HTGAWM (S03E02): "There Are Worse Things Than Murder"

Review: Previously on HTGAWM, everything was very messed up. Wes’s bio dad got shot right in front of him by Frank, who then got a buzz cut which somehow made him ten times sexier, and who choked and killed the guy Annalise hired to find him. Also, someone other than Frank is out to get Annalise and is spreading flyers all over campus, the common theme being that she’s a killer. And, finally, Asher and Michaela are still a thing, Connor and Oliver stopped being a thing and Wes and Laurel should be a thing but they’re not because Wes has a new girlfriend who doesn’t remind him of Frank. All roads lead back to Frank!
We start off exactly where we left off last week, right in the middle of the flash forward mystery event of this season! Annalise has just discovered whose body was carried into the ambulance on a gurney, while her burning house is being hosed down by fire fighters. This is of course the perfect time for two officers to interrogate her and imply that she killed whoever just died. Distraught, Annalise yells at the officers to arrest her right then and there.
The Keating Five: This week, Connor is made First Chair in Annalise’s case of the week. This week’s case is about a woman, Irene, who killed her husband with a claw hammer after enduring his abuse for years. She’s been in prison for the last 32 years and she’s been denied parole six times. The challenge Annalise now faces is getting her free, now that the laws surrounding admitting evidence of past abuse in such cases have changed. The problem, however, is that the parole board consists of three old white men who want nothing more than to hear Irene beg for her release and that’s the last thing she wants to do. For years, she’s refused to even talk about the abuse she’s suffered and has shown no remorse.
The rest of the Keating Five are of little help to Connor as First Chair, as they spend more time trying to figure out who’s spreading the anti-Annalise flyers. On their list of possible suspects? Catherine Hapstall, Levi/Eggs 911, ADA Denver, Rebecca, Frank, a relative of Emily Sinclair, the ENTIRE DA’s office, All the cops, and Sam’s sister Hannah Keating. Also, Meggy, but Wes denies it could be her. Which Laurel later affirms, after having Oliver hack Meggy and finding no dirt whatsoever. Not that Wes was worried about this, seeing as he’s already done extensive research on her first. Waitlist is growing up!
Annalise: Annalise has 99 problems, the most important one being Frank. She finds out through her super secret burner phone that Frank killed the guy she hired to find him. Frank then goes MIA after he crashes Annalise’s dead guy’s car, puts the b0dy in the front seat, and then sets it on fire. Annalise enlists her boyfriend, the always reliable Nate, to track Frank down before he can get to her.
Her other problem? Her job. The university launches a priority investigation into the smear campaign against Annalise. Which turns into the university wanting to suspend her for the time being, until they’re sure it’s safe for her to return to teaching. But Annalise isn’t having it. She dares them to keep her from teaching her clinic and I don’t know about them, but I certainly wouldn’t want to stand in her way.
And, in this week’s edition of “Is this inappropriate student-teacher behavior or not?”, Annalise asks Wes to move in with her. Wes, however, thinks it’s a little weird, seeing as he has a girlfriend and all. Which is true, because we see them eat ice cream together and kiss, as couples do. When Wes asks Annalise if she wants him to stay with her because she’s worried about him, she confesses that she’s just lonely. Despite sweet and shirtless Nate? Really? Wes is a little skeptical about this confession.
Laurel/Bonnie: Also worried about Frank? Laurel! She visits Bonnie to find out if there’s any new info on the Mahoney case and if Wes – or Frank – is likely to be named a suspect. Bonnie assures her that Eve is on it and watching the case for them.  Later, Bonnie tells Annalise that she’s gotten Laurel’s phone logs and that Laurel’s been calling Frank, despite claiming not to be in contact with him. Annalise promptly puts Laurel on her shit list, but Bonnie says she’ll take care of it.
Which she does, with a friendly game of pool! Bonnie is much better at this than Laurel, who’s coincidentally had too much to drink to ever catch up. They talk about Frank – apparently Bonnie and Frank have never hooked up! – and Laurel admits that she’s been calling Frank, but that he hasn’t been answering. And now that he’s gone, she’s also sure that she loved him. But Bonnie’s not so sure about that. You see, while they’re all bad people, Bonnie and Frank are bad on a whole other level and maybe a little too bad for Laurel to understand.
Connor/Oliver/Michaela/Asher: Last week, Connor and Oliver broke up because Oliver had lost touch with himself as a person after resorting to deleting Connor’s Stanford application so they could stick around. This week, the exes are in a weird in-between stage, with Connor not having moved out yet. And, additionally, Oliver is now working for Annalise. Oliver doesn’t seem to know what he wants and what part he wants Connor to play in his life, because they spend the whole time still sort of acting like boyfriends.
Eventually, Connor manages to get through to Irene by sharing his own experience as a killer. With the door open, so Annalise can overhear them and scold Connor for it. But it seems to work, as Irene opens up about life with her husband prior to killing him and is granted her freedom! Oliver supports Connor through the ups and downs of being First Chair and is even excited to celebrate with him when he wins the case by cooking for him and cracking open a bottle of champagne. But this is where it gets too much for Connor, who kisses him and tries to convince him to get back together. But Oliver is determined to stay broken up, even though he still wants Connor to stay and it’s sad and confusing and unfair to both.
Meanwhile, Michaela/Asher? Still a thing. Michaela is embarrassed to be with Asher and calls him a “meat stick” at one point. Asher continues to prove her right. And while I was intrigued after their first hook-up, now this is a thing I just don’t really get.
In the end, Connor knocks on Michaela’s door, hoping to stay with her after having left Oliver’s apartment. Only to find her there with Asher, which makes Michaela finally admit that they’re screwing. How romantic.
The end: Nate calls Annalise to tell her he’s lost Frank’s signal, because he’s been using a fake IP-address. So Frank really could be anywhere. Lucky for Annalise, this is when Wes decides to knock on her door with a pizza they can share! During dinner, Annalise lets Wes know that Nate is staying over that night, so he doesn’t have to worry about her. But he doesn’t, he says. Although he’s heard about Eve watching the Mahoney case from Laurel.
When she finds out Wes knows, Annalise asks him if he trusts Laurel. Wes confirms that he trusts her completely and that she worries about him, just like Annalise does. Then, he goes on about how amazing she is, but Annalise drowns him out to presumably come up with some kind of plan…
Which she ends up needing Laurel for. Somehow, Bonnie manages to convince Laurel to leave Frank a fake, drunk voicemail asking him to come home. And, somehow, the next step in Annalise’s plan involves paying a visit to Laurel’s bad bad dad.
Finally, we end the episode with the flash forward mystery event. The first person we can cross off our list of potential dead bodies is… Oliver! In the flash forward, we see him arriving at the scene and approaching Annalise. Oliver is upset that there might be a body, but Annalise lies that no one knows anything yet. She then goes in for a hug as a cover to give him a phone to wipe clean. Which is right on time, as the cops pick that moment to arrest her!