One the winter finale of HTGAWM, we finally learn who is #underthesheet.
It’s the day of the midterm and the exam consists of a one-minute oral defense in which members of the class have to defend infamous serial killer Ted Bundy and get his death sentence overturned. Laurel, Michaela, and Asher all present defenses that could easily also apply to everyone’s favorite sociopath: Frank Delfino.
Intercut with this are scenes from where we left Frank with a gun to his head at Annalise’s. She’s still trying to convince Frank to kill himself while Bonnie tries to stop it. Bonnie appeals to Frank’s love for her and the special bond they share, and he eventually gives up the gun to her. Annalise tells him he should have done it and walks away.
For the first time in history, everyone has passed Professor Keating’s midterm exam. There’s lots of celebration among the class, and a special treat for those Laurel x Michaela shippers out there…
Annalise brings them a case of expensive champagne and tells them to enjoy. Wes follows her out and she tells him that Frank is gone, but not dead.
Michaela is getting herself nice and drunk to celebrate when Asher tells her that her mom is on the way to her place. She tricked Asher into giving her Michaela’s address when he spoke to her on the phone. A major buzzkill for Michaela who was just trying to get crunk and celebrate her 96%.
Outside the party, Wes tells Laurel that Frank is gone. She doesn’t entirely believe Annalise’s claim that he’s not dead and Wes kind of really hopes that he is dead, at which point Laurel decides to tell him that Frank knows that the two of them are together. Wes is pretty pissed that she lied to him about it even though she was just trying to keep him focused before he had to testify.
Annalise is getting her hair done again and having an informal therapy session at the salon. She’s going through the rough stages trying to stay sober and everyone’s favorite guest star, Miss Mary J. Blige, is providing her with some much-needed support. She’s been there herself and she wants to help Annalise in any way she can. She is, by far, my favorite new character on HTGAWM and I hope we see more of her. When Annalise is on her way out, she thanks her for referring her “friend,” who turns out to be anything but. It’s ADA Atwood and, in the words of Mary J., she’s going all Single Black Female to investigate Annalise.
Annalise goes to Atwood’s office and calls her out on stalking her. Atwood denies that she’s investigating Annalise but she’s obviously lying and it looks like Annalise might be screwed because Atwood seems hell bent on destroying her in every way she can.
Annalise waits in the parking lot for Nate and confronts him. She tells him he only got the job because of the investigation and he doesn’t take too kindly to her calling him a bitch again. He is totally and completely done with her shit and, honestly, I can’t blame him. After the fight wit Annalise, Nate goes to Atwood’s office and calls her out on the investigation. She insists there is no investigation and that their relationship (and his new job) have absolutely nothing to do with her obvious vendetta against Annalise Keating but Nate knows she’s full of it so he breaks it off with her. After her fight with Nate, Annalise falls off the wagon hard.
Back at the midterm party, Wes is still pissed at Laurel for lying to him about Frank. Wes accuses Laurel of only being with him because she wants to fix him. He drags her mentally ill mother into the fight and Laurel fights back, accusing him of being the one who needs to be the fixer. Case in point: Rebecca. Laurel storms off and Wes gets a call from his lawyer telling him he needs to go come to the police station. At the same time Atwood is on the phone with the detective, telling her to “land him.”
Annalise is working her way through a bottle of vodka and starts burning all the evidence of her past crimes, including the Mahoney files and Rebecca’s file. She smashes her laptop with the trophy that killed Sam and then lays down on the floor. We hear snippets from old episodes, including the iconic “Why is your penis on a dead girl’s phone?” line, which made me laugh at what is otherwise a pretty intense moment. She gets up and leaves the house in a hurry, accidentally leaving the door open behind her. She shows up wasted at Bonnie’s, with a fresh bottle of booze, and tells her she’s being investigated and they are probably all screwed.
At the midterm party, Oliver confronts Connor about being drunk when he has a substance abuse problem and Connor tells him he was lying about being high and that it was actually because he was traumatized. Oliver asks by what and Connor slurs, “Like you don’t already know,” which is probably the worst possible thing he could have said to Oliver who is already overly curious about all the shady stuff that goes on with the Keating 5.
