What the Keating Five did on their summer vacation

By Christina Ciammaichelli
September 23, 2016 at 03:16 PM EDT
ABC/Mitch Haaseth

How to Get Away With Murder

S3 E1
  • TV Show

Philadelphia’s most murderous “law students” are back — and they’re nearly flunking out.

Last season’s finale revealed Frank has actually been enemy no. 1 all along, and he wisely heeded Annalise’s suggestion to GTFO of Philadelphia before she gets to him. We also saw Wes get a face full of blood when his first meeting with his father went horribly awry; the Hapstall siblings turned out to be the incestuous creeps everyone knew they were; and finally, Oliver took it upon himself to surreptitiously decline Connor’s acceptance to Stanford like some sort of psychopath.

That’s all behind us, though, so let’s get a fresh start by diving into tonight’s season 3 premiere episode!

Right off the bat, we learn a few things about Wes’ situation with Wallace Mahoney. Frank was responsible for orchestrating this mess; he picked up Wes, took him to Mahoney’s office, and encouraged him to talk to his father — getting him in just the right position to be in (someone’s) line of fire.

Annalise picks up Wes at the police station after the shooting and they quickly piece together Frank’s involvement. Annalise says Frank did this for her, but that neither man (Frank or Wallace) are worth losing themselves over. Annalise and Wes then casually venture into the woods and scream into the void for a while.

What Everyone Did On Their Summer Vacation

Laurel mostly just called Frank. In May, Laurel approached Annalise on her front lawn to let her know she was going to Mexico. Annalise assumes it’s a Frank thing, which Laurel denies. Laurel insists she hasn’t been in touch with Frank and pledges her loyalty to Annalise, forever and ever. In present-day September, though, it’s revealed Laurel has been calling Frank for months and leaving voicemails, seemingly getting no response.

Connor got real Philly on his roof. In June, Annalise met Connor on his roof, where he was sitting in a beach chair with his feet in a baby pool (Philly-as-hell of him, makes me so proud). Annalise dips her toes in and Connor tells her Oliver might ask her for a job at her firm this year, but she can’t give him one. Annalise agrees she won’t.

In present-day September, Annalise is having an informal interview with Oliver, who’s hard-core kissing up to her. She tells him she’s not hiring right now, but Oliver admits he can “be bad, too” and tells Annalise about deleting Connor’s email and declining his Stanford acceptance. Annalise considers Oliver a bit further.

Michaela got drunk. Also in July, Michaela was pulled over for drunk driving, and Annalise came to pick her up and handle the situation. For some reason, Michaela yells at Annalise that she can’t be normal after everything that has happened, but it’s hard to take her too seriously when she’s yelling in a party dress and heels while sitting on a curb.

Finally, Annalise got a demotion. She had a meeting with the university president in August, where she was told she would no longer be teaching Intro to Criminal Law and would instead be relegated to a research position. The reason? The “students” “studying” at her law firm are too busy committing and covering up murders, and they’re not actually doing too well in their law-school classes. Annalise proposes creating a pro-bono law clinic as a class to get the Keating Five (and her other students) back on track, which ultimately catches us up to the present.

NEXT: Who’s on the stretcher?

The Case for Karim

The first case at the legal clinic concerns an immigrant father of two named Karim, who spent a year in prison for marijuana possession and now faces possible deportation. Each student in the class has to come up with a good defense that could be presented in court, like real lawyers.

Wes has the idea to use mainly character witnesses to prove Karim’s innocence, and Annalise lets him take on the case. But on his day in court, Michaela steals Wes’ thunder and brings a recorded confession from Karim’s parole officer. Annalise rushes to work out a plea deal with this evidence, but ultimately the judge still decides to deport poor Karim.

RIP Coliver

While leaving the courtroom, Annalise pulls Connor aside to inform him she’s going to hire Oliver after all. When Connor protests, Annalise tells him about his beau deleting and declining Connor’s acceptance to Stanford. Connor is outrageously unemotional when he hears this news, barely batting an eye that his partner completely betrayed his trust and maybe even changed the course of his life.

Annalise explains she wants to hire Oliver for exactly this type of shady s—. She says he’s in too deep and could be too valuable, and if he’s working for her, she knows he won’t be off hacking into things elsewhere.

Connor returns home and Oliver — all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed — starts bragging about his new job at Annalise’s firm. Again, with his emotions at a completely even keel, Connor asks Oliver if what Annalise told him about Stanford is true. Oliver admits his duplicity, and in what will likely go down in history as the most absurd turn of events in all of television, CONNOR APOLOGIZES TO OLIVER for trying to make him move to California when he clearly didn’t want to. In return, Oliver lashes out at Connor for not being more mad, and for letting him get away with his deceitful behavior. Oliver REALLY makes this whole thing about him, admitting he doesn’t even “know who he is anymore,” Yadda yadda yadda, you know the drill… Suddenly, Oliver’s the one breaking up with Connor.

Connor is devastated. He’s down one boyfriend (and presumed rent-sharer), and oh, right — he also lost his chance to attend his dream law school because of said boyfriend. To be honest, Connor doesn’t deserve this.

Annalise Is Apparently a Killer?

Pieces of paper with Annalise’s face and “Killer” scrawled in red are popping up all over campus, first in her law-clinic lecture hall and then on various bulletin boards. Annalise doesn’t seem too concerned by this, but she did mention it to Nate as they exchanged massages (it’s SO very nice to see Nate again, wouldn’t you agree?).

Throughout the episode, Annalise is repeatedly checking a secret flip phone hidden in a jewelry box, which we later learn is how she communicates with a private investigator looking for Frank. They exchange texts, and eventually the P.I. lets her know he’s found Frank — newly shaved and all — and needs to know what his next step should be. “It’s do or die, what do you want me to do?” Annalise hesitates just long enough for Frank to come out of nowhere and (we assume) strangle the P.I. to the ground as she listens helplessly on the other end.

Going Forward

A big part of season 3’s first half will explore the mystery death that happens at season’s end. This episode flashes forward two months to reveal Annalise’s house — engulfed in flames — and our favorite murder-y professor begging paramedics to let her see the DEAD BODY being carted out on a stretcher. We’re promised a bit of a game over the next several episodes, with weekly hints on which characters are still alive. Anyone else looking forward to our own version of Ten Little Indians, with a HTGAWM twist?

Honorable Mentions:

  • Glad to see the writers acknowledge the lack of actual schooling these students experience.
  • Laurel and Wes’ awkward interactions, and Wes’ confession that he only “sees Frank when he looks at her.” The comment just seems odd to me.
  • Of course, Meggy (Wes’ new love interest) is definitely the most lovable person on this show.
  • “Why are you always stalking me?” —Annalise, as the Keating Five (minus Wes) just stand around on campus

What are your thoughts on tonight’s premiere? Are you expecting big things from season 3? Let us know in the comments!

Episode Recaps

How to Get Away With Murder

Viola Davis stars as a law professor where she teaches, wait for it, how to get away with murder.

  • TV Show
  • 6
  • TV-14
stream service