HTGAWM (S03E03): "Always Bet Black"

Review: Previously on HTGAWM, Connor and Oliver broke up, Michaela and Asher didn’t, the university wanted to suspend Annalise but she wasn’t having it and buzcut!Frank killed Annalise’s guy and may or may not be coming after her. Also, Laurel and Wes are total besties, Annalise wants Wes to move in with her, and some stuff about Laurel’s evil evil dad.
This week’s episode opens with the flash forward mystery event, as Oliver wipes clean the phone Annalise gave him and Annalise is being held in police custody. As the opening credits reveal, the flash forward mystery event is set six weeks from this week’s episode.
Before work, Nate makes Annalise a smoothie, which she appears to like. Nate is worried about her and Frank, but Annalise doesn’t want to discuss it, calling for them to keep some things to themselves. Church and state, even after framing Nate for murder!
But as soon as Annalise arrives on campus, Nate’s smoothie is promptly dumped into the garbage. Poor Nate. Annalise runs into the new president, who informs her that they still haven’t found the person behind the flyers and apologizes for what happened at the meeting last episode. But Annalise isn’t too keen on the new president’s behavior and Annalise challenges her request for Annalise to keep a low profile. “Might be hard, with my new case”, she says.
The case? Representing the suspect, Toby Solomon – aka the “Callgirl Creeper” -, in a high-profile murder case. Toby has already fired five of his attorneys, causing Annalise to join the case mid-trial. Because of the details of the case, no one but Michaela steps up to join Annalise and Annalise immediately names her First Chair for the week.
Toby is a genuine creeper with a habit of picking up escorts three times a week and keeping a blog where he grades the escorts. Additionally, in court, Annalise and Michaela are faced with having to deal with a gross selfie taken by Toby of him with the unconscious murder victim. When Bonnie urges Annalise to take a plea deal on the case, Annalise goes to the DA’s office, where she’s told by DA Atwood – a former student of Annalise –  that no one there would be willing to make a deal with her.
Annalise asks Wes if he’s heard from Laurel. When Wes says that she’s at her grandmother’s funeral, Annalise corrects him. Laurel is actually visiting her dad in Miami to track down Frank. Laurel’s visit doesn’t go all that well, as their relationship is strained at best. And it doesn’t help that he’s been keeping tabs on Laurel’s phone. Laurel’s rightfully pissed about it, but Laurel’s dad has enlisted a mediator to smooth things over!
The mediator, however, is unprepared for Laurel and Jorge. Laurel reveals that her dad left her mom in the middle of a mental health crisis and that, when she was kidnapped at age 16, her father refused to pay the ransom! Truly  A+ parenting. Her dad wants to move on from all of that, though, but Laurel isn’t interested.
Connor and Asher find out that Aiden, Connor and Michaela’s mutual ex, is getting married to a girl who went to Princeton. When Toby says that it looks like Michaela is still in love with Aiden, Asher lets him know Michaela is very much taken. Which is of course overheard by Bonnie, who’s just come walking through the door. Messy.
Once Wes does some research on Jorge Castillo’s company, Wes starts to worry. When Laurel finally calls him back, Wes reveals her he knows she went to visit her dad. Laurel tells him it doesn’t even matter anymore, as her dad was of no help in finding Frank. But, just then, her dad shows up on her doorstep. With a Tres Leches cake! But the cake comes with a price. Jorge tells her he’s found Frank. But before he reveals his location, he needs Laurel to sign a contract for a property transfer under her name. But Laurel wants nothing to do with it.
Back at the Keating residence, Oliver, Bonnie and Michaela interrupt Nate and Annalise to update her on Toby’s case. To Oliver’s delight, Nate is very sweaty. After Nate leaves, Michaela tells Annalise that Toby withdrew $20,000 from an account an hour ago, meaning that he’s not so bankrupt and in need of pro bono assistance as they thought. They track Toby down, catching him red-handed. Toby admits his previous lawyer is blackmailing him, because he killed a girl. Not the girl who’s the victim in the current case, but a different girl called Janie Sherwin, who he killed after she rejected his advances.
