How to Get Away with Murder recap: 'Smile, or Go to Jail'
Annalise juggles a soccer mom and a football star, Michaela juggles her fiance and Connor (who definitely juggled each other), and Wes sticks his neck out for Rebecca, who probably doesn't much care for juggling.
Poor Michaela. Sure, it’s easy to write her off and say that the Ivy League overachiever has it all, if “it all” means chic power blouses and luxurious hair and a perfectly vacuumed bedroom that looks like Monica Geller designed a Target back-to-school ad. She seems like the kind of girl who would skip “Shake It Off” on a playlist and not even bother telling you why. But there’s a layer of vulnerability about Michaela that revealed itself tonight, and it’s thanks to the classic scenario we’ve all been through: Girl meets boy, girl falls for boy, girl absolutely freaks out when she discovers that boy has previously Hufflepuffed another boy’s Slytherin. Sigh.
Loyal readers of my How to Get Away with Murder recaps know that one of my biggest questions about the Night of the Sam Keating Murder (a.k.a. Night of the Flying Cheerleader) is why Michaela and Connor hate each other more than they seem to hate everyone else. And the answer, at the moment, seems to be the newfound knowledge that Michaela will never be able to forget that she and Connor are now and forever Eskimo brothers. Her fiance Aiden swears he’s not gay, but bi-phobic Michaela isn’t convinced—and Connor, meanwhile, proves yet again that he’s the biggest, sexiest, most beautifully brooding, side-mouth-smiling douchebag since Alex Karev.
Oh, but there were plenty of other juicy developments in Episode 3—things that had to do with Lila’s phone, Griffin’s testimony, Michaela’s engagement ring, Wes’ recklessness, Sam’s not-so-true alibi, Nate’s not-so-true reporting of the alibi, Annalise’s dinner party, Frank’s mysterious job, Bonnie’s steamy trail mix encounter, Laurel’s very first party invitation, Asher’s meatloaf, and Rebecca’s cornrow-less hair (so much bounce!). It’s HTGAWM Thursday, and it’s time to break down all the #OhMyGAWM.
THE LILA STANGARD MURDER
Here’s what we learned this week:
Point of Interest #1: Rebecca has Lila’s phone.
After finding the phone Rebecca hid in his bathroom hours before she got arrested, Wes can’t seem to unlock the device (and Connor won’t let his IT eye candy help, either). But when the phone rings, Wes answers—and it’s someone named “Man” (thanks, closed captions!) who calls looking for Lila, claiming that some dude “said she could hook me up.” Now, where I come from, hook-ups mean three things: Internet connections, various sexual acts that often lead to regrettable results, and good old-fashioned drug dealers. Was Lila a drug dealer? Were Rebecca and Lila co-drug dealers? Can drug dealers even be co-drug dealers? (Like, one in charge of the product and one in charge of branding and marketing, à la Breaking Bad?) More importantly, though: Why does Rebecca have Lila’s phone?
Point of Interest #2: Griffin’s tale is Rebecca.
That last question is somewhat answered in the pre-testimony testimony of newly arrested football star Griffin O’Reilly, whom the University has asked Annalise to defend in an attempt to save the sports program and keep the undergraduate jawline-to-book ratio high. Griffin reveals his story about the night of Lila’s murder:
Knowing that Griffin is going to blame Rebecca, Wes runs to the jail to warn her. He suddenly discovers he knows how to use Photoshop and prints out a fake Pennsylvania attorney’s license so that he can infiltrate the police department and get into an interrogation room to warn Rebecca. (Where did Wes get this bad-boy instinct and reckless abandon? The world’s best/worst law school professor, obvi.) Posing as a public defender, Wes asks Rebecca whether there’s evidence on Lila’s phone that can save her, but Rebecca inexplicably calls the guard and throws Wes out. As they cart him away, he yells, “Soylent Green is people!” and then he realizes he probably should have yelled, “Griffin’s going to pin it on you!” and it’s only THEN that Rebecca is suddenly worried. Worried enough to confess to the entire murder, it seems. (And next week’s previews suggest that Wes will get into a whole lot of trouble for his big mouth.)
