There were two general themes to the season three finale of How to Get Away with Murder. The first was “No one holds back. No one has any chill. Everyone screams their most resentful thoughts at each other.” So, you know, any holiday with the family.
The second theme was “What the actual fuck,” because I said it no less than five times throughout all two hours of last night’s double episode. Let me just formally request here that ABC never put the viewing public through that kind of duress again, because my body cannot physically produce enough adrenaline for 120 minutes of Annalise Keating.
The episode opens on one of Annalise’s AA meetings where people are divulging the terrible things that have happened in their lives that turned them into alcoholics. Meanwhile, Connor is running in public. I’m not sure which experience is worse.
Connor’s clearly emotional run is interspersed with the excerpts from AA and the moment culminates in Connor almost throwing himself in front of a bus and Annalise telling everyone in group that bitching about their problems will get them nowhere because life just sucks. As if AA wasn’t already tense enough.
Stranger: Have you tried meditation?
Annalise: So help me God.
Connor has told Oliver whatever happened the night of the fire and against all odds, Oliver believes him. In that case, I believe him, too, because Oliver’s word is law.
Bonnie has summoned Connor, Michaela and Asher to yet another hearing in an attempt to get Annalise’s charges dropped. After watching Bonnie in the courtroom all season, we all knew how this was going to go. Annalise was full pageant mom coaching her through the motions, but even that wasn’t enough. To add insult to injury, Charles Mahoney has been released from prison, and his mother Sylvia straight up vows to avenge her husband’s murder on live TV. Very Game of Thrones, but I’m into it.
Denver summons Nate to his office for the sole purpose of making sure he’s not colluding with Annalise, because all of Philadelphia and the surrounding areas knows that she has him wrapped around her finger.
Nate: Annalise? Haven’t heard that name in years.
Nate five minutes later: Annalise meet me in my car in a crowded parking garage.
The law students and Oliver convene at Bonnies to start going through case Atwood’s case files when a couple of gruesome photos of Wes make Connor emotional enough to leave the room. Seeing as how Connor doesn’t exhibit emotion, Michaela is instantly suspicious. Channeling her inner drunk girl, she pulls him into the bathroom for real talk.
Apparently the talk was VERY real because it shakes even Michaela’s ice cold exterior. She has so little chill that, for the second time in ten minutes, Michaela brings out her inner drunk girl and blurts Connor’s secret to the entire room.
Michaela: You can tell me anything, it’s okay.
Michaela: HEY GUYS GUESS WHAT CONNOR DID.
The secret? Connor might have killed Wes. Connor might have killed Wes.
The fact that Connor thinks this means that he obviously didn’t kill Wes. We’re not going to find out who did until three seconds before the credits roll. But, the fact that Connor thinks he might have killed Wes and still let Annalise rot in jail for it means he’s about to get roundhouse wrecked by everyone in the room.
Flashback: After a shockingly long sex montage, Connor checks his voicemail with Thomas’ phone and hears Annalise’s message. He heads to her house, pre-explosion, and finds Wes in the basement, with no pulse. He couldn’t call 911 with no phone, so he proceeded to perform CPR until he cracked Wes’ rib cage. Unsure of what to do and suddenly realizing that the entire room smells like gas, Connor sprints out literally seconds before the house explodes.
Man, does the room not react well to this news. After a lot of “he did it!” and “no he didn’t!” and “why can’t we all just be friends??” Laurel decides to escalate the tension and just straight up tells Connor to kill himself. Yikes.
Laurel: The only good thing you’ll ever do in your life is kill yourself.
Instead of, I don’t know, apologizing for accusing Annalise of a murder that he has thought he committed this whole time, Connor goes straight on the offensive and asks Annalise if she killed Wes. Annalise immediately requests that the two of them be left alone, which totally doesn’t sound suspicious at all.
What follows is a conversation that we’ve all lived in our heads but hopefully never truly experienced. These two people, with many months’ worth of pent up aggression and resentment, just sat and screamed psychoanalyses at each other until Connor decides to prove that he has even less chill than Laurel.
Connor: ALL YOUR SONDS ARE DEAD. THEY’RE ALL DEAD. AND YOU CAN’T USE ME TO REPLACE THEM.
Me at home on my couch:
In the end, the two reach a kind of impasse where they cry and decide to believe each other. The relationships on this show emotionally drain me and I’m not even a part of them. After all is said and done, and what I’m sure was a super uncomfortable hug has passed, Annalise and Connor return downstairs where Annalise tells everyone to forgive him. The only objection is Laurel, who is still very down for the suicide plan.
