In the season 4 premiere of How to Get Away with Murder, titled “I’m Going Away,” Annalise deals with a personal crisis and makes a surprising decision about her future. Meanwhile, the Keating 4 are actually moving forward with their lives in the wake of Wes’ murder, but Annalise’s decision could change that. In other news, Laurel is still determined to find out the truth about what happened to Wes, and the premiere ends with a flash-forward that sets up a shocking new mystery.
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Can Annalise Handle Another Loss?
Annalise starts the episode, and therefore season 4, by returning home to visit her mother. (As we learned last season, Ophelia is suffering from dementia and Annalise was looking into finding her a long-term care facility.) When Annalise arrives at her family home, she learns that her father’s way of dealing with her mother’s illness is to put a bell on the door so he knows when she leaves the house. This clearly will not do, so over family dinner, Annalise tells her mother about a nearby care facility she wants them to check out. Ophelia wants nothing to do with this conversation and she tells Annalise to leave.
Later that night, Ophelia wakes Annalise up because she thinks there’s a fire in the house. Poor Ophelia is confused and having flashbacks of the night she set Uncle Clyde on fire, thereby burning their house down. Annalise manages to get Ophelia to calm down, but only after she loses control of her bladder. Once Annalise gets her mother cleaned up and they connect over a song Ophelia sang to Annalise as a child, Ophelia agrees to check out the care facility.
While the facility is the best in the state, Annalise’s father continues to insist that he can take care of Ophelia at home. He also insinuates that Ophelia’s “spells” are only triggered when she’s around Annalise, but Annalise’s sister is a nurse and she assures Annalise that is not how dementia works. Annalise then admits to her sister that while she planned to use the insurance money from the fire to pay for their mother’s care, she doesn’t have the money because Sam’s sister is contesting Annalise’s ownership of the house and the payment has been frozen until things are resolved.
Later that night, Annalise asks her mother where she wants to live, but Ophelia insists that what she wants doesn’t matter because her mind is going. Ophelia knows she is “going away” and all she wants to do is protect Annalise from losing anything else, but she knows her declining mental state isn’t something either of them can control. Ophelia promises to hold onto herself for as long as she can, so long as Annalise makes the same promise. As Annalise leaves, it appears Ophelia will be staying at home with Annalise’s father for now and Annalise tells him in no uncertain terms that he better keep her safe.
Who is Desmond?
On the plane to Memphis to see her family, Annalise meets a charming stranger named Desmond who shamelessly flirts with her. Despite enjoying his attention, Annalise keeps things casual and tells him that her name is Bonnie. Later, Annalise finds that Desmond left her a note with his phone number and she ends up going to his hotel for some much-needed distraction, aka sex. Alas, before they can get down to business, he gets a call from another woman, but Desmond says it was just his daughter. Still, the mood has been broken and Annalise leaves, but she does tell him her real name before heading out. (The actor who plays Desmond is actually Viola Davis’ real-life husband so that might explain the ease they have with one another on-screen.)
The Keating 4 Are…Okay?
Annalise isn’t the only one dealing with a difficult family situation. As the episode begins, Laurel is spending the day with her father, though she is clearly not happy about it. Laurel eventually tells her father that she wasn’t returning his calls because she found out she was pregnant, but she says she decided to have an abortion. She asks him not to tell her mother and he promises not to say anything. He then asks if she’s okay and Laurel says she’s fine. Laurel’s dad gets a random student to take a picture of them, and as if Laurel spending time with her dad isn’t suspicious enough, the music tells us that something is clearly amiss here.
I guess Michaela and Asher are officially living together now since we find them furniture shopping as the season begins. After Asher lets the salesman know that Michaela is taken, they both get messages from Annalise asking them to dinner. (The episode starts with Annalise sending said message to all the students, asking them to join her for dinner the next night as she fills out envelopes with each of their names.) Asher assumes she’s calling them together to share good news or because she misses them, but Michaela thinks she’s inviting them out to a nice restaurant so they don’t cause a scene when she informs them that something else has inevitably gone wrong.
Remember when Oliver spontaneously proposed to Connor in last season’s finale? Connor still hasn’t given him an answer and it’s been over a month since Oli proposed. Connor keeps listing all the same reasons why they shouldn’t tie the knot — mainly that it feels forced and hetero-normative — but Oliver is convinced that Connor really does want to marry him.
Frank takes Bonnie to see some fancy office space because even though Annalise still hates him, he knows Annalise is in need of new digs. Bonnie says Annalise won’t need office space if she doesn’t get her license back, but Frank knows Bonnie has that handled. Since Bonnie and Annalise don’t have the money, Frank even offers to use the suitcase money to purchase this new office space, but Bonnie says that isn’t the way to gain Annalise’s forgiveness. Frank thinks he just needs time to win Annalise back over to his side, but I think it’s going to take a lot more then that for Annalise to get past everything Frank has done.
