How To Get Away With Murder
As I was firing up this episode, my boyfriend asked, “Are they doing that one thing that they flash back to? Are they done with that?” But this episode does something … else. It transports us back in history. The wedding of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles! The third Star Wars prequel arrives in theaters! Can you hear the eternal songs of Hilary Duff and Franz Ferdinand? Tony Blair! George W. Bush! Remember Jacques Chirac? We went back to 2005 and stayed there. Let’s get to 2005 and the rest of this episode.
The news is spreading that Gabriel knows that Sam is his dad. It seems like most people knew that Sam was Gabriel’s dad, but now the news is spreading that … Gabriel knows that? Bonnie is scrubbing all the blood that’s caked into her callouses when Frank busts in. He’s mostly concerned that Gabriel knows that Sam is his dad, but Bonnie is actively scrubbing blood off her body and he’s got no questions. Frank, let’s observe before we report.
Meanwhile, Annelise is in her living room staring down Gabriel, who claims he just wants to talk and get some answers, but too much ominous blue light is streaming in for him to be there just to talk. Listen, I understand that for narrative reasons, it’s more engaging for all of this to unfold right after Connor and Oliver’s wedding— but if Gabriel doesn’t know these people and they don’t fit into his plan at all, why do this after the wedding? Maybe wait until the next morning? Or confront Annelise the second you’re alone with her? Also … what is his plan? It’s honestly more interesting if he’s going to kill Annelise. Otherwise, this all could have been an e-mail.
Annelise is so frustrated and upset that she goes behind a stack of old cookbooks and pulls out a bottle of vodka. It’s gonna be one of these nights, folks.
Meanwhile, Oliver and Connor are heading to their wedding hotel room and Connor’s dad has dressed the whole thing up in rose petals. This is clearly a move to curry back some favor from the couple, but it’s definitely creepy. Unfortunately, they can’t enjoy their night because the rest of the Keating Gang decides to call them right then and drag them over to the house, because Gabriel isn’t picking up his phone and he knows that Sam is his father.
OKAY. HOW DOES CALLING OLIVER AND CONNOR RIGHT THEN FIX ANY OF THESE PROBLEMS?!?! This definitely could have waited till the morning. It’s an even greater sin narratively because basically nothing happens with the Keating Gang. They sit around and narrate why this is bad for them but no one actually does anything to deal with these issues. Michaela is the only one who puts together two pieces of information and says she saw blood on Bonnie’s leg and they can’t find Gabriel. Better sit in this house for like two hours and do nothing.
Back at Annelise’s, she’s staring down Gabriel and his completely unreasonable request. Annelise wants to know if he even cares about the rest of the Keating Gang or if he knows his actions could cause her to get in trouble with the Bar and destroy the class action suit. He says that his mother taught him to protect people worse off then he is. Man, I would have loved any of this character development instead of him being a beautiful light-skinned cipher. All Gabriel knew was that his father died before he was born. Gabriel tries to pull on Annelise’s emotions and says it would kill his mother if she knew he was there.
Y’KNOW WHAT?! I would love if we got to meet Vivian Maddox, Gabriel’s mother and Sam’s ex, immediately. Because there’s a lot of talk about who this woman is and what she would have wanted, and yet we have no idea who she is. It’s all very jarring in a show that does so much to really show black women that this woman is just a metaphor for how bad Sam is. And did we not already know that Sam is very bad? I thought we were very clear on this?
All right, it’s time to blast back to the past! It might be useful to try to knock out most of the 2005 storyline in one go. First of all, Frank has a very dumb haircut. He looks like Tobey Maguire from Spiderman 3. Annelise is fixated on one thing: adopting Christophe, a.k.a. Wes Gibbins. Sam is stunned that Annelise could even be thinking about adopting a child while she’s still recovering from a hugely traumatic event. They fight over and over about it. Bonnie emotionally touches Sam’s arm.
Sam’s reaction to the accident is to look up Vivian Maddox and just bug the shit out of her. Like, leave her alone. You made your choice, you monster. After a particularly bad fight, Sam storms out because Annelise says the adoption is happening with or without him. Sam picks without him. Do we need more evidence that Sam is bad? WE GET IT.
The only other storyline that needs to be addressed is Nate covering up Ron’s death. Nate has driven the car somewhere into the distance and Bonnie ordered a pizza and gave a huge tip for an alibi. Bonnie is beating herself up and the only way to convince herself that what they did was the right thing is to say that Ron deserved it.
In the present, Annelise is trying to do everything she can to get Gabriel off her fucking back. She ends up playing him the tape of Wes on the phone talking about Sam’s murder. See? Wes did it, can I please go to bed now? Gabriel isn’t satisfied. He wants more answers. Why did Wes do it? Why would a student kill her husband? I don’t know, Gabriel. Why don’t you watch the first two seasons of the show?
Annelise just wants to put everything behind her. She also snaps at Gabriel for trying to explain away Sam’s decisions and siding with him over Invisible Vivian’s decisions to keep them apart. I would have loved a little more detective work from Gabriel or some understanding of his childhood to know why this is such a betrayal. Was his mom the most universally loved and respected profession? … Um … sexy nurse?
Back in 2005, Sam has decided the best thing to do when your wife has suffered a traumatic accident and lost your child is try to stalk your ex. He shows up at Vivian’s door and her mom comes out to tell him to get lost. Suddenly a basketball that’s definitely a metaphor rolls over to his feet and he picks it up. It belongs to baby Gabriel. He catches it and then hands it back to him in a really weird way.
Meanwhile in 2005, Annelise gets a call from Child Protective Services, and Bonnie and Frank are trying to drink the stress away and wind up in bed with each other. Bonnie is in love with Sam and Frank has been threatened by Sam about the accident. The next morning, Bonnie finds it weird that she hasn’t gotten any calls from Annelise and she rushes over to the house. She finds Annelise on the floor in the bathroom after overdosing. When Annelise comes to, she doesn’t remember that she lost the baby. Just hand Viola Davis another Emmy, please.
Bonnie rushes Annelise to the hospital and when they return, Annelise breaks down about how her relationship with Sam made her believe that she could be a mother even though she never thought that would be possible for her. Annelise knows that Bonnie loves Sam but Annelise needs Bonnie more right now. I found myself asking if Annelise had any female friends? There is a very strange answer to this question coming soon.
Sam returns home and Frank hands him an e-mail Sam wrote to Vivian. Sam sends that classic “my relationship is falling apart so I’m going to lay all these feelings out on my ex even though no one asked me to” e-mail. Frank tells Sam that he’s going to GET HIS SHIT TOGETHER because Annelise needs someone. Annelise is trying to fill the void of losing a child by adopting Christophe and Sam is doing the same goddamn thing by trying to form a new relationship with his son.
It’s time for the final montage. Connor and Oliver are in bed together and they say they have to protect each other from their worst instincts. Michaela and Asher end up sleeping next to each other because they have no idea what to do with these characters. Laurel finds bits of blood on her baby’s blanket finally. Nate tries to get Bonnie to let some of her guilt go. Gabriel sits and cries holding his metaphor basketball and makes a phone call. “They found out who I am. Can you call me back?”
Present-day Annelise opens her door to find who? Eve! And in the past, Eve gives Frank the printout of the e-mail. Eve says “he never deserved you, Annelise.” FEMALE CONNECTION!