Shonda Rhound-Up: Proof is in the blood (we hope)

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After three weeks of tension-building episodes, “How to Get Away with Murder” is plunging right into the personal and professional lives of budding lawyers and the elites of the legal trade this week, and it’s not holding back. “Grey’s Anatomy,” meanwhile, appears to be taking a break this week — allowing time for “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Scandal” to catch up after the two-episode premiere “Grey’s” had in late September.

‘How to Get Away with Murder’

Last week, Annalise (Viola Davis) announced her intent to bring a class-action lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This week’s episode opens with a scene of Annalise breaking open boxes encasing an analog tape recorder. She isn’t about to let the DA or anyone else hack into her notes.

At the same time as we see Annalise prepare her case, the Keating Four are taking a class on class-action suits — so we learn right along with them that such suits require near-infinite funds. We also learn that Annalise has insufficient funds. Knowing that she likely can’t finagle a re-hiring at Middleton University, her solution is to approach the president of the university, Soraya Hargrove (Luna Lauren Velez), and offer legal assistance in her custody battle with her children. Given Annalise’s past, Soraya is unconvinced — but Annalise politely blackmails her with knowledge of her past alcoholism. It turns out that Soraya already has an attorney, and she is none other than Michaela’s (Aja Naomi King) mentor at Caplan & Gold, Tegan Price (Amirah Vann).

When Soraya, Tegan and Annalise meet with Soraya’s husband, Raul (Hector Hugo), and his legal team, his lawyer tosses a USB filled with incriminating videos of Soraya disheveled and clinging to the toilet after a night of binging. Tegan and Annalise have different ideas of how to fight back. Annalise’s idea goes south when she emails a counter-suit to the wrong person: a board-member at Middleton. Annalise’s attempt to save Soraya’s battle for custody actually ends up jeopardizing Soraya’s job.

And, as Soraya points out, the mistake may cause her to lose her children. “You have no children, you don’t know what it feels like to lose them,” Soraya screams, calling to the audience to recognize that not only did Annalise recently lose Wes, she also lost her baby in-utero years ago.

To top it all off, Annalise arrives at home, where Frank (Charlie Weber) is waiting for her, further reminding her that it was Frank who caused the death of her baby all those years ago. Despite all of this, Annalise still doesn’t take a drink.

After Annalise rejects him, Frank goes to visit Laurel, to whom he offers his aid. At this point in her pregnancy, all Laurel needs is sex — which she takes from Frank in a forceful and disturbing way.

The next morning, Annalise wakes up to an email from her therapist that confirms she is maintaining her sobriety and is fit to continue practicing law, even when his personal notes on Annalise say otherwise.


Mitch Haaseth/ABC/Courtesy

The email reminds her that she can subpoena for Raul’s therapist’s notes, which helps Soraya’s case. The notes imply that her husband was cheating on her with a woman named “Sue,” which is merely a pseudonym for his money manager. Annalise and Tegan, with Michaela’s help, prove that Soraya’s husband is using the custody battle to steal money from Soraya. In return for not taking him to court on financial charges, Soraya says all she wants is joint custody. They agree that her husband will only receive $1 million, instead of the original $6 million.

This rebuilds trust between Annalise and Soraya, and it leads Tegan to offer her allyship to Annalise if she ever wants a job at Caplan & Gold.

While all of this is going on, Connor’s (Jack Falahee) father is in town, having learned that Connor dropped out of law school. During his visit, Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) learns of the tension between Connor and his father — who reveals that Connor’s coming out during his tween years motivated his father to come out as well, despite still being married to Connor’s mother. There is clearly lingering resentment on Connor’s end, but his dad works to earn back Connor’s trust.

The reticence we feel toward Connor’s father is validated when he says that Connor shouldn’t be with Oliver, which sends Connor storming away.

Later on, while working at the DA’s office, Laurel finds that a now-dead former employee of her father’s company is supposedly contributing funds to the DA’s campaign for attorney general. Rightly suspicious, Laurel tells Michaela that this proves her father is colluding with the DA to cover up Wes’ murder.

The episode ends on a revelation that Annalise’s therapist, Isaac (Jimmy Smits), finds her background triggering — particularly with regards to Wes and his apparent suicide. Just as he finishes these notes, a new patient arrives — it’s Bonnie (Liza Weil), posing as a woman named Julie.

This week’s flash-forward takes us to back to the moment when Michaela cries on Isaac’s shoulder. Now we see that there’s not only a crime scene outside of Annalise’s home, but there’s also one at Caplan & Gold — and Oliver seems to be the only living witness.

‘Grey’s Anatomy’

“Grey’s Anatomy” is taking a temporary hiatus before the release of episode five. Recaps will resume when the show returns. In the meantime, you can read the recap of last week’s episode here.

Sophie-Marie Prime is the assistant arts & entertainment editor. Contact her at [email protected].