How to Get Away With Murder recap: We're all living in hell now
Here we are, the How to Get Away With Murder season finale — finding ourselves very much in the same place we’ve been finding ourselves for about two years now — in a mess of Jorge Castillo’s making.
Last week, we learned that the slimy lawyer who met with Nate Lahey, Sr. in prison was not, in fact, Emmett Crawford, but Laurel’s brother — Javier Castillo, who is basically Jorge 2.0. We see a flashback of this meeting where Javier tries to convince Nate Sr. they can get him a better trial date, but Nate sees through him and tells him to get his ass out that door. God, I miss this man.
Laurel sees the footage and is convinced her father is orchestrating this all from prison. But Annalise turns on Laurel, telling her that Nate’s father and Wes are both dead because of her. Annalise fires shots at Frank too, blaming Laurel’s internship on his penis. And she’s not wrong. They’re all living in hell now and she’s tired of it. Something tells me Annalise’s personal hell won’t end until this show does.
Meanwhile, the Keating Four try to figure out what to do with the gift bag containing pieces of Sandrine Castillo’s scalp. They debate handing it over to the FBI, who, in the form of Agent Telesco, is banging down Gabriel’s door. She has a file folder with the case about his mom’s ex-boyfriend who died from a drug overdose — if he doesn’t help her take down Annalise, she’ll put his mom away for providing the drugs.
Annalise and the Governor meet in church once again and Annalise tells her she knows Emmett Crawford’s phone records are fake. She wants to know who gave the governor her adoption papers — but this is personal for the Governor now, Annalise is ruining her carefully built life. Tegan calls Annalise to alert her to the FBI arresting Emmett, and Annalise explains this is the Castillos, which frightens her because Tegan’s afraid she’ll be next on her hit list.
Frank has gone over and over Miller’s burner phone logs and has identified a number now disconnected — he believes it has to be Javier’s number. But assumptions aren’t proof and both he and Nate are tired of guessing. He’s right though because we see a flashback of Miller being intercepted in the parking garage (this show’s favorite place) by Javier. He offers to help pay for Miller’s campaign and win his run for DA — he just has to help him hit back at Annalise for framing his dad for murder. That’s rich, Javier.
The Keating Four are freaking out. While Asher debates the next move and Michaela fields texts from Gabriel, Laurel has drawn up formal documents appointing Connor and Oliver as Christopher’s legal guardians if anything should happen to her. They try to decline the offer by throwing excuses at her, but they have more love than anyone in the house — and that’s what she wants for her son.
Annalise goes to Emmett Crawford and tells him what she’s learned about Javier Castillo faking his phone records. She promises to get him out of jail so he can run for DA. As soon as the FBI agents arrive, she passes along the warden’s footage of Javier Castillo and urges them to look more closely at Emmett’s phone records. They’re incredulous that Jorge Castillo is behind all this, but she insists it was all about getting back at her — and it worked. They don’t think she should represent Emmett given the conflict of interest with Nate Lahey, but she says that’s a sign of his innocence. Until they play her tapes from Tegan’s office where she asserts Emmett’s guilt (conveniently recorded before she knew better).
Bonnie is still obsessing over whether she killed an innocent man. She refuses to believe the number is Javier’s because the date of the phone call is the night they were on the phone together after she visited her sister. We see that call — he was considering dropping out of the race for DA because of all the shady dealings Denver had. She assures him he can do it his own way. But after they hang up, he pulls his burner from his bag, calls Javier, and tells him he’s in.
Nate is taking matters into his own hands — he corners the warden in the garage to get answers about Javier Castillo. The warden insists Miller was the only person he ever talked to. Miller was insistent the transfer happen at night on a speedier schedule despite that being against protocol. Nate insists that makes no sense, but when the warden once again defends his guards and calls Nate’s dad “a mental case,” Nate snaps. He’s back behind bars, calling Bonnie for help because he gave the warden what he calls “a little shove.” Bonnie promises to get him out and texts Annalise.
Gabriel tells Michaela the ultimatum Telesco has offered him. He is worried what will happen if his mom finds out the truth about the drugs, suggesting he’s the one responsible for the boyfriend’s murder in some way. He wants Michaela to give him something on Annalise, but she insists Annalise did nothing wrong, which makes him reveal Laurel went to Telesco for immunity. BIG MISTAKE (HUGE).
Cut to: Michaela bellowing for Laurel to come down and explain herself. She insists she didn’t go seeking immunity but for help figuring out if her mother was the one calling her. Telesco is the one who offered her a deal, which she declined. And she didn’t tell them because she knew they’d overreact. Telesco wanted them to turn on each other. She shows them Christopher’s bloody blanket, which she says is proof she is loyal since she didn’t just use it to get immunity and disappear.
Annalise is busy cleaning up everyone’s messes. Seriously, this woman should be a Swiffer spokesperson. She calls Tegan to come to Emmett’s aid and insists they’re too strong to let the Castillos scare them. Then, she goes to check on Nate and probe him on his violent rage against the warden. Does he want to end up like his dad? Then, he needs to stop using his fists to problem solve.
But use of force works for others — specifically Frank, who corners one of the guards who murdered Nate’s dad in her car. He chokes her with a cord until she reveals that Javier Castillo was the one who paid them to do the dirty deed.
Tegan comes to Emmett’s rescue, making a statement on his behalf and handing over a drive which proves numerous other occasions in which the Castillos doctored phone records. They mock her for this being rather convenient, which leads her to reveal to Emmett that she’s Jane Doe. She will testify on his behalf and take the risk of being disbarred because she’s so sure he’s innocent. He tells the agents he was framed because he’s running for DA and the Castillos know he can’t be bought.
