How To Get Away With Murder Cries A Different Kind Of Tear
And naturally, Viola Davis sheds it perfectly.
If I were running Viola Davis's Emmy campaign this season, I would submit this episode. Sure, it's yet another installment where she cries a lot, but there's a different quality to the tears. Instead of boozy, vindictive rage-sobbing or terrified, pleading regret-heaving, Davis nails the single, glistening droplet of genuine regret. When she's talking to Laurel about failing Wes, or when she's listening to Nate castigate himself for leaving Wes alone in Annalise's house, it seems she's finally met a grief that makes her small. This towering woman, who has kicked so much ass for three seasons, is reduced to shedding one tear at a time. That's how depleted she is, how little she has left.
And for Viola Davis to communicate all that in the midst of an increasingly tawdry whodunit is like a damned thespianic miracle. Here's how everyone else ranks next to her mingling of the holy acting waters.
- Dead Wes
He's barely a blip this week, only showing up in a flashback that proves Nate talked to him in Annalise's house. Oh...and as a corpse in the same house, pre-explosion. But that's more about Connor, as we'll see below.
- Bonnie and Nate
For the second episode in a row, Bonnie's here to deliver expository lines that set up scene transitions. And while Nate clarifies that he didn't sign off on Wes's body being moved -- that his signature was forged -- he does less to act on that information than the people around him.
- Michaela and Asher
They really ought to be down there with Bonnie and Nate, but what can I say? I'm entertained. Asher's refusal to ever shut up helps him goad Connor about being horrible to everyone, and that sets us up for the revelation in Connor's flashback. Michaela, meanwhile, has righteous anger for everybody, whether it's Asher for sympathizing with Annalise's prison suffering or Connor for always suggesting that Annalise could've killed Wes. Is that contradictory? Does she seem to defend or lambast Annalise in equal measure, with no apparent logic? Sure! But it's fun to watch. And so is the scene where she tells Annalise that she will no longer be calling her "Professor Keating," since they've been through so much madness together.
Oh ho HO! So Connor's been hiding something all along! While he was indeed screwing around on Oliver the night of the fire, he ALSO went over to Annalise's house before it burned down. And as we learn in that flashback I keep mentioning, he tried to revive Dead Wes's body. I'm sure that means he didn't actually kill Dead Wes, since the show would never tip its hand like that, but now I want to know exactly what Connor knows. Did he see something that convinced him of Annalise's guilt?
- Laurel and Oliver
Is this a special episode of Law & Order? Because these two are a regular Briscoe and Curtis over here! Laurel hires a private investigator to uncover evidence that the Mahoney family had Dead Wes's DNA tested just days before the fire. That would seem to exonerate Annalise and implicate the crooked family who killed her baby. Meanwhile, Oliver uses the records he pulled off Annalise's phone to prove that Connor had been to the house. He then confronts Connor with this information, and I'm like, "Damn, Gina! Way to get a backbone!"
- Frank and Annalise
Working together and separately, Frank and Annalise help prove that D.A. Atwood has indeed been framing Annalise by getting Dead Wes's body removed from the morgue AND ALSO CREMATED. She burned his ass up! Bye-bye, evidence! But thanks to Frank's deft speech at his hearing (where he is defending himself, remember) and Annalise's careful leak of "missing corpse" stories to the press, Atwood's plan comes unglued and she gets suspended. Meanwhile, Annalise also clocks that College President Hargrove has been pressured by Atwood into pumping Annalise for information. And all while Hargrove is pretending to be Annalise's AA sponsor. THE SHADE OF IT ALL.
But as tired and wrung out and single-tear-sad as she is, Annalise isn't going to let that stand. Bye, Atwood. And bye to all your dumb friends.