If you thought you were prepared for the mid-season finale of “How to Get Away with Murder”, you were wrong. You have never been more wrong. You thinking that denim skirts paired with Uggs were a good look in 7th grade doesn’t even come close to how wrong you were about being ready for last night’s episode. To prove it, one character backed over another character in a very public parking garage in the first twenty minute of the episode. That’s what you fucking get for thinking you understand the torturous abyss of darkness and murder that is Shonda Rhimes brain.
The episode was a mostly chronological account of what went down the night that Annalise was shot at the Hapstall mansion, and I’ll try to break it down without rewinding every three minutes like the show did.
THE MORNING OF
Michaela’s first call upon discovering a potential murder weapon in the house of the guy she just fucked was obviously her gay best friend Conner, who was 100% not psyched to be on her emergency contact list. While they and Caleb argue about whether or not to tell Annalise about the murder weapon, as if she can’t smell corruption and evidence tampering from 100 miles away, a different, but related, discussion is occurring back at the office. The subject of this one: how to handle the fact that Catherine is very clearly in league with her incestuous cousin/brother.
A decision is made for both parties when Michaela calls Annalise with bad news: Catherine has run away. Annalise and the students, minus Asher of course, convene at the Hapstall mansion to set their new game plan. The gist: Catherine is out, Caleb is in.
On her daily tour of ruining everyone’s lives, Sinclair stops by the police department to accuse Nate of tampering with files in order to get Phillip’s testimony thrown out. It’s crazy how much I fucking hate this woman for literally just doing her job. Sinclair only has to push about three buttons before Nate, whose life has been a living hell since about Season 1 Episode 1, loses his shit and high-key threatens her in front of the entire police department. Even the glaringly corrupt Philadelphia PD can’t overlook a disgraced officer threatening a DA, and thus Nate is fired. Again.
To add insult to injury, Sinclair slaps Nate with a harassment suit. Completely out of options, Nate files a discrimination suit against her. Yes, exactly what this situation needs: more legal proceedings. Sinclair invites Nate to her car in the parking garage (which will later become her murder scene) to negotiate calling off both suits in exchange for turning on Annalise. This woman just won’t fucking quit.
This morning marked the last time that Asher would get to bumble around the law office, completely naive to the illegal fuckery that takes place on a near daily basis. After news breaks of the investigation into Judge Millstone’s corrupt dealings, he is found hanging in his office. Asher goes home to help his mother tend to things that need to be discussed, like funeral arrangements and coordination between all of his WASP-y family members, when his mother accuses him of being glad his father is dead. Yeah, fuck you Asher for trying to alleviate some of your mourning mother’s stress, you selfish monster. Mrs. Millstone, who looks far too much like a pug for me to be comfortable, essentially disowns Asher, telling him she wants nothing to do with him.
It is at this point, after having lost both parents either physically or emotionally, that Asher comes across Sinclair in the courthouse parking garage. All the kid is looking for is a quick “hey, sorry I inadvertently caused your dad to kill himself,” but this harpy can’t even give him that. She straight up tells Asher that everyone is better off with his dad gone, and he reacts in what this show has taught me is the completely rational manor of backing over her in his $100,000 car. We all knew she was going to die somehow, and yet this triumphant moment was still met with cheers from viewers across the country. Lesson learned: don’t be a district attorney who’s just trying to do her job and bring corrupt lawyers to justice, because the world will hate you for it.
Back at the Hapstall mansion, everyone is just kind of sitting around waiting to be arrested for any number of reasons. Michaela, definitely not the most compassionate member of the group, is the first to realize that not one of them has said anything to Asher since news broke about his dad. You would think the kid whose also had a parent commit suicide might be a little more empathetic to the situation, but Wes is too busy standing in the corner angrily to contribute. Even worse, none of them have Asher’s phone number to text him a half-assed consolation. This, in 2015, is the most stone cold way of letting people know you don’t give a shit about them.
