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How To Get Away With Murder - Meet Bonnie - Review: "Unbelievably Good"

Unbelievably good television.

That's the best three words I can think of as I try to describe how off the scale insanely epic the fifth episode of ABC"s How To Get Away With Murder was. "Meet Bonnie" was written by Sarah L. Thompson and directed by Stephen Cragg. So many awesome thing happened in this hour that it's tough to know where to begin.

So lets start from the top. The usual flash forward opened the hour, and it was the shortest yet, coming in at just 25 seconds. But those 25 seconds added an entirely new dimension to the story being told. The low angle glidecam shot follows a woman in heels running down the ramp outside the Hapstall mansion, past the body of Emily Sinclair. As she nears a car, the camera tilts up to reveal the face of Bonnie, as she jumps into Asher's car. She speaks the first words of the episode, and they pack some punch:

Are you OK? It's almost over. Promise.

Three weeks prior. In a closed hearing to secure his immunity which was sparked in last week's installment, Asher's mind is all at sea as she recalls Bonnie breaking down in front of him as she recounts a fictional version of events confessing her guilt in relation to the murder of Sam Keating. Bonnie tells Asher Sam came home and forced himself upon her, and she defended herself with a lamp, dealing a fatal blow. Bonnie pleads with Asher to refrain from testifying because doing so would result in everyone getting into trouble. The recollection leads Asher to dash from the courtroom.

What an opening this was. This hit me like a freight train. This was bold creative direction at its finest. It set the stage for a truly epic episode.

With the sob story buying Annalise some much needed time, she knew more than anyone that she had to act fast. She roundly criticized Bonnie for her decision to lie to Asher, and had little faith in her belief that Asher would stay quiet. Enter the quote of the night from Annalise:

Men lie Bonnie. It's all they're good at.

Listening intently outside the office door, Wes, Michaela and Laurel debated over the subject Annalise, Bonnie and Frank were discussing in private. In a complete reversal from last week, Connor appeared as chilled as he's ever been, happily drinking during work hours and not the least bit concerned after Annalise told him last week that his car - the car that was used to transport Sam Keating - hadn't been destroyed like he'd been told.

This episode transitioned beautifully between the two storylines it studied. After the meeting, a fuming Asher charged into the house, and after being halted by Frank, Annalise laid out to him why she framed Nate. She stated that she opted for the (still fictional) course of action because Sam only attempted to rape Bonnie, and made it plain that the justice system often doesn't side with the victim. Fortunately, Asher bought the story, buying Annalise additional time - or so she thought.

In the courthouse with his father and Emily Sinclair, Asher announced he knew who killed Sam. This was later revealed to be a clever stall tactic on Asher's part so he could garner more information and buy himself some time by requiring a new immunity deal be drawn up.

In the Hapstall case, Annalise's core focus was to prove the aunt of Caleb and Catherine Hapstall, Helena lied. After a verbal spat with the judge and Sinclair, a 5pm deadline was set, by which time Annalise had to have evidence which would force the testimony to be thrown out.

Meanwhile, Bonnie and Asher met in the former's car. He straightened a few things out regarding the events of the night Sam Keating was murdered. Bonnie told him the other student's weren't involved, and that Frank and Annalise assisted with the body disposal.

Having been assigned the job of finding out what Wes and Nate were collaborating on, Frank, through phone records, learned of Wes's association with Levi. It wasn't a big leap for Annalise and Frank to connect Levi with Michaela, and Annalise caught her talking dirty on the phone with him moments later.

Annalise then went to meet Nate, and she revealed how she was asked by his wife to supply her with drugs to end her life. This was the card Annalise needed to play to keep Nate close, while allowing her to prove she did have an honest bone in her body.

What came next was out of the blue. Laurel and Frank had sex in the basement. Laurel claimed she wanted to take her mind off things, and Frank didn't hesitate to assist. While that was happening, upstairs, Michaela located a dashcam video of Helena Hapstall being spoken to by police after the Hapstall murders she claimed she witnessed. A bunch of racist slurs were thrown in too, giving Annalise enough ammunition to discredit the testimony - or so she thought.

A quick meeting between Asher, his father Bill, and Sinclair followed, where Asher was presented with the new immunity deal. Asher and Bill talked alone and a reference was made to the David Allen case, a case which involved a death row inmate in the sixth episode of last season. Bill apparently cut a deal to secure his freedom. Looks like I'll be having a look at that episode once more to see where the intersection is.

Oliver was absent last week, and appeared briefly in the next scene where he brought up the subject of being paid for the work he was doing for Annalise. This week his task was to hack into the police network and retrieve the missing audio from the dashcam which captured Helena Hapstall's delusional rant. Michaela skipped out to the bathroom during this, which gave Connor the chance to broach the subject of jail. That didn't go down well with Oliver, but Michaela returned before the discussion deepened.

Following that, Asher and Sinclair met in a bar, with Sinclair trying once again to turn Asher into her informant. She spelled it out pretty simply to him:

Do you wanna be like her, or do you wanna be a good guy

The courtroom scene that followed went a different way compared to normal for Annalise as she introduced the deleted audio from the dashcam as evidence. Sinclair knew this wasn't legit and called her out on it, resulting in the judge allowing Helena's testimony, and threatening to investigate how the dashcam audio was obtained. Not good news at all.

At this point the episode wa just over halfway gone, and this is where things began heating up drastically. It started with Wes and and an armed Levi confronting Bruno regarding Rebecca's whereabouts. Unknown to the pair, Frank had this sorted, and Bruno only needed to point the pair in the right direction, which was to his storage locker.

