'How To Get Away With Murder' Recap: What Would Annalise Keating Do?

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER - ABC's 'How to Get Away with Murder' stars Viola Davis as Professor Annalise Keating. (Craig Sjo
HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER - ABC's 'How to Get Away with Murder' stars Viola Davis as Professor Annalise Keating. (Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images)

Annalise Keating: both sinner and savior, cheater and the one cheated on, powerhouse and broken one. This unending dichotomy of characteristics makes her such a force to watch as she struggles through the news this episode that her husband is (still) a cheater and probably a murderer. What would Annalise Keating do (WWAKD) is the new catchphrase for the show, and at the beginning of the episode, we have no idea what she’ll do next.

But back to the flash forward that kicks off every episode: This week is Laurel’s episode. The timid girl we found in episode one has been replaced by a brilliant force with nerves of steel. She confesses to sleeping with Frank after her phone goes off mid-body disposal, but poignantly points out that she doesn’t know why her murderous quintet cares -- after all, they’re not friends.

Back in present day, which is six weeks before the murder, we finally get a sympathetic client. We have no idea where Annalise found this kid who shot his cop dad for abusing his mom, but we’re going to go with she just didn’t want the cops to win.

In the Keatings' bedroom, Annalise is ready to rumble over the incriminating “penis picture” (why we’re calling this a penis picture instead of a dick pic is beyond me, but then again Sam Keating was dumb enough not to use Snapchat). In the ugly fight that follows, Sam reveals that Annalise was his mistress before he divorced his first wife. As she puts it, Sam likes his mistresses weak and broken. He claims Lila wanted him to fix her problems, that the affair was just sex.

The staccato way that Annalise questions him heightens the tension, and the two of them eventually resort to biting and throwing pillows. The final shot of Annalise rocking back and forth is beyond disconcerting -- how could our hero be so off her game?

Of course Bonnie is creeping at the bottom of the stairs, and we find out later that Annalise knows she has a thing for her husband and doesn’t seem to care. Pretty odd, considering she was paranoid about him having affairs with other coeds.

The entire fight was juxtaposed against Annalise’s safe zone -- her classroom. There she’s impeccably dressed, made up, and thoroughly in charge. This week’s lesson argues that picking and gaming the jury is essential for cases that run on emotion, and Annalise appears to be on top of her game despite her husband’s potentially murderous past.

Back at Wes’s apartment, Rebecca decides to waltz on over to steal some of the pepperoni pizza she smelled (for the record, if stealing guys’ pizza is the new hot pick-up tactic, we’re so in). Anyways, Rebecca decides she likes Wes now and turns on the charm. She straight up asks why he’s so obsessed with her, and he really doesn’t answer her. BECAUSE IT’S CRAZY. The sexual tension is growing between the two of them, but it just doesn’t make sense. Besides both being outcasts, they don’t appear to have interacted enough for Wes’s level of obsession.

In the Keating household, Annalise is downing straight vodka, as wine and tequila were already taken as the drinks of choice for the protagonists of Shonda Rhimes’ other shows, “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” She then decides to go visit Nate (did she drive drunk? It’s unclear). Hot stuff owns up to lying to her about Sam’s whereabouts, but he doesn’t give a reason for his deception. He also doesn’t give Annalise what she really wants because he thinks she got him fired (nice going, Bonnie).

In the flash forward, we find out that Frank lied to Laurel about something, and she’s pretty mad about it. She also just killed someone, so that’s slightly distracting. Small problems.

Back to the case of the week, and Connor outs a juror he connected with over Humpr, the new Grindr (fantastic fake app name). Does Connor have to use his sexuality EVERY episode to help with the case? We’re glad you’re working on all cylinders, but come on dude, you have other weapons in your arsenal.

Back to the woods, and Michaela continues to fall apart over her missing engagement ring. We’d be upset if we lost that sparkler too, and you know, killed someone. For some reason, Michaela should be the one returning the trophy for Asher, but she is in no mental state to do so. So this episode’s hero, Laurel, steps up to the plate.

Back to the courtroom, Annalise turns on the charm for the jury, but best case scenario is a hung jury. Laurel decides she cares too much about the case and wants to get a mistrial through whatever means possible. She sneakily plants info about jury nullification for the jury, which is very much against the law. Annalise decides to use Laurel’s tampering to nullify the jury, so of course the client of the week gets off with probation and some counseling. At least he appears to deserve justice.

Back at the Keating household, Annalise straight up asks Sam if he was at Yale the night Lila was murdered. He comes clean, but feeds us a line about Lila being suicidal and him looking for her. Annalise believes him as much as we do, so she brings in Rebecca to see how much our favorite goth neighbor knows about the identify of the man who sent the dick pic.

Rebecca lets loose, saying she used to be in juvie and that Lila considered Sam to be Mr. Darcy. However, goth girl doesn’t seem to put the picture with the face until she sees the matching wallpaper upstairs in the Keatings’ bathroom. BUSTED.

Back to our murderous timeframe, and Laurel shows up all fire sooted up and begging for Frank’s help. This murderous quintet isn’t going to get far if they keep knocking on lovers’ doors after committing this crime.

In the present, Frank and Laurel get in a heated argument over him covering for her that devolves into one helluva makeout. Laurel storms out, and decides she’s going to go have hot sex with her boyfriend to prove to herself that she likes him more. The scene is entirely reminiscent of the season 1 “Heart” episode of “The Good Wife,” but what’s particularly satisfying is the authority and level of power Laurel takes by pushing her boyfriend against the desk. It’s clear we’re not dealing with timid Laurel anymore.

Back at Wes’s crazy apartment, Wes discovers Rebecca has skipped town. After he learns of the wallpaper connection, Wes breaks into Professor Keating’s house and confronts her.

The episode ends with Wes once again holding a secret over Professor Keating’s head. Their student and teacher power dynamic continues to be upended, but our money’s on Annalise figuring out how to fix it. After all, what else would Annalise Keating do?

Odds and Ends
  • Did anyone else think the crazy twist of the week was going to be that the Mom shot the cop Dad, not the son?
  • Despite being LAW STUDENTS, these kids have no respect for the law itself. The show is called “How to Get Away With Murder,” but it should really be called “How to Get Away With Breaking Every Law” or “Watching Law Students Get More Tail Than Anyone You Know.”
  • Annalise’s wardrobe is only getting better, while the opposing counsels’ wardrobes only get worse.
  • Seeing Frank out of a three piece suit reminded us that he’s not a doorman at a speakeasy.
  • Seriously, Wes only owns plaid shirts.
  • Annalise’s ring gives Michaela’s (now-lost) rock a run for its money. Where’d Sam get all that cash, especially considering he was already married once?
  • Asher quote of the week: “Your emotional scorecard is cute but pointless, like a dumb blond.”
  • Asher also cries over the case of the week -- could he have a soul?
  • And Michaela continues to be the only one to mention other classes. Not that any of these kids are studying for them.

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