A lesser person would just sum up the debut season of How to Get Away With Murder with the most important nine-word question in the history of television: “Why is your penis on a dead girl’s phone?” A slightly better person would throw in Frank and his impeccably groomed beard for good measure. And a even better person would say, “Don’t forget about the time Annalise got raw as hell in front of white TV audiences and took off her wig and makeup.” Well, lucky for you, as HTGAWM’s new recapper, I’m going to try to be the best person and write about more than just those amazing moments in Shondaland history in this GIF-infused guide to all the best and most twisty scenes from Murder’s first season. So let’s begin at the beginning: Viola Davis’s really, really bad wig in the pilot episode.
You remember how in “Ice Ice Baby,” Vanilla Ice rapped, “If there’s a problem, yo, I’ll solve it?” I’m pretty sure he was predicting in the future that Davis’s clearly visible wig-glue was the problem that needed some fixing. Black Twitter and anyone with eyeballs noticed that the wig was a disaster. Thankfully, the show got it together as it progressed, and her hair got on point because we did not need any distractions! There was already too much going on, thanks to the murder in the show’s title being told in a series of ever-changing flashbacks. The result of this murder being handled by a quartet or law students: Connor (a stereotypically promiscuous gay guy with a gorgeous jawline), Michaela (soon-to-be-married woman who is engaged to a maybe — no, definitely — bisexual man), Laurel (someone who is somehow basic and not at the same time and has a boyfriend she loves, which means she’s going to cheat on him because this is TV), and Wes (who is super emo, very Drake-esque, and was also in the Harry Potter movies, but he’s grown and sexy now). In short, these four are like the Spice Girls after Geri Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger, left the group:
They’re trying their best to get rid of the body, but they keep freaking out on each other. Said moments include Michaela basically cussing them out for getting caught up in this mess, then losing her engagement ring at some point while dumping the body, Connor laughing because he feels like his life is over, etc. Before we find out exactly how they’re going to get rid of the body, we learn that they are students of Annalise Keating.
Annalise has many facets to her personality, one of them being “Miley, what’s good?” for when she has to call out her students in class. Another facet is being stressed the F out because the amount of lies she has to tell gets bigger by the day. Anyway, we learn that she is one of the best lawyers in her field and will do anything she can to get her clients off. Plus, each year, she selects a group of students who will work alongside her in solving her cases, and this year she chooses the Ginger-less Spice Girls and Asher, the guy who plays Bennett on Orange Is the New Black. And naturally, because they are students, they make plenty of mistakes when helping her with the cases, which makes me wonder why she doesn’t, you know, have lawyers help her out, instead of young 20-somethings who smell like Proactiv and the recent loss of virginity. In short, this don’t make no sense, but everyone rolls with it because it’s TV.
Since time is of the essence here, I don’t have the luxury of getting into the crazy cases Annalise and Co. work because there are far more pressing matters here, like this:
This is Frank. He works for Annalise and kind of does her bidding, but mainly he does a lot of standing near and against walls, looking fine and trying not to sex on Laurel. You see, he has a penchant for hooking up with his students, which is something that his colleague Bonnie (a.k.a. Amanda Tanner from Scandal!) judges him for … until she ends up having an affair with Asher. Yes, Asher, a lovable dimwit who, thankfully, is not involved in this dead-body business.
About that dead body. We learn that a student, Lila Stangard, has gone missing, and her boyfriend, Griffin, is the No. 1 suspect. So she’s clearly the body that the Ginger-less Spice Girls are trying to get rid of, right? WRONG! Turns out the body is that of Sam. As in Annalise’s husband:
The police find Lila’s dead body. Lots of murder happening, and Griffin is not trying to take the fall for any of it. He blames Rebecca, Lila’s best friend, and says Becca probably did it because Lila walked in on the two of them hooking up, a hookup that Rebecca planned for Lila to see. These friends ain’t loyal, y’all. Annalise is trying to get to the bottom of this mess, so she decides to take on Rebecca’s case. Okay, let me just get this out of the way. I hate Rebecca. Nothing against the actress who portrays the character. It’s just that she does absolutely nothing for me with her wack Evanescence makeup, and her strange hold on Wes seem kind of unearned. For some reason, he falls for her instantly and starts doing anything to protect her even though she is shadier than all the awnings at California Pizza Kitchen’s outdoor seating area. Basically, I want her character dead and for Wes to stop taking off his shirt. It’s weird! I keep thinking about him as a young child in the Harry Potter movies. Moving on.
