The season's major storyline underwent some excellent development in last night's episode of ABC's How To Get Away With Murder. Joe Fazzio & Tanya Saracho wrote "It's a Trap" which was directed by Mike Listo.
There was no case of the week in this hour, but the creative team did a stunning job with the precious minutes it freed up. What we got instead was some excellent character development and some meaty flashbacks which answered a bunch of questions, but left us a few tantalizing new ones to ponder during the next few days.
Tom Verica joined the cast again this week, though his role was much smaller. We saw the pregnant Annalise preparing to defend Charles Mahoney, whose name we had seen splashed across the files left for Wes last week, but with little more corresponding information.
While preparing for the trial we learn Mahoney is, in a nutshell, going to trial for the brutal murder of his fiancée. Vicki Moran, who was close to exposing the fraud inside the hedge fund run by Charles and his father. Charles' only alibi for the murder came in the form of Rose Edmond, a hotel cleaner who had seen Charles around the time the murder was alleged to have occurred. She initially intended to testify in Charles' defense, but requested anonymity. A much younger Frank was tasked with ensuring Rose showed up to testify but she slipped away unnoticed.
Charles' defence was now in a significant spot of bother, and his father confronted Annalise in a staggering display of arrogance. He told her he had received advice not to hire Annalise, but defied that because in order to win more sympathy from the jury, his son's lawyer should be female, and from a minority race. The fact that Annalise was also pregnant was an added bonus as far as he was concerned. This was a truly stunning and shocking scene - one of the series' best for sure.
In the present day, a very concerned Connor received an email from who he thought to be Philip, with footage of Michaela, Wes and Laurel fleeing the Hapstall mansion on the night of Annalise's shooting. Considering last week's events where the Keating 5 found that acting together they were no match for Annalise, Connor had to swallow a lot of pride, and even use manners when pleading for Annalise's help.
It's just we need your help. Please.
Whoever was behind the email demanded a $1 million ransom to be deposited into an account within 36 hours. Annalise was on board with paying the money and sought a quarter of it from Caleb under the ruse that it would be used to find Philip. But it was Nate, who reunited with Annalise in an excellent scene later on which reversed her decision.
You don't negotiate with crazies.
The deadline for the bank transfer passed, but before Asher could fully unleash his celebratory dance moves, another email came through to Connor, this time with a video of some personal moments between Nate and Annalise taken the night prior.
Michaela had a pretty quiet episode, but through Annalise, her relationship with Caleb is back on. I can't say I'm surprised, but I can't see it lasting for long.
We've seen each other naked. I think that means we know each other.
It was clear Connor feels the most threatened by Philip, and the repercussions of the videos being leaked to the police, despite being in the advantageous position of not being in the videos at all. Annalise was quick to point out that that can also be seen as incriminating. Surprisingly he's looking to escape the drama and start a new life on the other side of the country by studying at Stanford University. He tried to sell this to Oliver by tempting him with the magnet for nerds that is Silicon Valley. I was surprised to see this from Connor, but at the same time it's genuine and natural character development from the creative team which shouldn't be frowned upon at all. One would have to surmise that Connor is scarred for life, however.
Asher was another who had a quiet night by his usual standards. Bonnie, who also featured much less than normal, finally ended things for good with him, but she was clearly heartbroken after doing so.
The real action, however, revolved around Laurel and Wes, with two sublime acting performances by Karla Souza and Alfred Enoch. In one of the opening scenes, Frank and Laurel continued their emotional quarrel from last week in spectacular fashion, with Charlie Weber delivering some excellent moments.
Laurel left Frank's place and went to Wes's after their argument, and it didn't take long for her to bury herself in the files Wes was poring over. Before he knew it, the pair were on their way to Ohio and examining more case files and medical records from the case Annalise had worked on a decade prior. They correctly surmised Wes's mother was an anonymous witness but failed to show, and guessed that something had happened to her after that. A flashback in the final seconds of the episode shows a young Wes holding a knife, standing over his mother.
However some incredible stuff happened while the pair were in Ohio. In a rather abrupt moment in the car, Wes and Laurel shared a kiss. I wasn't surprised because since the series returned from the winter break, the creative team have been bringing the pair much closer. Enoch and Souza have a unique on screen chemistry which aligns perfectly with their characters, but more importantly, the characters now realize that they have an ally amidst the chaos that has been the previous 26 episodes. Laurel has gone very much out of her way to ensure Wes is ok, but Wes has fully acknowledged and appreciated her efforts, and he gave her a much needed boost in the wake of the fallout with Frank.
You're not a bad person. Maybe you dad is. And Frank, Annalise. But you've been watching out for me when you didn't have to. So, thank you.
The episode's final couple of minutes were much less intense than we've seen this season. The kicker came from Laurel, who had hidden a critical piece of paper from the court files in Ohio which had some incredible words on them, as seen in the image below:
Continuing her run from last week, Laurel extends her reign with all the cards. She demanded to see Annalise privately as soon as she returned from Ohio, and showed her the page with those incriminating words on it. Annalise's expression gives nothing away, so we'll have to wait until next week until we see how she responds.
In all this was a pretty solid episode of How To Get Away With Murder. It didn't have the intensity or action we've seen since the winter premiere but the character development was brilliant. Karla Souza and Alfred Enoch stood out above everyone else with some of their best work in the series, and Laurel proved why she's been my favorite character since the middle of season 1.
Thanks as always for reading! Don't forget to jump in the comments below and share your thoughts and theories on the episode. Check out How To Get Away With Murder on the SpoilerTV database for all the promos, press releases and promotional photos.