The episode opens with Oliver racing into a dark classroom to wipe the phone Annalise gave him. Meanwhile, Annalise is getting admitted to jail and her mug shot is still better than any professional photo I’ve ever had taken of me. The cops notice her suspicious lack of phone, but don’t really follow through on it.
SIX WEEKS EARLIER
Under the looming threat of Frank’s return, Nate has moved in with Annalise and turned into quite the housewife. He makes her try his nasty-looking green smoothie before breaking the news that he filed a missing persons report for Frank. She’s not happy about this news, and he’s pissed that she’s not happy because in his experience, that means she’s hiding something.
Annalise: We should keep our personal and work lives separate.
Nate: That would have been a really cool idea back when you got me fired from my job TWICE.
At school the Annalise runs into the Dean, who quasi-apologizes for blindsiding her with the whole “suspended from teaching” thing.
Dean: You insist on making everything a fight.
Annalise: Say that to my FUCKING FACE.
The Dean asks her to keep a low profile until the flyer issue is resolved, the most hilariously naïve request that anyone could ask of this woman. Extra unlikely these days, because Annalise has just taken on a high-profile murder case. So, you know, the opposite of what she was supposed to do.
The case: A sleazy, fedora wearing Reddit aficionado who made a habit of doing drugs with escorts and then rating their sexual encounters on his blog. One night his exhibitions went too far, and an escort overdosed. Instead of taking her to a hospital, Toby dumped her behind a dumpster where she died, but not before he got in one last selfie with her inert body. Everything about this man, and this case, is scum.
Meanwhile, Annalise has sent Laurel down to see her father about the Frank situation. All we know about Laurel’s dad is that he is “not a good person” which I feel like could describe a wide variety of wrongs. But seeing as how Laurel has been party to not one, but two murder cover-ups, her definition of “not good” is probably a little more damning than ours.
Bonnie goes to Annalise about pleaing out on their trainwreck of a case. Annalise entertains her request, probably due to Bonnie’s very unfortunate history with sexual assault. Back at the office, Connor flaunts Aiden’s (Michaela’s gay ex-fiancé) new engagement in her face because misery loves company. The creep of a defendant pipes in with “you’re a nine, eight if I’m being picky,” because lowlife men will always assume their opinion is a cure-all for any ailment. Asher comes to Michaela’s defense by claiming her as his “boo,” right as Bonnie walks in. Bonnie’s cold dismissal of the whole situation is far less shocking than the fact that Michaela didn’t punch Asher in the dick for outing their relationship.
In Miami, Laurel and her father are knee deep in attempted mediation of years of built of resentment. We learn some fun facts about their past that definitely lend credence to the idea that Laurel’s father is, in her own word, not a good man.
- He left her mother in the midst of a mental health crisis
- He met his new wife a just a month later
- He refused to pay ransom for Laurel when she was KIDNAPPED at 16
So it’s kind of understandable that, after all of that, Laurel snubs her father’s half-assed apology. She says that unless he’s ready to give her what she came for, she’s going to head back to Philadelphia.
The prosecutor refuses Annalise a deal, and not just because her client is a literal piece of human waste. All of the DA office is rising up in protest of Annalise’s years of misconduct by refusing to offer her any plea. At all. Ever. Sure, this may seem wildly unethical and, hey, even illegal, but that’s only because it is. Still not sure if this is just a dramatization courtesy of Shonda Rhimes or an accurate depiction of the legal system in Philadelphia.
Wes’ new girlfriend does fun things like administer health exams after sex, so I already can’t stand her. She’s trying to seduce him into celebrating his birthday this year, a day that he hates for more than valid reasons, when Laurel interrupts via phone call. Across the country and still cock blocking like a champ. That’s my girl.
Wes tells Laurel that he knows where she really is and that she shouldn’t do anything she doesn’t want to do. Totally things that your not boyfriend says to you. She doesn’t want to get into it over the phone, as her father has been tapping all her calls.
Wes: Lol what, is your dad some kind of spy?
Laurel: HA HA HA. Wes. Wes with the jokes.
Conveniently, Laurel’s dad shows up seconds later with a cake and some truly uncalled for, but not wrong, relationship advice. He cites Laurel’s daddy issues as a reason for her obsession with Frank, a crazy insensitive comment to come from the man who caused them. It turns out he does know where Frank is, and is willing to tell Laurel if she accepts a property transfer from him. The property is probably less of a fun timeshare and more of a shady business dealing, but honestly I’d still take it. Laurel, who is clearly more ethical than I, turns him down and kicks him out of her room.
Back in Philadelphia, Bonnie, Oliver and Michaela arrive with bad news: Their client withdrew $200,000 from the bank less than an hour ago. Oliver struggles to relay this information when faced with Nate’s sweaty, glistening bod, but he manages.
