It’s a strange sensation, as a regular functional human with no major murderous tendencies (aside from when it comes to spiders and road rage), to watch a TV show and get some sick delight from seeing a dead body. Not so much the bloodiness of the body or the twisted position the corpse is in but, rather, the glee of knowing that the identity of the body is the same as the person you just spent 60 minutes saying, “Please, someone, kill her already.”
That dead body belongs to Assistant District Attorney Sinclair, and I think I speak for everyone when I say: I’m okay with it! The ever-annoying Sinclair was a thorn in everyone’s side, forcing Annalise to testify, forcing Asher to spy, and forcing Eve to take down her former lesbian lover in a way-too-personal cross-examination. So, no, I’m not too bummed out that the second bloody victim of the Night of the Fancy Mansion is this terrible ADA, and yes, I’m unapologetic in rooting for its existence.
Here’s what else we know about the Night of the Fancy Mansion: While Annalise lays bleeding in the portrait room, Sinclair is at the foot of the stairs outside, body splayed and shoes off. Did she fall? Was she pushed? The lacerations on her face (thus marks the first time I’ve ever written the word lacerations, and I’m feeling pretty good about it) seem far too brutal for just a fall. So, who hit her, who pushed her, and which action resulted in the actual kill?
Another revelation: All four of the Murder, Inc. kids are there — surprise! Last week we saw Wes running from the house; it turns out, he’s actually heading into the woods to join Michaela and Laurel, who reached the trees first. Connor’s still inside, covered in blood and applying pressure to Annalise’s stomach wound. His bedside manner — “This is your fault! It’s always your fault!” — could use work. The other three quickly realize he’s inside and go to retrieve him before the cops arrive. Connor won’t budge, perhaps because his guilty panic suggests he has something to do with Annalise being shot. But they get him to move. Laurel’s like, “There’s nothing we can do for her.” Michaela’s like, “The only way we end up okay is if we leave right now.” Annalise is like, “You guys go, I’ll stay here.” All four run out, right past Sinclair’s sincorpse.
That’s all we get of the big murder night — a welcome change from how many flashforwards we got during each episode in season 1 — but it does set up some fun new scenarios for what went down and who shot Annalise. It’s probably a safe bet to rule out Michaela and Laurel and Wes. The jury’s still out on Connor.
The rest of the night belongs to the two trials, which dictated the boozy descent of Annalise Keating into the warm arms of vodka and Famke. But before that, I want to stick with the Murder, Inc. kids this week, since last week didn’t do their storylines any favors. This week, we have a better idea of what’s coming for them in season 2.
WES AND REBECCA
The kids still don’t know that Rebecca is dead, aside from quiet Laurel, and Connor and Michaela are razzing Wes for seemingly protecting his escaped girlfriend. In reality, Wes is long done with her, not even caring enough to take some of her stuff when the landlord tells him she hasn’t paid rent. Essentially Wes has canceled Rebecca after just one season.
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If Wes really did take a closer look at Rebecca’s things, he would have noticed a framed group photo of Rebecca, Lila, and a handsome newcomer named Levi…
MICHAELA AND EGGS
…who is the same Levi who introduced himself to Michaela in the courthouse. Connor initially hits on him, as a wild Connor is wont to do, but Levi is more interested in Michaela and cracks (like EGGS!) a joke about how to get his number in her phone. Was his pickup line a little too on the nose to suggest that he’s Eggs 911? Or is it, like Warby Parker, custom fit to be that exact revelation? Nothing’s too subtle on HTGAWM, and when we see Levi wooing Michaela at a pool bar, right after the reveal that he knows Rebecca, it’s pretty strongly implied that Eggs 911 is either this handsome man OR a series of handsome men who have randomly introduced themselves to Michaela this season. (If this is the case, how does one sign up for an Eggs 911?)
To that point, shouldn’t Michaela be absolutely flipping out about anyone who comes up to her? Given everything that’s gone down and the shadowy texts she’s getting from Eggs, Michaela ought to be skeptical of every new person she meets. Is it her reluctant belly flop back into the dating pool that’s hazing her judgment?
