The plot thickens to include Laurel's estranged mother and Nate

By Maureen Lee Lenker
January 26, 2018 at 12:25 AM EST
Richard Cartwright/ABC
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The twists and turns keep coming this week as Laurel struggles to make it out of the hospital, Frank does away with Dominic’s body, and Annalise and Bonnie have a heart-to-heart that blows the Bechdel test out of the water.

Laurel is still trapped in the psych ward, having nightmares about her premature labor, her meetings with her father, Wes’ death, and more. Antares is moving forward with their plan to go public, and all of our main characters watch Jorge Castillo’s announcement at the New York Stock Exchange. Laurel wants to use this as a negligence argument, but Annalise says human services say he’s been visiting the baby every chance he can get. Annalise assures Laurel she’s doing everything she can, but outside of her hospital room she admits to Frank that she’s not sure if Laurel should be let out because she’s worried she did something to induce premature labor and might be a danger to herself. Michaela, who has been eagerly awaiting a text or contact from Tegan after congratulating her on the Antares deal, arrives to keep Laurel company.

Frank is still being plagued by Dominic’s cell phone ringing off the hook, and Annalise worries that if he doesn’t destroy the phone he’ll be the next one to end up dead. The number isn’t saved, but Frank assumes it’s Jorge calling over and over. He ditches Dominic’s body in the trunk of a car at a junkyard and watches as it’s smashed, but he can’t bring himself to add the phone to the demolition pile because of Wes’ voicemail.

Annalise goes to Nate for help again, insisting that the police are lying about the missing hard drive never being admitted to evidence, but he brushes her off. Meanwhile, Connor distracts himself by driving headfirst into the class action lawsuit to find more wrongly convicted felons for their case. Oliver isn’t interested though — he’s just worried about Simon, which puts Annalise on edge. In fact, he’s so worried he’s hacked into the hospital to monitor Simon’s vital signs. Connor urges Annalise to be nicer to Oliver, but she reminds him that Oliver doesn’t need to be babied.

Annalise is also haunted by flashbacks — first of Laurel in her elevator, and then, when she goes to Wes’ apartment, by memories of him and their time together. She searches his apartment for any clues linking him to Dominic and finds baby clothes stuffed away in a drawer — it’s unclear but I think they belong to Laurel and are intended for her baby, making Annalise feel haunted by all she has wrought yet again.

Back at the hospital, Laurel remembers an obscure filing her mother’s lawyer made to get her released from the psych ward and wants to use Michaela’s phone to research it. She’s desperate to fix the mess she made and feels helpless stuck inside the hospital. Laurel texted Annalise with the idea to use the Protection from Abuse Act, but Annalise says she already filed that exact petition and it was denied. Michaela wants to know why Annalise is still lying to Laurel, and she admits she’s worried about Laurel’s mental state and trying to protect her from herself.

Frank goes to visit Bonnie and ask her to turn against Denver — not for him, but for Laurel and the baby. He wants them all to be a family again, but Bonnie cruelly tells him she wishes she’d let him pull the trigger the night he threatened to shoot himself at Annalise’s house. Bonnie really knows how to hit ya where it hurts, huh?

While Connor still works away at the class action, Nate shows up at Michaela and Asher’s apartment with bad news: One of the Caplan & Gold attorneys told the police they saw an altercation between Asher and Simon earlier in the evening, which looks bad for Asher’s innocence. Nate also tears into Connor, surprised that Annalise has left the class action in his hands. Oliver uses the distraction to leave and attempt to visit Simon at the hospital. He lies to the nurse, telling him that he is Simon’s boyfriend and Simon tried to kill himself because he’s still in the closet. It works, and he sits by a comatose Simon’s bedside apologizing and talking to him.

Frank wants to tell Laurel about Wes’ voicemail, but Annalise is just mad he still has the phone. He installed an app to track where phone calls are coming from with the idea of seeing when it’s Jorge, but it rings and it’s a new number — one from Philly. Frank says it’s coming from the DA’s office and Denver, which prompts him to send Annalise to Bonnie to apologize; he thinks it’s their only hope.

Annalise does go, and inexplicably, Bonnie lets her in. What follows is a master class in acting from Liza Weil and Viola Davis. Take note showrunners: This is what we mean we say we want good, meaty material for two actresses to take a bite out of. The two face off against each other, drudging up old wounds and sharing hard truths with nuance, vulnerability, and aplomb. Bonnie knows Annalise is there to ask for help with Denver and the hard drive, but then Annalise does apologize for firing her. Bonnie wants to know why her telling Annalise she loves her upset her so much — why can’t she admit their relationship is far more complicated than wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc.? Annalise admits that sometimes Bonnie’s need for her is too much. Bonnie counters she feels the same, and Annalise says their entire relationship is predicated on needing each other.

