How to Get Away with Murder recap: 'It's All Her Fault'
Annalise grows suspicious of her sneaky husband, Bonnie locks eyes on Laurel, and a new culpable member joins the Murder, Inc. foursome.
I am not married. I have not been married. I want to get married—it’s a desire that flares up each time I see a baby laugh or a puppy trot or a 50-year-old bachelor buy single-serve noodles. But no, I’m not married, and the only thing I’m engaged to are tweets from Denny’s. So to say I am in any position to throw judgmental side-eye at an unfortunate marriage is to lie completely. MUCH LIKE SAM KEATING. Ohhh, do you see what I did there? Because he’s a liar! And maybe a murderer! But definitely a liar! Welcome to the recap of How to Get Away with Murder, Episode Two: The One with the Sketchy Husbands.
If every marriage is like the two and a half unions on display in episode 2–titled “It’s All Her Fault”—then maybe I’d better rethink my stance on rushing into the institution. Or, more accurately, maybe I’d better just make sure to give my future spouse a comprehensive evaluation before we wed. For instance: Does he seem like the kind of guy who would exchange innocuous emails with a much younger woman but delete them in a panic if I ever raised an eyebrow? Does he exhibit murderer-ish tendencies like hunting, taxidermy, a bizarre affection for knives, or wearing a mauve waist towel post-shower? Does he have either (a) crazy eyes, (b) shirts that are too crisp, or (c) a killer combination of both? If yes to all, then maybe it’s time to reconsider the idea of wedded not-so-bliss, which was certainly the hot topic on Thursday’s episode. And it’s all because Annalise thinks her hubby may have gotten away with murder.
IT’S A DELETED E-MAIL, CHARLIE BROWN!
The big, looming umbrella that casts a shadow over this episode is the idea that Annalise—after her epic “Betcha the boyfriend did it” shade toss in the final moments of the pilot—has begun to fall deeper into suspicion that her husband, Sam, killed his student Lila Stangard.
At first, it seems as if she’s just giving him skeptical glances here and there, but we have to remember that Annalise isn’t just taking stock of what Sam says about Lila, but how he says it. She’s noticing body language, demeanor, emotion (or lack thereof). Annalise’s vacant looks while her husband makes morning small-talk are simultaneously saying everything and nothing; they’re filled with some combination of scrutiny, sadness, maybe even hatred, and certainly by the end of the hour, when she’s become convinced of Sam’s culpability, there’s a fourth element: fear. (That said, the actual dialogue Sam says is important, too, like when he remarks, “All the time her body was in that water tank probably destroyed any evidence,” an offhand statement made while pouring coffee and looking altogether way too cheerful for the morning.)
Tying in with Annalise’s marital misgiving is the case-of-the-week, featuring guest star Steven Weber (already creepy, but even more so when wearing cream fabrics) as Max St. Vincent, a billionaire hunter who stands trial for savagely stabbing his wife in their bed in his horrifying taxidermy-ed McMansion. It’s another case of obvious guilt, but Annalise’s students do a bang-up job of getting him off by tossing out the murder weapon (thanks, Wes and a police receptionist who hates her job), attacking the motive (thanks, Connor and IT guy Oliver) and securing the alibi (thanks, Frank and Prom Queen and Douche Face and strip club-based blackmail). The kids manage to land a Not Guilty verdict for Max, and they get their first taste of public outrage when they’re harangued into an elevator by angry patrons crying for justice. (First to crack: Michaela, because obviously.) The overall theme to the case, though, has to do with murdering whack-job husbands who dovetail with Annalise’s classroom question at the episode’s outset: “Do you know who anyone really is? Your instincts better be good, or you’ll find yourself choosing the wrong people to make a study group with, to sleep with, or even marry.” And so, back to Sam and Annalise…
Two major things are revealed in Keatingland: first, that Sam had e-mail exchanges with Dead Girl Lila. Annalise sneakily searches through her husband’s phone while he’s in the shower mulling the benefits of chicken tikka masala and finds emails between Sam and DGL that, all things considered, are pretty run-of-the-mill professor-student interactions: things about office hours and exam grades and thesis ideas and whether you can really see Ben Affleck’s penis in Gone Girl. But what really seems to bug Annalise is the way Lila signs her name—L. Just L.