CONNOR AND OLIVER
Since Asher still doesn’t know about Sam, Lila, Rebecca, or literally anything else, the rest of Murder, Inc. still has to change the subject whenever he pops in. This week, Connor haphazardly changed the subject and revealed that Oliver is HIV-positive. It would have been a fine secret in the hands of everyone else, but not with Asher. When Oliver suddenly appears at Annalise’s office to drop off keys for Connor, Asher approaches him with cringe-worthy yet well-meaning support, things like “Straight bros totally down with all your gay stuff!” and “Philadelphia’s one of my favorite movies!”
Naturally, Oliver’s furious with Connor for betraying the secret. He and Michaela gang up on Connor later. “I never thought I’d end up with a self-absorbed pretty boy,” says Oliver, twisting the knife into Connor’s heart like a corkscrew into the Chardonnay I just finished halfway through the episode. What effect will Connor’s uphill battle relationship with Oliver have on his decidedly precarious emotional state this year? In a twist of fate from last season, maybe Oliver has something to do with why Connor is in the situation with Annalise on the Night of the Fancy Mansion?
LAUREL AND FRANK
Laurel, riding high off of the academic thrill of getting an A on an exam, decides it’s time to let Frank check back into her, uh, Scantron machine. But when she arrives at his apartment for a booty call, Frank pushes her away with the sexiest “You just want me for my body” monologue I’ve ever heard. He’s offended that Laurel is suddenly interested in him again, which is so uncharacteristic of Frank that it must signal he’s under major stress from all of this killing-Lila-and-stuffing-Rebecca-into-a-suitcase business. “If you’re interested in me, get to know me,” he actually says out loud on a TV show in 2015. “Otherwise, this is closed for business.”
Will they reconcile? Please. Does Frank wear a vest?
Though he’s not in Murder, Inc., Asher is right at home in the Keating Five with his own dastardly secrets to keep. His relationship with Bonnie continues to proceed with the bizarre pacing of a three-legged puppy. The power dynamic of Basher is constantly shifting despite an inevitable conclusion that, just like me and my DVD of Hocus Pocus, they’re both just going to end up in bed together in the end.
While he’s juggling Bonnie, he’s also got certifiable crazy-lady ADA Sinclair forcing him to spy on the Keating house and meeting with him in parking garages like only the shadiest people do. Once Nate’s trial is dismissed, Asher thinks he’s off the hook. “Bye, Felicia,” he says, but it’s actually more of a “I’ll see you soon, Felicia; be well” because Sinclair’s been assigned as prosecutor to the Hapstall case, which Asher looks to be a large part of as the case continues.
NEXT: Inside the courtroom[pagebreak]
The big courtroom appearance of the night belongs to Nate, although it quickly becomes apparent that Annalise is the star of this razzle-dazzle. (Hello, she won an EMMY.) Eve’s taken Nate’s case, and she continues to be the only person who has the gall to stand up to Annalise’s schemes and control complex. “Stop trying to micromanage me,” she tells her point blank, and there’s a reluctant power shift, but ultimately Annalise backs off. She can’t win every conversation, though; when Eve wants to talk about their sexy hook-up in New York, Annalise keeps her lips closed.
In the courtroom, the preliminary hearing barely has a chance to begin before ADA Sinclair tries to call a petty foul on the relationship between Annalise and Eve. (A tidbit from Asher, perhaps?) Eve tries to argue that they were simply acquaintances in law school; she and Sinclair squabble about the nature of the relationship before Sinclair just skips the niceties and drops the big bomb question: Did Annalise Keating help Mr. Lahey commit her husband’s murder?
Suddenly, it’s Annalise on the stand, hostile as ever and growing increasingly so as Sinclair digs her claws in. With everything going on outside the trial — remember, Annalise’s life is at a Dorothy’s-house-after-the-tornado level of shambles — it’s a wonder Annalise can hold it all together for as long as she does. Eventually, she snaps after Sinclair basically offers a recap of season 1 (I snapped, too: Step off, b#@!*). Annalise yells at Sinclair for being inept, screaming about her poor questioning and forcing her to be more hostile than she wants to be. And when she cools down, Sinclair replies — in a mind-boggling leap of association — “That’s quite a temper. Seems like you’re more than capable of murder.” Ugh. Someone throw this logically fallacious woman off a Fancy Mansion balcony.
