How to Get Away With Murder recap: Misery loves company
We’re back from the holiday break with an episode as bleak and dour as this week’s weather in Los Angeles. EVERYTHING IS AWFUL.
We pick up exactly where we left off in the fall, beginning with Bonnie returning home from the Coliver wedding to rinse the DA’s blood off in the shower. Frank interrupts her Lady Macbeth bathroom party to tell her even more bad news – Gabriel knows he’s Sam’s kid and Frank told Annalise the truth. He wants Bonnie to go to Annalise’s apartment and be on suicide watch. But she can’t handle that right now and breaks down.
Back at Annalise’s place, she’s staring down Gabriel when her phone rings. It’s Frank and she says she could have him there in five minutes, which prompts Gabriel to tell Annalise that he’s not going to hurt her, he just wants answers. Frank wants to come over, but Annalise shuts him down. Instead, she pours two stiff drinks (vodka, straight up) and tells Gabriel to sit.
Connor and Oliver are about to enjoy their wedding night, dodging phone calls from the Keating Four. Eventually, Laurel calls their room phone because it’s an emergency. She gathers the Keating Krew ™ and tells them the truth about Gabriel. They’re understandably angry she’s known for weeks and said nothing, but she insists she was trying to protect them. Everyone assumes the plan is to kill him (shouldn’t you guys be taking less drastic measures at this point in your life?), and now Michaela is concerned because Gabriel isn’t answering his phone and she saw blood on Bonnie’s leg.
Annalise calls Gabriel’s bluff about her drinking getting her disbarred and then accuses him of being a liar. He tells her that he never knew his father and that he didn’t question his mother’s story that Sam left before he was born until he found his birth certificate cleaning out his grandma’s apartment. He insists his mom doesn’t know anything, and Annalise counters that she didn’t even know Gabriel existed until tonight. Which, may or may not be true (as with most things she says). She lays into him about blaming her for ruining his parent’s marriage, but he insists he’s also not there to blame her – he wants to know the truth about Sam’s death. She says it’s all online – Wes killed him and that’s the truth.
We spend a great deal of this episode back in the past in the aftermath of Annalise and Sam losing their baby. They come home after the accident to find a distraught Frank (already feeling guilty about what he did to Annalise). Sam puts Annalise to bed, but before he goes, she tells him about Christophe, a.k.a. Wes. She wants to adopt him. His mother died and their baby died – they need each other. Ah, so this is why she always viewed him as a second son. It all makes sense now. Sam says it’s too soon to think about this and dismisses her request.
But it seems that’s only because instead of adopting a new child, he wants to cover his grief with a son he already has. He googles “Vivian Maddox” and finds an address listing for her in Hyde Park, Chicago. He calls her and leaves a message asking to meet their son.
Back in the present day, Bonnie opens the door to a pizza delivery and gives a huge tip. It’s her alibi. Laurel calls Frank to tell him about the blood on Bonnie’s leg – they’re all on speakerphone. Bonnie tells them no one hurt Gabriel, and they should all just go to bed, but not before Oliver makes a joke about a dead Gabriel keeping quiet. Harsh, man. I thought you were the one with a heart still.
In the past, Bonnie comes over and comforts Sam before Annalise interrupts. She brings Annalise a breast pump – which between helping Bonnie recover from her pregnancy by rape and now Annalise’s own loss of her child, is possibly the saddest, most devastating breast pump in the history of the universe. She asks Bonnie to mail an envelope for her to the department of child services in Cleveland – and Sam can’t know. “I know you love Sam the way I do, but I need you to choose me right now,” she tells Bonnie. And oof, that takes some guts to both acknowledge your friend’s feelings for your husband and ask for her confidence. Meanwhile, downstairs, Frank wants to tell Annalise the truth about her car accident, but Sam won’t allow it. He has to live with his guilt and his pain just like the rest of them.
At her current apartment, Annalise continues to give Gabriel what he wants, playing the flash drive recording of Wes’ confession the day he died as proof he was the one who killed Sam. She lies to Gabriel, saying she doesn’t know why Wes killed Sam other than being sick in the head — but she’s tired of being accused of killing her husband. Sam broke both their hearts and betrayed them all. He wants to know what Sam was really like – but Annalise continues to make Sam the villain, saying he didn’t care about her, about Gabriel, about anyone.
And we’re about to get a taste of that betrayal in the past when Sam storms in after receiving a call from a lawyer’s office in Ohio in regards to adoption papers. He insists Annalise is grieving too much to know what she wants. He wants her to have a funeral for their baby and move on, but she wants to help this little boy. He lays down an ultimatum — if they stay married, there will be no adoption. But she counters that she’s going through with it with or without him. Without him, it is then.
The Keating Krew continue to worry that Gabriel will find new evidence and bring it to the DA, once again implicating them in Sam’s murder. But Asher has a trump card — he tells them all that Bonnie is dating the DA and therefore there’s no way she’d let Miller charge them with anything. Too bad Miller is dead bud.
Bonnie bemoans to Frank how Annalise was right and Miller was playing her. Frank insists there was no way he could have faked the way he was around her — but she needs to believe he was awful to make peace with what’s happened to him.
