I’ll say this much about How to Get Away with Murder—it’s always surprising. And that’s just about the least surprising, most basic thing I could say about a show that repeatedly leaves me clutching my pearls and my throw pillows and actual people whom I love dearly (J/K, I watch alone) and basically anything else that can be clutched. Just when you think you’ve pinpointed exactly what’s going to happen, BOOM—the show offers up a horrifying zigzag that you truly didn’t see coming, begetting a gasp even when you thought you used up all your gasping power looking at that stupid Kim Kardashian magazine cover.
Here’s why Thursday’s episode left me in such a state of euphoric shock: The Night of the Flying Cheerleader has finally begun! With the bonfire officially underway, the pieces in the Murder, Inc. flash-forward puzzle—as difficult as a 2,000-piece jigsaw of Tilda Swinton in a snowy castle during winter—are finally falling into their proper places, after we’ve been toiling over how to connect every scene and moment for months. Kudos to the show’s creator, Pete Nowalk, for crafting an intricate puzzle that still surprises even as the final picture comes into bleeding focus. (Sadly, Tilda is nowhere to be seen.)
Well, everyone’s cards are on the table now. We know why Murder, Inc.—or should I call them The Study Group Four—is all together on the night of Sam’s murder. We know why Asher is absent. We know why Michaela has the trophy, and why Asher would think of showing up at Annalise’s house to try and get it back. We know why Rebecca goes to the Keating house and why she’s likely to encounter a very pissed off Sam when she gets there. And Bonnie—don’t even get me started on Bonnie. If you’re not 100% on Team Bonnie after last night, then your loyalty needs a reassessment because Bonnie is the new superstar. All this and I didn’t even mention the Lila flashbacks, which didn’t reveal new information but did piece together the summer’s timeline, which endeared us to Rebecca, turned us further from Sam, and made us think more about Griffin’s not-so-big hero 6 than I ever thought we would.
There’s no way to write this recap in my typical format and adequately do justice to all of the bombshells tossed our way tonight, so I present to you a new invention: the chronologically organized HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER GASP-O-METER, powered exclusively by Bonnie’s tears. (Here, you must envision a little scale from 1-10, with tiny animations of Bonnie’s head wherein the tear ducts fill up more and more the higher you go, like an emoji with a bob cut getting progressively further into a binge of Parenthood.)
Let’s get started.
SCENARIO: Lila and Rebecca’s rooftop conversation, June: virginal giggles.
GASP-O-METER: 2 (lines of coke)
So, Alive Girl Lila. Is she everything you thought she would be? She’s quite a bit more fun than Dead Girl Lila (who has a super cute autopsy clay mask in her afterlife) and certainly a bizarre friend match for the surly Rebecca, who hangs out with Lila on the roof of the sorority house where they do coke and talk about penis size and wax secretive about the married man who Lila has started seeing (but not sleeping with, yet). It’s a sweet hang-out spot, far from the judgey eyes of the Kappa Kappa Thetas, but we morbidly know it’s all taking place under the exact same water tank where Lila will, just a few months later, tragically find herself on an eternal quest to find Nemo.
SCENARIO: Annalise accosts Sam in the bedroom and forces Bonnie to watch.
GASP-O-METER: 6 (make-up removal wipes)
Back in the present—well, the relative present—Annalise forces Bonnie to stay for the resulting Sam-frontation after Bonnie has just dropped the news of Lila’s pregnancy. “I need a witness here to make sure you don’t lie to me again,” she yells to her certifiably horrible husband, before turning to Bonnie and shouting, “DO NOT LEAVE.” (Foreshadowing!) Sam swears he didn’t know Lila was pregnant, but Annalise obviously doesn’t believe anything anymore because why should she? Meanwhile, Bonnie just quietly nods along with a free ticket on the worst emotional roller coaster ever. “Should’ve worn a condom,” Annalise scoffs, and then she stretches up her hands and summons a a sturdy cumulonimbus that whisks her upward as she floats out of the room on a cloud of DGAF-anymore.
SCENARIO: The case of the week!
GASP-O-METER: 2 (class PowerPoint presentations)
Once again, we’re reminded that Annalise does in fact teach a law class, and that everyone in class is invited to investigate the case but only a handful are invited to ABC’s upfront party. This week’s murderer: a busy mother whose sleeping pills may have caused her to unconsciously kill the family’s nanny, Elke. “Can you imagine waking up to realize that you killed somebody you loved?” asks the suspect, and her words resonate with Annalise, because themes.
NEXT: Annalise gets angry, Frank makes a booty call, and Michaela goes for the slap!