Point of Interest #3: Sam’s alibi doesn’t check out.
What of our main adult suspect, Sam Keating? You know that alibi Sam said he had on August 29, the night of Lila’s murder? Yeah, turns out, not so much. Following up on Annalise’s plea last week, Nate goes to Yale to check Sam’s story and finds out that Mr. Keating never showed up for the lecture he was meant to give. He claimed he had food poisoning, and it pissed off the Yale dean who had been courting him for a job. (At a later dinner party with Annalise and friends, Sam drops the casual news that he didn’t get the job, but curiously forgets to mention why.)
Nate also finds out that Sam’s car had left the hotel’s parking lot from 7 p.m. on August 29 until 6 a.m. the next morning. So, Sam’s alibi is now officially tarnished, BUT the big difference here is that it’s the first time viewers and Annalise have taken divergent roads… because we see that Nate decided not to tell Annalise that Sam’s alibi doesn’t stack up. Instead, he completely lies and says her husband was at Yale the whole time.
WHY, NATE, WHY!? Is it so Annalise—the woman whom you have seen crumble from the paranoia of her husband’s possibly homicidal inclinations—can finally rest easy? Or do you, Nate Lahey, know more about the Lila case than you’re letting on?
NEXT: How to get away without your engagement ring
THE SAM KEATING MURDER
Time for Murder, Inc. We only have a few glimpses at the Night of the Flying Cheerleader (a.k.a. Night of the Wasted Tuition) but they’re a doozy, especially since they’re not just extensions of scenes we’ve already witnessed but entirely new additions to the timeline.
In Annalise’s Office, Immediately Post-Murder
For the first time, we see the immediate aftermath of Sam Keating’s murder, with the hunky professor lying on the floor (half-rug, half-floorboard) with blood gushing from his head. Wes, Laurel, and Connor enter the room from various locations—were they checking the house for any other witnesses?—meanwhile Rebecca sits in a chair (welcome to Murder, Inc.!) and a shell-shocked Michaela crouches in a corner, traumatized. Notice that she still has her engagement ring on? Also, notice that she seems to be the most affected by the murder, suggesting that she’s either the one who did it OR the one who needed to be protected. Or she’s just uppity.
The Coin Toss
We’re back at the familiar coin toss scene, when
the group Wes decides to go back for the body and burn it, with the bonfire covering up the smoke. The new information: Laurel takes it one step further, claiming that the bonfire can be their alibi. And so we learn that Murder, Inc. (minus Rebecca again) drops their corpse agenda and, for one brief moment, lets loose at the Night of the Wasted Tuition (a.k.a. Night of the Bonfire Bodyfire). Selfies are taken, drinks are drunk, and Connor apparently transforms into Heath Ledger’s early take on the Joker as he grabs a photo with Michaela, who looks like she wants to be absolutely anywhere else. “Smile, or go to jail!” Connor says menacingly, and things get just a little weird, even by Connor standards.
After The “Disposal”
In what looks to be the first glimpse at the scene after they’ve burned Sam’s body, the Scooby gang is throwing black trash bags into the car—maybe supplies, or… charred remains?—and Michaela comes to the shocking realization that she’s dropped her engagement ring. (Truth: I actually gasped like a Bryce Dallas Howard in The Help when she drops this bomb.) Now, she clearly had it on in Annalise’s office, and I implore eagle-eyed viewers to go back through the first two episodes and investigate whether she had it on during the gas station scene, the let’s-roll-the-body-into-this-cute-carpet scene, or the final let’s-burn-this-bitch scene.
The last bit about the Sam Keating murder has to do with the possession of the trophy, which switches owners tonight from Connor to Wes, who brings us one step closer to Kevin Bacon, who brings us one step closer to Rebecca, who Annalise will now be representing in court—though not for this murder.