Now, I have to say, I sign my emails with a single letter every once in a while, which, although douchey, doesn’t necessarily suggest that I’m sleeping with every coworker and publicist with whom I interact. So it makes me wonder—if the simple letter “L” is really the only thing sending Annalise into such a fit of suspicion, then maybe there’s a level of unreliability to her that suggests she’s overreacting and we shouldn’t necessarily believe everything Annalise believes.
But she has reason to be skeptical, and that’s thanks to the second big development: Sam had another affair. It comes out when Annalise asks Sam, point blank, “Were you screwing her?” Sam avoids eye contact and says no, and Annalise hits right back, “You sure about that?” So he accuses her of being crazy, and she GOES CRACKERS (not full-on Ritz but, like, definitely Wheat Thins): “Well, shouldn’t I be!? It’s happened before.” BOOM. Drop the mic, spike the football, take the cookies out of the oven and transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Sam’s adulterous history—with another student, or perhaps with Bonnie?—is a big revelation and certainly one that we’ll revisit in the future, but in the present, we now know Annalise has a concrete reason to be paranoid. Sam, you ostensibly sleazy, reportedly adulterous, possibly homicidal sketchball!
And so, after an already distrustful Annalise discovers that Sam has later deleted the emails from Lila, she goes into full-on panic mode and runs to Nate, who is still upset with her for, oh, casually blackmailing him last week. (“I’m done with your crazy,” he sassed her outside the courthouse.) But Annalise fearfully and tearfully begs Nate to look into Sam’s alibi—he was allegedly at Yale the night she was killed—because she believes Sam’s alibi might not check out.
So what does this mean for us amateur sleuths trying to solve Lila’s murder? First, it definitely proves Annalise is not a suspect in Lila’s case—look no further than the teardrop on her pillow after she sleeps with Sam. That teardrop signifies Annalise’s genuine pain and fear and, frankly, you simply cannot lie to viewers in private moments like those (a mistake Homeland made in season 3 when it tried to pull a fast one). Second, we now know that Sam is definitely adulterous, had more than a passing connection to L, and felt a reason to delete her emails—so what else is he hiding?
But oh, Sam can rest easy for now because we’ve already got our first (but certainly not last) arrests in the DGL case. Shortly after the police rule Lila’s death a homicide, the cops interview her boyfriend Griffin, who, hours later, is arrested—along with Wes’ neighbor Rebecca.
Let’s talk about Rebecca, shall we?
NEXT: I literally just told you we’re going to talk about Rebecca.
HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE REBECCA?
Just when Wes is starting to come around to his petite, pierced, punkette neighbor, she gets arrested for murder. But there’s good news! Based on our flash-forward to December—that magical month when snowflakes fall and law students bury corpses and did I mention snowflakes falling—we learn that Rebecca isn’t in prison, but is definitely in hiding.
Pre-arrest, back in September, Rebecca shows up at Wes’ door at 4 in the morning asking to use his shower. (During the visit, she drops more clues about Rudy, the former law student who used to live in Wes’ apartment and apparently shares the same crazed look as Wes, even though I think Wes is frequently displaying more of a toddler-confused-by-implications-of-his-new-baby-sister kind of look.) After a strangely brazen striptease that makes Wes adjust his habeas corpus, Rebecca shuts the bathroom door and gets in the shower. It’s all relatively normal, I guess, even though it’s absolutely not normal at all. But after Wes finds out about Rebecca’s arrest from a news report that also mentions her history of selling hardcore drugs, Wes suddenly realizes that Rebecca may have purposely hidden her toiletry bag in his apartment—almost as if she knew at 4 a.m. she was going to be arrested once day broke.
Instead of a bag of drugs, Wes discovers a cell phone hidden underneath his sink. Did she purposely leave it for Wes to find? Or is he about to uncover her secrets and browse through her apps and change all her contacts to names of various Gryffindors? It all hinges on whether he even gets past the password lock, of course (50 bucks says it’s 5452, because L-I-L-A, because obviously).
The other major Rebecca moment in the episode comes at the end, when we find out the bombshell that, on the night of Sam Keating’s murder, Rebecca is sitting pretty in a motel room while Murder Inc. is burying his chiseled, well-defined, P90X-shaped body. To understand the part Rebecca now plays in the Keating murder, let’s rewind the episode’s revelations about that night.
