By Lexie Schapitl
“How to Get Away With Murder” returned this week after a ten-week hiatus. Before the break, we saw our team of law students kill Sam Keating and dispose of the body in the show’s winter finale. We also discovered that Annalise was in on the plan and merely playing the grieving, betrayed wife, although only Wes knew that secret. (For more on what happened in that episode, check out my recap of the winter finale).
Now, with Sam Keating missing, presumably running from the truth about Lila’s murder, the police begin to question anyone who had contact with him, starting with Annalise and the Keating team. As the police conduct their interrogations, everyone blatantly lies for obvious reasons. If they can convince the police that Sam killed Lila, then their story that he is on the run becomes much more believable. Annalise claims she just learned about the Sam-Lila affair last night, and didn’t recognize the picture of Sam’s junk when it was released to the public. Wes says he didn’t have much interaction with Mr. Keating, despite bashing his head in with a bronze trophy just a few hours earlier. Laurel tells police that Sam used to “look at her in a sexual way.” You get the picture.
Sam was truly such an awful person, though, that they don’t have to lie about everything to paint him as a vicious killer. Bonnie tells the cops about coming on to her to keep her quiet, and he was having an affair with his student who ended up strangled in a water tank after all. When the police start to doubt Annalise’s story, that she came home to find her husband missing after a blowout fight and just assumed he had left of his own free will, she counters, “Wouldn’t you run?”
While all this is going on, we also see more scenes of what happened the night of the murder. Annalise orchestrated the entire cover-up, telling Wes how to dispose of the body and faking the concerned phone call to Bonnie, etc. etc. Nate Leahy also proves to be a convenient alibi. Annalise insists that the rest of the crew know as little about her involvement as possible, and that they focus on convincing a judge of Sam’s involvement so the charges against Rebecca be dropped.
First, they need to prove that Sam was the father of Lila’s unborn child. This part’s easy. After a DNA test confirms that Sam was in fact Lila’s baby daddy, Annalise is pleased and Frank is justifiably confused He asks her what’s going on, because “no one’s this relieved to find out their husband knocked up a dead girl.” She tells Frank that “Bonnie can never know,” and then apparently fills him in on what happened to Sam. This creates more tension between him and Laurel, who had lied to him about the whole incident.
But the DNA test alone isn’t enough to prove Sam had the motive or means to kill Lila. Rebecca says that Lila had asked her what clinic she uses to get her birth control. Since Lila was already pregnant, she was probably considering an abortion, something she never would have done without pressure from Sam. After some legal maneuvering, Annalise manages to obtain the security footage from the clinic, which shows Lila and Sam arguing in the waiting room.
The clinic receptionist testifies that “it was obvious (Lila) didn’t want to be there,” and that Sam and Lila had fought after she met with the doctor. This is enough to convince the judge to order an analysis of the data on Sam’s laptop, which the DA had been withholding because she knew it would damage her case. Sure enough, the laptop data shows that Sam had traveled from Connecticut back to Philadelphia and was at the Kappa Kappa Theta sorority house the night Lila was killed. This is enough evidence to drop all charges against Rebecca and Griffin.
Throughout the episode, though, the students have been growing more and more anxious about the cover-up. Michaela is especially worried that lovebirds Wes and Rebecca will somehow team up and pin the whole thing on the rest of them. At one point Connor calls her Raskolnikov, in reference to the protagonist of “Crime and Punishment” who is overcome by guilt after killing an old woman (at least I think; my memories of world literature aren’t what they used to be). But soon enough, Michaela has convinced Connor to turn themselves in and sell out Wes and Rebecca.
They approach Laurel, who agrees to join them, but when they arrive at the police station, Wes and Annalise are waiting for them. Laurel had warned Wes, who then convinced Annalise that the only way to keep this team together was if she told them of their involvement. Annalise says that she knows they’re scared, but that they will get away with this if they let her help them. She promises. The next day during their class final exam, the hypothetical case is eerily similar to the Keating 5’s current situation, and the students’ assignment is to craft a defense against all possible charges.
The episode ends with Connor leaving the police station after being questioned, only to find that Sam’s sister, Hannah (portrayed by Marcia Gay Harden), is there, and insists her brother “is no murderer.” Connor calls Annalise to tell her, “I think we have a problem.”