Photo: Mitchell Haaseth / ABC

All Killer(s), No Filler

Only one client matters this week, but one's more than enough.

We open with Wes carrying a blood-splattered Rebecca away from the Keating murder scene and up to the shower, where he chastely sponges her off. (Apparently, it's too much to ask that he stumble and drop her down the stairs or, at least, bump her head on a doorsill.) There's no outside trial this week, which is good because there's a surplus of "gotcha" tactics to keep straight within the Stangard trial. Everybody's out to get Rebecca, including her own self-sabotaging ass. Overall, we get an episode that's so filled with her and Wes that the impending holiday TV scheduling break can't come soon enough.

As for the rest, it's hard to say who comes out on top because no one person really gets to shine as in past weeks. Bonnie kept her lips and her legs closed this week, mainly playing the role of message-relayer and hall monitor. Meanwhile, Frank exists only to moon over Laurel and to wear mismatched three-piece suits. Sam, for his part, is more noteworthy as a corpse than as a guilt-riddled flashback husband. And the Keating 5 go digging, drinking, and searching for day jobs.

  1. Annalise
    Such is her disdain for Rebecca that she furiously spits, "Makes me grateful for the miscarriages." I like characters more when they hate on the characters I hate. Annalise and Sam have taken to calling her "the terrorist," but I could certainly think of far more apt insults than that. She's wondering why she's still representing this waif who treats the trial's grave implications with such "five by five" flippancy. I'm wondering the same.

    Nevertheless, she's knee-deep in this mess and does her best to dazzle in court. "Prayers are for the weak. I'll stick to beating your ass in court." That's her credo for the week, as she confidently stomps the courthouse in a double-breasted sweater blazer that I never knew I needed until now. She's on her grind and I'm left wishing this show was way more about Annalise the career woman and less about Annie the broken-down woman with the scandalous home life.

    The writers waited until my defenses were down (i.e., the wig was off and her natural hair was in full effect) to reveal that Lila was pregnant when she was murdered. Annalise's face when that bomb drops…that's some fine freeze-frame acting, reminding us all the more that this show is stretched in too many different directions. Just let Viola Davis act, people!

  2. D.A. Parks
    Such is the increasingly frustrating nature of this show that you're immediately elevated among these here ranks if your character simply expedites the plot. The D.A. is here to make deals. They don't work? No sweat. She'll make different ones. Keep it movin'. She's the kind of shark this show needs. As has been made abundantly clear on Orange Is The New Black, "slimy, self-serving, and conniving" is right in Alysia Reiner's wheelhouse. She does it well and offers an interesting contrast to Annalise, who gives off bad-ass vibes but is actually too tethered by personal drama to truly come into court with guns blazing.
  3. Nate
    As under-utilized as he is, he seems indispensable at this point. Nate's the only one on this show who doesn't need a trophy or a pat on the head (or…other places) from Annalise as motivation to get shit done. He's even willing to go so far as to sidle up to Rebecca in order to get results. Now, that's a man on a mission.
  4. Connor
    The Hook-Up King scores again this week after a fleeting dry spell. What do you do while in the midst of helping your boss try to win a major case? Why, you have semi-anonymous sex in a courthouse bathroom stall, of course! He pivots from craving quick-and-dirty action to feeling real love for his ex. He can't even manipulate a mark into giving him case-cracking info like he usually does because he's so torn up over what he did to Oliver. So priceless, then, is the look on his face when he shows up at Oliver's door, only to learn that he'd been replaced by someone astronomically hotter…who cooks! All of this sidetracks us from the already dithering plot, but sensitive shirtless guys with frying pans are worthy distractions.
  5. Asher
    He got to be top dog last time around. This week, he's the cheesiest, the skeeziest. We get one pretty great sight gag: Asher tenderly cradling his trophy as he stands to answer a question in class. And we get several penis-centric Asherisms, "Release the Kracken!" and "talkin' about my dingus" among them. He's good on the sidelines, but I hope they keep giving him some variety.
  6. Laurel
    Her altruistic, office-sex-loving boyfriend wants her to ditch the vultures and join him in more meaningful legal work. But she wants to have her cake and eat it, too. Though Kan seems more substantive and stable, his field of law will never help her pay off her student loans, so she's better off having her first-year fun with ol' man Frank. But hey, wait a sec…you know who'd be great at those bleeding-heart legal aid cases of Kan's? Wes! She ought to refer Wes, and he should report for his first day of work right away, if not sooner.
  7. Mikaela
    The wait for her to become more than just the butt of the interns' jokes seems eternal. Her sub-subplot finds her boasting about an interview at a top law firm, only to find out she's actually been called in to sign a prenup. Womp womp. Her fiancé is clearly a sensible sort of fellow.
  8. Wes
    He's still in Fix-It Felix mode. The bulk of his lines consist of "We're gonna protect you!" and "Don't do anything 'til I get back!" On two different occasions, he throws up his hands and says, "I'll just stop trying to help!" Idle threats that I want him to make good on, but ultimately don't believe for a second.

    "Some guys can only get it up for crazy," Connor correctly assesses as all the interns scratch their heads over the whole Wes-Rebecca attraction. They finally do have sex, which is good because it means they're no longer filling the room with their tedious dialogue. (Though I can't say I much cared for that sex-scene/corpse-hacking mash-up.) Wes's post-coital confessional reveals the reason he's annoying as hell: his mom committed suicide when he was a kid. Yeah, well, if that little nugget is an attempt to make me more Wes-tolerant, it's not working. It works on Rebecca, though, because of course it does.

  9. Rebecca
    In her flashback trial prep, she confesses to selling drugs to Griffin and hooking up with him, then jokingly adds that she killed Lila. Cuz that's the kind of thing that "cool chicks" joke about off the record when they're on trial for murder. "Cool chicks" verbally taunt, spy on, and expose secrets about all the strangers who try to help them when they're in dire need. They also get bored with the cable in their fugitive hiding spot and call "9-1-1" even after they're strictly instructed to lay low. Rebecca is the "whatever"-muttering, Hot Topic-shopping coolest. Pffft. You just don't get it.

    She later privately confesses to killing Sam in self-defense, though next week's promo implies that she didn't. My husband theorizes that Wes actually killed Sam and somehow tricked Rebecca into thinking she did it. He'd fool her into thinking he cleaned it all up for her and spared her from prison, which would, then, make her fall for him completely. As absurd as that sounds, such a Swiss cheese plot twist wouldn't surprise me one bit.

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