But Bonnie won’t leave it there — she pushes Annalise to admit that their relationship is about assuaging her guilt for what she did in the case defending one of Bonnie’s abusers. Bonnie says she wishes Annalise had just apologized or written her a check rather than drawing her into her life, because she thinks she would’ve been happier staying a waitress. Finally, Annalise breaks down and admits she helps people — Bonnie, Laurel, Wes, everyone — because it makes her feel less empty and terrible, but that maybe Bonnie should’ve just let her kill herself and saved them all the trouble. It’s a mammoth conversation that covers a ton of ground for both women and really lays them, their motivations, and their palpable wounds bare. It’s these moments that still make the show must-see TV. (Recap continues on page 2)

At the hospital, Connor catches up to Oliver, who is in Simon’s room telling him he cleaned up his laptop. Oliver wants to stay until visiting hours are over, and Asher promises to sit with him until he’s ready. Asher admits to Oliver that he didn’t think he deserved to live after what happened with Sinclair, but that he drowned out the feelings with food, sex, and work. After Oliver reminds him they’re in a public space and to be more circumspect, Asher urges Oliver to take the same approach to get over his guilt. Wait, did Asher actually give thoughtful, good advice for once?

Connor goes to sit with Laurel, who is once again having a heart-to-heart with Michaela. Michaela tries to get Laurel to open up about what induced her labor, wondering if it was Simon grabbing her bag — and Laurel admits that it was when Frank hit her when she pulled him off Connor. She knows that it was, but she can’t bring herself to tell Frank.

It appears Annalise’s apology/heart-to-heart worked, because Bonnie goes to Denver to tell him she has scrubbed Simon’s computer of all evidence that links Antares to his campaign funds — but she has tape recorded their conversation on her phone. To what end, I can only guess, but it won’t end well, it’s safe to assume.

Nate goes to Caplan & Gold to try to help Asher and meets with Tegan to discuss the altercation between Asher and Simon, but she hides behind client-attorney privilege and forwards the official suicide narrative others have given the police.

The Keating Four are reunited in Laurel’s hospital room. Laurel breaks down and apologizes to all of them for getting them involved in this. This convinces Michaela to go to Annalise and urge her to actually do something to get Laurel out of the psych ward — she reveals to Annalise and Frank the truth about what caused the premature labor. This convinces Annalise to go to Isaac and beg him to evaluate Laurel. He finally agrees when Annalise admits that this is not about Laurel, but about saving herself.

Connor is still digging through files back at the apartment, trying to find the perfect candidates for the class action lawsuit. He monologues about white privilege and how they’ve all done worse than many of the convicted criminals, but that they were protected by Annalise, so now he feels obligated to help them. In the midst of this, he stumbles on a candidate who has been in solitary confinement for over 30 years — his name is Nate Lahey. I’m sorry, what??? Nate has a secret identity? Is they why he keeps doing things for Annalise against his better judgment? Or what? I don’t even know what to do with this information.

Michaela finally corners Tegan in a parking garage, attempting to get to the bottom of why Tegan is covering for her. Tegan tells her that Michaela and their actions have put them all in danger and that she should be very scared. And also, never contact her again. Well, that’s heavy. But she’s right — on the other side of town, Denver is meeting with Jorge Castillo to tell him that Bonnie Winterbottom is their new problem.

Isaac goes to the hospital to evaluate Laurel, and she reluctantly opens up to him about her baby and her crippling grief that she cannot protect him. She admits she would like to hurt her father, but that it’s impossible for anyone to get to him. She says she has never shown any signs of her mother’s mental illness (bipolar I) and that getting custody of her son is the only thing that matters to her now. Isaac reports to the attending that she’s doing as well as she could be given the circumstances and secures her release.

Laurel gets to go home — to Wes’ apartment, that is, complete with an air mattress for Frank to camp out and play bodyguard. Dominic’s phone rings again, which bothers Laurel and prompts Annalise to tell Frank to play the voicemail. Laurel listens to Wes’ voice on Dominic’s phone over and over, but the phone rings again. It’s a number Laurel recognizes, and it’s not her dad — it’s her mother.

This episode had a lot of bombshells — Bonnie is playing both sides (again), Nate Lahey might not actually be Nate Lahey, everyone’s in danger, and for some reason, Laurel’s mother was making calls to Dominic. What do you think? Is Laurel’s mother more deeply involved than we think? Or is it a red herring? Will Bonnie be the next victim of HTGAWM’s neverending carousel of death? Sound off in the comments below or hit me up @themaureenlee on Twitter.

Viola Davis stars as a law professor where she teaches, wait for it, how to get away with murder.
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  • 09/25/14
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