Do you hear that? That’s the resounding sigh of relief as viewers across the nation rejoice. Yes America, TGIT is back! And I’ll be damned if Shonda Rhimes didn’t bring her A-game. Picking up where we left off over two months ago (yes, HTGAWM has not been on since before you all were wiping your turkey-stuffed faces), Annalise knows that Wes and the team killed Sam, and appears to have no hard feelings. This, however, is less about Wes—for all of you that thought the relationship between Wes and Annalise was more than platonic. Instead, this is self-serving. She says, “I’m not helping you, I’m helping myself.” Annalise’s role in this jumble of a case has become a little hazy. I cannot discern whether she is trying to get revenge on her husband, whether this is for Rebecca, or to appease herself.
According to the police, the public, and everyone else (except for the gladiators-in-training), Sam Keating is a missing person. He is also a potential suspect for the murder of Lila Stangard. For Annalise and her team, this episode is devoted to linking Sam to the murder of Lila Stangard. If they can achieve this, it gives Sam a motive for running away so the gladiators can breathe easy, Rebecca is absolved from all her crimes, and Annalise’s reputation remains intact. But in typical Rhimes fashion, everything is always easier said than done. A few months ago, I commented on the theme of solidarity, and how neat it was seeing this group of law students thinking as one, as opposed to being self-serving. Regrettably, I must retract my statement. This was just a farce, as clearly it is every man for himself. While the group is working on trying to incriminate Sam Keating and clear their client, Michaela and Connor devise a plan to go to the cops and turn in Wes and Rebecca for the murder, washing their hands of any involvement and maintaining a clean slate for their future. But it turns out not everyone wants to backstab everyone else, as Laurel has figured out that Frank knows, which means Annalise told him… which means Wes knows that Annalise knows. So Annalise, Wes, and Laurel stop Connor and Michaela before they can confess, throwing them back in the bear pit. Encapsulating the entire show, Annalise says, “Let me help you. If you do, I promise, you will get away with this.” Boom—Tagline.
Despite all their bad luck, the team eventually hits the jackpot. Evidence proving that Sam and Lila were at a women’s clinic opens up reason to obtain information from his laptop, thus revealing the coordinates which prove that he was indeed at the Kappa Kappa Theta house the night of Lila’s murder.
Let’s talk about Annalise in this episode. I’m surprised at the lack of sympathy she shows regarding her husband missing, and the fact that he is essentially on trial for murder in absentia. Also, he impregnated a dead girl. Given how clever and cunning Annalise Keating is, I would have thought that she’d put on a better farce for the court and the public. Clearly, this does not go unnoticed by everyone else, as we see two lawyers in the courthouse gossiping about how heartless Annalise is, and referring to her as an animal. This was by far my favorite, and the most powerful scene of the episode. Annalise is in the bathroom stall listening to them insult her, walks out, and commandeers the room. They fall silent, not offering up a apology, clearly too mortified by what has just happened. This is how tough Annalise Keating is. She is the Miranda Priestley of the law world. Much like Viola Davis changed the face of women leads on network television, Annalise Keating can shift the whole energy of a room—and not just this room, or any room, but every room.
Still, tough is just an exterior and at the end we see Annalise crumble just as any woman would, whose husband has just gone from hero to zero. Everything is stable and everyone is absolved of guilt. But then, just as the episode wraps up, an earthquake by the name of Hannah Keating shatters the concrete foundation. Looks like this case is far from being over.