'My baby is singing with the Supremes'
This week’s How to Get Away with Murder marked Part Two of an epic 2-hour long crossover between HTGAWM and other TGIT fave Scandal — Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating come together to use all of their best power moves to bring Annalise’s class action case before the Supreme Court.
Having never watched an episode of Scandal until this week, this episode felt like a big stunt that forced me to watch a show I don’t regularly watch and play catch-up on a bunch of characters I’ve never met before, but for those who love both shows, I’m sure it was a lot of fun. It meant we got to see Kerry Washington, Viola Davis, and Cicely Tyson all sharing screen-time and that is probably reason enough for its existence.
We pick up where we left off at the end of the first hour, with Olivia and Annalise practicing her arguments for the Supreme Court. Olivia is fierce in her rebuttal, forcing Annalise to work harder than she ever has before – which just suggests Annalise really should’ve met Olivia long ago if she wanted to up her game. Olivia is coaching her on what it takes to go before the Supreme Court. Oh, and a bottle of champagne shows up for Annalise courtesy of Fitz – which is so thoughtful and kind considering she’s struggling to stay sober.
Meanwhile, Ingrid Egan, the lawyer representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania before the Supreme Court is on a morning talk show bad-mouthing Olivia Pope and accusing both Liv and AK of using the class action to distract from their own criminal acts.
Back in Philly, Michaela is packing her bags to head to D.C. despite feeling guilty about stealing the case from Connor. And Connor is clearly taking it hard because he’s not even planning to go to D.C. despite Oliver’s urgings he joins them. Laurel is trying to get Bonnie to have the court reinstate Isaac’s testimony now that he’s not being investigated anymore, but Bonnie ominously states he’s no longer a reliable witness. Nate makes a visit to his dad to tell him he’s going to be appearing before the Supreme Court and have his case heard.
Annalise is about to walk into the hallowed halls of the Supreme Court for the first time, but her phone won’t stop ringing – Jacqueline keeps calling and then Bonnie wants AK to invite her parents to witness her big moment. Annalise sets this all aside, walks into the court chambers, and just marvels at being inside the most important room in our country’s legal history. Olivia is there with some good news – Egan’s interview backfired and now the ACLU, NAACP, and several other acronyms want in on the case. But Annalise doesn’t want their help – she’s taken the case this far on her own and she wants to finish it. Olivia urges her to consider accepting assistance– she recites Annalise’s own history back to her reminding her it was a career goal to argue a case before the Supreme Court and win. And oh, if her lifelong aspirations aren’t enough, just a reminder that losing this case will set back criminal justice reform by decades. No pressure. All of this only serves to prompt Annalise to call her mother (after taking some more time to bask in the glory of the quiet, empty courtroom).
Back in ‘oh yeah, this is HTGAWM, we have to give you updates on other plot lines’ land – Bonnie and Frank are meeting in a parking garage again. On the one and only episode of Scandal I watched earlier tonight, Olivia also took a shady meeting in a parking garage and I have to ask what is up with this trope in Shondaland? Are they all, like, obsessed with Watergate? If a parking garage was good enough for Deep Throat, it’s good enough for them. Anyway, Frank tells Bonnie that Laurel’s mom admits to meeting with Wes to try to get him to stay away from Laurel – and that she paid Wes 100k to get him to agree. He wants Bonnie to check Wes’ bank account for the money; she still wants Frank to tell Laurel the truth.
Annalise has decided to do the case on her own. But they have a new problem – Ingrid Egan appears to be trading information with one of the justices. Before this can be addressed though, Cicely Tyson shows up and we get to watch three of the finest actresses of multiple generations share screen time. Ophelia is excited to meet Olivia because she recognizes her from television (in previous episodes Barack Obama definitely existed in this universe, so I am slightly confused by this alternate timeline we’ve just decided to shoehorn into existence). In typical overly concerned mother fashion, Ophelia brought stew and biscuits and forces them all to sit down and eat before getting back to work.
Michaela is on a stakeout of Ingrid Egan’s house with Marcus – which can only be a bad idea since he’s already proven such a temptation for her. She keeps telling him she loves Asher very much despite the fact that Marcus is everything she ever dreamed of in a man. Uh oh. They see a pizza delivery guy at the house, but nothing suspicious. Back in Philly, the remaining Keating Three pack for their trip to DC. Asher has wedding magazines so Connor and Oliver can plan their big day while they wait in line for tickets to the trial since Annalise gave theirs to her parents.
Cicely Tyson gets to deliver a spectacularly heartbreaking monologue about how the country has been broken her whole life and how happy she is to see women like Annalise and Olivia trying to fix it. Nate shows up to check on Annalise, but this sends Olivia back down Annalise’s throat. She worries the court will use the fact that their face case is Annalise’s ex-boyfriend’s father to crucify her. But Annalise talks Olivia off the cliff by assuring her that this case isn’t about checking off a bucket list or saving her reputation, but about finally doing something that matters for once in her life. “Stop handling me,” she tells Olivia, which is just such a great use of the Olivia Pope catchphrase turned back against her.
Still on the stakeout, Michaela is getting text updates on Asher’s travel progress, but when Marcus tells her he doesn’t have a girlfriend because he let someone go so as not to hold her back from greatness, this hits Michaela right in the feels and she starts making out with him.
