‘How To Get Away With Murder’ Season 3, Episode 4 Recap: ‘Don’t Tell Annalise’
Well, what a dark episode. We open on Thursday night’s How To Get Away With Murder with Annalise (Viola Davis) locked up in jail after taking the fall for her house burning down. Bonnie (Liza Weil) goes to visit her, and says someone else has been saved from the house (alive), although this person’s identity remains unknown.
‘How To Get Away With Murder’ Season 3, Episode Recap
A few weeks earlier, Annalise is shown partying at a bar with her ex-girlfriend from college, Eve (Famke Janssen) and returns home very drunk, the first in a long series of heavy-drinking incidents.
Annalise shows up to her trial the next day incredibly hungover, and lets a terrified Asher (Matt McGorry) essentially defend her client, a 15-year-old boy named Tristan who comes from a poor, rough neighborhood and who has been accused of stealing large amounts of money from a bank using fake credit cards. Annalise has again assigned her entire class to handle this case, and Asher has been chosen as first chair.
Asher’s defense begins very shakily, but luckily for him, he is interrupted by a girl who walks in to inform the plaintiffs’ lawyer that Annalise is not legally allowed to practice because her license has been temporarily suspended. The reason? Her bitch-slap of her previous client, nerdy, insecure ladykiller Toby. Thus, Bonnie and Asher take over Tristan’s trial completely. Bonnie and Asher tell Tristan that his entire trial and the possibility of him spending time in juvenile hall will go away if he simply tells them what he spent the money he stole on, and if he then repays the sum in full.
Meanwhile, Laurel (Karla Souza) momentarily escapes the case to talk to Frank Delfino’s father at his body shop. After she asks him if he knows about a town near Pittsburgh called Coalport, where Laurel’s father traced Frank’s calls, Frank’s father reveals that is the name of the town where his son spent time in jail and was “beat up” several times. Mr. Delfino reveals that it was Annalise and Sam who saved Frank from the hellish prison. The news that her ex-boyfriend spent time in jail shocks Laurel, as her face of pure horror reveals.
Frank (Charlie Weber) is shown in an earlier scene, just after having killed the hit man Annalise sent to find him in a motel, buying a bottle of poisonous gas (hydrogen sulfide) from an unknown woman. Later, he is shown posing as a janitor named Kevin at the Coalport prison, unsuccessfully attempting to gain access to the medical ward for some initially unknown reason. One of the prison’s nurses suspects he is up to no good and stops him.
Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) hacks into Tristan’s emails and finds he has been making weekly visit to a storage facility in an abandoned warehouse nearby. After Bonnie and Asher force Tristan to take them to the warehouse, the pair discover the teenager has been hiding a trove of baby toys. Tristan reveals these toys are for the soon-to-be-child of his pregnant girlfriend, who is due in five months. Bonnie at first thinks this might helps the case because the jury may find some compassion in knowing Tristan stole the money in order to help a baby, in a sort of twisted “end-justifies-the-means” scenario. However, that hope quickly dies after Tristan reveals his girlfriend is actually one of his teachers at school. Whaaat?
Bonnie and Asher interrogate the three teachers who appeared at Tristan’s initial trial as listeners, and the pair quickly suspect the Tristan’s biology teacher, a woman named Susan, is his baby mama. Bonnie tells Asher she plans to — in a very Annalise Keating-type manner — trick Susan into incriminating herself on the witness stand by confessing she is pregnant with Tristan’s child, thus sending her to jail for statutory rape rather than their teenage client, who was simply taken advantage of.
Another key aspect of Tristan’s case: he was physically abused by his parents as a little boy. Since Asher knows Bonnie was also abused by her father as a young girl after Annalise told him, he expresses concern for Bonnie’s decision to put Susan away as a way to get pseudo-revenge for all child molesters. Bonnie takes offense at this, getting angry at Asher for what she views as him suggesting she is unable to objectively conduct their case because of her personal life experiences as a child. She momentarily distances herself from Asher, after also accuses him of being a hypocrite because he stood by and got drunk while letting five of his friends gang-rape a drunk girl.
Nate (Billy Brown) continues to search who sent around the video of Annalise smacking Toby and, despite his suspicions, finds it isn’t her in-court nemesis, assistant D.A. Renee Atwood (Milauna Atwood), who was on the plaintiff’s side in Toby’s case.
Annalise confesses to Eve that she sent a hit man to find Frank, but did not expect this man to kill Frank. Eve later reveals to Annalise that she has met a woman in San Francisco from her previous cases, has fallen in love with her, and plans to move to the west coast to be with her. Eve tells Annalise this after the latter gets into a huge fight with Nate in which he calls her out for both cheating on him with Eve and for drinking excessively. Nate calls her an alcoholic, and Annalise calls him a whiny “little bitch,” after which Nate furiously leaves.
Oliver, who is STD-positive and still healing from an awkward breakup with the nymphomaniac Conor (Jack Falahee), uses his hacking skills once again to find the identity of the man who found the video of Annalise slapping Toby. It was a man named Barry, who is a member of Middleton University’s board. Annalise approaches the college’s President, Soraya Hargrove (Lauren Velez), and launches an angry tirade at her about how the university’s board has acted illegally and still not found who is behind the fliers of her face on campus. Hargrove shouts back at Annalise for her insolence and reminds her that under her contract, her tenure can be revoked and she could even be fired if she continues to counter their authority.
At Tristan’s trial, Bonnie goes through with her plan and throws an aggressive line of questioning at Susan, beginning with inoffensively asking her if she is pregnant. As Bonnie gets progressively more incriminating, cornering Susan into confessing on the witness stand, both Tristan and Asher are visibly disturbed and upset by this. Tristan even begs the judge and Asher to stop Bonnie, but Bonnie continues, unimpeded, and Susan eventually begins choking up, terrified, and pleads the fifth amendment, effectively confessing to being pregnant with Tristan’s child.
Tristan walks out on Bonnie and Asher after learning Susan will end up in jail instead of him, and angrily calls them ‘horrible people’ before leaving.
Wes’ girlfriend Meggy (Corbin Reid) plans a surprise birthday party for Wes with the help of Laurel. A fantastic, three-way cross-cutting begins, with the scene shifting from the party, to Annalise meeting with the university’s board to admit on camera her mistakes, including her increasing alcoholic tendencies, to Frank at the Coalport prison, finally entering the medical ward. After Annalise arrives home, Bonnie tells her that her father has died in prison in Coalport, Pennsylvania.
Laurel overhears this conversation between the two women, connects the dots and realizes Frank may have killed Bonnie’s father. Bonnie warns Laurel not to tell Annalise that Frank is at that prison.
Indeed, it is revealed the person Frank wanted to go see in the prison ward is Bonnie’s father, Bob. Frank kills Bob with the poisonous gas, saying he deserves to die in such a slow, painful way for what he did to Bonnie as a child.
Fast forward again to Annalise’s burning house several weeks later: the person found alive but unconscious in the basement during the fire is revealed. Meggy, who is a doctor at the hospital treating the victims of the fire, tells her co-workers the person being treated, who is a woman, is pregnant according to blood tests. Meggy looks down at the woman, and says, “I know that girl,” shocked beyond belief. The camera pans, and it is revealed that the last victim of the fire is none other than…Laurel?!
How to Get Away With Murder airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.