‘How to Get Away With Murder’ Season 3 Premiere Recap: Class Acts

Warning: This recap for the “We’re Good People Now” episode of How To Get Away With Murder contains spoilers.

Confession: We’re now three seasons in and I STILL don’t know how to get away with murder! I was never a great student, and my learning capacity remains subpar at best, but you’d think that after watching about 30 hours of a show called How To Get Away With Murder, I’d at least know the basics of getting away with murder. Nope! It all just seems hard and stressful and will lead to me hating my friends and mentors so much. When it comes to getting away with murder, count me out.

Fortunately the cuties and misanthropes of How To Get Away With Murder are back for a new round of getting away with murder, and I can continue to live vicariously through them. “We’re Good People Now” was the hilariously titled third-season premiere, and I don’t know if I’d just forgotten about this show since it last aired, but this episode was very good — somehow both dense and breezy. I have zero complains about this premiere, with its hilarious dialogue and a new emphasis on mutual affection between the characters. Also, every male character appeared half-naked, so that helped. Let’s talk about this episode!

HTGAWM-logo
HTGAWM-logo

We began with a little bit of clarification on what exactly went down in last season’s cliffhanger. Like, we already knew that Wes ended up wearing his biological father’s brain matter on his face, head, and body. But who shot him? According to this premiere, it was Frank!

Apparently Frank was the one who had urged Wes to meet his dad, and then he felt that their first meeting was a good time to explode Wes’s dad’s head via a gunshot. We didn’t see Frank pull the trigger, but everyone on the show firmly believed Frank had done it, so case closed? What we DID get to see, however, was dazzling by any standard.

We saw Frank go on the run, but not before shaving his beard and head in a bus stop bathroom. I don’t know if you were prepared for this, because I sure wasn’t…

Frank’s naked face! Holy moly. This was a revelation.

Anyway, it was Annalise who had picked up Wes from the crime scene, and she took him to some dark woods for a good, old-fashioned scream into the void. Yes, they’d both just had a very terrible year, but it was nothing a few primal shrieks couldn’t fix!

Then it was suddenly four months later and it was time for a new semester! The Keating Five reunited for their new class, also taught by Annalise. They hadn’t really been in touch all summer, and that’s probably why everyone looked fresh and well-rested, with some new hairdos and wigs in the mix as well.

One thing I enjoyed was the reveal that our suspicions were true: The Keating Five were bad students! Among their peers they’d become known as underachievers who were skating by on Annalise’s good graces. And now she had this new class devoted to doing pro bono legal work (which I’m guessing will place an emphasis on nonwealthy murderers this season) for which they’d have to fight to sit beside her during trials. But just as every new school year comes with new stresses, Annalise was going to have to deal with the fact that someone had been papering the classrooms and quad with flyers labeling her a “Killer”! Very rude. Accurate, but rude.

In her spare time, Annalise had taken to playing Snake on her secret flip-phone that she kept in her jewelry box. Fair enough!

This episode also filled in some of the gaps about what everyone had been up to over the summer. For the most part, everyone needed time to heal from all the murderous shenanigans of the previous spring. But what was touching was how these flashbacks re-established the motherly affection Annalise still held for each of them. I liked when she showed up to soak her feet in a kiddie pool with Connor. He made her promise never to hire his boyfriend, Oliver, to work for her since he was too pure for that life. “Never! Don’t worry,” she responded, perhaps too quickly.

Then Nate took off his shirt and gave Annalise a foot rub. No big deal, nothing to see here. (Everything to see here.)

In another of the flashbacks, Asher begged Annalise for a loan on account of his rich daddy being in heaven now, but Annalise just laughed in his face for 15 minutes straight. Very humiliating!

For that reason, Asher now lives in a college dorm and works as an R.A. to the undergrads. Michaela would show up to do sex sometimes, but it was clear she was over it. Dorm life was really killing her boner.

For her part, over the summer Michaela had taken the various murders and suicides of last season very hard and, in one dark moment, almost got arrested for DUI. Annalise showed up to get her off. (If Annalise is your emergency contact, you know you’re in a bad place.) But I loved how, despite Michaela’s hatred for Annalise, Annalise still insisted on being Michaela’s drinking buddy in the future, and then she said they were starting to look like hookers standing on that street corner for so long. Love these two.

The trial of the week involved defending an Iraqi refugee from deportation, but despite a valiant effort on the part of the students, the man was deported. Annalise shrugged and said to Wes: “Justice is the exception. You should know that by now.” Just a very great and sad line of dialogue.

Speaking of great and sad! Obviously, Annalise ended up hiring Oliver to be her resident hacker but only after he admitted he’d hacked Stanford and deleted Connor’s transfer application. Annalise told Connor about this, which led to a tough conversation in which Connor forgave Oliver and Oliver couldn’t believe it. He was so frazzled by his lack of punishment that he dumped Connor in response?

Just a very painful scene all around. But it had to happen. These guys make a great couple, but single Connor is a fun Connor. What was unclear was whether Oliver would still be working for Annalise, despite the breakup. If so, that would make me feel even worse for Connor. Ugh, relationships.

Lieutenant LaGuerta from Dexter was the new college president, and her first order of business had been to kinda-sorta fire Annalise! More specifically, she took away Annalise’s most famous class (on getting away with murder) and for a very hilarious reason: Annalise’s interns were failing their classes! So that’s how Annalise came to head up this new pro bono class.

Oh, another reveal was that Wes now has a serious girlfriend named Meggie. (Her name being the true shocker.) He’d been ignoring Laurel a lot, mostly because she was Frank’s ex and he was still ticked about Frank murdering his biological father before they could have so much as a handshake. Anyway, Meggie seems nice and is definitely not here for any love triangle purposes.

We then discovered what else Annalise was using her flip-phone for between games of Snake: She’d been contacting a private investigator (and hitman?) who’d been tracking down Frank … just in time for Frank to attack him and probably murder him while still on the phone with Annalise!

So yeah, it’s not 100 percent clear what was going on here, just that Frank now knew Annalise had sent someone after him, and that was something Annalise would have preferred to stay secret. Whoops!

And then we were treated to a patented HTGAWM green-hued flash-forward … Annalise discovering that a person from her inner circle was now dead on a stretcher! Also, her house was burning down.

It’s not clear what exactly was going on here, but about two months from now, it looks like bad times are coming. And possibly a vodka fire.

“We’re Good People Now” was a great episode. It reminded me why this show is so much fun, and it somehow kept things light before plunging us back into darkness. The dialogue, the editing, the music cues were all impeccable, and I found myself caring about the interpersonal relationships more than I expected to! This show might continue to be a lurid, frenetic array of edgy plot points and dizzying storytelling, but now more than ever it feels human. Now if only I could learn how to get away with murder — finally.

What did you think of “We’re Good People Now”?

How to Get Away With Murder airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.