‘How To Get Away With Murder,’ Season 3, Episode 3 Recap: ‘Always Bet Black’
Picking up right where last episode ended on How To Get Away With Murder Thursday night, Annalise (Viola Davis) is arrested for burning down her own house, and brought in for questioning. After she tells Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) to wipe the gun clean and bury the evidence on her phone (call logs), Oliver goes into a local school building to do just that.
Annalise tasks her students with a new case involving a man named Toby (Austin Basis), who is accused of murdering a girl named Virginia he met via a website that essentially functions as a prostitution scheme to help practically any man engage in a sexual encounter. Michaela (Aja Naomi King) is selected as first chair.
The plaintiff’s attorney, A.D.A. Rene Atwood (Milauna Jackson) continually attempts to bring down Annalise and Toby, although Annalise is convinced the plaintiff’s attorney is simply tampering with the evidence– which includes a selfie Toby took with Virginia’s corpse before he called 911, presumably because he thought she was just asleep rather than dead. Annalise tries to cut a plea bargain with her opponent, but the plaintiff’s attorney rejects the deal solely because she knows of Annalise’s bad reputation/history with the court. Annalise then brings this up later in Toby’s trial.
Meanwhile, Laurel (Karla Souza) goes to visit her dad in Mexico in order to get him to disclose Frank’s location for her, since he works for a technology firm that can track people. However, her father reveals that he’s also been tracking Laurel’s phone calls to Frank, and that he investigated Frank to discover just how bad of a guy he is– mainly because he is upset that Laurel refuses to talk to him. He tries to convince Laurel that Frank is not worthy of her, and that she should just stop pursuing him, but this only angers Laurel more because of her father’s continued efforts to meddle in her complicated love life.
Wes (Alfred Enoch) calls Laurel, concerned because she has gone away and believing, like Laurel told him, that she was simply away for her grandmother’s funeral. Annalise reveals to Wes the real reason why Laurel has left town, and Wes calls her to say he knows this now and still wants to make sure she is safe.
Laurel’s father tricks her into giving her Frank’s location, but instead gives her a contract he wants her to sign regarding a property he has invested and wants to put under her name. Offended, Laurel throws out the contract and tells her father to leave her alone.
Bonnie finds out that Michaela and Asher (Matt McGorry) are sleeping together in a supremely awkward way, after Conor (Jack Falahee) reveals to Michaela that her ex-boyfriend Aidan–whom Conor also briefly dated– is now engaged to a seemingly very successful girl.
Oliver hacks into Toby’s emails and finds that Toby withdrew a large sum of money from his bank, probably to bribe the judge, jury or his accusers. Oliver, Michaela, and Bonnie (Liza Weil) reveal this to Annalise. Annalise and Bonnie ambush Toby as he’s leaving his apartment, and interrogate him as to who he is intending to bribe, or whether he is simply going to spend the money on another prostitute. Toby confesses the money is for another lawyer he has already hired, whom he claims is blackmailing him. Toby also confesses to Annalise and Bonnie that he killed a second girl named Janie, whom he ‘just met on the street.’ Janie, Bonnie quickly finds, has been missing since 2012, when she was 18, and a website started by her mother has begged for anyone who may have seen her to let her know.
Toby says that one night, while he and Janie were doing blow, he made a pass at her, but Janie rejected his advances, saying “you’ve got the wrong idea” and viciously mocking him for being unattractive and ‘gross,’ saying no sane girl would ever want to have sex with him. Toby lost his temper and killed Janie by hitting her in the face with a baseball bat. He explains that he then dumped her body in a freezer in an old, abandoned warehouse. Annalise confesses this to her boyfriend, Nate (Billy Brown).
Given this new revelation, Annalise kicks Michaela and Oliver off the case and decides to handle it just with Bonnie. Oliver, Michaela, Asher and Conor travel to Atlantic City to go gambling, using the money Toby withdrew from the bank, but lose it all while playing craps. Conor sees Oliver–now his ex–flirting with another guy and gets jealous, and calls him out for being a bigot for saying he’s not “into Asian guys” like Oliver. With what little money they have left, Michaela decides to pawn her engagement ring in an attempt to regain as much of the money as possible.
Laurel gets a call from Frank, who says he knows Annalise put her up to calling him to get revenge on him, and that he’s ‘not stupid.’ Frank tells Laurel to not call him anymore or ‘send any other hitmen his way.’
Nate helps Annalise with her case by discovering that Toby’s cellmate during his time in prison confessed to killing Janie– although this is clearly not true– and that thus Toby is being wrongly accused and is not being given a fair trial.
Annalise tells Toby that his punishment can be reduced to three years in jail if he pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Toby begins to protest, complaining that she promised him she would prevent him from serving time in prison. Annalise loses her cool and slaps Toby, screaming at him and saying he has no right to complain after killing two women, even if one of his murders was unintentional. Terrified, Toby accepts the deal.
Laurel signs her father’s property agreement contract, and he gives her the records showing Frank’s location. The two reconcile.
A local newspaper prints a story saying Annalise and her team won the Toby case, and as Middleton University’s president reads it, it is implied she will be forced to end her suspension, which she initially issued for Annalise after the flyers with her face and the word ‘killer’ became a growing concern on campus.
We cut to Annalise’s house burning six weeks later, and although the body under the sheet– that is being carried into the ambulance– is still not revealed, one more person who is NOT under the sheet is marked as safe: Bonnie. Oliver is shown approaching the ambulance and discretely throws Annalise’s emptied phone under said ambulance. The firefighters reveal that another person has been found in the burning house, injured but alive, although it is not revealed who.
How to Get Away With Murder airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. EST on ABC.