Written by David Oliver
What Did We Do? PLOT:
We’re all caught up to the night of Annalise’s (Viola Davis) shooting, but nothing is as it seems. And the last few minutes opened up yet another mystery.
If you thought every other episode of this season was bananas, you were NOT PREPARED for this midseason finale. NOT. PREPARED.
After a brief flash forward of Annalise being shot — shocker — we flash back just 14 hours.
Michaela (Aja Naomi King) and Caleb (Kendrick Sampson) are with Connor (Jack Falahee) discussing the gun, which Michaela thinks they should get rid of. Back at the office, Annalise, Frank (Charlie Weber), Laurel (Karla Souza) and Wes (Alfred Enoch) are discussing Catherine’s (Amy Okuda) painting, which Annalise won’t get rid of until they talk with her.
Catherine arrives at the Hapstall mansion and sees Caleb with the gun, and she runs away. Convenient. Caleb later denies knowledge of the gun, and Annalise and the crew show her the photo of Philip (Jefferson White) with the painting in the back. She says she can’t represent them both now, and later decides to represent Caleb.
At the police station, Sinclair (Sarah Burns) accuses Nate (Billy Brown) of tampering with Philip’s records for Annalise, though he denies it and has a minor blowout with her following the questioning, but enough to cause a scene.
The crux of the episode, though, revolves around Asher (Matt McGorry) and a shocking turn of events. It starts off with his father hanging himself following leaked details of his father’s misdeeds — including that of covering up Trotter Lake, though with no public mention of Asher. Bonnie (Liza Weil) goes to tell Asher the news.
When Asher visits his mom, she says that he doesn’t seem very upset, lashing out at him for his father’s sacrifices for Asher’s secret. She wants nothing to do with him. She even calls out Annalise: “Why did you choose her over us?” Asher breaks down crying in his car, the first sign of his downward spiral.
Bonnie talks to Frank about Asher’s dad, “He’s dead because of us.” Frank points out that he was corrupt in the first place, while Bonnie reminds him they’re becoming people others need to be protected from, and not the other way around.
Annalise calls Nate asking about Philip at the station, though Nate thinks he’s about to be fired. Nate later calls Annalise and says they have another Sinclair problem. A note about this episode — it shifts through time and fills in the gaps, from both the murder night and moments throughout the episode. It was confusing to follow, though that was also the point, to clearly amp up the suspense and drive the last chapter — and more so the last several minutes — home.
Michaela asked if any of the Keating 4 called Asher. She goes to call him then asks if anyone has his number. These people are not good friends.
After Nate calls Annalise, she says she’ll call him back. The room spins for a bit, and Annalise makes a phone call to…someone (we later find out it’s Frank).
She goes to the Hapstall mansion to tell the Keating 4 that Sinclair is on her way over. Annalise says she’s going to explain everything to Sinclair to protect Caleb, and that he needs to go to Michaela’s apartment. Caleb doesn’t want to abandon Catherine, so Michaela offers to stay and take care of her (she’s currently MIA).
Bonnie shows up — with Sinclair in the TRUNK. Annalise says, “She did this to herself.” Um, OK.
Aaaaand back in time, briefly. Flashback to Sinclair and Nate’s police station squabble, then to Annalise and Nate’s phone call re: Philip. Next, we see Nate getting fired and told about Sinclair filing a harassment suit against him, when he files a racial discrimination suit against her.
Sinclair and Nate meet in her car. Sinclair wants each to drop their suit and says she’s only after Annalise. Here comes the gut punch, though: later, we see Sinclair heading to her car, only for ASHER to show up in the garage. He blames her for his father’s death. She tells him that he was a bad man and that a lot of people in the city — including Asher himself — are better off without him. WHY anyone would tell this to someone who just lost a parent, under any circumstance, is ridiculous. Sinclair was not thinking here, and the outcome was inevitable.
Asher BACKS UP HIS CAR AND HITS HER. ON PURPOSE.
Bonnie comes to his rescue and he says he can’t look; he asks Bonnie if Sinclair is alive. She is, tragically, not, and Bonnie says to do what she says — which does not involve the police (shocker).
Now we have Annalise’s “Hotline Bling” moment of the episode, because everyone is calling her on her cell phone late at night…though needing her help, not her love, exactly. Nate tells Annalise the police released Philip, followed shortly by Bonnie calling to tell her Sinclair is dead and asking for help. Asher will clearly divulge all to the police.
Now, that camera spinning makes senses as Annalise figures out what to do. She calls Frank and has him take the pills that were going to kill Nia (Enuka Okuma).
So, all those instructions Annalise was giving earlier about Sinclair coming over? Yeah, looks like she knew Sinclair was dead that whole time.
And then, the bombshells begin.
Annalise tells Asher — in front of the gang — that the Keating 4 KILLED SAM (Tom Verica).
So, uh, I guess Asher is finally in the loop — and they’ll probably need his cell phone number now.
Annalise then has them work to manufacture a crime scene, one that pins Sinclair’s murder on Catherine.
Wes overhears Annalise saying she’s trying to protect Nate. She tells him Sinclair is dead.
Connor and Michaela don’t want to deal with another body again. Cue the audience catching up with Sinclair’s body falling off the roof — but it’s Bonnie AND Asher up there.
Catherine goes to get a drink from a vending machine at her motel when Philip shows up. Too bad Frank already got to her, towel over her mouth.
Wes gives Bonnie the gun. Asher is on the brink of a meltdown, it seems, and says this is not going to work and reminisces hitting Sinclair and that the sounds of hitting her don’t match the splat heard when her body fell. Gross.
Bonnie goes to Annalise and says, “It’s done,” gun in hand. Annalise tells her to leave the gun and to get Asher out of there.
It turns out Asher did not flee the car like the flash forward from an earlier episode implied, but was just preparing to get the car washed.
Frank drugs Catherine with Nia’s pills. Philip calls her outside of the mansion.
Now, take a deep breath:
Annalise is with the Keating 4 and calls the police and says she’s been shot — says CATHERINE shot her. She asks each of them to shoot her, calling them out one by one. Wes warns her Nate is coming. Laurel says maybe they should go to jail for everything. I really thought it was going to be Laurel after all this, but no.
Annalise tells Wes the truth (as Laurel points out though, she could be lying): Rebecca is dead and she’s known this whole time. SO HE SHOOTS HER. Mystery solved.
Then, the kicker: Annalise keeps repeating “Christoph.” WHAT.
Flash BACK 10 years earlier, to a young Wes (erm, Christoph) being questioned, where he asks if his mom is dead.
Annalise is watching the interview…with EVE (Famke Janssen), who says, “Good God Annalise, what did we do?”
WHEW. What a show-stopping first season arc, not to mention stunning midseason finale. The series is better than ever and knows how to manipulate a well-tangled, thorough and soapy mystery. Feb. 11 can’t be too far away, can it?