Fresh off the loss in court, Michaela almost lost it at Bonnie after she demanded to know what was foing on. A furious Annalise interjected and revealed how Bonnie had confessed to Asher in order to save the rest of them. This was perhaps the standout scene from Viola Davis in this episode. The controlled rage was something to behold, and resulted in all the students hastily backing down. But inside Annalise's office, Annalise was truly concerned - more so than we've ever seen from her before. Bonnie and Frank hadn't managed to complete their tasks, and Annalise had no other tricks up her sleeve. It was Frank who calmed the situation, and swung into action.

What followed was really interesting. Wes was asked into Annalise's office where they made small talk while Connor, Laurel and Michaela came to the conclusion that Wes was the only one their boss trusts.

Screw the puppy. He's a snake.

Wes remained calm and didn't give Annalise any answers she was looking for. Annalise panicked and forced Nate to reveal what the pair were up to. Nate told Annalise straight up that Wes believes she killed Rebecca. Nate laid into Annalise about how she framed him for Sam's murder and criticised the highly risky defensive strategy.

Simultaneously, Connor, Laurel and Michaela tailed Levi and Wes, where for the first time the connection Levi has with Rebecca was revealed. Michaela didn't take it well at all. This confrontation between the five was outstandingly choreographed, and the cast showed immense class here. It was at that moment Wes revealed Rebecca was dead. The storage locker key Wes had earlier pinched was the evidence he believed would prove it.

At that moment, the police arrived and found a significant quantity of drugs in the boot of Levi's car, planted by Frank. Frank had come through, and ensured Levi was dealt with.

Meanwhile, Bonnie was yet to seal her end of the deal and prevent Asher from signing the immunity deal and testifying for Sinclair. The water works flowed, and both Ansher and Bonnie admitted they loved each other.

But Asher wouldn't bite. Spurred on by his past which was undoubtedly influenced by his father and Trotter Lake, he declined.

Secrets catch up to you, even if the cops don't.

The most fascinating scene of the night came next as the four students opened the storage locker. Sat in the middle was a large suitcase. Wes opened it slowly. Michaela buried her head in Connor's shoulders, but the case was filled with money. Lots of money. Connor wasn't impressed, and neither was Michaela:

You let me have sex with Eggs 911.

Laurel sat on the fence momentarily, but fell on the other side. The tactic from Frank here was to throw such a curveball at Wes and the others that it would defy logic so dramatically and stop them in their tracks. For all the group could tell, Frank contacted Bruno because he needed somewhere to store cash, and that cash could have come from anywhere. The bizarreness was enough for everyone but Wes to tap out. It's about as dead an end as you'll ever see.

The final minutes saw Annalise storm into Asher's apartment with one final push to convince Asher not to testify. On a tablet she showed a video of a young Bonnie being sexually abused by her father. Given what we've learned about Bonnie the last few weeks, chances are this video is legit, but a significant part of me is also skeptical, and believes it's yet another lie to Asher to shape his actions.

That was where present day ended, and the final flash forward began. Bonnie and Asher arrived at a gas station where Bonnie rushed to the bathroom and cleaned a significant quantity of blood off her chest and arms. She returns to the car, now empty, and the scene cuts to Asher in a police station, stating he has a statement to make.

Man, what an ending to a fantastic episode. The amount of storytelling the creative team managed to fit in here was incredible. It's the strongest episode the season has seen by a significant margin, despite no classroom scenes or traditional case of the week. "Meet Bonnie" was as serialized as you'll see, and it was truly something special.

The story can go anywhere from here, and we are only five episode into the season. In a weird way, things aren't any different. Asher still knows nothing that's the truth, while his fellow students are in the loop, and deeply over their heads. What the flash forward tells us is that Bonnie knows Emily Sinclair is dead, but considering she possesses no physical injuries it's unlikely she is Sinclair's killer. Then again, if she wounded Annalise it's unlikely she would have collected so much blood on her own clothing. Could there be a third body in the Hapstall mansion that Bonnie is responsible for, or tried to provide first aid to? I think it's a likely possibility.

But when were Asher and Bonnie present? Bonnie could have had to slip by someone unnoticed because she had to cover her bloodstained shirt with a blazer. If the intention was to get in and get out and there were no witnesses, this wouldn't have been necessary. Asher didn't appear to have any injuries or bloodstains either, but the expression on his face indicated he witnessed something that rocked him to the core. He is a big lad though, and would have comfortably overpowered Sinclair, causing her injuries from either a beating or a fall from the ledge she's seen lying below.

It's a truly fascinating series of events we're seeing unfolding. I'm loving every second of it. Season 2 of How To Get Away With Murder is sailing past its predecessor in every aspect.

As always, thanks so much for reading! Check out next week's episode promo here, press release here, and promotional photos here. Don't forget to share your thoughts and theories on the episode in the comments below! I'm particularly interested in hearing of any theories you're developing from the flash forwards, as well as where to next for Wes and the others as they search for Rebecca.

About the Author - Jimmy Ryan
Jimmy Ryan lives in New Zealand, and works in the IT industry. He is an avid follower of drama television and has a keen interest for television ratings and statistics. Some of his favorite shows right now are Person of Interest, Scandal, House of Cards, Orphan Black, Mr. Robot, Suits, The 100, How To Get Away With Murder, Elementary and Castle. You can visit his television ratings website, www.seriesmonitor.com or follow him on Twitter, @SeriesMonitor.
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