How to Get Away with Murder recap: 'Freakin' Whack-a-Mole'
I’m here for you.
When your breath stops because you’ve just learned that Bonnie and Asher have been Winnie-ing each other’s Pooh, know that I am here. When your tear ducts overflow because you’ve just seen Annalise passionately steamroll over a senatorial assclown and seize redemption for a convict who spent two decades on death row, know that I am here. When you realize that Frank, Wes, and Annalise are casually framing Griffin for murder and that Nate is investigating the whole thing and your jaw has unhinged and fallen to the floor like your worst friend’s third iPhone, know that I am here. For wallpaper decorations and courtroom monologues and shirtless former boy-wizards, I am here.
Boy, what a doozy of an episode—possibly the show’s best so far, which is really saying something. The developments are flying left and right in Murder’s sixth week, and there are just two more episodes left until the midseason finale, which will reveal who killed Sam—likely in the final seconds of the episode, resulting in a cliffhanger just stressful enough to get you really worked up when you inevitably have to explain to your Thanksgiving table why they should be watching and why Viola Davis will win an Emmy and what exactly a “Jack Falahee” is (it’s not a cocktail, although I guess you could make an argument that, yes, it is).
Ready? There’s a lot to discuss after episode 6, and there’s no time like the present. Like millennial girls who hear Scary Spice start rapping in “Wannabe,” it’s time to break it down.
ASHER MILLSTONE: LEGAL EAGLE
Before the last 60 seconds of the episode sent me Sandra Bullocking into cosmic oblivion, I had originally intended to begin this recap with some long overdue praise for Matt McGorry. Sure, we know him as a former weightlifting monster turned Orange prison guard, but it’s his role as HTGAWM’s lovable ascot-wearing Tweedle-dumbass that’s got me most excited to see what McGorry does each week. In tonight’s episode, we were treated to classic Asher comic relief—born from cartoonish melodrama and overreactions, not to mention physical comedy involving humorously stacked boxes stacked humorously—but there was a great moment wherein Asher finally earned the audience’s love and McGorry really got to bust out the dramatic chops that he’s been hiding up his sleeves (next to the biceps).
It begins with the case of the week, a decades-old murder case that Annalise has the opportunity to appeal if she and the Keating Five (maybe let’s try out some other team names, Annalise) can find new evidence to save a man wrongly convicted of killing his girlfriend. The wrinkle is that someone in the original trial committed perjury, and the judge presiding over it—Asher’s father, Judge Golfing-Buddies-With-Bush-Sr. Millstone—was told about it, but did nothing about it.
So Asher, whose entire life has been crafted for him by his dad, reluctantly indulges in the suspicion and sneaks into his father’s journals to find out the truth, and he discovers that Papa Mills kept quiet about the perjury tip and subsequently received a federal appointment from the sleazy senator behind the whole thing. But when Asher confronts his corrupt father—about the case, yes, but with a deeper subtext suggesting the magnitude and rarity of the confrontation—it was filled with as much complexity and sadness as any of Viola’s masterful scenes. I don’t mean to get all preachy here, but it was an important and necessary moment for the audience to finally care about Asher. Beyond what polo color he’s wearing that day.
Asher’s connection to the case also finally explains how he got the trophy he so desperately cherishes. When he returns the information to Annalise, he wisely demands that his father’s name stay out of the case and that he gains ownership of the Bloody Lady Justice (who needs a name—commenters, take it away!). We’re seeing Annalise’s methods rub off on all of her students, particularly with Asher and Wes this week. Finally, it’s also Asher who helps save the day when he accidentally uncovers the link between the lying eyewitness and the shady senator who masterminded the entire murder. Good work, boo.
BOSHER: THE NEW BRANGELINA?
Now, that’s all fine about Asher being an emotionally available legal hero this week, but I know you just want to talk about the sex. Fortunately, for my sake, Asher already decided upon the name “Bosher” to describe the pairing of him and Bonnie, who team up to go talk to the eyewitness during one of the episode’s multiple Let’s Accomplish Legal Things To Techno Music montages.