Annalise is Back in Court
Annalise is also dealing with a crisis of a professional nature as she is facing a disbarment hearing after breaking her probation by getting drunk the night of the fire. Bonnie is ready to defend Annalise in court, but Annalise decides to admit to all the allegations against her. She says that she was drunk that night and she lost her home, but none of it matters because a young man lost his life. Annalise blames herself for Wes’ death and she says she’s been sober ever since. She knows the board has the right to take away her license, but she is begging them to show her mercy because she has lost everything else and her career is all she has left. The board is apparently swayed by her plea and her license is re-instated.
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The Last Supper
As the Keating 4 and Bonnie join Annalise for dinner, Connor makes Annalise cut to the chase of why she brought them all together. Annalise tells them that she won her hearing and can begin to practice again right away. Asher wants to celebrate with drinks all-around, but Laurel says she can’t because she’s pregnant. (Despite what she told her father earlier, she decided to keep the baby.) Laurel tells them she is due in five months. Annalise interrupts their excitement over Laurel’s announcement by telling her former students that she wrote them all recommendation letters because she is letting them go. Annalise says that since they don’t need each other anymore, they should all go their separate ways.
While the Keating 4 deal with that bombshell, Annalise says they she blames herself for Wes’ death. She knows that she ruined him, but she won’t ruin them, too. Laurel accepts Annalise’s rejection with ease and leaves. Michaela, on the other hand, tries to argue that she doesn’t want to be free of Annalise until their former professor fulfills her end of the bargain and helps them get through law school. Annalise says they are no good for each other and Michaela storms out. Asher, who thinks they should all stick together like the crime family they are, tells Annalise she shouldn’t have invited them to a fancy dinner just to dump them. Connor is the only one who seems okay with Annalise’s decision, quietly thanking her for the recommendation before he leaves.
Once the Keating 4 depart, Bonnie tells Annalise that one day, they will understand that Annalise is doing what’s best for them. Poor Bon-Bon. It turns out that Annalise is dumping her too, and her face upon getting Annalise’s recommendation/”break-up” letter is heartbreaking.
Where is the Baby?!
Bonnie and the students deal with Annalise’s rejection in varying ways. Michaela decides it’s time for her and Asher to go into “beast mode” and land awesome new internships to get their lives back on track. Bonnie heads to what appears to be a job interview with D.A. Denver, also known as the man who tried to frame Annalise for Wes’ murder. Connor is too busy thinking about his future with Oliver to be concerned with anything else. Connor finally admits to Oliver that he does want to get married and have a long life together, but he wants them to do it because they’re in a good place and not because Connor might go to jail or someone’s trying to kill them. Connor wants them to do this the right way and Oliver is pleased by Connor’s answer, even though it is technically a rejection.
After Laurel reads Annalise’s recommendation letter (Annalise gave them all glowing recommendations) she gets a text from her dad. Laurel starts to respond to said text by asking her father why he killed Wes (!), but she changes her mind and just says that she loves him. So Laurel apparently knows that her dad was behind Wes’ death, but we have yet to learn how she figured that out. We then see that Laurel has a bit of a baby bump. She also has a gun on her bedside table.
As the episode ends, we see Annalise meet up with a character played by Jimmy Smits. It turns out that he’s a therapist and her therapy is court-ordered. He lays out the rules and Annalise says she understands. She says she just wants to get better and he says just showing up is a good start.
The last scene of the episode is a flash-forward to three months later. Annalise’s therapist arrives at a hospital and Frank is waiting for him. Frank says “she” is still unconscious and they found drugs in her system. The “she” they are referring to turns out to be Laurel, not Annalise. When Laurel comes to, she looks at her now-flat stomach and immediately asks Frank where the baby is. Frank’s lack of an answer does not bode well, but we will have to find out more as the season continues.
What did you think of the premiere of How to Get Away with Murder season 4? How did Laurel find out that her father was behind Wes’ murder? Is she playing him so she can find proof of his guilt and nail him for the crime or does she actually want to kill him? Are you happy that Connor wants to marry Oliver, albeit not right now? Is something going on with Annalise’s almost-lover, Desmond? I doubt this show introduced him for no reason. Is Bonnie really teaming up with the enemy or is she taking a job with Denver so she can finally take him down for everything he put them through last season? And finally, what happened to Laurel’s baby?! Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
How to Get Away with Murder airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC. Want more news? Follow our HTGAWM Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of ABC)
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV