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How To Get Away With Murder - The Baby Was Never Dead - Review: "An Excellent Case"

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After last week's rather mediocre second episode, ABC's How To Get Away With Murder made a stunning recovery of sorts in last night's third episode of season 5. "The Baby Was Never Dead" was written by Erika Harrison and is the first episode directed by Valerie Weiss.

This hour, like the season premiere, had a near perfect tempo. Everything felt balanced, and nothing felt flat at any point. A key part of this was a far more interesting case of the week, especially when compared to last week, but last night's one would be one of the standout cases we've seen across the previous four seasons.

This episode's case concerned a very wealthy man accused of murder. Annalise took the lead in court, backed up by new arrival, Emmett. The friction between the pair was cleverly constructed, and surprisingly the defendant was in a position of power over them also, with promises to move his billion dollar firm's services to Caplan & Gold should the case go in his favor.

If it doesn't fit you must acquit.
The case also shared elements with the infamous O.J. Simpson case in which Simpson was asked to try on a glove that allegedly belonged to the murderer. However the glove didn't fit Simpson, and in this episode's case, a belt used by the murderer didn't fit the defendant, but did fit a female witness. She wasn't the killer either, with the defendant later revealing his wife was the killer, but he would rather go to prison than her. It's unusual to see Annalise on the wrong end of a case because the jury still found the defendant guilty. This marked a significant loss for Emmett in particular, who at the tail end of the hour was seen in a tense phone call with someone he clearly owes. The financial windfall he was hoping for had vanished.

Making this case even more interesting was the fact that interim DA Miller was representing the state. Though Annalise was superior in court, Miller was fortunate that the case went his way, making his promotion to DA effectively a foregone conclusion. It was a win for Asher also, who used his inside knowledge to help Miller and win a permanent position in his office. Off the back of his exclusion from Annalise's class, this is a big win for him.

With such a dominant weekly case, little progress was made on the class action front, aside from the governor issuing an order that all students helping Annalise and Caplan & Gold must sit an ethics exam. Everyone did, and everyone passed, even though Connor took a big risk calling out the credibility of the exam in front of the examiners. For Nate, the big news was that a trial date for his father's case had been set.
You really want to take this lie to your grave?
Nate was important in more ways than that in this hour, however. He followed up on his leads concerning Gabriel, which included interviewing a nurse in charge at the time Bonnie's baby was taken from the hospital. She was in the late stages of cancer, which was a painful flashback to Nate's deceased wife who died in similar circumstances. He said all the right things to get the information he needed, but the mystery deepened further when she revealed a man had accompanied the woman caught by the surveillance camera. When he took this information to Annalise, Annalise confirmed that that woman wasn't Bonnie - instead it was her sister. Things have just got even more interesting.

While Nate is looking into the past, Frank is looking at the present. We saw last week how he planted cameras in Gabriel's apartment and how he pretends to be a friend he shoots hoops with. Those cameras revealed a hidden bag in the fireplace, which Frank wasted no time retrieving. He noted a large bundle of cash and an ID card. He also took a hard drive it contained to another techno whiz who installed remote viewing software on it. His cover was nearly blown by a drunk Michaela, and Oliver has very likely also cottoned on to Frank's curiosities once he noticed Gabriel uses a flip phone, and that Frank had asked him how to clone one not long ago. For what it's worth, the call Gabriel made was to his mom, which adds to the intrigue concerning his kidnapping.

In other student news, Gabriel was trying to charm Laurel, even giving her reassurance on her parenting and admitting he came from a single parent home, Oliver now has a full time job at Caplan & Gold, Michaela was in a rough spot, missing Asher's company and devastated that Tegan had outright rejected her (that was an interesting conversation). Though not student-related, after falling out briefly, Miller and Bonnie are back on, with both reiterating that they have shady pasts.
People don't like me.
The last element to discuss is the trademark flash forwards. At the top of the hour, following on from Michaela and Bonnie's standoff in the bathroom, Bonnie answered that the blood on her leg was from a shaving incident. Of course that was never going to fly, and Michaela's suspicions of something more ominous were confirmed in the episode's final flash forward which saw Connor asked by the DJ to come to the stage. Oliver was also called but didn't show. Furthering the strange happenings was that when Connor turned around he had clear facial injuries. Judging by his body language he was already aware that Oliver wasn't present to join him on the stage. With the past two episodes revealing two safe characters, only Connor was confirmed safe in this hour, with Oliver in jeopardy.

I'm rather disappointed we haven't seen any first person perspective flash forwards since the premiere, but another change worth noting is that all the flash forwards so far have been ordered sequentially instead of randomly. There's a fair way to go yet but that could change as the season progresses.

In summary, this episode of How To Get Away With Murder was a big improvement on last week's hour, and was of the standard that I want to see continue through the season. The weekly case was excellent, and Gabriel's subplot involving Frank and Nate is developing nicely. Things are back on track.

As always, thanks for reading! Make sure you share your thoughts and theories on the episode in the comments below, and I'll see you right back here next week.

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