By Lexie Schapitl
In this week’s episode of “HTGAWM”, the Keating students return for second semester, and through a series of flashbacks we see how winter break went for the whole gang (hint: not well). Annalise spent her time off in a Philadelphia hotel, hiding from her sister-in-law. She drinks, eats junk food, cries, and ignores calls from Nate for a few days before returning home to face Hannah.
Hannah is deeply concerned for her brother, and confused as to why Annalise isn’t. “When a person goes missing you don’t leave,” she says. “None of this makes any sense.” But Annalise insists that she doesn’t suspect foul play, and that Sam’s not coming back. She gives Hannah the evidence she presented to the court, and tells her the hard truth: “He is not the man we thought he was.”
Wes, Connor, Michaela, and Laurel reunite in class, and each seems to be handling their situation differently. Wes says he is “tired,” Connor is worried about Hannah’s interference, Michaela is surprisingly upbeat, and Laurel doesn’t really have much of a reaction at all (typical). It’s also implied that Rebecca has been a handful for Wes.
Back at the firm, a woman comes in claiming she’s been arrested for a DUI, but Bonnie and Annalise suspect she’s just a “rubbernecker” who “wants to see the freak that sold out her husband up close.” Actually, she wants to sell her husband out too, because it turns out he’s holding two girls captive in their basement. Go figure. Her husband has repeatedly raped these girls, and Jackie has been an accessory to the crime all along, but naturally, Annalise takes on Jackie as her COTW. In an interview, Jackie reveals that she was a teenage runaway, and her husband had abused her too. Also, one of the prisoners is now pregnant, and about to give birth. Jackie chose to come forward because the last time one of the girls gave birth, the baby was stillborn.
The police raid the house and rescue the prisoners, who testify that Jackie was always kind to them, like a mother even. But they also say she gave them drugs, to knock them out before they were abused. Bad news for Annalise, who is seeking a plea deal for her client. Jackie claims she was trying to help the girls, that she didn’t want them to have any painful memories, but one could easily argue she had aided and abetted her husband in his vicious crimes.
Annalise had been recording every word Jackie said since she took on the case, and after analyzing a recording realizes she isn’t the helpless bystander she claims to be. She had lied about the stillborn baby. The baby actually lived, and Jackie has raised her as her own. Now she is hiding the child away somewhere, and won’t reveal where until she gets her plea deal. Yeah, this woman is nuts. Annalise spoke the truth when she said, “Thank God I don’t have a gun, or else I’d shoot her myself.” Annalise tells her they’ve secured the deal, and the child is found. But Annalise lied about the deal, and Jackie will go to jail for what she did.
Meanwhile, flashbacks reveal that the Keating 5 had like the worst winter breaks ever. Wes has nightmares thinking of the night they killed Sam. He is also fixated on the scratch marks above his bed, and starts to wonder what happened to Rudy, the tenant of his apartment before him (My prediction? Rebecca killed him. After all, this is Shonda Rhimes we’re talking about). Connor tells his sister that he has a boyfriend, but Oliver is still hesitant to let him back into his life. He’s also still bitter about Laurel ratting him and Michaela out to Wes and Annalise, and a little paranoid that they are still plotting against them.
Michaela couldn’t handle the stress of what they had done, and Aiden called off their engagement after she became depressed and started acting a little crazy person. Laurel spent time with her rich, shallow family, got back together with Khan, and is trying to get over Frank. She also apparently speaks Spanish. Who knew? All of the stress has taken its toll and poses a threat to the group. Laurel warns that if they don’t start talking to each other “we’re all going to fall apart.”
Also in this episode, Frank fulfills his role as Annalise’s henchman. He calls in a tip that Sam has been spotted in New York. Then steals and supposedly destroys Connor’s car, which is loaded with forensic evidence. Later he offers to “handle” the situation with Hannah, and I couldn’t scoff fast enough. I’m sorry, is Frank suddenly a B613 agent or something? Did I miss that? Are we all just down with committing casual homicide now?
At the end of the episode, Annalise finally sits down to talk to Hannah. Hannah doesn’t buy that Sam is on the run, and has decided that Annalise could take apart the case against him “with her eyes closed.” Annalise tells her the truth about Sam and Lila, about how she lied to police, and how she “tried to help him.” Basically everything except the part where she covers up his death. She sticks to the runaway story, and it seems like Hannah starts to accept it.
But soon Hannah will know the whole truth, because the episode closes with Wes and Rebecca watching a severely troublesome newscast. The police found Sam’s remains.