Bonnie and Annalise struggle with what to do with the information, as they’re legally bound by attorney-client privilege. But Bonnie considers that solving Janie’s case could lead to good press for Annalise. And, if not that, then Annalise could claim to have been compelled by moral and ethical reasons. Annalise is not so convinced. Bonnie says that it could have been her and that she could have ended up like Janie, had the police not caught her own father.
Now free for the rest of the night, Michaela gets the bright idea to go to the casino with Oliver, Connor, Asher and Toby’s money. At the casino, Michaela loses all the money and Connor and Oliver have a huge misunderstanding where Oliver thinks Connor is being a jealous ex, while Connor is actually defending him. And somehow this ends with Connor apologizing to Oliver, despite not having done anything wrong. And, desperate to gain back the money she’s lost, Michaela goes to a pawn shop and pawns her engagement ring from Aiden for $21,000, giving $ 1,000 of it to a sleeping, homeless individual.
Not invited to the casino? Wes, who’s spending a night in with Meggy. While Meggy’s asleep, he texts Laurel. That 2 am text… Laurel’s not into it, however, opting for a good night’s sleep. But when Frank calls, she’s wide awake. She answers and for the first time in weeks, she actually hears Frank’s voice. When she tries to tell Frank that Annalise isn’t mad, Frank sees right through her, telling her to let Annalise know they’re even and that she doesn’t need to send any more hitmen his way.
Meanwhile, Nate and Annalise find a new solution to their church and state problem: anything said in the dark never leaves their room. “There’s a dead girl in a freezer and I can’t do anything about it”, Annalise confesses.
The next day, in court, Annalise somehow manages to come out on top by getting Toby to reveal where Janie’s body is – by pretending he heard about the murder from his former cell mate. Annalise then claims she wanted to make a deal and not discuss this matter in an open court, but that she was told by the DA that they would not be offering her any deals, thereby engaging in prosecutorial bias. Annalise gets her deal of three years for involuntary manslaughter. But when Toby refuses to take it, she seals the deal anyway by slapping some sense into him. Literally.
Then, Laurel visits her dad again, having reconsidered the contract he wanted her to sign. Jorge thanks her and in exchange, he gives up Frank’s location: Coalport, Pennsylvania. Jorge then asks how well she knows Frank, and Laurel tells Jorge to stop tracking her calls. To which he replies he would if she’d returned his calls. He lets her know that he’s proud of who she’s become. Laurel agrees not to disappear on him again. Could we be seeing more of Jorge? I sure hope so!
Back at the Keating residence, Michaela returns the money she stole and apologizes to Bonnie for getting together with Asher. But Bonnie could not care less. She returns to Annalise, who shows her the front page article on them solving the Janie Sherwin case. Coincidentally, the university’s president is also reading it! I’m sure the board will love Annalise’s low key approach!
Meanwhile, Wes is leaving Laurel another message. Meggy confronts him about it, implying that she’s wondering if Wes even really wants to be with her. Wes, being oblivious to his own feelings, assures her that she’s the only one he wants. Not Laurel.
Speaking of Laurel, after visiting her father, she goes to Annalise. And then lies, saying she doesn’t know where Frank is. Annalise suggests they have a drink, as they all surely need one. Pour one for me while you’re at it.
Finally, the flash forward mystery event scene shows us Annalise in jail and Oliver back at Annalise’s house, where firefighters are still working on the burning house. There, Oliver runs into Bonnie, who can now also be crossed off the list of potential victims. Bonnie asks Oliver if he’s wiped the phone clean and he confirms it. Bonnie and Oliver approach a detective named John and Bonnie asks him for the charges. But John isn’t willing to let her know just yet. As Oliver dumps the phone underneath the ambulance, a firefighter shouts for everyone to be quiet. They’ve found another victim, this time one that’s still alive!