HTGAWM (S03E09): “Who’s Dead?”  

Review: Once upon a time, there was a guy, who was sweet and lovely and long overdue for a dose of happiness after a lot of misery. Instead, he got served with a dose of reality!

When we last saw them, Frank was holding a gun to his head, as Annalise encouraged him to pull the trigger and Bonnie pleaded with him to put it down. Unfortunately for Annalise, Frank decides to listen to Bonnie, and he cries in Bonnie’s lap as Annalise heads upstairs to bed so she doesn’t have to look at their needy faces any more.

The very next day, the results are in for Annalise’s students and everyone’s passed her exam! Even the Keating Five, despite all their relationship drama and all those murders that keep happening around them. Delighted, they all celebrate with alcohol and Laurel & Michaela deepen their friendship with a nice smooch. What better way to celebrate passing an exam?

But passing the exam is most probably the highlight of everyone’s day. During a visit to Mary J. Blige’s hair salon, Annalise finds out that Nate’s new girlfriend has been “Single Black Female”-ing her. Confrontations with Atwood and Nate, who isn’t in the mood to hear he only got his new job to further along the investigation into Annalise’s shady murder business, leads to Annalise spiraling out of control. She relapses, burns all her casefiles relating to Mahoney, Sam, and Rebecca, and leaves her door unlocked to head over to Bonnie’s.

While Oliver didn’t take or pass the exam, he’s happy to celebrate with the rest of the Keating Five. But when he sees Connor intoxicated, he questions whether Connor should even be drinking given his substance abuse problem. Connor finally comes clean – sort of – and tells Oliver that, on the night of the bonfire, he wasn’t high when he showed up on his doorstep, but traumatized! Oliver takes this as his cue to start doing some digging and finds out that the night of the bonfire was also the night Sam disappeared and that Connor must have something to do with it!

Unbeknownst to Oliver, what also makes his day worse is that Connor decides to hook up with Thomas! But more on that later.

For Michaela, the crap hits the fan when Asher informs her that, thanks to him, her mom is stopping by for a visit! When Michaela gets home, Trishelle is indeed waiting for her with big news: she’s left Michaela’s father and needs a place to stay. Michaela, however, would prefer it if her mom went back to her dad or asked one of her siblings to sleep on their couch. Apparently, Michaela is just one of at least six kids Trishelle and her husband have taken in over the years, without really having the means to take care of them. And, she’s the only one out of the bunch who’s “not a complete disaster”. Trishelle then calls her an “ungrateful little hoe”. A+ parenting!

Because Michaela isn’t horrified enough, Connor, Laurel and Asher show up intoxicated to meet her mom. Trishelle then does shots with Connor and Laurel, and Connor mentions he’s meeting up with Thomas later. This is also when Asher hides Connor’s phone in Michaela’s sofa, leading to the mystery of Connor’s whereabouts in the flash forwards.

Additionally, Laurel’s day also gets progressively worse. After a random fight with Wes about their respective parental issues and Frank, Wes leaves and she gets drunk.

But the one who’s having the worst day of all? Wes, of course! After fighting with Laurel, he gets a call from his lawyer that he’s needed at the police station. When he gets there, Wes gets the answer he’s been asking for for months: Rebecca’s body was found and the cops suspect that Annalise might have something to do with it. Which explains why Wes wanted immunity in the flash forwards!

Then, when Annalise gets to Bonnie’s place, Bonnie sobers her up and puts her to bed and somewhere in there they kiss. An actual smooch, confirming that, yes, I have been interpreting their scenes correctly. Vindication! But Bonnie makes a run for it, being nowhere to be found when Annalise wakes up. Instead, Bonnie’s with Frank, trying to convince him to take the fall for Annalise and everyone else! Oh, how I wish he would.

But Annalise doesn’t know that, so she calls Wes and leaves him a message to come to her house so she can explain her new plan in person. Then, she calls Laurel and tells her to find Wes and get everyone to the Keating residence. But, seeing as we’ve already seen the flash forward of Asher revealing that Annalise asked them to come to her house, we already know this is what leads to the house fire!

Laurel, however, can’t seem to get anyone to come with her. She can’t reach Wes, Asher is too drunk, Michaela too busy with her mom, and Connor too busy with Oliver’s former date. And, so, Laurel ends up going to the Keating residence on her own!

But not before Nate arrives! After some snooping around at the police station and looking for Wes, Nate goes to the house, looking for Annalise. He finds it empty, because Annalise has decided to take a detour before going home. As part of her plan, she visits Oliver at the legal clinic as he’s digging into the night of the bonfire and Sam’s disappearance. Annalise tells Oliver that they’re all in trouble, but that he can help by hacking into the DA’s office.

Then, Laurel arrives at the Keating residence, also looking for Annalise. Once inside, it doesn’t take long until the fire breaks out and we’re left wondering who else was in there and how the fire started. Was it Nate? Or did someone else get to the Keating residence before Laurel?

With the fire breaking out, we’ve caught up with the flash forwards and where it all started in the season premiere: Who is under the sheet?

Before Bonnie meets up with Oliver, she gets a call from jail from Annalise that she’s been arrested. As we find out, the charges are arson and first degree murder, which means Annalise is being accused of killing whoever is under the sheet. Then, Bonnie meets up with Oliver at the scene of the crime, and asks him if he’s done what Annalise told him to.

When Bonnie and Oliver arrive at the hospital, they run into Meggy, who tells them about Laurel’s pregnancy. It’s revealed that Frank is the one Bonnie was talking to on the phone in an earlier flash forward, thereby eliminating Frank from our list of potential bodies under the sheet. Looking every bit as suspicious as usual, Frank is standing in the crowd, watching the firefighters do their job as Bonnie tells him Laurel is pregnant.

Next, Michaela gets that call from Oliver about Connor’s whereabouts and the fire and Laurel wakes up and writes Wes’s name on Meggy’s notepad. Could it be Wes? Or maybe Nate, as DA Atwood seems to be spiraling out of control. Sounding every bit like a crazy stalker she calls him, accusing him of seeing Annalise again. Could she have gone to the Keating residence and found Nate?

When Asher and Michaela arrive at the hospital, they ask Bonnie who the unidentified male victim is. Just then, Connor arrives, safe and sound, leaving only Nate and Wes.

Nate does indeed pop up at the morgue. But not under a sheet. He’s there to see the unidentified victim, who is none other than poor, sweet Wes. How does this show survive without Wes? How will the other characters cope without blaming Wes for their own choices? Who is Annalise going to have inappropriate chemistry with?

But when Bonnie reveals that it’s Wes, they’re still sad as though they didn’t hate him just last week. Laurel and Meggy find out together that Wes died when the local news broadcast puts up his picture and if I wasn’t already sad, this would be my breaking point. Especially because Laurel has yet to find out she’s pregnant with what’s probably Wes’s child and they never got the chance to make up after their fight.

All that’s left then is the ‘how’. How did Wes end up dead, when we just saw him at the police station? Apparently, after telling the cops he wanted them to change parts of his immunity deal before signing it, he snuck out without anyone – including Nate! – noticing to, presumably, confront Annalise. What happened between then and his death remains unanswered until January!

Happy Holidays!