SAM, DO NOT LIE TO ME. I know you forgot what happened on How to Get Away with Murder. You and that little slut Lila, I know you binged Transparent and Black Mirror over winter break and forgot what went down in the midseason finale. Sam, do NOT lie to me. I know you don’t remember that you attacked Rebecca and Michaela knocked you over the stairs and Wes cracked your skull with the Lady Justice statue. Kill me, damn it, but don’t you DARE LIE TO ME SAMUEL!! I know you forgot that right after you died, Wes went back to the house to get the trophy and apologized—APOLOGIZED!—to your cheating ass! And I was there! I left but I came back, you J.Crew-looking piece of trash, and I heard Wes say he’s sorry and I said, “Don’t be.” AND THEN WE TOOK TEN WEEKS OFF! DON’T LIE TO ME SAM! THIS IS UNFORGIVABLE!!! DO NOT LIE TO ME!!!
Sooo, we’re back. Welcome! If you’re just joining us in this crazy burrito bowl we call #TGIT, welcome back to the investigation! Or, what’s left of the investigation. Because let’s remember: Sam is dead. And Wes killed him. And it’s probably accurate to say that Sam killed Lila Stangard, lest the first nine episodes of the best guilty pleasure you’ve ever witnessed stand for absolutely nothing. There’s not much investigating left! Just two birds, one bloody statuette of Tilda Swinton (which is missing its scales, by the way), and a giant pool of blood that the kids of Murder, Inc. had to Swiffer the shit away before the cops arrived the following morning.
No, we’ve moved on from investigating who killed whom and how and why and who they’re wearing and why it’s an honor just to be nominated. Now, part two of the first season of How to Get Away with Murder is all about the clean-up. The consequences. The cover-up. The metaphorical Purell of it all.
A QUICK REMINDER OF WHAT EVERYBODY DID AFTER THE MURDER:
Connor took hyperventilating refuge at Oliver’s, but lied that he was simply high and has a drug addiction; Laurel took the bleached murder weapon to Frank, claiming she stole it from Asher and needed Frank to replace it; Michaela, having lost her engagement ring, signed the pre-nup for her future mother-in-law; a spurned Bonnie ejaculated her sadness away at Asher’s apartment; and Wes destroyed the USB drive of Generic Incriminating Villain Data in Rebecca’s hotel room, lest the evidence place them at the scene of the crime.
In fact, the scene of the crime is all anybody can talk about. And it’s where we begin.
In police interrogation, Annalise recounts a false story about returning home from their fight and discovering Sam was missing. In reality, we see Annalise discovering Sam is dead before we find out what Annalise said to Wes immediately after the “Don’t be” heard ‘round the world.
Wes explains what happened and why he killed Sam, and Annalise confirms what plenty of recap commenters have been saying for months. “You listen to me closely and do exactly as I tell you,” she says, proving that every decision Wes made on the Night of the Flying Cheerleader was based on her advice of, YOU GUESSED IT, how to get away with muuurder. “Remove the body. He cannot stay here. Your DNA is under his nails, on his skin. So the only way to get rid of it is to burn the body. Then you need to get rid of the remains.” (Cue: A flashback/flashforward/flashsideways/Grant Gustin to Wes manipulating the coin toss and following all of her instructions in the woods and beyond.)
But Wes is concerned about Annalise’s part in all of this, since she’ll take the blame if the police ever find out she was present. “I’ll take care of myself,” she insists, and that’s when we see flashes of what she did that night: sleeping with Nate, calling Bonnie in a scared frenzy, leaving a conciliatory voicemail on Sam’s phone. They all appear to be things she did to cover her bases and establish an alibi, although I’m still thrown by the timing of the Nate visit. (Surely she actually did visit Nate before she discovered Sam’s body? Or did she just wait in the car for an hour or two listening to smooth jazz and B*Witched?)
Either way, Annalise has set up her own set of pawns to eliminate her liability—because the scorned wife is always the first suspect, as we learned from the pilot episode. Annalise insists that Wes take necessary charge of the rest of the students, but he can’t tell them that she’s involved. Annalise insists that the kids, including Rebecca, can know as little as possible about her involvement. When Wes starts to cry, she comforts him in a much more maternal, much less Mary Kay LeTourneau way than the pilot. She tells him everything will be all right, and he gives her Sam’s wedding ring, which he salvaged before they disposed of the body.
From here on out, the name of the game is ACTING. Annalise needs to get everyone on board with her big lie, including:
Bonnie and Nate: Annalise has two pawns in place—Bonnie, to whom she made a frightened and thereby naïve phone call, and Nate, who let her Ariana his Grande in a moment of reconciliatory passion—so she’s got to keep them both close from here on out. For Bonnie, that means shutting her out of any personal conversation, which poor Bon-Bon is pretty used to by now, but Nate becomes doubtful of Annalise after he’s interrogated by the police (“I’m a cop, Annalise. You don’t think I can ignore the fact that you were with me at the same time that Sam went missing.”). But she does a swell job of quelling Nate’s suspicions and winning him back, thus keeping her alibis—both emotional and physical—in place.
The cops: The two interrogating detectives—let’s call them Mr. Brad and Mrs. Angelina—are already finding cracks in Annalise’s initial story. For one thing, Annalise keeps saying that Sam is “gone,” while Mr. Brad reminds her that he’s simply “missing.” I picked up on two lies that Mr. Brad provokes from Annalise, which could come back to haunt her: She says she found out about the affair that night and that she didn’t recognize Sam’s dickpic when it went public. Mrs. Angelina serves major arched-eyebrow-side-eye skepticism about everything, and rightly so—suggesting that maybe some of these lies will come back to bite Annalise somewhere down the line. Particularly, Annalise’s declaration that she didn’t recognize Sam’s dirty photo for Lila—which was broadcast all over TV like some kind of sexy state of the union, or sexier state of the union, depending on who you ask—is cause for worry.
Frank: When he delivers the DNA test that confirms Sam’s paternity of Lila’s baby, Annalise’s sheer happiness (that her suspicions were right) alerts Frank that something’s up. In a moment of decision, Annalise tells Frank everything, thus gaining an ally and bringing him into the fold, provided that he agrees to leave Bonnie in the dark. (Please, like that’ll last very long.)
D.A. Parks: The other naysayer to Annalise’s morning-after-mourning is the district attorney, who thinks Annalise’s 15-hour missing-persons case is a desperate attempt to detract suspicion from her client Rebecca and throw it onto another suspect, who just happens to be her now-vanished husband. (Because that’s not batshit crazy at all, right?) And so Parks chugs along with her plan to pin Lila’s murder on Rebecca and Lila’s ex-boyfriend Griffin.
So with all this madness going on about Sam’s disappearance, Rebecca’s trial is three days away, and in order to clear her client’s name, Annalise enlists Connor, Laurel, Michaela, Asher, and Wes to prove, finally, that Sam killed Lila.
Ohhhhh, I bet you want to talk about Connor, Laurel, and Michaela now, don’t you. Yeah, Sam, I know you do. You dirty, slimy douchebag. Let’s talk about it. DON’T YOU LIE TO ME, SAM, I’M DONE LOVING YOU.
NEXT: Murder, Inc. goes under the magnifying glass