By Maureen Lee Lenker
October 10, 2019 at 11:00 PM EDT
Kelsey McNeal/ABC
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Three episodes into the final season of How to Get Away With Murder and things are moving at an incredible pace. New mysteries are developing, cliffhangers and answers are hitting us at an eye-popping pace, and there’s still time for the show’s signature courtroom cases.

To kick things off, Michaela is taking over class for the day (Connor rightfully surmises it’s because she guilt-tripped Annalise about her dad). Professor Pratt is taking no prisoners, lining up a dizzying array of charges on the board and asking her peers to come up with ways to dismiss them in a competition to be her second chair. Ultimately, the biggest issue is that the government wants to charge the client, Brandi, for restitution — and Michaela vows to get them to drop every single dollar.

But Gabriel is more interested in confronting Michaela about spilling the beans on his murderous deeds. She blames Asher, which Asher is only too happy to take the credit for before telling Gabriel, “It’s over.” Oh, so then this was never about Asher genuinely trying to help Annalise? It was just a way to get his girl back. Harumph.

Bonnie is looking for employment at Caplan & Gold, but Tegan immediately smells a rat and accuses her of being a spy for Nate. Plus, Tegan knows she got fired, despite Bonnie’s age-old line that she “resigned” because of everything that happened with Ron. But Tegan wasn’t wrong because Bonnie is texting Nate telling him, “She knew.”

Tegan is busy fielding calls from Connor, who is distraught that Marisol, the undocumented immigrant from last week’s episode, isn’t coming to their meeting because she was worried about being fired. Connor makes an impromptu decision to drive Hector to see his mom in Maryland, but since he’s crossing state lines that’s tantamount to kidnapping (which Asher points out). But Connor thinks it’s worth it when he witnesses the emotional reunion between mother and son — until ICE agents tipped off by Hector’s social worker show up and detain both of them.

Frank has information about Laurel’s disappearance, and for some reason confides in Oliver?! Wait, when did these two become besties? He reveals the details about the safe deposit box, adding that he believes Laurel was the one who emptied it out since he has a photo of someone who looks like her from a street camera on the night in question.

Oliver helps Frank figure out who the driver of Laurel’s cab was, one Felix Michel. But not before Frank admits he’s embarrassed to reveal to everyone he was wrong about Laurel. Oliver wants to know why Frank chose her in the first place, because he always assumed Frank and Bonnie were secretly together at some point. Frank takes the address and confronts the cab driver, offering him a bribe to confirm he drove Laurel and provide any information. But the guy insists he doesn’t remember anything.

Michaela gets her client her day in court. Brandi is facing charges related to burglary, but the incident also resulted in her unarmed black husband’s death after being shot by a police officer. So it’s a loaded case in many ways. The prosecution is offering a plea deal for three years in jail and restitution. Michaela argues that the restitution violates the eighth amendment, which gets the prosecution to lower the total, making $60,000 their final offer. Annalise tells her to take the win, but Michaela and the client won’t do it. They reject the plea offer and threaten to take the case to trial, which backfires when the prosecution tries to add felony murder to the charges.

Vivian also makes an appearance in court and corners Annalise in the hallway. Annalise throws in her face that she got Gabriel off when the FBI framed him for terrorism, which makes Vivian beg for Gabriel. “You of all people know what it feels like to lose your child,” she tells Annalise because of course Sam told her about the baby. He called her right after it happened. SERIOUSLY, THIS DUDE WAS THE WORST.

Annalise doesn’t take this news well, running home to beat a pillow with a poker. “It wasn’t my fault,” she proclaims. “I loved him.” She says it over and over — though it’s unclear if she means her son or Sam — until she’s on her knees, crying and clutching the pillow to her.

Michaela is certain the prosecution is using the murder charge to get back at her, but Gabriel wants to put Brandi on the stand. Police shot her unarmed black husband, so he wants to take advantage of what the press might make of it. Michaela thinks Brandi can’t handle it, and Asher supports her. But Tegan just wants to know where Annalise is and why she has to clean up all her messes.

Nate is still grasping at straws. He goes to the FBI seeking more information on his father’s death and shows them the photo of Tegan with Jorge from years back. He thinks she should be arrested. Why do you have it out for Tegan, dude?

When Annalise comes to apologize, Tegan is exasperated. She’s already a target as a lesbian woman of color running a law firm, why is someone who is supposedly her friend making her job harder? Annalise apologizes and promises to do better. She immediately takes charge on Michaela’s case and agrees with Gabriel’s plan to let Brandi take the stand – on one condition, he has to question her and if they lose, he goes home with his mother. Ok, so does Annalise want to lose this case then?

Frank comes home to have dinner with Bonnie and uses it as a chance to broach the subject of the possibility of “them.” He thinks Sam screwed everything up for them in terms of being an “us.” But Bonnie thinks he’s just turning to her because he misses Laurel and dismisses him. Seems Oliver’s wild guesses got to him. But Oliver is now also outside their house, begging Bonnie to help Connor and his detained clients. Connor is too afraid to call Annalise or Tegan because he’s worried they’ll kill him. Which Oliver notes might not be the worst idea.