Should we have seen clues that Asher and Bonnie ever made eyes at each other in the weeks leading up to the Night of the Flying Cheerleader? No, definitely not, because on a show all about lingering gazes, Bosher is one staring pairing that we never glimpsed. And it’s why the sight of Asher and Bonnie in bed—only after Asher made several phone calls begging her to come over—came as such a shock. But the question is, is it just a booty call? We know Bonnie’s heart belongs to Sam, but if she can’t have Mr. Keating, maybe she’s only getting Millstoned because they have similar body types? No no, my friends, this likely isn’t just some harmless romantic tryst. If you believe the theory that Bonnie killed Sam—or, maybe, was with Sam right before he died—then what better alibi for her than an idiot’s bedroom? Asher had to make multiple phone calls to urge her to come over, so I predict we’ll get to see exactly how Bonnie was multitasking when she fielded those calls. Either way, score one for Asher, getting a cougar out of the cage. And Bonnie, you’re not doing so bad for yourself, either.
NEXT: Annalise’s rug goes rogue
On the night of Sam’s murder, we’ve always known what the kids were up to—looking for engagement rings and calling bearded gentlemen and sinking into hysteria and wearing cute hoodies—but now we finally see our first glimpse at Annalise on the Night of the Flying Cheerleader. Based on the timeline, Annalise arrives in her office just around the same time that Murder, Inc. is burying Sam in the ground and Asher is, uh, burying something else. With the rug glaringly missing on the floor, Annalise calls Bonnie in full desperation, begging to know whether Bonnie is with Sam. “Do not lie to me right now,” says Annalise, and Bonnie denies (again, did someone say alibi?). Then Annalise cries out, “Something terrible’s happened.” And scene.
It’s not much to go on, but it’s shocking that Annalise immediately knows something is up when she arrives in her office—at a very late hour and not in her pajamas, curiously. So why does she assume something horrible has happened to Sam? And where was she when the kids were actually in her house? Perhaps with Nate? Or Taco Bell? Or somewhere even more scandalous?
Wes is furious with Annalise. “You just can’t stop lying,” he tells HIS TEACHER after discovering her husband’s penis on his neighbor’s dead friend’s cell phone. “You’re disgusting. You disgust me.” (And just like that, we learn that Hogwarts definitely never taught manners.) Wes storms off, and the next day in class he leaves his trophy on his desk in silent protest, which definitely shakes Annalise’s concentration (but clearly not enough to make her truly confused and call on a student who isn’t a series regular).
Well, Annalise goes to visit Wes at his gross apartment and stumbles in just as Wes has finished taking the most glistening shower she’s ever seen. She sits on his bed and asks what he wants, again suggesting some of that creepy Annalise-Wes sexual tension I love/hate so much, but they’re talking strictly about Wes’s newfound knowledge of the Lila-Sam affair. Wes admits he has written down everything he knows and he’ll tell the police about the Keatings—unless Annalise can convince her client Rebecca to safely return home, now that she’s fled and violated her bail.
Somewhat reluctantly, Annalise enlists Not-A-Lawyer Frank to (1) track down Rebecca, who is likely staying with one of her drug dealer friends (2) clear Lila’s phone of any identification info that will trace back to Sam (3) plant the phone in ex-boyfriend Griffin’s car, thereby implicating Griffin by suggesting he found his girlfriend’s sexts with another man and thus had motive to kill her. It’s a ruthless if inelegant plan, and it works—the cops announce that they’ve turned on Griffin after receiving an anonymous tip to search Griffin’s car—but the coast isn’t totally clear because DETECTIVE NATE is sniffing the trail!
As Rebecca and Wes safely return to Annalise’s house, Nate is sitting in his car (which apparently has a permanent parking spot outside of the Keating residence) and sifting through footage of Griffin from the last 48 hours. He finds pictures of Griffin exiting his car and Frank breaking in to plant the phone, and it’s bad news for the Keating office, because it’s only a matter of time before Nate’s investigation takes him right to Annalise’s front door.