Okay, I get that Laurel is grieving, but can we be real for a second. Her and Wes dated for what? Two weeks? Yes, granted, the pregnancy aspect sucks. But she’s out ready to go full Taken on a family of shady millionaires for a guy that she never even got a one-month anniversary with. Can you PLEASE calm down.
Elsewhere, Nate super casually hacks into Atwood’s car and finds out that she was parked in the financial district of New York moments after Charles Mahoney was released from prison, meaning that she very well could be working with the Mahoneys. Does Annalise thank him for this intel? Nah. Today of all days, she decides to suddenly start objecting to illegally obtained evidence. Are you catching on here Nate? You literally cannot win.
After an emotionally taxing afternoon that I’m sure isn’t putting undue stress on her growing fetus, Laurel goes to her OB appointment and realizes that time is ticking down to the abortion finish line. All I ask is that she gets rid of it because I cannot handle a sad struggling mother storyline on top of all the other tragedy. Plus, based on her performance thus far, a pregnant Laurel would be certifiably batshit crazy.
After casing all of their files on Atwood, the team comes to the conclusion that they have nothing to pin on her. Connor volunteers to go on the stand and testify to the broken rib, which would falsify the autopsy and derail the DA’s entire prosecution. It would also put him in the line of fire. This kid is literally throwing himself down the gauntlet in his efforts to redeem himself and it is so out of character that I just want to cry for him.
Nate goes to Atwood to try and get her to admit to working with the Mahoneys but she just doesn’t budge. Either this woman is a good liar or an honest person. Based on my experience with this show, it’s the former.
Back in court, Bonnie calls Laurel to the stand, where she puts on the goddamn performance of the century. Annalise decided that instead of having Connor implicate himself and complicate the case even further, Laurel would be the one to testify to Wes’ broken rib. Our girl gets up there and waxes poetic about how she performed CPR on Wes but was too afraid to tell the police because she didn’t trust them. It could have all worked, if Denver wasn’t prepped to tank her character.
The DA pulls out an affidavit, signed by a teenage Laurel, stating that she had lied to law enforcement about being kidnapped in Mexico City. Having perjured herself once, the judge isn’t likely to believe her now.
It turns out that Laurel really was kidnapped, but signed the affidavit in some weird family power struggle. This may seem like a throw away backstory, but considering the role Laurel’s father plays later in the episode, I’m betting it becomes an important plot point in the future.
Laurel: I was really kidnapped but I had to say I wasn’t to protect my father.
Connor: Sounds fake but okay.
In the end, Annalise and co. lose the hearing, meaning that the trial is still on. Did Bonnie actually go to law school? Asking for a friend.
Not content to only throw himself under one bus, Connor heads straight to Denver’s office to ask for Wes’ immunity deal so that he can confess to breaking Wes’ rib and hopefully still prove the autopsy was fake. While Denver is out of the room drafting the deal, Oliver (with a frantic Asher, Michaela and Laurel in tow) call him to find out why he’s suddenly disappeared shortly after contemplating suicide.
Connor explains his plan and it’s a testament to how bad it is that even Laurel tells him to come home. Asher decides that it’s now or never, and calls the phone number that Oliver found someone placing from Annalise’s home the night of the fire. While he couldn’t track the caller, he could track the person who received the call and it’s none other than Denver. Connor hears the burner phone buzzing and answers it, confirming that Denver has been in on this shit from the beginning.
Who placed the call? Just an unnamed hitman who happens to be the gardener that Marissa Cooper dated to piss off her mom. I hated you then and I hate you now, DJ.
Catch Up On Last Week: ‘How To Get Away With Murder’ Recap: There’s No Crying In Funerals
I don’t know if misery makes time fly or something, but somehow we are only one week from the season finale of How to Get Away with Murder. As any pre-finale week, last night’s episode set the stage for a whole lot of conflict and more than one quintessential “OH MY FUCKING GOD” moment courtesy of Shonda Rhimes. Let’s try and unpack it all so we can be fully prepared for whatever devastating news we get next week.
This week’s episode of How to Get Away with Murder is titled “It’s War,” as if every other event leading up to this has been a tea party. Like, was it not war when you all murdered a DA and framed someone else for it? Or when you murdered your teacher’s husband and then tried to cover it up? Or at any other instance in which this group of people flagrantly broke the law and then lied to the face of the US Justice System? This entire show is a war on morality, integrity, and my ever-growing wine tolerance.