Now, because so many crazy things happen, I present to you Da. Fuq. Masterpiece Theatre, which is when so many insane things are revealed in succession over the course of a few episodes that all one can say is, “Da. Fuq.” and then drink all the brown liquor in their kitchen cabinets. So without further ado, Da. Fuq. Masterpiece Theatre:
So the Sam-and-Annalise coupledom started out as a sexy secret when he cheated on his first wife with Annalise:
But we don’t care about the first wife because Viola Davis is everything. Apparently, though, she’s not enough, because Sam was cheating on Annalise with Lila …
And then he got Lila preggers because condoms aren’t readily available at Costco. She’s understandably freaked out, while he’s basically like, “Lila, you have no chill.” Right. Because when one is 20 years old and gets knocked up by a married man in his 40s who has no intention of leaving his wife, they’re supposed to be cooler than cool. Sam, you’re a fool:
But don’t cry for her, Argentina (read: Annalise), because Annalise also has a side-piece of her own named Nate, who likes like to show up to her job and go down on her:
Yay! That is, until we learn that Nate’s wife is really sick:
Then it’s awkward, but we try to put it out of our minds. And we can because we now see that Sam is trying to cover his tracks, by kissing Bonnie in order to keep her quiet about the Lila pregnancy:
While Bonnie was clearly into a sneak preview of what Sam could lay on her, her loyalty is to Annalise, so she goes to her and is like, “Girl, your man is trifling. He kissed me and knew Lila was pregnant all along.” Annalise is like:
Bonnie gets fired (no!) and will later on be rehired (yay!), but my joy is short-lived because Rebecca’s back on my TV screen (double no!). She’s sniffing around because she knew about the Sam/Lila affair and wants to find some evidence that he did kill Lila. Naturally, Sam tries to stop her by choking her in front of the the Ginger-less Spice Girls.
But then Wes stops him by slugging him in the head with a statue from Annalise’s shelf, which means Rebecca doesn’t die (see above GIF reaction to the reveal that Nate’s wife is sick).
And then Annalise discovers Sam’s dead body, and Wes tells her he’s going to take care of it:
So this whole season, Wes was being portrayed like some little puppy dog, and now he’s got his big-boy pants on and is going to start disposing bodies?! Da. Fuq. Indeed. Unfortunately, his plan to get rid of the body doesn’t go perfectly, and the police find Sam. Once again, the Ginger-less Spice Girls and Annalise have to play defense. Not only does Sam’s sister come to town and blame Annalise for his death, Annalise decides to maybe try to pin Sam’s murder on Nate, but then she tries to save him because she’s not pure evil, guys!!!
Speaking of evil, it seems that Wes now has suspicions that maybe Rebecca is evil because he’s realizing that her story is not adding up. And the only reason it took him about ten episodes to come to that conclusion is because he was hypnotized by the vajeen. But I don’t blame him. It can happen to the best of us (read: all straight men in history). So Annalise and Co. decide to try to get the truth out of her, once and for all. She owns up to boning Griffin in order to prevent Lila from going back to him, but says she didn’t kill Lila and simply discovered her body floating in the water tank. And you know, for once in her tired life, she was telling truth! Or was she? Because she ended up escaping from Annalise’s house to probably go tell the cops what Annalise and Co. are doing. Damn! That said, I’m inclined to believe Rebecca because I don’t think she’s such a phenomenal liar that she can keep the story straight unless some of what she was saying is true. So then who the hell killed Lila??
Not Sam. Well, technically, not him. Because after he professes his love to her, he then calls someone to ask him to take care of his situation. And that person is …
WHAT?! Frank killed Lila for Sam?!?! And just when I’m wrapping my brain around this revelation, we see in present-day that Rebecca did not in fact escape from Annalise’s house. She’s dead and stuffed the basement of Annalise’s law office like a box of half-working Christmas lights:
Whoa. I seriously did NOT see Frank’s involvement in Lila’s death! How did Frank get to Lila so quickly to kill her that fast? If he’s usually really good at doing dirty work like this, why didn’t he attempt to dump her body somewhere other than the water tank? Also, who killed Rebecca?!?! Wait a minute. Let me rephrase that. Rebecca’s dead?! Praise:
As I stated earlier in this refresher, Rebecca’s character never really did it for me, so I’m glad she’s finally gone. But who did it? I’m thinking Wes, and that Annalise is trying to protect him. I’m not sure why, but those two have always had a close relationship for some reason that we will no doubt find out about soon. Tell me, Vulture readers, who do you think is behind Rebecca’s death, and what kind of favor do you think Sam did for Frank in order to get Frank to kill Lila for him?