So, is Nate now investigating the Lila murder on the right, legal side of things? Who is the mysterious man who hooked him up with the surveillance footage (now that he’s fired)? And will he use the new information to blackmail Annalise and return the favor that she so graciously bestowed in the pilot? So many questions! But, like I said in my very first recap: Nate is definitely not surviving the rest of this season, especially if he becomes the only one to uncover the truth about the cover-up.
NEXT: Laurel gets Bonnie’d
WHAT DID BONNIE DO THIS WEEK?
This week, we found Bonnie in a surprising new place—Asher’s bedsheets—but we also found her in her usual place, which is RIGHT BEHIND LAUREL LITERALLY ALL THE TIME. Yes, Laurel simply cannot have a conversation inside Annalise’s house without Bonnie somehow standing behind her shaking her head in disapproval. It’s almost like Bonnie has an eighth sense specifically honed in on Laurel (her sixth sense being Oscar predictions and her seventh sense a shocking deftness at choosing chunky knits).
But this time, Bonnie doesn’t just glare at Laurel like a territorial housecat who hates the family’s puppy. Instead, she corners her and demands that Laurel stop leading Frank on. Bonnie and Frank have this weird brother-sister kind of relationship, so it was nice to see Bonnie stand up for Frank’s feelings, but you have to wonder why she feels such a kinship with her colleague, and whether she’s really doing it out of concern for Frank or if there are personal motives behind it. (Bonnie: the real multi-layered villain of HTGAWM). Anyway, it’s evident that Laurel fakes a rejection but obviously rekindles the relationship down the line.
Also, let’s be honest: Does anyone here actually have a vested interest in the Laurel-Frank relationship? I’d much rather Michaela get a better storyline than any more time go to the meh-ness that is Flaurel.
CONNOR AND MICHAELA…
…did nothing this week. Except make fun of each other for Connor’s daddy issues and Michaela’s gay fiance.
Interesting bits to note this week:
—On the night of the murder, Asher bangs on the door of Annalise’s office, demanding his trophy back from Michaela. We knew that, but now we also know that Murder, Inc. actually suggested letting him inside and forcing him to be a part of the murder, by stepping in Sam’s blood or simply having his presence linked. Can we surmise that proximity guilt is actually in play here, or do we believe the Murder on the Orient Express theory that everyone actually committed some part of the murder?
—This quote from Annalise: “This is the first case that opened my eyes to the fact that the justice system doesn’t always reward those who tell the truth, but those who have the power to create their own.” Create it, girl.
—Sam calling Bonnie “Bon.”
—Annalise touching Rudy’s scratches in Wes’s wall and asking if they’re from Wes and Rebecca. Does Annalise know anything about this Rudy character?
—Bonnie to Laurel: “I would hate for Annalise to find out you were screwing with someone she considers family.” (Shortly after this line, Bonnie turns to the camera and cackles before grabbing an old Polaroid of Mr. Keating and going back to her studio apartment.)
—When the kids realize that the eyewitness in the case of the week was lying, someone says, “So it’s the teacher,” and Annalise says, “Always the one you least suspect.” Just another great example of the red herrings that HTGAWM insists on using to drive me crazy every week.
COMMENTER THEORY OF THE WEEK
lamh: “On a regular show, I’d say that Sam killed the student, but then I ask myself, why was Bonnie outside of Annalise’s house the night she saw Sam. She wasn’t following Nate, I’d think Nate was way better a detective than to not see some car following her. My thought, she was following Sam or rather STALKING Sam and she has been since IDK, forever. So if she has been stalking him all this time, then maybe too, she was stalking him when he went to “calm Lila down” and Bonnie killed Lila.”
So much drama! So many developments! We now know where every character—except Nate—is on the night of Sam’s murder. Or at least, part of the night of the murder. It opens up a bunch of new questions, and I’m interested to know what your latest, craziest theories are. Seriously. Your CRAZIEST theory. Lay it on me, on Twitter or in the comments. #OhMyGAWM