CASE OF THE WEEK
If last week’s marriage-gone-bad was themed to tie in to Annalise’s marriage, this week’s goes right to Michaela, who may have taken a closer look at the kinks in her perhaps not-so-perfect relationship after seeing the love trials of Paula/Elena (Ugly Betty’s Ana Ortiz), a soccer mom with dual identities who stands trial for her part in a hippie terrorist group that bombed a health institute in the ’90s. Now, PauLena is happily married (to Roy from The Office!) but she never got over her former lover Gabriel, who is in jail serving time for their shared crime. To get an early release, Gabriel betrays her on the stand and sends her skipping town—but they reunite later (and hopefully she never buys another unfortunate pastel sweater-shirt combo again).
A couple things of note here, thematically: When PauLena recounts the thrills she once had with her jailed lover, Annalise is tearfully reminded of her own present sadness that she is hopelessly lost in her marriage to Sam. And when it appears Gabriel has betrayed PauLena, Annalise bestows a random piece of marital advice to Michaela: “Choose your husband carefully, Miss Pratt. You’ll only have yourself to blame if it ends badly.”
Is there an obvious parallel between Michaela’s relationship and PauLena’s? The idea of a double life, perhaps, thanks to Aiden’s gay hook-up with Connor in boarding school. Beyond Michaela, I have this thought: If every case of the week has had some thematic link to principal characters, then should we be concerned that this week’s case involved fake identities? Possibly. Should we move on from this confusing case and dive into some of the other hot topics of the night? Yes, let’s definitely do that.
NEXT: Frank and Bonnie go to market
A VISIT TO FRANKLAND
Big news over in Frankland (population: 2, plus a beard)—it turns out he’s not actually an attorney, a bombshell dropped by Annalise herself when she brusquely cuts off his testicles and says, “Leave the lawyering to the actual lawyers.” The kids theorize what he’s even doing there—Asher thinks he’s Annalise’s bodyguard—but Laurel defends him, thereby exposing hints of her relationship to two more people (namely Connor and Asher). When Frank shows up to a party at a bar and sees Laurel flirting with another man, he storms out, suggesting that Frank has some deeply rooted anger and jealousy problems, which anyone could tell based on that stink-eye facial expression he always seems to have.
My Frank theories? 1. He’s someone from Annalise’s past whom she helped get a new identity (and now he does grunt work while she, like, teaches him English or something). 2. He’s blackmailing Annalise into employing him and not exposing him for some mysterious crime. 3. He’s a former client of Annalise’s who she’s kept around to do her dirty work. 4. He’s somehow related to Rudy, the former law student who had a breakdown. 5. He IS Rudy. Oh my God, can you even imagine?
Ask me next week, and I will completely deny that I ever posed any of these theories.
WHAT WOULD BONNIE DO?
This week in What Would Bonnie Do?, our favorite ice queen gave this firm warning to the kids: “Don’t call her Annalise.” (Seems fair enough, just as it seems bizarre enough that Asher would even dare to call her anything but Professor Keating.) Bonnie also gave a death stare to Laurel after she asked for permission to go to a party, and a why-don’t-you-love-me stare to Sam when they bumped hips as she went hunting for trail mix in the kitchen. The latter scene is of interest because there seems to be so much non-verbal communication between Bonnie and Sam’s looks that I’m still thinking they either have a shared sexual history or, worse, a shared criminal background. Could they be Bonnie and Clyde-ing us!?
COMMENTER THEORY OF THE WEEK
Maira: “Sam killed Lila and somehow it fell on the boyfriend and Rebecca. Afterwards, Rebecca found out it was actually Sam who killed Lila, but he started blackmailing her. Wes and Rebecca became close, he decided to help her with her Sam situation…Maybe Sam was afraid his affair with Lila would go public, if they were actually having one. Maybe Lila wanted to break-up with the boyfriend to be with Sam and he (Sam) freaked out.”
That’s it for this week! As always, drop your theories here in the comments or shoot them over on Twitter.