Now we are finally at case day. Everyone is getting ready – Nate is prepping his dad on the stress of the courtroom and helping him shave. Annalise is suiting up. Asher is already at the court waiting for tickets – Michaela says she was up all night helping Annalise prep, but when Marcus shows up (whom the Keating Four recognize as the former press secretary), Laurel and Connor can instantly tell that Michaela spent the night with him. She insists it was a one time thing – and since this is a one-time crossover event, I definitely believe her. But they don’t have time to talk dirty laundry because Michaela recognizes the guy talking to Justice Strickland in the hallway – it’s the pizza delivery guy. Marcus texts Olivia immediately.
After Annalise signs the Supreme Court guest book (that’s a thing?!), she gets a call from Jacqueline. Isaac overdosed three days ago and police found him in his car. He’s not dead but his kidneys are failing. And since Annalise doesn’t have enough to worry about, Jacqueline blames her, telling her she already knew the truth about Stella and accuses Annalise of ruining everyone in her life. This sends Annalise into a guilt spiral until she’s a weeping, catatonic mess on the floor.
Olivia goes after the pizza guy and says she has a photo of him making the delivery at Egan’s door. She wants in to see Justice Strickland, but before she can do that, Michaela calls – she found Annalise in a state. Olivia comes to talk Annalise into doing it, insisting she’s the only one who can argue the case. She’ll get her anything she needs, but she has to do it. Annalise wants the one thing she can’t have – vodka. Olivia sends Michaela out to get some despite Michaela telling her it could cause them far worse issues than losing the case.
While Michaela and Marcus are out hunting for vodka (is there a Capitol Hill 7-11?), Olivia Pope gives Annalise the pep talk of her life. And to be honest, even though this crossover doesn’t make a lot of sense, this moment is why fans have been craving it. “This case chose you,” she tells Annalise. “Pick yourself up and walk into that courtroom.” Michaela shows up with the vodka and Olivia tells Annalise that whatever she thinks is in this bottle is already inside her – but that if she needs a drink she should take one. Annalise rallies and maintains her sobriety. Oh, but also, quick note for Annalise, Strickland has been feeding Egan information. They go to enter the courtroom, but not before Ophelia has a dementia episode and spills food all over Olivia’s crisp white suit, reminding me why I am always perplexed by women who choose to wear a color that gets dirty so easily.
Oliver is counting down on his watch as the trial approaches and Annalise still isn’t there. Both Nates wait anxiously, but Annalise strides in just under the wire. She stands to make her opening remarks about the inequality Nate senior has faced his entire life and the 6th amendment violations that have made him a victim of the injustices of the legal system. Justice Strickland takes umbrage at a convicted murderer being called a victim and keeps interrupting Annalise every time she tries to make a point. She argues that the case is both about an underfunded public defense system, but also about race.
Ophelia is trying to help Olivia get cleaned up in the bathroom, and they share a lovely moment where Ophelia tells Olivia she takes care of everybody but herself. She makes a compellingly beautiful argument for the emotional labor of women, particularly black women, saying “Sometimes I think this whole country would just fall apart if we weren’t around to clean up the mess.” These two episodes really have a lot of profound things to say about gender and race, and it’s so compelling to watch these three great actresses delve into these subjects.
In the court, Justice Strickland is trying to tell Annalise she has to choose whether the unequal representation is because of funding or because of race. She insists it’s both, which pushes him to say this suit was not filed on the grounds of discrimination. Annalise can feel her time slipping away, so she requests the remainder of her time be saved for rebuttal and quietly sends Michaela to the library to look up the ruling for Bryant v. Topeka. She and Marcus find it just in time, racing in to court to hand it to Annalise.
Annalise stands to make her rebuttal, which includes Strickland’s own remarks from a 1982 ruling that “race must always be considered a variable” in legal decisions. She gives an impassioned speech about the promise of civil rights remaining unfulfilled, as well as the remaining specter of Jim Crow and slavery in the way the justice and prison systems are run today. It’s probably the best speech I’ve ever heard for prison and legal reform – it’s a pity it’s from a fictional character. She demands the court insure 6th amendment rights are granted to all citizens.
Outside the court, Egan and Annalise answer questions for the press. Annalise thanks Nate senior and Connor for helping her with the case, as well as the Grant Institute and Olivia Pope.
We now return to our regularly scheduled programming. Bonnie did not find any money in Wes’ account, which means Frank needs to tell Laurel the truth whether he likes it or not. Frank searches Wes’ apartment for the 100k Laurel’s mom supposedly gave Wes. He doesn’t find it, but he does find a USB drive containing a recording of Wes’ conversation with Laurel’s mother. When Laurel gets home, Frank plays it for her – Laurel’s mother is heard probing Wes about his legal trouble and Wes’ promise that he will tell Laurel about the meeting.
Back in D.C., Olivia tells Annalise the justices might be swinging in her favor. She continues to try to “handle” Annalise advising her to say yes to interviews, but no to book offers. Annalise tells her she doesn’t need to keep handling her – they hug and part with mutual suggestions that they take better care of themselves. For the love of god ladies, please take your own advice.
But we’re not quite finished – because before Annalise can head home, she gets a call from Bonnie who is at the hospital. Annalise assumes Isaac has died, but no, worse, Simon is awake.
So, how about it HTGAWM fans? Did you enjoy the crossover episode or are you excited to get back to normal? What really happened to Wes? And how will Simon’s good health change things for the Keating Four? Sound off in the comments below or hit me up at @themaureenlee on Twitter.
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