New to the whole murder scene, Asher calls up Bonnie while he loiters in the parking garage with Sinclair’s dead body just lying under his car. Bon arrives to confirm what we all knew was true, Sinclair is dead. Thank you, Based God.
Bonnie calls Annalise, who is learning all kinds of horrible news at an incredibly rapid pace:
1. Nate is fired and was approached by Sinclair about turning on her.
2. Phillip has been released from police custody despite ample evidence putting him at the scene of the crime.
3. Catherine is hiding out in a shady motel, the chosen destination of people who definitely murdered their parents.
4. SINCLAIR is dead.
5. Worse, Sinclair is dead mere hours after Nate threatened her in front of a room full of duty-bound (sort of) witness and left fingerprints all over the inside of her car
After two seasons of being moderately held together, Annalise snaps, and the rest of the night is her mad dash to save Nate/fabricate a crime scene/ruin her relationship with every other member of her law firm.
First, she sends Caleb to Michaela’s apartment to hide out while she pins two murders on his sister. To be fair, she probably committed one of them. Caleb thinks he’s just being put away while Annalise and Sinclair negotiate, so he goes pretty easily. His only caveat: Michaela stay behind to keep him updated, a request that Michaela will resent him for for the duration of their relationship.
Next, she has Bonnie bring Sinclair’s body to the Hapstall’s and proceeds to ruin everyone’s life, again. She tells the team, completely assembled now save for Frank, that they are going to cover this up for Asher by making it look like Catherine killed Sinclair. While Asher may have been the actual murderer, him going to the police would begin the slow but steady unraveling of two seasons worth of murder, tampering, perjury and fabrication, so it really is in everyone’s best interest that this get taken care of. Annalise exhibits that point by telling Asher that the rest of the students killed Sam, thus tying them all together in an intricate web of guilt and blackmail. Respect.
What follows is a murder scene fabrication montage that I’ve never seen the likes of probably because it’s never existed. All of the flashback pieces are coming together as Annalise and company set to work removing finger prints, hiding guns, and flinging dead district attorneys off third floor balconies onto marble flooring below. It’s truly a sight.
Last piece of the puzzle: Annalise decides that they need to go the extra mile to make this look believable, and calls in a 911 call claiming she’s been shot by Catherine, who is currently lying in a chloroform/psycho-barbital induced slumber in the back of Frank’s car.
The fun part of this hypothetical scenario is that no one has actually shot her yet, and so she proceeds to try and get each of her students to do so. The dramatic music playing in the background takes this scene from incredibly tense to heart attack inducing levels of stress. Conner almost caves and shoots Annalise, like he’s probably wanted to do since the third day of class, when Michaela dives in front of the gun and stops him.
Even Wes, the person with more reason to shoot Annalise than anyone, looks like he’s about to pass up the opportunity when Annalise drops this bomb: Rebecca is dead and she’s been lying to him the entire time. SHOTS BOTH LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY FIRED.
Wes adopts full crazy eyes before charging across the room and shooting Annalise, not in the leg as she requested, but in the stomach. He goes in for a kill shot as she lies on the floor bleeding out, but pauses when he hears Annalise muttering “Christoph” over and over again. Who is Christoph? Well buckle up ladies, because you’re about to find out.
One flashback later we find out that Christoph is baby Wes, who is being interviewed by a cop after his mom killed herself. He is incredibly succinct and detached in his recounting of discovering his mother’s body, so I guess he’s always been this way. But wait, who is watching this entire interaction from behind the two-way mirror? ANNALISE AND EVE. Annalise looks on with that horrified expression we’ve come to know too well as Even whispers, “Annalise, what have we done?” and then the episode fades to black.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME.
What role did Annalise play in Wes’ mom’s death? Why is his name Wes now? How many ways can this woman possibly derail this poor child’s life? Sadly, we don’t get to find out until February 11th.
Stay strong my friends, and I’ll meet you at the winter premiere with a full bottle of wine and 3 months’ worth of pent up resentment.