How to Get Away with Murder is back, and just when you thought you’d figured it out, you see that nothing is ever that simple.
Quick to the point, episode 10, “What Happened to You, Annalise?” teases us with its typical flash-forward/flashback format; with just a glimpse of the events following the shooting. Instead, the season’s return focuses on the life of Annalise Keating 10 years ago; and how it all led up to the present.
Opening to the night of the shooting, Laurel is able to take the gun from Wes, before lying to Michaela; insisting she was the shot with lousy aim. Acknowledging the tension Wes garners in association to Sam’s death, Laurel protected Wes to protect the relationship between him and Annalise. Snapping out of his shock at hearing his birth name, Wes leaves to put the gun in the pool. Escaping just as the police arrive, and we skip forward, to two weeks later.
As an ailing Annalise arrives home with Bonnie, they’re discussing a case. Surprisingly not a lawyer in this instance, Annalise is due to testify at Catherine’s trial; for the murder of Emily Sinclair, and the attempted murder of herself. Whilst three of the Keating students seem to be coping, Asher and Wes still reel from their actions. As the public has been convinced to blame Catherine, Nate is the only one capable of unraveling it; instead choosing to remain silent in repayment to, Annalise’s protection.
As only Laurel and Wes know that, what truly happened, happened with intent, the tension thus far seems to be directed inwards on Annalise and Wes.
As a newsreader discusses Catherine’s trial, and the hunt for Phillip Jessup, Annalise relieves the moment she was shot. Dosing herself up, Annalise later awakens to a hallucination. Opening the door to frantic knocking, a woman hands her a baby boy; naming Annalise to be a survivor.
Whilst initially I was disappointed to learn this was not baby Wes; when Bonnie arrives to Annalise cradling an empty blanket, the baby can still be placed firmly in the past.
Wanting to be alone, Annalise asks Bonnie to leave; once more, reliving the shooting.
As Wes, Laurel and Bonnie, arrive at Frank’s for a study session, we learn that Asher’s visit to the police station on the night of the shooting was to question his Father’s death. With the knowledge that murder coverups can be framed and pulled off, the season leads Asher’s mourning towards the notion that his father was murdered.
With Annalise’s mental state too unstable to testify, the Keating 5 become Annalise, in order to draft up a witness statement on her behalf.
Concerned for her welfare, Bonnie slips Annalise sleeping pills, assuring her that the plaguing hallucinations of a baby are in her head “like last time”.
In another flashback, we learn that Frank’s frantic hovering over Annalise was a stint, to steal her blood to drape over a sleeping Catherine.
Awaking once more to a crying baby; screaming on the floor, a frantic Annalise tells him “I’m not your Mother”. Waking up from her dream, the penultimate reveal of a pregnant Annalise ten years ago, suggests the loss of her own child, coinciding with the death of Wes’ Mother. As if to agree, the sounds of a baby are cross cut with images of Wes in the hearing the next day.
Meanwhile, Annalise worries over Nate and Wes. Whilst Nate has yet to visit her, we next see Wes holding the not-so-disposed gun in his apartment; far from coping with the shooting. Saved by the arrival of Laurel, we are left to learn that Caleb is defending his sister’s innocence in the shooting.
During the trial, a jury listens to Annalise’s dispatch call from the night of the shooting. The judge sustains the objection to her written testimony as hearsay, and Annalise is forced to the stand. Supporting a much-rumoured theory, Annalise defends Catherine with the suggestion she was either drugged or sleepwalking.
Overwhelmed, Annalise avoids talking Wes in a recess, only to return to the stand to be questioned on the logistics of Sinclair’s murder. Whilst Annalise claims ignorance, evidence shows that Sinclair didn’t die from a fall. Falling apart on the stand, Annalise breaks client/attorney privilege with Catherine, in order to make her fumbled testimony inadmissible. With a new plan, Annalise tells Caleb the “story” that Catherine was drugged; in order to buy his sister’s compliance.
Later, Wes lets himself into Annalise’s, to search the name Christophe in her files. Finding nothing, we can’t help wonder if the story is indeed, a personal one. Finally able to confront Annalise, he demands to know how she knew his mother.
It is with this, that we first flashback 10 years ago. A young Wes plays in a playground –“you knew her, that’s why I’m here” – as a pregnant Annalise – expecting a boy – sits beside his mother.
Fearful of Wes, she kicks him out; later following behind him, only to see the baby once more. Surprisingly, she chooses to embrace the child.
Episode 11 “She Hates Us” welcomes us back 10 years into the past, as a pregnant Annalise goes downstairs to her students. Greeted by a young Bonnie, and a very much alive, Sam, mortality is only referenced macabrely to her unborn child. Having to visit the doctor; to get clearance to fly to Ohio, the episode cuts back to the future, as a sleep-deprived Wes gets sectioned at his own appointment; after threatening to shoot himself.
Absent from Annalise’s first case back in court, the episode calls into question restorative justice, as a victim’s mother wants mercy on the accused.
Back in the past, it’s surprising to learn that Frank and Bonnie knew a pregnant Annalise, and therefore, her story. Wes however, may be purely confound in Eve. With a hint their history, it is clear that a young Frank is more loyal to Sam; empathized with cross cuts to his involvement with Lila and Rebecca. As the episode continues, we also see Bonnie’s and Sam’s past align with images of their present.
Learning that Annalise’s shooting triggered the memory of his mother, Wes is released from the psych ward; far from cured from his guilt. Likewise, Annalise’s client confesses to intent and life in prison; with forgiveness and reconciliation from his victim’s mother; perhaps foreshadowing repair for Wes and Annalise.
Cutting back to a pregnant Annalise, we arrive in Ohio wherein, Annalise gives Wes’ mother a dossier on a murder trial concerning ‘Mahoney’. Back in present day, the same file is packaged and delivered to Wes.
With relationships up in the air, between Annalise and Wes, Michaela and Caleb, and Laurel and Frank; who suffer from their secrets, repair begins. As Laurel admits the truth about the shooting, Frank confesses that he killed Lila.
Interrupting the path to redemption, Connor receives a video incriminating the 5 in the shooting, with the shocking revelation that Philip Jessup has returned.
How to Get Away with Murder “It’s a Trap!” airs tonight at 10|9c on ABC!
[Featured Image Courtesy of ABC/Mitch Haaseth; Source Content for Gifs: How to Get Away with Murder ABC, 2016 ]