, and he apologizes for lying to her about having seen Wes' body the night he died.
"I hate myself more than you could ever hate me, if that makes you feel any better," Connor tells Laurel. She says that it doesn't, but she encourages him not to blame himself, because Wes' death wasn't his fault.
But as we learned last week, Laurel knows whose fault it actually was. And Michaela just happened to take a new legal position at the firm that represents her father's company, Antares Technologies. Laurel tells Michaela that her father killed Wes — and she needs her help to take him down.
Of course, it wouldn't be How to Get Away with Murder if there weren't a devastating cliffhanger revealed in the last few minutes of the episode. We see a flash forward to two and a half months later — Laurel's in the same medical gown, with Frank by her side and Isaac in the hallway. And Laurel's asking where her baby is.
Only time will tell what happened with Laurel's pregnancy, but it looks like Annalise knows about whatever Laurel's going through. Isaac calls Annalise, leaving her a voicemail to let her know that Laurel is awake. But that's not the biggest shocker; we also see that the motel room where Annalise was staying is now a crime scene. There are bloody handprints on the motel elevator's walls — and in the preview for next week's episode, Annalise is asked to identify a body. Hopefully, we won't have to wait as long as last time to find out who's under this sheet.
An earlier version of this story stated that Laurel is asking where her baby is at different times. As a commenter has pointed out, it's the same flash-forward shown in more detail; the time difference is because this week's episode takes place two weeks after the premiere.
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