The opening scene switches rapidly between a flashback in which Nate and Wes are talking in Annalise’s home pre-explosion, and a present day interaction between Nate and Annalise. It’s hard to tell which one stresses Nate out more.
The gist of the conversation between Nate and Annalise is that his signature ended up on a form to move Wes’ body, but he didn’t put it there. This means that the DA has thrown Nate into the pile of people they’re willing to take down to get to Annalise.
The gist of the conversation between Nate and Wes is a lot simpler: fuck Annalise. Shockingly enough, it’s Nate saying it and Wes rushing to her defense.
Wes: You don’t understand. I’ve done terrible things to her.
Nate: Like what?
Wes: I never called her “mom” despite her many requests that I do so.
What we can glean from these two interactions, other than the fact that being in jail altered Annalise’s judgement on acceptable hairstyles, is that Nate is back on team Annalise and probably didn’t kill Wes. Cool, only leaves about ten other potential suspects.
Next on the list of uncomfortable interactions: Annalise summons what’s left of the Keating Crew to Bonnie’s to touch base on their crumbling lives. I’m not sure what they were all expecting, but it definitely wasn’t the battered, broken woman that showed up. While Laurel was ready to storm the Mahoneys and demand answers, something that season one Annalise wouldn’t have even questioned, present day Annalise just wants to batten down the hatches and make sure no one else gets murdered/arrested/framed. What a monster, right?
Laurel: So we’re just going to act all victim-y?
Annalise: No one is acting like a victim.
Laurel: You are.
Annalise: * KILL BILL SIRENS *
Laurel storms out to take matters into her own hands, which means using her infinite amount of money to hire a private investigator to look into the Mahoneys. After three seasons of watching this show, I can firmly state that this private investigator will come back to bite them in the ass and potentially murder someone, because that’s how these things work around here.
Fresh off that sick burn, Annalise decides to prove she’s not a victim by…. writing an angry letter? If you listen closely, you can hear season one Annalise cackling in the distance.
Actually though, this isn’t just any letter. Annalise sends an official complaint to the State Attorney General, requesting a formal investigation into the DA’s office and specifically ADA Atwood’s one-woman mission to destroy her. A lot of people aren’t psyched about this course of action, most notably Nate and the Attorney General. Nate is pissed that Annalise has, once again, thrown him into the fire just to see what she can stir up. Will this man ever fucking learn?
“Stop trying to help me, it only makes things worse” – Nate’s character arc summed up in one sentence.
On top of the District Attorney’s office, the Philadelphia Police Department, and most of her students, Annalise gets to add the Attorney General to her list of enemies. This woman truly will not stop until she’s burned every bridge (and home) in America.
The AG isn’t psyched that Annalise is trying to stir up trouble within her department, and even less psyched that Annalise threatens to go public if something isn’t done about the fact that a body is missing a literally not one person in the justice department is doing anything about it. I, with no legal experience other than watching this show every week, think this seems like a valid concern.
Meanwhile, Oliver and Connor are debating the merits of going through Annalise’s phone data. Connor is pushing for it because his entire motivation this season has been wanting to watch Annalise burn. While Connor is usually sitting somewhere in the chaotic neutral realm, this behavior seems extreme, even for him. Why is that, I didn’t think to ask until last night? We’re all about to find out.
Oliver, whose susceptibility to peer pressure leads me to believe that he had a tough time in high school, is on board to start hacking away until he finds out that Annalise did in fact call Connor the night of the fire. This is sketch because Connor didn’t show up to the hospital until hours after everyone else. Connor brushes it off as a voicemail he didn’t bother checking until morning, a valid excuse for anyone because voicemail is the actual worst creation since crocs or frosted blue eyeshadow.
Annalise shows up in the middle of Oliver’s hacking session, a wild coincidence I’m sure, to win back his trust and then ask him a favor. In true Oliver fashion, he folds in about three seconds and then leaks an article for Annalise about the DA office losing Wes’ body. The most shocking part to me about this is that the DA is, like, surprised by this? This was literally the easiest thing Annalise could have done to derail them, and everyone is up in arms about it. Consider yourself lucky that she didn’t, idk, toss you off a third floor balcony.
The AG doesn’t see it this way. She not only denies Annalise’s request for an investigation, but also threatens to try her for the death penalty if Annalise doesn’t stop spreading conspiracy theories about the DA’s office. Not sure that’s how law works, but why not.
