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How To Get Away With Murder - Something Bad Happened - Review: "Truly Outstanding"

4 Mar 2016

Last night's How To Get Away With Murder was a truly outstanding hour of television. So much happened but the details were scripted and portrayed with beautiful precision. It was incredible to watch.

Often, a season's antepenultimate episode can be a bit flat, but that couldn't have been further from the truth for "Something Bad Happened", which was written by Michael Foley & Warren Hsu Leonard and directed by Zetna Fuentes. Famke Janssen returned in a guest starring role and did an excellent job yet again.

Though I haven't been keeping an exact count, it felt as if this episode spent more time in the past than any other since the storyline that takes place a decade before present time was introduced in the winter finale. These scenes were, by a country mile, my favorite part of the episode - which is saying a lot because everything that happened in the present day was also exceptionally well done.

In the flashbacks we watch as Annalise leverages Rose's immigration issue to force her to testify as the only witness in the ongoing case she's working in Ohio. Eve Rothlow's introduction comes in the form of an I.C.E lawyer, and she states frankly that Rose is an undocumented immigrant and the rules that apply to her don't apply to his son. That's just the beginning of Rose's troubles.

A big part of this episode was hashing out some more details about Annalise's past with Eve. The pair shared several scenes, all very well acted by Janssen and Viola Davis.

Please tell me you just got fat.

Annalise's pregnancy was addressed much more completely than we've seen before, and by the look of next week's promo, what happened to the baby will be revealed. Eve hadn't seen Annalise in some time, and when she saw Annalise was pregnant she was very surprised and condescending at first. Annalise talked about how she was scared to become a mother, and even went as far as to describe her history with miscarriages, and her hope that the baby she was carrying would meet the same fate.

It's Sam's and it's a he.

Stressed about her safety and impending testification, Rose abruptly decided to flee her apartment with Christophe, but in keeping with the traits that make him the man he is today, he got out of the car and ran back to the apartment. His mother returned there too, beating the young Wes, and called Annalise who rushed over.

In an incredible moment, she plunged a knife into her neck and fell to the ground. A mortified Annalise restrained herself from calling 911 and left the apartment just as Christophe walked down the hall, entered the door and saw his mother close to death. Not knowing what to do, he pulled the knife from his mother's neck, accelerating her death and generating the brief scene we saw last week which indicated Christophe could have been the killer, in line with the police report Laurel discovered.

I haven't seen many examples of rapid storytelling like the events 10 years ago in this episode flow so well. I can't put my finger on why it was so good, but that's a testament to the writers for sure. I'm very much looking forward to next week as we learn what happened to Annalise's unborn child.

Clients are some of the most stupid people you'll ever meet.

Having been absent so far this year, a lecture scene featured briefly in which Annalise comprehensively panned her clients and laid into the legal system. This was paralleled with a scene in which the Keating 5 minus Wes, with Bonnie, Frank and Annalise, discussed what to do with the new footage Philip had sent them, which showed Michala and Caleb farewelling each other that morning. Annalise opted to hand the footage, and the past footage that had been sent to Connor, to ADA Todd Denver in the hope that it could also secure immunity for herself and her students, but it didn't go according to plan.

Instead of granting immunity, Nate tipped Annalise off that Denver was instead processing a search warrant for the Keating household. In one of the boldest stunts she's ever pulled, she phoned her team at the house while standing in front of Denver. Springing into action, the Keating 5, Bonnie and Frank pulled a few stunts of their own, pretending to be the judge's receptionist and authorising the warrant. When the actual secretary was asked, the police that were already beginning their search were stopped in their tracks as they were operating illegally. That turned the tables on the immunity deal, which Annalise seemed successful in obtaining.

Either I sue your ass for abuse of authority, or you give me immunity and get the evidence you want from this computer.

That victory didn't do much to quell the concerns of the Keating 5 who opted to sleep over at Asher's house while Philip was known to be close. While nothing significant happened that evening, Michaela now knows of Connor's intention to try and move to Stanford, though the numbers didn't appear to fall in Connor's favor. However Michaela was genuine in not wanting Connor to leave anyway, a further sign that the bond between the Keating 5 are becoming closer.

Don't go.

Following her very prominent outing last week, Laurel again stepped up to the plate in search of answers to Wes's mystery. Annalise remained tight lipped, saying that Wes was welcome to discuss anything with her. Laurel's relationship with Frank also featured, with a heartbroken Frank taking Laurel into the basement to discuss their relationship. Unknown to both of them, Bonnie became suspicious of what the pair were discussing, and recorded their conversation in which Frank reiterated his responsibility in the death of Lila Stangard. With Bonnie the second person outside of Frank to know what happened, it will be interesting to see how Bonnie uses this newfound leverage, and the recording to boot.

Though seen less than last week, Wes still managed to land a couple of big breaks in the case concerning his mother's death. He finally decided to go to the Keating house to question Annalise himself, but Annalise was away with Nate for the evening so he had the house to himself. He found the police report implicating him in his mother's murder, and intensely questioned the psychiatrist who caused him grief a couple of weeks ago about whether he did actually kill his mother. He wondered whether memory loss due to the traumatic event was why he couldn't remember what had happened. Along with finding out what happened to Wes that resulted in the life he lives today, why he couldn't remember much about his childhood will be another very interesting angle to explore.

The second of his big breaks was learning of Eve Rothlow's involvement in the case. He found her name on the immigration documents that were part of his case and he left his apartment to question her. Sensing trouble, Eve called Annalise, who had not long entered Wes's apartment looking for him. When leaving a note under his door, she saw the shadow of someone appear underneath the door and collect the note. She entered the apartment, but after learning Wes wasn't anywhere near his apartment, it dawned on her that someone else must have been there.

Call 911! There's someone in Wes's apartment!

It was Philip. Like the fictional troll that lurks under the beds of many children, Philip reached out from under Wes's bed and attacked. For the second time this season, Annalise is in a fight for her life.

This was an epic ending to an epic episode. The quality of storytelling is right up there with the very best. There was a strong underlying tension throughout, and an excellent choice of music and score added immense enjoyment. I have a very good feeling the next two weeks will bring out the best we've ever seen of How To Get Away With Murder.

Thanks so much for reading! I'd love to hear what you thought of the episode so jump in the comments below to share your thoughts and theories. Check out next week's episode promo and press release here.