The whole concept of “daddy issues” or “mommy issues” is usually sexist and problematic. The idea that someone will be messed up when it comes to dating because their mom or dad didn’t hug them enough is also pretty suspect, but when you watch How to Get Away With Murder, there’s a compelling case for the idea. Everyone on this show has such a messed-up relationship with their parents that it can basically explain everything that’s wrong with their lives and personalities. Doesn’t anyone just have a regular dad who reads books about WWII and sends them clippings from the newspaper?
So, surprise! It turns out that Laurel’s mom speaks French. Which means we not only get Laurel speaking French (and we get to pretend that’s a personality because Laurel doesn’t have one), but I also get to use my French degree! I felt very fancy being able to understand what Laurel and her mom were saying to each other. Her first conversation with her mom at the start of the episode was all about how Dominick had disappeared and how Laurel found the phone in a rental car and her baby had been taken. Yes, Laurel told Annalise and Frank all of that too, but I felt very accomplished knowing a little bit before you did and you can’t take that away from me. Laurel says that her mom is ready to help her by testifying in the custody hearing. Annalise is NOT PLEASED, but Laurel says that her mom isn’t just going to sit by while this all goes down.
Laurel goes over to Michaela’s place, where the rest of the Keating Gang is hanging out and looking through cases while they discuss Wes calling Dominick. Laurel can’t deal with all their questions and doubts about Wes’s motives. The boys find a case in their big stack of files that should be interesting: It belongs to Nate’s dad.
Meanwhile, Annalise storms into Nate’s office to ask if him giving her the files was a test. His dad has been in jail ever since he was a kid and when he was 15, his mom cut off contact. His dad killed another inmate. Up until now, Nate was pretty well-adjusted and didn’t seem to have any major trauma but — BOOM! — daddy issues strike again.
At the courthouse, Laurel goes to confront her father and she asks how her son is. Her dad says Baby Wes could come home with Laurel if she just gives him what he wants. Where is the goddamn hard drive?! Then, as she’s turning away, he says that he didn’t kill Big Wes. That’s a pretty big reveal to drop on someone as they’re leaving. It’d be like a doctor just casually revealing that it might be cancer as you’re on the way out of the exam room. Give me a second to deal with that information, doc.
It’s time for the custody hearing. It’s so refreshing to actually be in a courtroom during an episode again. I know that should be a given for a show about a bunch of lawyers, but most of the time it’s just a dark and gritty montage and we don’t get any courtroom scenes. If only for the fact that court happens during the day, this is a good thing. I feel like this show is like Vegas sometimes: You never know what time it is, but everyone is ready to get into a fist fight or sleep together.
Annalise is interviewing Laurel and uses records produced during her pregnancy that showed she never used cocaine, as well as the fact that the hospital has been known to produce false positives. Then, Laurel’s asshole father’s lawyer — who never gets a name but I’m sure it’s Dale — starts cross-examining Laurel. His line of questioning is basically “U CRAZY, BITCH OR NAH?” and he won’t accept “nah” for an answer. He asks her about going to rehab as a teenager, and she says it was for her eating disorder and that she used cocaine for the weight loss “benefits.” Then Dale asks all sorts of terrible questions: How many men she was sleeping with? Why did she ask for a paternity test and an abortion? Was she worried her son would grow up to be a sociopath who kills people like his father, Big Wes?
Dale is OUT OF LINE.
Annalise goes to visit Nate’s dad in prison. He’s been in solitary for two years and really sad old black dads make me really sad. This show is trying to destroy me. When Annalise reveals that the man with her is Nate, his dad flips out and starts calling him a pig and a bitch to the white man. Okay, any feelings of sympathy I had are shifting.
Meanwhile, Oliver is making a GoFundMe page for Simon’s parents to come visit him. Connor tells him that setting up that fundraiser makes him look stupidly guilty.
Bonnie is working on her computer when her mouse starts moving on its own and she thinks her computer is being monitored. Frank thinks that maybe Laurel’s dad isn’t behind everything and maybe didn’t actually kill Wes. I can’t take it if Frank starts doubting all of this. Bonnie is more concerned about the DA.
Back at the courthouse, Annalise antagonizes Laurel’s mom. The whole time Laurel is like, “LEAVE MY MOM ALONE” but I was sitting there like, “Let Annalise work!” On the stand, Annalise keeps baiting Laurel’s mother to admit she was a bad mother. Laurel’s mom tells a sweet story about how Laurel would take care of her while she was having a painful mental-health episode and that’s how she knows Laurel will be good mother. Never doubt, Annalise.
Annalise realizes that Nate’s father never had a psych evaluation and any lawyer would have submitted an innocent by reason of insanity pleas. That should be YOUR first move. Nate goes to see his father again and tells him that Baby Nate spent some time in jail and knows how it can break people. He also tells his father that he knows he’s sick and signing up for the case would help a lot of people.
Wait, how does Annalise have all this time to be running around with Nate in the middle of a custody case?
Jimmy Smits takes the stand and everything is going amazingly. Laurel ain’t crazy. She’s not a cokehead. This is looking GREAT until Dale’s salty ass has to cross-examine. First thing he brings up, “You did heroin, right?” DALE. Then he starts asking questions about Jimmy Smits’s daughter and asks if he staged her death to look like a suicide. Um, this was all nine years ago, DALE. Too bad, Jimmy. We’re REOPENING THE CASE. The DA is personally overseeing the whole thing. Goddamn, this all fell apart quickly.
The judge rules against Laurel. Annalise goes to Jimmy Smits’s office to apologize, but he won’t open the door. Probably because he’s in his office chair nodding off. Yes, he’s back on the smack again. Everything is falling apart.
Nate shows up at Annalise’s apartment with the signed form from his dad and he’s feeling frisky. He gives Annalise a big kiss. She turns him down, but she’s going to make his dad the face case.
Cut to Bonnie, who finds out that Wes put one address in his phone before he was killed. And it was … Laurel’s mom.