With November Sweeps well underway and just three episodes remaining before How To Get Away With Murder bows out for its winter hiatus, Thursday’s episode steered away from its recent routine and put the focus entirely on Rebecca’s upcoming murder trial. Replacing the case-of-the-week with two vital pre-trial hearings and moving away from the character-centric storylines to focus more on the group and their work, the show drew audiences back into the two biggest mysteries of the season; the Lila Stangard murder and the Keating Five’s cover-up of Sam’s murder.
Written by Warren Hsu Leonard and directed by Eric Stoltz, Thursday’s “He Deserved To Die” delved into Rebecca’s case and shed some light on the very real possibility that she truly had not murdered Lila, all while making it clear that she was the one who did murder Sam in the present-day storyline. With the time between the two tales quickly drawing closer, it was evident that we would soon discover how and why Sam lost his life, perhaps in the upcoming midseason finale in just two more weeks.
It became clear that Sam had supposedly threatened Rebecca in some way, just days before her trial in the Lila Stangard murder was to begin. Feeling the need to defend herself, Rebecca hit Sam over the head with Annalise’s infamous trophy, which seemed to be the blow that killed him. With Wes doing his best to protect her, he convinced Connor, Michaela, and Laurel to help him cover up the crime while Rebecca was hidden away in a seedy motel room. It still remains to be seen exactly how this all came to be, as well as whether or not Rebecca was telling the truth about the events, but with the midseason finale quickly getting closer, it seems quite likely that we will have at least most of these answers before the show breaks for the holiday season.
Meanwhile, back in the past storyline, now just two weeks away from the present day, Annalise continued her preparations for Rebecca’s trial. Unimpressed with her client’s flippant attitude, Annalise tore into Rebecca early on in the episode, attempting to get her to recognize the seriousness of the murder charges being laid against her. But actions always speak louder than words and once the press had jumped on a story about Rebecca and Griffin having had an intimate relationship, painting Rebecca as the temptress who lured Griffin into that relationship and then pushed him into helping her murder Lila, she finally understood that she was in need of a very solid defense.
With that, Annalise and her team jumped into action, appearing in court for a pre-trial hearing to insist that a gag order be placed on the media in relation to the trial, hoping to avoid any further bad press that could lead to a biased jury. But just as they managed to get the judge to grant their request, another massive roadblock slammed down onto their path; Griffin’s lawyer requested that Lila’s body be exhumed in order to have a new autopsy conducted, one that would potentially undercover evidence of Rebecca’s involvement in the murder.
This became the replacement for the case of the week, with Annalise and the Keating 5 going to extreme measures to halt this exhumation. From obtaining confidential files to discredit medical experts to convincing Lila’s mother to plead to the judge not to allow the exhumation, Annalise and her law students went to great lengths to prevent Keegan’s motion to be granted. But when it came to light that Keegan and District Attorney Parks had a plea bargain in the works that would let Griffin off the hook while Rebecca took the fall for Lila’s murder, the defense team was forced to sink to new lows. Despite the gag order already in place, Annalise cleverly convinced Rebecca to leak a report to the press that Griffin had raped her, effectively making it impossible for Parks to agree to go through with the plea deal without a great deal of public outrage, all while also painting Rebecca as being just as much of a victim as Lila was. It was a brilliant move in this ongoing chess match and also a very clear example that perhaps Annalise and Rebecca are not all that different from one another, both willing to do whatever it takes to keep her out of prison.
Also in the episode, Wes and Rebecca finally gave in to their feelings, as did Laurel and Frank. Meanwhile, Michaela was dealt a crushing prenuptial agreement from her fiancé and Connor was equally heartbroken to learn that Oliver had rather quickly moved on from their heated breakup. Also, Nate made contact with Rebecca in an attempt to get her to work with him on proving that Sam was really the one who murdered Lila. It was a very busy episode with plenty of plotlines … and yet another dose of unnecessary and ridiculously gratuitous sex scenes … truthfully, it does get difficult to maintain that this show is an example of great storytelling when it delves too often into the primetime soap opera territory. Yes, it’s true that sex sells, but this series has much more going for it than that and it should not have to resort to overdoing it or forcing it with these scenes in order to bring in ratings. After all, you don’t need a supermodel in a bikini to sell a Lamborghini–the car will sell itself. TV is no different. But I digress…
An hour of HTGAWM would not be complete without a massive, spin-tingling, jaw-dropping twist to close out the episode. Thursday’s installment certainly did not disappoint, as the episode came to an end with Bonnie interrupting Annalise and Sam late at night with breaking news in their case. Lila’s body had been exhumed and a new autopsy had been performed, and while there was no evidence found linking Rebecca to the murder, truly good news for their defense case, something rather damning had been found; Lila was pregnant, with Sam being the potential father. So while Rebecca’s defense strengthened, so too did the lies and betrayal of Sam, once again thrusting Annalise’s scoundrel of a husband into the spotlight as a potential murderer.
What did you think of Thursday’s episode of How To Get Away With Murder? Knowing that Sam is a potential suspect in Lila’s murder, do you think Annalise would ever be willing to use the evidence against her husband to clear Rebecca’s name? Or will she protect Sam until the end, despite his betrayal and potential crimes? Do you think Rebecca really killed Sam in self-defense or did she kill him in cold blood and lie about that to Wes? Are you looking forward to the midseason finale in two weeks? Share your thoughts with us below!
How To Get Away With Murder airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC and CTV.