Warning: This recap of the “Don’t Tell Annalise” episode of How to Get Away With Murder contains spoilers.
TV shows are better when things happen on them. Hear me out! Have you ever noticed that many serialized dramas, and especially serialized/case of the week dramas, will save the important twists and reveals for premieres and finales? Not How to Get Away With Murder! At last count there are one thousand thousand TV shows currently airing, and quite frankly, the only way for a show to keep an audience’s attention is to, you know, entertain us more than the others do. That means making sure every episode feels momentous. Things need to happen. Major things. All the time. This show gets that, and that’s why it’s such a pleasure to behold.
In “Don’t Tell Annalise,” we saw both the return (and exit!) of fan-favorite Eve (Famke Janssen), plus Nate cheated on Annalise, Frank murdered Bonnie’s father, Connor had a gay three-way, Laurel was revealed to be pregnant (and dying!), and Annalise came out as an alcoholic so that she wouldn’t lose her law license forever. Those things would’ve been sprinkled throughout the season of a lesser show. But they ALL happened this week! Let’s talk about it.
We began, as always and forevermore, with a stressful shade of green.
Several months from now, a character will be brought into the ER and fussed over by doctors. But WHO will it be? As they say in the piano industry, stay tuned.
In modern times, Eve was visiting from New York, and this meant A LOT of heavy drinking at happy hour. Annalise was obviously happy to see her once and future ex, but they could barely get a word in edgewise before men walked up and flirted with them like crazy. These ladies may have not necessarily been thirsting for D, but they were NOT about to turn down free drinks and suppertime dancing. You know? Nobody parties harder than middle-aged lawyers.
Annalise somehow got herself home at half past trashed, but Nate took care of her like a doting boyfriend. Of course, she lied and said she was drinking with Bonnie, so that was weird. I guess he would not have appreciated Annalise going so wild with Eve. Fair!
Then Frank got out of bed with his shirt off so that a strange woman could come into his room and sell him a canister of chemicals. But what and why and where were Frank’s clothes? That last question obviously didn’t matter. He was up to something.
During another of her pro bono trials, Annalise found out the hard way that her license to practice law had been revoked. Would you like to know why? OK, I thought so. Here is why: She had slapped her client last week! Now, you and I know she only did this because he was a disgusting murderer, but in the legal profession, slapping one’s client is considered a no-no. As it turns out, people can even lose their jobs after committing a physical assault. Who knew?
Meanwhile the rest of the gang were all extremely horny and talking so much about sex, doing sex, and sexual sex. Connor and Oliver were openly using their HumpR apps in front of everybody, and Michaela was doth protesting a ton about how Asher is only her sex pal and not a boyfriend. Long story short: Sex!
I don’t know about you, but Frank’s plotline was probably the most fun even though he wasn’t actually in the episode very much. I loved when he put on a janitor’s uniform and f***ed a nurse at a hospital. But why? And who on earth could possibly take a look at Frank and be like, “Look at that janitor, what a classic janitor-looking gentleman”? Didn’t matter. Clean-shaven Frank is the No. 1 A+ dreamboat on all of television, so he can do whatever he feels like as far as I’m concerned.
I liked when Asher and Bonnie realized that their client had stolen money from an ATM in order to buy Gymboree items. He was a teen in trouble, and it turned out he’d knocked up a teacher at his school and wanted to keep it a secret! As if being a teenager weren’t hard enough, now there were storage lockers full of crappy toys to worry about.
But the idea that statutory rape had definitely been committed was on everybody’s minds, so that explains why Connor went to hook up with two college students (!) and straight-up CARDED them. Connor was not going to jail this day.
Annalise’s shenanigans not only got her license suspended, it meant her job at the college was now in jeopardy also. And it turned out that her boss did not love Annalise’s smart mouth very much either!
Now they are having a full-on WAR, and it’s not looking good.
Laurel spent most of the episode secretly attempting to track down Frank, but Wes was feeling super snoopy and kept demanding to know why she was being shady. So she claimed that she’d merely been trying to help plan Wes’s surprise birthday party. Great save! But also, man, that was the lowest thing Laurel could have done, and this is a show about murderers. Don’t go spoiling surprise parties, villain!
