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'How To Get Away With Murder' recap: 'Always Bet Black'

Posted on

ABC/Nicole WIlder

How to Get Away With Murder

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Viola Davis, Alfred Enoch
Crime, Drama, Mystery

Another episode of HTGAWM, another character who’s not on that stretcher. Despite the fact that many of us had Bonnie going all the way in our who’s-under-the-sheet bracket challenge, it looks like she’s safe. Let’s go over what else we learned in “Always Bet Black.”

In present day, Oliver has left the scene of Annalise’s burning house, and is rushing to delete the contents of the cell phone she gave him at the end of the last episode. Annalise has been taken into custody and is being booked at the police station.

Six Weeks Earlier…

Nate lets Annalise know that he’s filed a missing person’s report for Frank. Annalise says she regrets involving him in this whole mess, and she should have kept the details of everything with Frank to herself. Nate doesn’t quite understand why, but doesn’t take too much offense and makes her a smoothie anyway.

Annalise is back on campus, and it seems as though she may have yelled her way into not being suspended, for the time being. She’s still “teaching” her clinic and promises President Hargrove that the case they have coming up will be a doozy.

How Could Anyone Defend This Guy

The case in question is that of a formerly rich real estate developer named Toby, who’s burned through his money (and five lawyers) trying to defend himself and get a fair trial. A fair trial for what you ask? For the death of an escort he’d hired who died in his presence. He hires Annalise, who promises she will get him zero jail time and get him the fair trial she thinks he deserves for some reason.

Michaela comes to work on this case, but is immediately repulsed when the court learns that Toby took the time to take a selfie with the dead escort, time he could have spent calling 911 or checking to see if she was breathing. They press on though, despite the fact that Toby is a notable creep who hits on Michaela twice in their limited interactions.

Bonnie thinks they should try to get a plea deal for Toby. Annalise goes to talk to the DA/prosecution about this, and though their conversation starts out quite chummy, the DA refuses. She explains to Annalise that there was no way they would negotiate with her because of her “reputation” and previous misconduct (exhibiting clear prosecutional bias).

Meanwhile, Toby has taken $20,000 out of his bank account. When Oliver, Bonnie, and Michaela find out, they rush over to Annalise’s to inform her of his recent activity. Bonnie and Annalise hunt down Toby to see what’s up, and Toby tells them that though he is, in fact, broke, he’s being blackmailed by his last lawyer. Blackmailed for what, you ask?

Toby “killed a girl,” and no, it’s not the girl he’s already on trial for. Toby killed a totally DIFFERENT girl named Janie, who refused to sleep with him and possibly made fun of his appearance. (I say “possibly” because these are Toby’s recollections. Can we really trust them? He seems like a certified psychopath.) So Toby brutally murdered this young, college-aged woman, then hid her body in a freezer in “a warehouse in Manayunk” (my Philly people, everyone knows Manayunk is where all the warehouse/freezers are, amirite?).

Bonnie and Annalise tell Oliver and Michaela to leave, as they try to decide what to do with this information about their client. Bonnie is especially upset, namely at the fact that the family of this poor girl are still feverishly trying to find her.

NEXT: The Slap Heard Round The World[pagebreak]

When they’re back in court, Annalise does her best to try to prove that Toby has not been given a fair trial and does bring up the “missing girl” Janie. With this information, Annalise is able to make a fool of the DA for not hearing her out when she wanted to request a plea deal.

Annalise and Bonnie inform Toby that he’ll have to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and serve three years in prison. Toby immediately starts complaining, and says, “You said you’d get me no jail time??” To which Annalise responds by hauling off and slapping him across the face, and then screaming, “You killed two innocent women, and you think you still get to complain? SAY YOU’LL TAKE THE DEAL. SAY IT.” (Cue all of America cheering and clapping at their TVs.)

I’ll just assume that he took the deal.

What The Rest Of The Kids Were Up To

Seemingly out of nowhere, Michaela, Asher, Connor, and Oliver decide to go to Atlantic City. Michaela had managed to grab Toby’s $20,000 and immediately started betting it on the roulette table, having good luck initially. In the span of three TV minutes, she loses all $20,000 though, and later heads to a pawn shop to hock her old engagement ring and try to get the money back.

Coliver isn’t doing so hot during this whole ordeal. At first, they think they can be cool with each other and hang out with everyone like normal. But later, when Oliver is flirting with a guy in the casino, Connor isn’t pleased and relocates himself to the slot machines. Somehow, in a series of events I can’t even really explain through my blinding rage, Connor is once again apologizing to Oliver for not doing anything wrong and generally being the bigger person. I just can’t with these two anymore, I’m Allure in 1997 and “All Cried Out” over Coliver’s antics. Breakups are hard, and I just hope they can both make it work for the rest of the group.

Finally, we learned more about Laurel in this episode than maybe ever before. Annalise sent her to Miami to “see her father” but really, to see if her father had any intel on Frank. Laurel’s father creates what sounds like some form of governmental surveillance, and Annalise assumed he might know something about Frank’s whereabouts.

It turns out Laurel and her father have years of conflict to resolve, so much so that he brings in a mediator to try to help them work things out. Apparently, Laurel’s father abandoned her and her mother, and also did not pay the ransom to save her when she was kidnapped at 16 years old. He’s also tapped her phone, and has been listening to her call Frank over and over all summer long, which is a little weird.

He wants to apologize though and make things right between them. Later, Laurel’s father wants to school her on Frank not being a good guy for her and refuses to give her any info on his whereabouts until she signs some family “investment” documents. Eventually she does, and he tells her he tracked Frank at a motel outside of Pittsburgh.

When Laurel returns home, she lies to Annalise. She tells her that she would have had to “sign over her soul” in order to get the information about Frank, which she didn’t want to do (though, we know she did).

Six Weeks Ahead…

Back to present day, we see that Bonnie is now at the scene of Annalise’s house on fire. Oliver has brought back the wiped phone and slides it under the ambulance to make it seem like Annalise simply dropped it there. Bonnie asks the cops for more information and what the charges are, and just then, they hear another cop say that “a second body was found” — and it has a pulse.

Honorable Mentions

  • “Does it have bacon in it?” —Annalise speaking for all of us, when anyone hands you a smoothie
  • “You hit on her… I’ll cut off your balls.” —Annalise to Toby, unfortunately she did not follow through
  • “The President can suck it.” —Annalise again, full of winners in this episode
  • Bonnie, mature as ever, acts unfazed by the news of Asher and Michaela hooking up. In fact she informs Michaela “We don’t need to make this a thing. You can bone whoever you want.”
  • “Walshy needs a hug!” —Asher, as Connor is playing a slot machine and trying to ignore Oliver
  • “Okay that was hot, like I-want-you-to-sit-on-my-face-right-now hot.” – Asher, eloquent as always, right after Michaela negotiates with the pawnshop owner

With Bonnie safe, my current guesses for “who’s under the sheet” are Wes or Nate. Were you surprised by this week’s reveal? How about Laurel’s backstory? 

Episode grade: B+