MURDER, INC. REVELATION #1: Read this dialogue
We start with the scene directly before last week’s, when Wes has returned to the woods with the bloody trophy of Lady Justice. Connor, Michaela, and Laurel are pacing around the forest, anxious that Wes hasn’t arrived, and their dialogue offers more clues about what happened that night:
Michaela: He should be here by now.
Connor: It’s fine.
Michaela: What if it’s not? What if they got caught, or went to the police, or she convinced him to pin it on us?
Connor: Wes wouldn’t do that.
Michaela: But she would.
Connor: Stop, okay! It’s going to be fine.
Michaela: Well think about it! How we got here! It’s all her fault.
Laurel: It’s not her fault. We’re all to blame.
Michaela: No, I want to call Aiden.
Michaela: No, I never agreed to this!
Connor: Because you had a meltdown! You could barely form a sentence! So shut up, sit down, and stop acting like a little bitch baby.
Michaela: Do not tell me how to feel right now.
It’s a lot to process. Obviously, we know by the episode’s end that the “she” in question is Rebecca. And that Michaela’s fiance’s name is Aiden. And that Rebecca started everything, and that Michaela had a meltdown, and that the gang allowed Wes and Rebecca to split off at some point, and that Laurel blames all of them while Michaela blames just one, and that Connor is really quite rude when he’s cranky.
MURDER, INC. REVELATION #2: Wes lied!
Last week, we saw the gang deciding to flip a coin to determine whether or not to retrieve Sam’s body from the Keating house. Wes flips, but it turns out he was the only one to see where it landed, and he lied about it. Thus, it’s singularly his decision to go back for the body. (Will the fact that he lied about the coin toss ever come up again? Probably not, but it does reveal a brash layer of December Wes that isn’t available in the Wes September Issue.)
MURDER, INC. REVELATION #3: The burner phone
At the gas station, Wes buys a disposable prepaid cell phone—conveniently on display at the edge of an aisle, just as all burner phones are. Despite looking ridiculously suspicious, he calls Rebecca from the back of the store. “We’re taking care of it,” he urges. “They didn’t want to at first, but I got them to come around. We’re going to protect you.” Maybe Michaela is right and whatever happened that night really is all Rebecca’s fault?
For now, I’m going to yell at Wes for a minute for not realizing that convenience store surveillance cameras in nearby areas are, like, the first things cops turn to when there’s been a murder. I can’t even begin to imagine how many other careless things Wes did in that store (including why he just blatantly passed by the Corn Nuts without even giving them a fair glance).
MURDER, INC. REVELATION #4: Bex’s motel
Lastly: At some point after Sam’s body is disposed of, Wes rides his bike to Rebecca’s motel and reunites with her in the room where she’s been hiding. They kiss. She doesn’t have cornrows anymore. (Maybe she went to prison and they actually reverse-prisoned her and took them out?) “Don’t you ever leave me like that again,” says Rebecca. “What took you so long?” says Rebecca. “Did you mail back Philomena?” says Rebecca. Yes, Wes says to all of this, “I’m not going anywhere.”
So at some point in the two and a half months between Lila’s murder and Sam’s murder, Wes and Rebecca became an item and Rebecca went into secret motel hiding. What now!? Did Rebecca kill Sam, or simply initiate the chain of events that led to his murder? Was he sleeping with her, too? Did Sam meet up with Lila at Rebecca’s bar? Did Wes kill Sam for putting the moves on his girl? And DEAR GOD, WHAT DOES LAUREL THINK!?
NEXT: Other bits and pieces, plus the 15 most important quotes from the episode
Here are a few things I won’t be fully diving into this week, but are worth discussing:
—The simmering tension between Laurel and Bonnie, and Frank and Bonnie, and Sam and Bonnie, and even Annalise and Bonnie, and basically the very idea that Bonnie is THE supporting character to watch… although Frank is proving to be as equally dubious and blackmail-savvy as their boss. Consider the epic Bonnie speech in which she basically beats down Laurel and proves that, despite her name, she’s more of a cold-blooded tigress than a nice librarian. Her relationship with Frank is cause for investigation, as is her dreamy-eyed crush on Sam.