Annalise confronts Toby about the cash, and he comes clean. A previous lawyer is blackmailing him with some horrifying new information: Toby killed a girl, and not the one he’s on trial for. Her name was Janie, and in light of this news Annalise kicks everyone off the case but Bonnie.
Poor Janie was an 18-year-old runaway who’d been missing since 2012. She turned Toby down and therefore he murdered her—the logic of a sheltered, privileged man who’s never had to suffer rejection. He left her body in a broken freezer in an abandoned warehouse, where presumably she’s still lying.
There’s not enough liquor in Annalise’s home to make up for what they just heard, but man do Annalise and Bonnie try to drink through it anyways. They’re brainstorming ways to possibly solve this unsolvable situation and Bonnie ops for the road less traveled on this show: the truth.
Her reasoning is both pure and self-motivated. Janie’s mother is still searching for her missing daughter, but more importantly Bonnie sees herself in the victim. She wants to call in an anonymous tip, and when Annalise turns her down she goes home.
While this horrifying confession is taking place, Michaela, Asher, Connor and Oliver are having a night out in Atlantic City. Nothing sounds more fun than going out with the ex you still love, your best friend, and the extra-ass white dude she’s banging.
Oliver: I’m so happy we can hang out without this being weird.
Connor: My soul is collapsing as we speak but I’m glad you’re happy.
What Michaela failed to mention earlier is that she’d stolen $20,000 from Toby to fund their outing. She puts it all on black in a game of roulette and wins and wins and wins…until she doesn’t. Usually how betting goes. She loses all of it which distracts from Oliver and Connor’s fighting over a dude who openly wasn’t into Asian dudes.
While Michaela and Asher are inside a 24/7 pawn shop attempting to barter back the $20,000 they lost, Connor and Oliver sit outside in the car in a passive silence. Once again instead of standing up for himself, Connor apologizes for something that he didn’t do. Oliver tells him he expects better of him and the last part of Connor’s functioning heart crumbles before our very eyes.
Laurel is woken in the middle of the night by a phone call from Frank. He tells her he’s not going to fall for any of her voicemails and that Annalise can stop sending hit men after him. Laurel hangs up before Frank says anything else that her father could use against him, but it’s safe to say that that tidbit was enough to pique his interest.
Back in court, Annalise does what she does best: manipulates the Philadelphia legal system to get her way and low-key arouses everyone in the courtroom while doing it. Thanks to some intel from Nate, who for some reason still has access to police records, Annalise pins the murder of Janie on a man that her defendant interacted with while in county jail. Then she claims that this all could have been dealt with discreetly had the prosecutor entertained her plea deal. In one fell swoop this gladiator of a woman closed one case, framed another woman-beating scumbag for murder, outed the prosecutor’s entire office for bias, and seemed contrite while doing so. Somebody send her after Trump.
All of this skullduggery got Annalise’s client three years in jail, a massive win for a man who killed two innocent women. When he deigns to complain about it Annalise full slaps him across the face, something his mother and every woman he’s interacted with over the course of his life should have done.
In Miami, Laurel stops by her father’s office with a deal. She signs the property agreement in exchange for Frank’s location and presumably her father’s silence. His apology round two seems much more sincere and the naïve part of me hopes these two can work it out. The part that’s been watching this show for the past two years knows better.
Michaela runs into Bonnie while returning her stolen money, and once again any kind of apologies about Asher fall on deaf ears. The more Bonnie denies caring, the more you can tell she actively, viscerally, cares about this.
After another unanswered phone call to Laurel, Meggy confronts Wes about his very obvious feelings for Laurel. He denies them, and while neither the audience nor Meggy believed him, everybody pretended anyways. Team Waurel 2016.
Laurel returns to Annalise’s office and makes what will no doubt be a crippling decision in the long run: lying about Frank. She tells Annalise and Bonnie that her dad wouldn’t give up Frank’s location unless she signed her soul away (true) and that she just couldn’t do it this time (false). Do either Annalise or Bonnie believe her? Definitely not, but that’s a problem for another day.
Annalise: Dads suck.
Bonnie: Don’t you two even fucking start.
Six weeks later, Annalise has finished being booked into jail. We discover our next non-victim, Bonnie, who finds Oliver at the crime scene and asks if he dealt with the phone. While Bonnie tries to get information out of the cops and Oliver plants Annalise’s now clean phone under the ambulance, an announcement comes in: another person was found inside the burning house, and they’re alive.
If the person in the bodybag is anyone but Frank or Nate, there will not be enough vodka in Annalise’s home to soothe my tears.