With Wallace Mahoney's murder unsolved and Frank's whereabouts unknown, the "Keating 5" struggle to move on with their lives as they enter into their second year of law school. Meanwhile, Annalise's reputation at Middleton University is on the line, so she creates a criminal law clinic where the students will compete to try their own pro bono cases. Annalise also wrestles with a decision involving Frank that could change everything.
A sheet-covered body is led away towards a police van in the opening scene and it’s not clear until the end of the episode what’s happened. However, we’re quickly brought back to the end of the season two finale, where a curious Wes goes to meet his father, Wallace Mahoney but watches him murdered right in front of him, unwelcome facial blood splatters and all. A skeptical detective is interrogating a suspicious Wes who afterward walks out to [[Annalise]’s car. They discuss sketchier-than-the-margins-of-my-notebooks Frank and Annalise calmly lets Wes know that Frank killed Mahoney to right his wrongs against her – I suppose after two seasons, it’s not entirely surprising that the characters are mellow when it comes to murder but I’m still shocked at how casual it all is. Annalise tries to rationalize the murder while Wes exclaims “how does this make anything right?!” as if he’s able to read my mind. Annalise and Wes then go on a road trip to the secluded woods and scream at the sky as Frank shaves off the hair on his head, while the audience watches on in horror as the beard of secrets drops to the floor – what lies behind all that hair? Turns out its just skin. Frank’s going rogue.
We’re brought into September where the Keating Five/Fab Five/Corrupt Clique/Murderous Breakfast Club, whatever you want to call them, are back together for another semester. A new guy pops up and briefly insults our Corrupt Clique before the camera follows him as he takes his seat. Who is this new guy? He seems like he might be significant going forward this season and my mind, after two full seasons of this show, tells me he’s not to be trusted. I’m watching you, new guy. Annalise tells her class they’re stepping it up now, she tells them “you finally get to be me,” before she turns around to see a picture of her face on the board with the word ‘KILLER’ beneath it. I give it a D- for its design. Annalise is clearly shaken but shrugs off the flier before ripping it down while the Corrupt Clique watch with worry. She swiftly moves onto this week’s case: a Middle-Eastern refugee, Karim, who was found with drugs after the police stopped him and face deportation. Two people from the class will be chosen to lead the case in court so Annalise must start her assessment. In the biggest plot twist of the show, Annalise asks people who are not the Corrupt Clique to answer her questions. After class, the Corrupt Clique wait around for Annalise like clingy children because they’re worried about the KILLER flier. Annalise tells them to stop it and says “we’re good people now” while I hold in my laughter. Fake it ’til you make it, I guess?
Back at Annalise’s, Annalise is still worried about being branded a killer so publicly. She opens up a jewellery box and reveals a hidden compartment for a… flip-phone. We’re talking a possible 2006 flip-phone – good people don’t have flip-phones in this day and age, Annalise. Perhaps, like my father, she just wants to return to a time of simpler technology, or more likely, to dial back to the time where she wasn’t housing killers and their secrets.
Throughout this episode, we flash back and forth between the new semester and the summer before. In the summertime scenes, Annalise perfects her stylish wardrobe, does a little bit of gardening and babysits each of the Corrupt Clique, starting with Laurel who is worried about Frank-related events and Annalise. Annalise, in a stylish sunhat, accuses Laurel of being on Frank’s side showing that the Frank-Annalise bond is truly broken ever since Laurel let her know that Frank killed Lila way back in season one. Laurel restates her loyalty to Annalise before leaving and trying to call Frank on his phone – girl, stop this. She leaves him a voicemail, while I wonder when the Power of the Beard will release its grip on Laurel and let her move on with her life.
In class, normalcy has been returned as the Corrupt Clique are back to being center-stage in Annalise’s classes – they’re back to talking entirely too fast and with too much legal jargon for me to easily understand what’s going on. I’m also having trouble paying attention because I’m trying to figure out what exactly the new guy’s deal is. Laurel shows up late to class with information Annalise deems useless: Karim was covering for his drug-dealing daughter. Annalise picks Wes and New Guy Mr. Drake to head the case. After class, the Corrupt Clique are standing around together and Annalise wonders why they’re stalking her. I don’t know, Annalise, I guess having about half a dozen killings under your belt and sharing countless dangerous secrets really ties people together. She realises they’re worriedly staring at tonnes of those KILLER fliers posted over bulletin boards. “At least they chose a good photo,” Annalise says before walking away faking apathy, reminding us all how to prioritise effectively – I mean, who out of us hasn’t prayed that if we get arrested that it’s on a good hair day and our smokey eyeshadow is perfectly blended?
We flash back to Annalise’s summertime babysitting adventures and this time she pays a visit to Connor who’s chilling in a chair in a paddling pool as shallow as his trust in Annalise. Connor’s not calling her back and Annalise isn’t happy about it. Connor’s hair has gotten longer but his patience is getting ever shorter – he’s worried she’ll hire Oliver, corrupting him and ruining their relationship. What he doesn’t know is that Oliver is paying Annalise visits in present time, attempting to flatter her into hiring him. Annalise mentally checks her schedule and lets Oliver know that she’s not able to babysit another adult. He blurts out that he’s not so squeaky clean and that he declined Connor’s place at Stanford in the hopes that he’ll win her over and she’ll give him a job. What happened to this sweet little cookie?