Brandi is on the stand with Gabriel questioning her. He wants to demonstrate the robbery and ensuing events weren’t a result of decisions she made. Vivian is blown away by his skills, which he credits to Annalise – but Vivian insists it was all him. It was like watching his father and Gabriel should come home with her. Man, here I thought they were just going to have one nice mother-son moment.

Gabriel’s success is short-lived anyway because when the prosecution cross-examines Brandi they provoke her into threatening them, which gets her kicked out for being in contempt of court. Annalise promises to clean up this mess, while Tegan heads out to help Connor.

When she arrives, Bonnie is already there, lying to the front desk that she is the Philadelphia A.D.A. But it works because the director of the detention center agrees to see them. Bonnie gives him a song and dance about needing Marisol to testify in a trafficking case for her and that they were planning to file Marisol’s asylum application today. He agrees to release them, but he needs to see her D.A. badge. When she can’t produce it, he realizes it’s a scam — but Tegan saves the day by calling the undersecretary for analysis at the Department of Homeland Security. Who, it just so happens, is her WIFE.

But Bonnie’s gamble also pays off because Tegan agrees to hire her on a three-month trial basis. She probably shouldn’t trust Bonnie though, since Bonnie later texts Nate from her new office, “I’m in.” But Connor gets a win, being able to tell Marisol and Hector they are safe and get to stay together. It’s a rare bright spot in a show that I fear won’t give many of these characters victories in the end.

Michaela is struggling to figure out how to win her case. Annalise points out that Sam’s death could also be a felony murder charge, which prompts Michaela to spiral on her wondering why Annalise has protected them when she could’ve sued them all for wrongful death? And right there is Michaela’s answer — the D.A. is afraid of Brandi filing a wrongful death suit.

That takes us back to the courtroom, where Michaela wants to know why no one has seen the report following the investigation into an officer-involved shooting. Michaela suspects it’s because they knew they could rush through Brandi’s sentencing with a plea deal and try to avoid revealing she had grounds for a wrongful death suit. The judge agrees and insists the prosecution drop the felony murder charge or she’ll subpoena their report. Ultimately, they offer Brandi either two years in jail and probation or just probation if she’ll waive the right to sue. Michaela wants to try to win her millions, but Brandi knows she’s lucky to have gotten this far. Thanks to the color of her skin and her economic background, the cards are stacked against her. She takes the probation and waives her shot at getting money in a wrongful death suit.

Vivian is chasing Annalise down again; she somehow sensed that Michaela knows firsthand what it is to play a role in a man’s death. But Gabriel has had it and pulls his mom out to the parking garage (oh look, we’re back in this show’s favorite place) — she can’t go to the FBI because what Annalise said about him killing his mother’s boyfriend is true. The two have a tearful heart-to-heart where he confesses he was just trying to take care of his mother. She embraces him and promises to protect him, reminding him he’s a good man.

Annalise has a bone to pick with Tegan, namely that she never told her she had a wife. Tegan reveals her wife’s name, Cora, and says they just haven’t filed divorce papers yet. And by we, she means herself specifically. Seems like she’s holding on to some unfinished business. When she’s done confronting Tegan, Annalise goes to Bonnie to find out why Bonnie didn’t tell her she was fired. It’s because of why Bonnie was fired, but Bonnie thinks it’s a good sign the FBI hasn’t brought charges. If the FBI is turning to Vivian to spy on them, they must truly be desperate for evidence.

At any rate, Vivian has had enough of being an FBI patsy. She tells them she’s done because of their framing Gabriel. She dares them to come for her and even threatens to have Annalise defend her. Now that I gotta see.

But she’s not purely Team Annalise since Gabriel arrives home to a note from his mother reading, “You’re a good person. Annalise is not.” She has left Gabriel her box that appeared to be Sam’s case file but turns out to be Sam’s tape recordings of his sessions with Annalise. Michaela comes over, and he plays one for her that contains a bombshell related to her past. When Annalise’s first boss in college was representing Michaela’s father, the big-time lawyer got the client’s wife, a.k.a. Michaela’s mom, pregnant. The client always assumed it was his baby, but it wasn’t, which means Michaela’s biological father, this lawyer, might actually still be alive.

Frank meets in a dark alley with the taxi driver (did he never watch the De Niro movie or what?), who admits he was threatened to keep quiet about transporting Laurel. He gives Frank the address of what he thinks is a safe house in exchange for cash. He goes there, and it’s seemingly abandoned. He searches for any sign of Laurel and finds a baby’s crib and blanket upstairs — only to be interrupted by Xavier Castillo. Eeek.

Nate is back at the FBI. They have new evidence that suggests Ronald Miller was not involved in his father’s death, but they can only help him close that case if he helps them with their case on Annalise Keating.

This takes us into a new slice of the fast-forward. This time the FBI is interrogating a graduation-gown clad Connor invoking his right to remain silent. They’re pressuring him, saying Michaela is next door about to crack. They slide a photo across to him, promising proof of the murder. “You did this, tell us why?” they threaten. All we can see of the photo is what looks like an ominous pool of blood on the floor — and Connor loses it. He starts laughing hysterically before it morphs into a panic attack and a full-blown seizure or heart attack that has them calling for paramedics.

What do you think? Was that really Laurel in the security footage? Is Frank in danger? Might this be the way Connor Walsh dies? And is Bonnie really working for Nate in some capacity? Sound off in the comments below.

Related content:

Episode Recaps

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