By Lexie Schapitl
The winter finale of HTGAWM opens with Annalise packing Sam’s stuff and kicking him to the curb, enraged that he knew about Lila’s pregnancy and lied to her once again. Sam insists that he did not kill Lila, saying that he’s not a violent person. But Annalise tells him that “everyone’s violent given the chance,” and Sam proves it within the next five minutes.
In the ensuing fight, Sam evolves from the absolute WORST to ABSOLUTE WORST ASLFKERH%$#@ASLEHRW@N*7S! He grabs Annalise by the neck, pins her up against a wall, and verbally berates her. Let’s recap just a few of Sam’s lines:
“You’ve done nothing but make my life miserable.”
“You’re just some scared little girl who pretends to be strong.”
“You’re nothing but a piece of ass.”
“I knew you’d put out. That’s all you’re really good for.”
“You disgusting slut.”
After this, Annalise storms out of the house, and we see Rebecca outside, flash drive in hand.
Michaela arrives at the office to return the MVP trophy. She talks to Sam as she sits and waits for Annalise to return, and notices Rebecca walking up the stairs. Michaela asks what Rebecca is doing here, and Sam would REALLY like to know the answer to that one. Rebecca tells Michaela to call Wes as she runs up the stairs and locks herself in the Keatings’ bedroom. Sam bangs on the door, demanding that Rebecca let him in while Michaela tells Wes he needs to get here, NOW. Sam breaks down the door, Rebecca dashes into the bathroom, and soon enough Wes, Laurel and Connor arrive. After Wes calms Sam down, and Rebecca says she didn’t find anything on his laptop, Sam agrees to let them all go.
LOL JK! He tackles Rebecca and Wes to the ground to get the flash drive, which is dropped in the struggle. Laurel grabs it, and as Sam runs after her, he pushes past Michaela, who pushes back and Sam falls down a flight of stairs. He hits his head on the railing and lands motionless on the floor below.
So this is how he died! The trophy was just a decoy plotline the entire season. Clever Shonda, very clever. The students discuss their next move, debating whether they should call the police or just run.
But as they deliberate, Sam, who is NOT DEAD, starts strangling Rebecca before he is hit in the back of the head, and then actually dies. We see Rebecca’s face spattered with blood before it is revealed who is holding the trophy.
And the killer is…Waitlist Wes.
At this point, I would like to shamelessly congratulate myself on a correct prediction. See the following proof of this correctness:
Next we see the aftermath of Sam’s murder, most of which we have already seen before, several times: Wes cleans Rebecca up, Asher arrives, coin flip, etc. But we also see a sensitive moment that we haven’t seen before: When Wes returns to the Keating house to retrieve the trophy, he stands over Sam’s dead body and says, “I’m so sorry.”
A distressed Annalise shows up at Nate’s and tells him that “everything is falling apart:” Sam has been lying to her all along, and she thinks he killed Lila. Nate tries to comfort her, and of course they end up sleeping together while her husband is dead and his sick wife is in the hospital.
Meanwhile, Bonnie is looking for some action of her own, talking to some random creep at a hotel bar. But when things start heating up, Bonnie takes off and calls Asher instead. Cue: Awkward sex scene.
Annalise returns home and leaves Sam a heartfelt voicemail. After building a life together for 20 years, Annalise wants to work through this. She tells him, “I want us to be together because whatever you did, whatever the truth is, I will stay by your side through all of it no matter what, because I’m your wife, and I love you, and I need you, so please come home Sam. Come home so we can be together.”
I was sort of bothered by this. Annalise is supposed to be our strong, independent woman who don’t need no man, yet here she is pleading for her lying, cheating, violent and possibly murderous husband to come back to her. Still, it was a really emotional scene, and I couldn’t help but empathize with Annalise. Little does she know that he will never come home, as our students turned murderers are currently disposing of his body.
Speaking of body disposal, I would like to state for the record that I think this is a terrible plan. But when the group reconvenes at the Keating house the next morning, things seem to be going as smoothly as a murder cover-up can go. Asher believes the rest of the gang was at the bonfire, Frank says he found the trophy left on the porch, and Annalise tells the students that she and Sam had a terrible fight about Lila, and she thinks he may have fled.
She asks them to be as honest as possible when the police arrive to question them, and her and Wes share a look. Wes replies, “Of course. Whatever you need,” and we flash back to Wes retrieving the trophy. As he tells Sam he’s sorry for what has happened, we hear Annalise respond, “Don’t be,” as she sits behind the desk looking at her husband’s lifeless body.
SHE KNEW ALL ALONG! HER VOICEMAIL WAS A PLOY!
After watching more than 13 combined seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” I have become somewhat desensitized to Shonda Rhimes’ shock value TV. Somewhere along the way, between the mass shootings and the train crashes and the secret government agency torture, my reaction has become less dropping my jaw and more rolling my eyes.
So I was nervous about starting another show built on OMG moments, and it took me several episodes to really get into HTGAWM. But the winter finale did not disappoint.
Now here’s hoping that Shonda can keep it up when the show returns. Or will HTGAWM pull a “Scandal” Season 3 and crash and burn before our eyes? Tune in next week in late January to find out!