Laurels’ PI has come back with some interesting findings: The Mahoneys ran a DNA test on Wes five days before his death, meaning they knew he was Wallace’s son. She runs straight to Annalise and company with this news, thinking it will galvanize the troops to go after the entire Mahoney clan. Not so much.
Annalise breaks and lets them all know that the last time she went head to head with Wallace Mahoney, she ended up in the hospital with a miscarriage. Everyone at least has the decency to look horrified (and in Asher’s case, actually be horrified) except Laurel. No “omg I’m sorry” or “wow that sucks” or even “yikes” from our girl Laurel, the girl who was the season one poster child for empathy.
Annalise: Wallace Mahoney literally murdered my unborn child.
Laurel: Wes deserved so much better than you.
Connor: Like even I wasn’t gonna be a dick but ok???
New rule for this show: drink every time Laurel guts Annalise. You’ll be chugging straight vodka à la Keating by the finale.
Everyone leaves after that because, really, what more can you say. At home, Asher tells Mikayla that he thinks Connor was the anonymous source, seeing as how his mission this entire season has been to take her down. Every week that passes leads me closer and closer to the frightening thought that Asher is the best person on this show.
Bonnie follows Laurel home to offer up her services RE: a sneaky abortion. That goes over just about as well as you’d think.
Laurel: You’re just as bad as she is.
Bonnie: I’m gonna need you to say that again, but slower.
After baring her soul and getting essentially spit on for it, Annalise decides to clear her head by getting coffee with a friend, the dean. This was a fun idea until Annalise realized that the dean has been spying on her for Atwood the entire time. Like, can one more person come kick this woman while she’s down please? Don’t think she’s suffered enough yet.
Annalise: We should just kill Atwood already.
Bonnie: Uh, suggestions like that is the reason we’re in this mess in the first place?
Always the try-hard, Bonnie suggests framing Nate and putting this whole debacle behind them. I get where she’s coming from, seeing as how this has been Annalise’s MO since day one, but apparently time in jail has changed her.
Annalise: Is that who you want to be? Someone who burns own everyone and everything around them?
Bonnie: Well I want to be you…so yeah.
After swearing allegiance to Annalise for the 200th time in his life and some underhanded meetings with Bonnie, Frank calls everyone back to court to try and subpoena all of Atwood’s correspondence from the day that Wes’ body went missing. The judge is slightly interested when Frank lets it drop that Nate is both Atwood’s ex and the guy who signed for the body, but remains unmoved until the poet Delfino rattles off some inspiration speech about sixth amendment. This man isn’t even a lawyer. Is this the end of Legally Blonde? What the actual fuck, Philadelphia.
Whatever the reason, Atwood has to turn over any and all correspondence from that day. Like, I’ve never committed a crime, but if you were to subpoena my correspondence from any random day of the week, I’d probably be under investigation for a few murder charges and limitless counts of intent to commit harm. There is no way this works out for her.
ADA Denver immediately suspends Atwood for being an idiot, at which points she admits to being the one to move Wes’ body. Not just that, but this bitch fucking CREMATED him. How is this still an ongoing case? The prosecutor literally destroyed the body?? Somebody please call Alicia Florrick ASAP.
Annalise draws the short straw and is the one to have to tell Laurel that Wes’ body has been destroyed. What starts as an incredibly aggressive and tense conversation ends with apologies, promises for vengeance, and hugs. It’s not all bad here in How to Get Away with Murder land.
Laurel: Wes wasn’t your son. I get it. You don’t have to be sad with me.
Annalise: I wish he was my son because then I’d know how to feel…which is probably not attracted to him but I guess we’ll never know huh.
Elsewhere, Bonnie, Mikayla and Asher take on Connor over the growing tension of him being the anonymous source. He denies it, but the whole episode takes a turn when Oliver shows up with some even more damning evidence: Connor did check his voicemail that night. According to Thomas, Connor left hours before he arrived at the hospital. He answered the summons to Annalise’s home. Even worse, the episode closes with a short but powerful shot of Connor performing CPR on a dead but unburnt Wes.
WHAT THE FUCK.
While I refuse to believe that Connor killed Wes, is it possible that he finally snapped? If not, wouldn’t he have turned in the culprit by now? What happened that night and why would he keep it to himself unless he’s guilty? Most importantly, what is going to happen to that poor boy’s asshole in prison?
Hopefully all these questions will be answered next week in the two-hour finale. That’s right, two hours’ worth of suffering to look forward to. Take comfort in the fact that we’ll be in it together. Until then, start ramping up your alcohol tolerance. It’s going to be a long night.