Trigger warning for incest.
As the title might imply, this episode sets up many a reveal before next week’s mid-season finale.
Philip had shown up to Oliver and Connor’s apartment, at the end of last week’s episode, implying that Oliver was in danger. However, if that is true, I feel that Connor in the flash-forwards would have been much more unhinged.
Part of me thinks that Annalise may actually have shot herself, or had someone shoot her to frame Catherine for the murder. Why else would Frank be placing her in the woods and creating an alibi for himself at the hospital?
Maybe Catherine murdered her parents, and the aunt, herself and knows Philip but was lying about it?
But the many theories of who did what and why this season could fill a short book, which unfortunately is not the purpose of this review.
Instead, let me begin the actual review and recap of tonight’s How to Get Away With Murder with a thank you to the writers for casting aside the extra case of the week to focus solely on the Hapstells and everything relating back to them. While most of the cases do further the grander plot and lead to frequent character reveals, they actually do little to increase my enjoyment of the episodes.
Besides, an antepenultimate episode doesn’t have time for an extra case when Oliver has been missing for an hour, something that Connor definitely does not appreciate. He returns to the Keating House and yells at Annalise. If anything happens to Oliver, it’ll be on her.
This is fortunately after Nate has shown up drunk to yell at Annalise about how she’s ruined his life. Before Nate can call it in, Oliver and Philip walk in together!
Phillip had suggested that he and Oliver get some food, where Oliver had tried to explain everything and figured it was best that Annalise and the others explain.
Phillip insists that he had known who his birth parents were (not the Hapstells), and even his weirdness is not enough to make him a killer, ultimately saying that he’s not sure whether he’ll turn Annalise in, or make a deal with her. That’s the first smart decision anyone has made all season! Waiting to make a decision, I mean, not that I think he’s innocent.
Oliver hands over Phillip’s straw to run DNA from after he leaves, so Nate is tasked with following Phillip around while Frank tries to bribe a lab tech to rush the DNA. Annalise also has to tell Caleb and Catherine about Phillip and they’re understandably furious.
But there’s no time for that, because Sinclair is still the worst and offers the them each a 15-year plea deal that Catherine refuses to consider, though she is told, by Wes, that she should, while Caleb decides he’ll take a 30 year deal so that Catherine will be free.
And the audience face-palms together, but it gets even more ridiculous because Asher, of all people, realizes that Sinclair had tapped the Keating house and heard everything about the Hapstell case! His dance of happiness when he finds the bug in the pen is quite hilarious and kind of the best part of the episode, honestly.
So Annalise tricks her by suggesting that there’s a murder weapon at the mansion, though I still don’t know why everyone and their mother is at the mansion in the future.
We can’t forget about Philip, who makes an official statement, but is not trusted by the police because Nate adjusted the database (not realistic) so that it looks like Philip had been accused of stalking and hacking in the past. Oy.
This season has been pretty consistent with answering questions with more questions, but we surprisingly continue to get more answers this episode. Though that makes me worry intensely about next week.
Especially because after one set of taking and not taking plea deals, Caleb calls Michaela and lets her know that Catherine has made a new deal, agreeing to serve 10 years so that Caleb will serve none. A really bad decision on her part, which she does change after the DNA results come back positive for Philip’s at the original crime scene.
But there’s more! This show is perfect for infomercials. “If you want to learn how to get away with murder, call now and we’ll give you two murders for the price of one!”
Philip’s DNA suggests that he was the product of incest between Dad Hapstell and Aunt Helena! What. The. F.
There’s no time to process that reveal, as usual, because a lot of things start happening simultaneously. And by a lot of things, I mean a lot of sex. Michaela goes to see Caleb and that turns into sex (followed by a reveal that Caleb found a hidden gun in the mansion and is worried Catherine did kill the three.) Nate goes to see Annalise to update her on Philip, tells her that he wants to know the real her, and that turns into sex.
Frank and Laurel have sex after Frank cooks dinner, and Connor and Oliver celebrate not being dead by having sex on the table in the classroom for Crim Law!
Only our poor no-longer-a-puppy Wes isn’t having sex. He’s busy having epiphanies. Specifically, he remembers seeing one of Catherine’s paintings in one of Philip’s pictures, after receiving one as a gift from her, clearly linking the latter two together, and that link is explicitly cleared when Philip gets into a car with Catherine and tells her not to worry.
Catherine is probably being framed for Annalise’s gunshot after all!
Which explains why, three days later, in the final flash-forward to our second murder night of the show, we see Bonnie telling Connor to either get on board with the plan that he had originally said yes to, or be the next dead body before she takes the gun from Wes after Sinclair’s death.
Though I bet Annalise’s plan was not to be almost killed… Damn. The shit has hit the fan.
At least we get to see Annalise tell Laurel she’s her new Bonnie since old Bonnie is staying at home and avoiding everyone and Oliver’s okay! (For now.)
Overall, this was a great precursor the finale, answering many questions and teeing up more. Even though I still hate the Hapstell case, Catherine is quite indicative of this show’s “it’s always the quiet ones” and if she wasn’t, you know, a murderer (probably) I might even like her gutsy character.