You would think that with all the problems alcohol had caused Annalise that she’d lay off the sauce a little, but no. Annalise was fiending for a buzz, so she started swilling vodka like it was… What is that clear stuff that comes out of faucets? I can’t remember the name. It’s wet. Anyway, she was drinking vodka like it was that stuff. And when Nate asked her to please stop being an alcoholic she was like, “NOPE AND GOODBYE!” So they kinda broke up over it. It was all very harsh.
Bonnie and Asher grappled with whether to out the teenage boy as a rape victim, and because of their personal experiences with sex crimes decided that they should. So they got his teacher to kinda-sorta admit that she was pregnant with his child. A lot of people (especially the client) felt that Bonnie had gone too far, but in the end Asher was proud of her. Did the right thing, girl!
In a kinda surprising twist, Nate went and did sex with the assistant district attorney who hated Annalise. I guess getting drunkenly pushed around and also watching Annalise cavort with Eve had taken its toll on Nate. But also, good for him? You do you, Nate. And also whoever else.
As you probably expected, Wes’s surprise party was super sad and insincere. Nobody truly wanted to be there, and Wes wasn’t even very surprised anyway. Great job, Laurel!
I truly appreciated this conversation between Connor and Oliver, in which they talked about the ins and outs of them both being back “on the market” and how much harder it is for Oliver to meet people who will accept his HIV status. This is a show with 10,000 characters, but it still finds time to feature the most complicated and nuanced gay characters on TV. Credit where credit’s due, this show goes there, even when that place is difficult and heartbreaking.
Speaking of heartbreaking! The Season 3 Breakup Fiesta continued when Eve rebuffed Annalise’s drunken overtures and informed her she was moving to San Francisco with a woman she really cared about. Annalise tried to accept this news with a trembling smile, but it was clear she knew she was losing the best romantic partner she’d ever had. (And we were losing Eve as a character! Who is so great!) Poor ladies.
As for Annalise, she confronted the council of lawyering (or whatever) and admitted something everyone already knew: She was an alcoholic. Because they legally can’t show prejudice against someone with a medical condition, this would probably save Annalise’s career for the time being. But would she have to, you know, actually get sober? We’ll see!
And then, in a truly twisted and weird and sad reveal, we found out why Frank acquired that canister of acid gas… So that he could break into the prison hospital where Bonnie’s pedophile father had been living and MURDER HIM PAINFULLY. We knew Frank and Bonnie were tight, but it’s unclear why he’d added this task to his to-do list while he was on the run. Unless Frank had decided to atone for all his sins by becoming some kind of vigilante avenger? Either way, Laurel immediately knew Frank had done it, and when she confronted Bonnie, Bonnie did not seem very surprised. I feel like there is more to the story here, but even with the mystery of it all, it packed a punch. Tough stuff.
We then got our final flash-forward tease. That person on the ER table? Laurel! Which meant she will probably survive (as opposed to the dead body in the ambulance, whose identity remains a secret). But on this show even the twists have twists, so of course we learned (via nurse Meggie) that Laurel was PREGNANT. That’s right. But who was the father? Wes? Frank? The Holy Ghost? Just one more question for the always expanding HTGAWM questions list.
“Don’t Tell Annalise” was a good one. As with most episodes I did not care very much about the case of the week, but at least it was back-burnered to make room for more drama surrounding Annalise and her drinking problem. Not to mention all the Frank stuff! And the frank stuff, by which I mean sex. See, like I was saying, this is a show that fundamentally understands that EVERY episode needs to feel momentous. It felt like things really happened here, and that’s a huge compliment for any season’s fourth episode. And yeah, once again I’m totally hooked and intrigued by the flash-forwards. Let’s keep that green comin’!
What did YOU think of “Don’t Tell Annalise”?
How to Get Away With Murder airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC. Watch clips and full episodes of HTGAWM on Yahoo View.