—The suggestion of some fallout between Michaela and Connor: Why do they hate each other so much in December? I imagine that one night of passion led Michaela to cheat on her fiance with Connor (bisexual?) and the damage to her relationship is beyond repair. Or they just really don’t get along.
—Speaking of Connor, his sexuality is definitely worthy of attention, especially if his courtship with Oliver blossoms into something bigger during the season. If the show debuted in the early 2000’s, Connor Walsh would be the exact same character, only he’d be straight and a womanizer instead of gay and a man-eater. Besides the steamy sequences between him and his IT-hacking beau, there’s a certain mystery to Connor beyond just his sexual ferocity. I must know more.
—The case-of-the-week made use of the idea of a false identity, which is also my EW Commenter Theory of the Week from commenter Jess in last week’s recap. Will false identity come into play in either of the two main murders?
—Asher Millstone. Was Annalise’s brief mention of his possible criminal record just a throwaway line, or a suggestion that there’s going to be some fun backstory to Asher that will unfold? Why isn’t he there on the night of the Keating murder? Hopefully Asher’s story will involve an explanation why he’s one of those people who takes photos with an iPad.
—We must learn more about Rudy, the former tenant who lived in Wes’ apartment and obviously made pointless use of the thousands of dollars his parents spent on orthodontics. Is he dead? I’m going to go ahead and say no.
THIS WEEK’S HOMEWORK: 15 QUOTES TO DISCUSS
1. “The question I’m asked most often as a defense attorney is whether I can tell if my clients are innocent or guilty. And my answer is always the same: I don’t care.” —Annalise, further proving her moral ambiguity and demonstrating that she’ll make sure all of her students exercise that same level of nonchalance
2. “Because all black people are related?” —Michaela, shutting down some EW commenters’ (and Asher’s) notions that maybe Wes is the secret baby Annalise gave up for adoption
3. “Why are any of you here? That’s the question I’m still asking myself.” —Bonnie, shutting down the kids’ smack-talk about Wes but giving particular icy-dagger-eye attention to Laurel, who has really, really upset her for some Frank-related reason
4. “I look nice, I know, but that’s just my face. And you coming to me with your questions and personal drama is not going to make me nicer. So rather than me tell you the answer to what you just asked, let me just say that the time you are wasting worrying about Frank is time you should be using getting Annalise to actually learn your name. I’m done talking to you.” —Bonnie “Tip-of-the-Crazy-Iceberg” Winterbottom, going full passive-aggressive on Laurel
5. “I don’t do boyfriends.” —Connor, after forgetting about his dinner with IT guy Oliver but before he arrives with takeout and makes it up to him
6. “Tonight, I do you.” —Oliver, uh, letting Connor make it up to him
7. “Let’s give you more responsibility then.” — Annalise, getting all up on Wes like Hercules on Pegasus, because their close encounter during the dean’s cocktail party wasn’t enough
8. “This is a receipt from Risque Business.” — Asher, demonstrating why Matt McGorry is hilarious AND also revealing the little tidbit that Frank immediately knew where in town the strip club was located
9. “You call me again, I swear to God I’ll tell your husband every dirty, nasty thing I did to you under his own roof.” — Nate, upset with his bae
10. “Hi there, I spent all weekend volunteering for a homeless shelter.” —Lila, likely lying her ass off
11. “There was nothing going on with me and that girl. I swear to God.” —Sam, likely lying his ass off
12. “The quiet ones are usually the most dangerous.” —Annalise, getting all foreshadowy on us
13. “You’re the one we need to worry about. What, you think you’re the only one in that house who notices things?” —Frank, calling out Bonnie for exhibiting her own adulterous shenanigans
14. “YOU GOT AWAY WITH MURDER!” —Some random person in the courthouse after Max gets a not guilty verdict; I’m not even kidding, go back and listen and you’ll hear someone definitely said this
15. “We’re all capable of terrible things.” —Annalise, summarizing every single character on HTGAWM
So much drama! So many theories to discuss! Such amazing eyebrows on Connor! Oh my GAWM! Commenters, let me hear your crazy theories! Sound off at me on Twitter or down below.