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How To Get Away With Murder - Family Sucks - Review: "Anyone Else Missing Laurel?"

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The final season of ABC's How To Get Away With Murder is now more than a third of the way through, but last night's talk fest, for lack of a better word, leaves me yearning for a sighting of Laurel so things can start to move forward. "Family Sucks" was written by Vanessa James Benton and directed by Laura Innes.

This hour was by and large another Michaela-centric one, but fortunately the precious screen time was shared around a little better. Things started off hot and steamy for her as she was joined by Gabriel during her morning shower, and things would later end hot and steamy too - though this Gabriel had been subbed out, and Asher had been subbed back in.

Between Michaela and Annalise, some more information came to light concerning Solomon Vick, Michaela's father. He was much more proactive (some would say intrusive) in this hour, but his desire to be a part of Michaela's life was made abundantly clear. Michaela wasn't having any of it, and eventually she tore up the blank check he gave her. Solomon won't be out of everyone's way just because Michaela said so though. When Michaela asked him and Annalise if they'd been together romantically the answer she was given was essentially yes. Further to that, Annalise is contemplating fleeing Philadelphia, but to do that she needs Solomon's wealth and resources - and she has access to those through blackmail whereby Solomon has Annalise to thank for keeping Michaela's existence quiet.

Either you protect me, or they kill me. It's your choice.
Annalise and Solomon's dealings eventually came to a head in court, but not under the circumstances one might suspect. Early on the Keating 4 were listing the reasons for why a restraining order against the Castillo's should be issued, but the Castillos' lawyer subpoenaed Solomon to testify against Annalise. Fortunately there was no material effect on the overall outcome, but what did irk me was how Annalise was arguing for the restraining order for her own sake, and speaking with terminology which disconnected her students, Frank and Bonnie from the restraining order would have. All of them should have been in court, but it seemed like the whole restraining order subplot is likely to have little effect on any actions the Castillo's may take, as a couple of the characters have pointed out.

This episode bounced around all over the show. Early on, Asher and his sister Chloe were attempting to cheer up their depressed mother, but they both eventually got sick of that. The problem was Chloe was too lazy or inept to find somewhere else to go so she barged in on Asher and the other students instead. Thankfully, Asher's family issues finally came to a head when his mother forgave him for his sins against the family, with Asher rightly retorting that he had done nothing wrong, and that he should be forgiving her for her numerous failures instead. I'm at the point now where Chloe (and their mother) is becoming a nuisance and a distraction more than anything, so their wider purpose needs to reveal itself pretty smartly, though with Michaela's issues with her father there might not be room for a second parental spat to deepen.

The continuation from Cora and Nate's meeting last week was probably the most enjoyable aspect of what was a rather dull episode overall. Unsurprisingly the pair got to know each other, but Cora saw right through Nate's motives and caught him red-handed trying to use her to dig into Tegan's background. Their chemistry was undeniable - Nate and Cora have much better vibes than him and Annalise could even dream of. But it doesn't look like it will amount to anything, with Cora later telling Tegan she was essentially playing Nate as a goodwill gesture to help protect her. Tegan eventually decided to front-foot Nate and offer to begin a wrongful death lawsuit to help bring the government organizations who had parts to play in his father's death to justice. It was the hour's only decent step in the right direction, even if it's related to a storyline that's been dragged out way way too long.
Annalise didn't pick you. I did.
After weeks of waiting, Connor finally got an answer that made some sense to him as to why he ended up in the Keating 5. It came from Bonnie, and it was quite unexpected. Bonnie explained that Frank and herself each got to pick a student, with Laurel being Frank's selection and Connor being hers. Despite her past actions, I think Bonnie's answer indicated she's a righteous person at her very core, and she saw the same traits in Connor which led her to pick him. Whereas all the other students were picked because of ulterior motives, Bonnie picked Connor because she saw his heart was in the right place, and he genuinely wanted to do good. With that out of the way, hopefully Connor can have a more productive remainder of the season, instead of trying to figure out his place in the world, and having three-sims with Oliver.

While recovering from his torture, Frank was clearly reflecting on life as well. Annalise confronted him briefly to ward him off telling Bonnie that her dead boyfriend, Ronald Miller, was innocent of Nate's father's death - a secret only they know at the moment, but which may become public if Tegan's civil suit progresses. Later on, he asked Bonnie to run away with him - something they've talked about before in flashbacks. It's an interesting prospect, with running away from it all was a common undercurrent theme for them, Annalise, and some of the students in this episode.

This hour's conclusion was a bit more longwinded than in most other episodes. For starters, with the restraining order going through successfully Annalise instructed everyone to destroy their phones. I'm not overly sure why that had to happen, but we did then see Annalise receive an anonymous package containing several new passports and identities, one of which she used to set up a new phone with. Asher and Michaela poured their hearts out to each other, then kissed, then likely got up to other things.

That left the flash forward, which I think would have taken most people by surprise, even though it was depressingly brief. Asher knocked on Bonnie's door and entered immediately when she answered it. Asher didn't say a word, but turned around to reveal his bloodstained chest. I'm not a fashion expert, but Asher's clothes look like what a lawyer may wear in court. He's definitely not wearing a normal jacket or blazer, but someone with more expertise than me will likely know what his outfit may mean. Asher's face or hands don't appear to have any blood on them, so I'm thinking the transfer may be secondary, perhaps through rubbing on someone, or maybe carrying them. Man oh man, I wish How To Get Away With Murder's flash forwards were better than the mere shadow they once were.

In all, this episode wasn't anything special. It was very family-oriented, but none of that content was overly enjoyable. I'm fast running out of patience for Asher's family stuff, but Solomon still has something left to give because his past is more complex, and I'm quietly relieved Asher and Michaela are back together. However overall storyline progression was virtually non-existent, and Laurel's absence is perhaps beginning to take a toll. Resolving her and Christopher's disappearance was promoted as the purpose of this entire season, but we haven't seen her once. With last week's episode giving us an indication that Xavier Castillo knows nothing about the whereabouts of his sister, it's becoming more important that she makes a return in some capacity to at least show she's alive and functioning. Waiting until the winter finale is too long - I think it needs to happen sooner than that.

As always, thanks for reading. Are you wanting to see Laurel return? I'd love to hear what you think, so be sure to share your own thoughts and theories in the comments below. See you right back here next week.

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