Annalise and Sam are still talking over the phone. He’s told her he’s at his sister’s house, but he’s lying — he’s in Chicago, knocking on Gabriel’s grandma’s door. She tells him he has to leave, that he lost the chance to know him when he left his wife. She closes the door in his face and a basketball bounces down the hallway — it belongs to a kid who is probably Gabriel. Sam starts to ask but instead asks if the kid is a Bulls fan and stands there watching him as he goes into his grandma’s apartment, confirming his identity.
Bonnie receives a call from Miller’s number back in our current timeline. It’s Nate — he’s doing it so that there’s a record of Miller’s final call to her at this time. It’s the last time they spoke and he’s drunk, trying to apologize — that’s what she should say. She wants to know where Nate is so Frank can go pick him up.
Younger Frank and Bonnie get cozy. Bonnie is worried about Sam; he’s worried about Annalise. He says he’s screwed up and only ever screws up other people, but Bonnie tells him that he’s a better guy than he thinks (actually, that’s a no). They kiss and then almost immediately tear each other’s clothes off.
Annalise is pumping and contemplates calling her mother, but she instead receives an incoming call from child services in Cleveland. Later, she is drunk, distraught and calling Sam to come home. Bonnie checks her phone after having sex with Frank and sees she has no missed calls. She goes over to the Keating house and calls out for Annalise and is concerned when she gets no answers. She goes upstairs to find Annalise passed out on her bathroom floor with an empty bottle of pills. This is the suicide attempt Bonnie saved her from that the two have alluded to for so long.
We flash back and forth between Bonnie bringing home a stomach-pumped Annalise and her desperate attempts to revive her while waiting for the paramedics. Annalise explains that the adoption isn’t happening. She’s been kidding herself thinking she could be a mother because Sam talked her into believing it was possible. She’s glad Bonnie is in her life.
This is intercut with Bonnie getting the comatose Annalise to throw up as she cries out for her baby, hallucinating its cries while high on pills. She sobs with a keening cry, insisting she killed her baby and it’s all her fault. It’s a truly devastating scene, giving you a sense of just how badly these circumstances broke Annalise. We know this has been a wound that never healed for her — but to see her laid so bare, with breathtaking work from Viola Davis, is new levels of heartbreaking.
Bonnie continues to cover for Annalise, telling Frank not to come in today and smiling when he tells her he just wants them to hook up again. Boy, you so thirsty. There’s a knock at his door and it’s someone he doesn’t know.
We jump to Sam’s return home — Frank shows him an email. It’s to Vivian, Gabriel’s mom, and Frank tells him to delete it. This kid can’t replace the one they lost and he needs to forget Vivian and show Annalise she’s not alone anymore. Sam returns to Annalise and lays his head in her lap as they both grieve the loss of their child. Though Sam is still a cheating POS, I have to say — this moment, this whole episode, is such a painful glimpse into what seemingly normal people Sam and Annalise once were. We get a taste here of what once was before they became addicts, murderers, and the like. It’s a complex, unflinching view of how grief and lies can corrupt even the most well-intentioned. It’s a chilling reminder that we all live in shades of grey.
Oliver reveals to Connor what his dad said about protecting him from his own worst instincts. But Oliver is concerned he’s actually the one that needs protecting, sticking his nose in the Keating drama after Connor told him to keep out of it. They agree to protect each other.
Michaela comes down to the couch to embrace Asher, claiming she’s too freaked out to be alone. He’s not buying it. He says they’re both disastrous when it comes to choosing romantic partners and then relents, allowing her to share the couch if she sleeps feet-to-feet with no funny business.
The last moments of the episode are accompanied by a voiceover of the email Sam Keating sent Vivian Maddox. An email that Sam permanently deleted, as Frank asked. The email explains that he was trying to make things right, that their son is a beautiful kid. He tells Vivian that he misses her, who he was with her, and that he never stopped loving her.
This plays over Laurel discovering a spot of blood on Christopher’s hat (which certainly complicates matters). Nate is back at Bonnie’s having been safely retrieved by Frank. He takes the full blame for Miller’s death, but Bonnie won’t let him. He tries to comfort her, saying he would’ve died either way. She just saved him some pain by suffocating him.
Gabriel is back in his own apartment, crying over the basketball he once bounced in a hallway to Sam. He makes a mysterious phone call, telling the other end of the line that he screwed up. “They found out who I am,” he says. So, it appears his insistence of just wanting some answers is, in fact, a big fat lie. Does anyone on this show ever tell the truth? Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.
The episode ends by revealing the identity of the mysterious figure at Frank’s door — it’s Eve Rothlow (Famke Janssen), lawyer and Annalise’s former lover. In the past, she’s the one who brought Frank the email from Sam to Vivian, telling Frank he’s going to help her with it. In the present day, Eve shows up at Annalise’s door in the middle of the night to show her the same email. The point? To prove to Annalise that Sam never deserved her. But to what end? What’s your motivation, Eve? And does this somehow tie back to Gabriel’s shady dealings?
Viola Davis stars as a law professor where she teaches, wait for it, how to get away with murder.