Photo: Mitchell Haaseth / ABC

Brimful Of Asher

High marks for the class clown this week.

From his opening "makin' it rain" moment (a GIF goldmine), it's clear this episode is going to be The Asher Show, for which I'm totally on board. This week's case is their first appeal -- two decades ago, an innocent man was accused of shooting his girlfriend and sentenced to death row by [dun, dun, dun] Asher's dad. All of a sudden, Annalise is walking the path of righteousness and will stop at nothing to get the guy cleared. It's out of character and there's no explanation for why she cares so much. But just go with it (or not…her new and improved wigs don't care either way).

Laurel, Connor, and deadweight Mikaela are more or less along for the ride this week. Aside from Mikaela's enviably pert ponytail, the trio does little to merit ranking this week. Likewise, Rebecca's big hat trick is "being found," so she's in footnote territory, too.

  1. Asher
    Okay, next week, I want him back on the sidelines, lest he fall victim to overkill. But for this week, it's fun to watch Asher shine. He's true-to-form goofy, with such cartoony moments as "angrily charging at antagonistic Connor and then literally falling into a box of crucial evidence" and "narrowly missing the other interns' dead-body caper because he gets distracted by a booty call." But he also shows he can be a man, not a caricature. When he forthrightly stands up to his dirty-dealing Daddy Warbucks, only to learn his personal hero's a sham…who then kicks his own son out of the house…you feel for the guy. But come on, Asher, the guy makes his middle-aged black maid wear a uniform in 2014. You shoulda known something in the milk wasn't clean. All in all, he comes out of this life-altering experience with his douchey-ness intact -- he'll tell all to Annalise, as long as she hands over the trophy. Priorities. Asher's A+ asides include: "Honestly, G. Enough with the secrets" (to Wes, the least G'ed up black man he's likely to ever meet); "Team Bosher!"; and "If she gets disbarred, does it go on our records, too?" Valid question, Asher, and one I'd be asking too, in your shoes.
  2. Annalise
    Viola must've been polishing her Oscar and remembering her glory days, because she drank a cup of gravitas and ripped into this episode with a fair share of fierceness. She goes from flipping out at Wes for uncovering her and Sam's cover-up scheme (for once, his wide eyes were warranted), to being a cool and calm evidence-planting pro, to being a holy terror in the courtroom. This lady never met an objection she didn't disregard. She spits hot fire at that witness stand, rendering that Supreme Court Justice's pesky gavel-banging hella moot. How she isn't held in contempt of court and taken into custody is a mystery. But thanks to all her incendiary statements and histrionics, the wrongly accused death row inmate goes free, so…yay!

    It seems a little odd that, in the midst of so much personal turmoil, she grows a conscience and will stop at nothing to get this innocent man freed -- pro bono, even. Would she go so far for her own dead girlfriend-having husband? Despite her broken-down "I need you [ad infinitum]. I love you" confession to him, that's doubtful. Seeing her withering soul in that moment of weakness does negate her earlier bad-assery, but it also shows her vulnerability and humanity. I'm not completely heartless; I get that and found it touching, if not massively confounding (what, exactly, is Sam's appeal?!?). But like she cautioned her own damn self: "Get it together, girl."

    Next week's teaser shows her ripping Rebecca a new one, indicating she's back on her cold-blooded grind. But I think it's safe to assume she's actually just prepping the girl for all the mud the opposition is going to sling at her once she takes the stand. I'm onto your tricks, ABC. Moreover, I highly doubt I will utter the words "She did not just do that!" as the network predicts. Who talks like that anyway?

  3. Bonnie
    Bonnie : HTGAWM :: Abby : Scandal. She's the scrappily loyal lap dog who'll nip at the heels of any intruder, but may just as easily bite the hand that feeds it. Bonnie's corner-lurkin' ass sees all, knows all, and hates on all. She's had her fill of the steam emanating off of Frank and Laurel and shuts it down with a blunt "Stop leading Frank on." She argues that she doesn't want to see Frank get hurt by the capricious rich girl and that she thinks Laurel's too valuable a team member to sacrifice her position for inter-office sluttery. But it doesn't seem genuine. It's not at all convincing that she cares enough about either Frank or Laurel. So now I'm keen to see what her real motive might be.

    Speaking of not convincing, I'm not buying Bonnie and Asher as even the most tequila-fueled of bedfellows, let alone dead sober repeat hook-up buddies. But at least it's good to know somebody's breakin' her off, because she seems to be in desperate need of a wind-down.

  4. Nate
    Why you creepin', Nate? Keeping tabs on Keating and her law-bending/-breaking crew. Verrry interesting…proceed.
  5. Frank
    In keeping with the earlier Scandal parallelism, we finally find out what Frank's function is around the office (besides sniffing around Laurel). He's there to do Annalise's least legal dirty work, á la Olivia Pope and Harrison (R.I.P.). Unfortunately, he's not nearly as good at it and thinks planting that cell phone in the frat boy's car in broad daylight and out in the open for all to see is a smooth move. Go back to vest-shopping and beard-grooming, Frank.
  6. Wes
    What's with that gratuitous post-shower pan-up shot? Are they actually trying to spin this Goonie as a sex symbol? Thank you, no. "The puppy's acting up," Annalise chides as she acknowledges the fact that Wes wants his Becky back, and he's turning snitch if the professor doesn't help. Everyone in the office is teasing him about his motives -- he insists they're pure, but the interns think they're prurient. He's got morals, doesn't everyone else get that?!? Gosh! He even goes so far as to passive-aggressively arrive before class to forfeit the trophy in silent protest of all that's going on in the Keating camp. Insufferable. This kid should just quit law school and join some kind of Kony 2012 movement.
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