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To prove her loyalty, Laurel burns Christopher’s bloody blanket. Asher comes in with a plan — based on another case’s precedent, he thinks they can get Telesco permanently fired if they go to the agents and reveal she didn’t take Laurel’s concerns about her mother’s safety seriously, with her hair as evidence. Laurel is too afraid if they do this, she and Christopher will be next.
Frank goes to Annalise with the information he got from the guard. He can’t be a “better Frank” because it means no one else is safe. Now, they just have to figure out the rest of it. Whatever that means.
Gabriel leaves Michaela a message asking for her help. Michaela believes his sob story. He has no one, while they have each other. Asher insists on resorting to his plan to take Telesco down — taking action now, asking forgiveness later should be their plan. They unanimously vote to do it.
Asher goes to the FBI claiming to be there on Laurel’s behalf with the gift bag of Laurel’s mother’s hair. Anyone else feel they missed an opportunity for Asher to ask, “What’s in the bag?!!” No? Just me?
He tells them about Telesco ignoring Laurel’s concerns and this bag arriving shortly afterward. They believe it belongs to Sandrine Castillo.
Laurel intercepts Javier at his apartment, with Annalise closely behind. They show him the prison footage and accuse him of paying the guards to kill Nate’s dad. Laurel also accuses him of hurting their mother, which takes him off guard. He says he hasn’t heard from their mom in months, but she thinks he tracked her down via the anonymous call on Christmas.
Back at the house, Connor and Oliver play with Christopher, realizing they’d make good parents and even throwing around the idea of having a kid of their own. Yeah, maybe not a good idea when you have so much murder in your lives guys?
Laurel thinks Javier is just lying, but before they go, Annalise wants to know what he offered Miller. She knows that he wanted to pay for his campaign, but that Miller played him. We see the flashback of Javier’s phone call with Miller — his pretending to play along and Javier’s insistence that Nate’s dad be transferred on Thursday morning when his guards are working. This then is why Miller begged the warden to make it happen Wednesday night at the latest — he agreed to Javier’s plan, but double-crossed him and tried to save Nate Senior’s life. Annalise hits at Javier, telling him people take advantage of him and his bad instincts all the time. It’s why Jorge wanted Laurel and her mind back because he’s a disappointment.
But Javier didn’t fail, and he called Miller on it, telling him he underestimated him. He then told Miller that if he tried anything like this again, he would take out everyone he loved, starting with Bonnie.
Annalise keeps pushing Javier though, trying to get him to reveal whether it was the governor’s plan in exchange for Jorge’s freedom and a pardon. He tries to shrug her off and tell Laurel he’s there for her. Then Annalise hits him with the line of the year which I will now be saving in GIF form to tell every mediocre man I encounter in life: “You’re just as boring as you think. You lost this round boo.” She tells him the FBI has everything they need to arrest him (a bluff) and that he should just turn himself in and share a prison cell with Jorge.
Javier immediately calls the governor from a phone he has hidden away. And she ominously says Annalise has left them with no choice but to go with Plan B. That cannot be good considering how many people died during Plan A.
The Keating Four minus Michaela are toasting to getting Telesco fired, but there’s another bombshell before we go. Oliver hacked Louisiana social services to help Michaela learn the identity of her birth parents — her father’s name is Dwight. And Annalise knew him. WUT. So, like, Annalise has a shadowy connection to all their parents, right?
Meanwhile, Michaela has gone to tell Gabriel the good news about Telesco no longer being a threat to them. He kisses her in response, and they start making out. Enjoy this brief spot of happiness, both of you. You deserve it. Because immediately after, we see Telesco packing up her office and then calling Gabriel’s mom to talk about him — oh no she didn’t! What a vindictive person.
Emmett is celebrating being freed from custody and invites Tegan to share a drink with him. She says it’s not over yet because they still have the Castillos to worry about. Also, she’s a gin girl, so she’s going to go to her office stash and will come right back.
As this happens, the governor makes a public address, admitting reports that the FBI is investigating her involvement in Miller and Nathaniel Lahey’s deaths. She calls the allegations “fake news,” reminding us all how deeply we should loathe her. Tegan watches and calls Annalise to tell her, as the governor accuses Emmett of being responsible on live television, insisting damning evidence exists.
But it doesn’t even matter — because they’ve already got to Emmett. As all of this happens, we see him on the floor of his office, slowly dying, his glass rolling out of his hand. The whiskey is poisoned. And this is why gin should always be your choice.
We see now what Frank meant by the “rest of it.” He knows he and Annalise can’t ever let Bonnie and Nate find out the truth that Miller was innocent. It will break them. Frank tells the prison guard that to protect her kid she has to ask ADA Winterbottom for a deal and tell her DA Miller paid her off to kill Nate’s dad. We see her telling Bonnie just that in our favorite parking garage.
Before Tegan’s phone call, Laurel tearfully thanks Annalise for all she’s done to protect her. They just need to get home. As Annalise tells Tegan to keep Emmett calm until she can get to them, she looks around and sees Laurel is no longer behind her. She starts calling out for her, but she’s nowhere to be found. Back at Chez Keating Four, Frank bursts in and demands to know where Christopher is. They insist he’s upstairs in the nursery, but when they go up there the crib is empty. The baby monitor was on a video loop. Both Laurel and Christopher are gone as Annalise screams out for Laurel.