After meeting with Annalise, Oliver returns back to his and Connor’s apartment where the Corrupt Clique are having a study party together because they’ve genuinely become friends through all the turmoil and trauma. Wes is teased about his new girlfriend, ‘Meggy,’ and Laurel looks annoyed about it. It’s a testament to this show that I have literally no faith in any of the characters because I haven’t even seen Meggy but I don’t trust her. Back at Annalise’s place, Nate is giving Annalise a foot rub while dramatically flexing every muscle in his body. She tells him it’s his turn and he needs to roll over so he does. She gets up to give him a massage before turning around so she can eye the jewellery box which holds her circa-2006 flip-phone.
We’re back to Annalise’s babysitting club. After all his family drama and the death of his father, Asher lets us all know that his white ass is broke and he shows up to Annalise’s begging for a loan. Annalise lets him know that she is primarily his babysitter and that the motherly duties of giving a child money are not up to her. Asher ends up living in a dorm room where we see that the Michaela and Asher sleeping-together-ship is still ongoing. While Asher is preoccupied with his dorm mates, I’m giving Michaela a girl-to-girl lecture in my head which she seems to hear because she’s back to business and gets up, telling Asher he’s too poor to sleep with, before walking out. Ouch.
Michaela’s summer flashback reveals that her and Annalise are at odds – Michaela blames Annalise for the predicament they’re all in and calls her a bitch, which explains the animosity between them this episode. Annalise saves Michaela from trouble after a drunken incident and tells her that the next time she wants to get drunk, she should just go to Annalise’s place because Annalise isn’t a regular mom, she’s a cool mom. In the court, Karim is up. Wes is looking fine in a suit and, if I was the judge, I’d believe anything he tells me – which maybe proves why I’m not a judge. Michaela rushes in late with new information which causes Annalise to kick New Guy Mr. Drake off the case. Something tells me he won’t take this quietly and this won’t be the last we see of him. For all their work and tricks, the team end up losing the case and the judge is the worst. Karim will be deported and estranged from his family. The Corrupt Clique look depressed and Annalise significantly highlights that “justice is the exception, you should know that by now.”
Annalise lets Connor know the secrets Oliver told her and confirms that, on the basis of Oliver’s resumé of recent wrongdoings and his growing experience in being troublesome, she’s accepted his persistent application to join the Corrupt Clique. Annalise reassures him she’s only taken on Oliver in order to fill his time with distractions so he’s not a distraction to them. Connor and Oliver face each other in the apartment later and the wall between them is growing ever taller. Oliver’s mad that Connor’s not mad at him for looking for a job with Annalise and cancelling his acceptance to Stanford. We learn that Oliver basically did all this in the hopes that it would make Connor mad enough to break up with him but Connor re-affirms his love for Oliver so Oliver has to be the one to break things between them (for what reason I’m not quite sure). Connor’s heart is breaking and Oliver’s heart is breaking and I’m in a puddle of my own tears during this scene.
The new president of the law school invites Annalise in for a passive-aggressive meeting where she lets her know that they’re essentially demoting Annalise, who isn’t having it. The president reveals her basis for removing Annalise as a professor: the Corrupt Clique, Annalise’s chosen ones, are struggling academically. Colour me surprised. Maybe they all have poor organisation and study skills, but it’s probably because of all the lying and murder over the past two seasons. There’s no way of knowing really. Later Annalise sits home alone before Bonnie joins her. They both wonder if Frank is the one putting up all the KILLER fliers around campus like a student society before freshers’ week. Elsewhere Laurel shows up at Wes’s place and she’s mad and jealous that he won’t return her messages or her flirtatious glances. They’re basically having a lovers’ spat. Wes tells Laurel he appreciates her but all he sees when he looks at her is Frank. Uh oh. He’s basically creepy-killer-zoned her. Meggy, the hugger, shows up and she’s entirely too wholesome and sweet for this show (£10 says she probably won’t be alive by the season finale) and I still don’t trust her. She senses the tension between Laurel and Wes but keeps quiet about it. Annalise is again using her old-school flip-phone and she seems to be talking to a hitman who’s spying on a leather-clad Frank for her. While he tries to get Annalise to confirm what she wants him to do, Frank hits the hitman before the hitman can hit him as Annalise listens with horror. RIP to that hitman, I’m sure he was a nice guy.
The ending brings us back to the opening scene of the body being led into a police van and crowds gathered round. Annalise runs up frantically trying to see who it is and is reluctantly shown the dead body by the police. Painfully, we aren’t shown who it is but, judging by Annalise’s reaction, it’s someone important – she breaks down on the street before turning and facing her burning house.
Notes and Trivia
- This episode scored 5.11 million viewers.
- When the first class of the year (which is the beginning of the ‘Criminal Law Legal Clinic) is over, the ‘Keating 5’ along with Annalise, discussed various things including the note saying ‘Killer’ with an image of Annalise printed on it. Annalise tried to comfort all that things would be better than before. “We’re good people now.”
- We're Good People Now - Annalise Keating
- My Body - Perfume Genius
- Priestess - Pumarosa
- The Salt - Doombird
- Dirge - Perfume Genius
- We Are the Ones - Son Lux