Meanwhile, Nate is refusing to lie on the stand to protect her, so Eve is forced to re-examine the case and do what’s best for her actual client, which means pinning Sam’s murder on Annalise. She launches into her on the stand but gets a little too personal, making a mockery of Annalise’s loveless marriage and duplicitous moral compass, using the kind of emotional specificity only achieved by someone’s closet ex-lover. Success — Nate gets off, with the judge basically ruling “Too many cooks!” — but tragedy, because Annalise feels betrayed by Eve for making it too personal. “You needed to pin it on me, I know that. But you didn’t have to make it about me, the things you knew would hurt me,” she reasons over a very important bag of chips. “You made it personal, and I don’t understand why you had to do that, unless that was the point: to hurt me.”
Amid the tender confessions, Eve demands that they confront their sexual reunion, and Annalise admits that she still has feelings for Eve and always will. Eve stays the night, and she offers to bring Annalise back to New York with her the next morning. Annalise declines — there’s more keeping her here than just her practice and her teaching job — and she kisses Eve goodbye. On the porch. Out in public. Right in front of Nate, who saw everything from across the street and definitely won’t just sit on that information for too long.
So, is Eve gone for good? Is Nate really off the hook? And how long until Annalise is back on the stand under decidedly less preliminary circumstances?
THE HAPSTALL TRIAL
Are you just dying to talk about those terrible Hapstall siblings? Neither am I.
Caleb and Catherine — the adopted siblings accused of torturing and murdering their parents — are being interrogated, but they’re not sure why. They don’t know about the sudden throat-slashing of their aunt Helen. Annalise shows up just in time to stop Catherine from saying something foolish, like where she was that night or what she was doing or that Mockingjay should have been two movies. Caleb, who was suspiciously out for a run when Helen was murdered, swears they’re victims. “Don’t tell me you think we’re dumb enough to kill the only witness in our trial,” he reasons. “If anything, this proves someone’s framing us.”
So Bonnie takes the lead on the case with things still pretty contentious between her and Annalise in the wake of Rebecca’s death. Yep, murder will definitely do that to a friendship. Bonnie and Asher visit the Hapstall mansion and find out that Caleb gave everyone on staff the night off — another far too obvious move for Caleb to be the culprit here. But Frank (whose nickname on the streets is “Butter,” as we hilariously learn) retrieves Caleb’s arrest warrant and discovers that the police found Caleb’s DNA in Helen’s car. Bonnie decides to confront Caleb about it. He confirms that he was out when Helen was killed but denies that he was anywhere near Helen’s car. Bonnie pretends there’s security footage of him near the car to gauge his reaction, and she seems satisfied knowing that Caleb may actually believe he’s being framed.
Michaela comes up with the idea of accusing the police of transferring Caleb’s DNA to the crime scene, and they find that the police actually did delete an earlier report. Why? Are the Hapstall siblings actually being framed — by the cops, no less? Or did Team Keating fabricate the idea of a deleted report, as they’ve fabricated everything else? Annalise (utilizing Bonnie’s legwork) gets the siblings out for Helen’s murder (for now) and buys them some more time to go home and think about what they may or may not have but definitely probably did do. “Go home and don’t kill anyone,” she commands.
THIS WEEK IN BONNIE
It’s the year of Bonnie, and I’m here for it. After the great Rebecca kill, she’s taking no prisoners in the Keating Five and doesn’t even have time to bicker with Frank (who knows she killed Rebecca, but she knows he killed Lila, so they’re even in the most deranged way). But Bonnie does decide to stand up to Annalise, asking for forgiveness but standing tall this time. Her interaction with a drunk Annalise sheds light on how they came to be in each other’s company and what Bonnie possibly did in the past:
B: What I did. Rebecca. It was for you. To take care of you. The same way you took care of me.
A: I didn’t take care of you. I ruined you.
B: No. You saved me.
A: No, I didn’t. And the worst part is that you still think that I did.
What did Bonnie do? Or, what didn’t she do that made Annalise step in? Was Annalise Bonnie’s lawyer? Bonnie’s backstory remains the most promising part of season 2, and her no-nonsense attitude from the get-go this year is filling me with sweet life.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“You screw up again, you’re gonna be the next dead body in this house.” – Annalise to Bonnie
COMMENTER THEORY OF THE WEEK
Several of you are keen on the idea that Eve is Annalise’s shooter. It’s possible, but I say it’s a long shot. Connor’s desperate cry of “This is your fault!” probably doesn’t suggest “You shouldn’t have betrayed your gay lover!” though I’ve certainly been wrong before. Discuss!
As always, get at me on Twitter before next week’s episode!