Michaela’s mom arrives and (after briefly lying about having cancer) tells her that she’s left her husband and needs a place to stay. Michaela tells her that she should just go back to him because she has no idea how to take care of herself, or if not then have one of her other kids take care of her because she’s not going to do it. Her mom tries to appeal to her on the grounds that Michaela owes her for saving her as a child but Michaela snaps back that everything she has, she earned for herself. Her mom calls her an “ungrateful little ho” right before the squad rolls in. Laurel and Connor come in drunk and ready to meet Momma Pratt and Michaela looks like she wants to murder literally everyone, especially Asher (even though he’d tried to stop them).
Bonnie is taking care of drunk Annalise and trying to figure out what their next move is re: the investigation. Annalise tells her she burned all the files and then asks her if she slept with Frank. Bonnie says it didn’t mean anything but it’s an obvious lie and they both know it. Eventually Bonnie puts Annalise to bed. Annalise doesn’t want to be left alone and kisses Bonnie—the culmination of three season’s worth of bizarre and unexplained sexual tension between them.
Back at Michaela’s, the squad is getting drunk with her mom, except Asher who knows he’s in the dog house big time. Connor explains Humpr to Mrs. Pratt and Laurel sees that he’s matched with Thomas, who Connor is meeting up with later. Michaela and her mom start fighting again and Asher drags Laurel and Connor out so the Pratt women can be alone.
Wes is at the police station with his lawyer and the detectives are asking him about Annalise, not the Mahoney case. They want Wes to cooperate in their investigation of Annalise and they shock him with the news that they discovered Rebecca’s body, which would explain why he might be inclined to rat out Annalise. This is part of the same scene we saw before—the one that ostensibly proved that Wes wasn’t dead. Now that we’ve got a somewhat better grasp on the timeline of events and when this interview is taking place, we know that it is happening hours before the fire. Wes is no longer in the clear. Uh oh.
Meanwhile, Nate knows that Wes is in the interrogation room and he’s lurking around trying to figure out what Atwood and the cops are up to. He tries to get some info on the Keating investigation from the female officer but she doesn’t give him anything.
Annalise wakes up from her drunken stupor and calls out for Bonnie but she’s not there. She is with Frank, telling him about the investigation, and trying to get him to take the fall for Annalise and save everyone. Annalise calls Wes but he doesn’t pick up. She leaves a message telling him to come to the house.
Oliver is doing some basic Internet sleuthing and it takes him approximately three seconds to put together that the night of Connor’s trauma—the night of the bonfire—was the same night that Sam disappeared. Annalise calls Oliver and tells him that she’s coming to see him at the clinic and to stay put. Then she calls Laurel and tells her to get the rest of the K5 to the house but Asher is too drunk, Connor is off hooking up with Thomas, Michaela is with her mom, and Wes is (unbeknownst to anyone) at the police station. When Annalise meets Oliver at the clinic she tells him they are all in trouble and she needs him to hack the DA’s office to find out what they know.
Nate shows up at Annalise’s and finds the door open. He goes inside and finds the drunken mess Annalise left behind downstairs by the fireplace. Then he goes upstairs to look for her. Cut to Laurel showing up at the house, still trying to get in contact with Wes. She walks in and calls out a few times for Annalise and then the bottom floor of the house goes BOOM and erupts into flames.
Now we’re back to the present timeline and we see many of the pieces we’ve already seen in the flash forwards throughout the season. There’s some new ones, too. We see Frank call Bonnie from the scene of the fire, which confirms he’s not #underthesheet, and Bonnie tells him that Laurel is pregnant. The medical examiner is starting the autopsy and we learn that the deceased is a black male, and now it’s really looking like Nate is dead but then he walks in, very much alive, and we finally learn that the body under the sheet is Wes.
At the hospital, Bonnie tells Michaela, Asher, Connor, and Oliver that Wes is dead. Everyone loses it except for Connor, who looks completely numb. In Laurel’s hospital room, she and Meggy get the news of Wes’s death on TV. I still don’t ship Waurel but this is pretty gut-wrenching stuff.
It’s 3AM in the morgue and Nate is asking after the cause of death, then we flashback a few hours and get a better idea of the timeline of events. There are a lot hours between when Wes is at the police station, when Nate goes to the house, when Laurel gets to the house, and when the fire starts, and presumably the second half of the season will explore those hours.
What we do know is that at around 4:30, Wes is still alive and well, getting his immunity deal. It’s the same scene that many (including myself) thought proved Wes was still alive, but now we see that after the detectives leave Wes checks his messages and gets the one from Annalise telling him to come to the house. He sneaks out of the interrogation room and passes Nate on his way out the door. The episode ends with Nate visiting Annalise’s cell to tell her that the fire didn’t kill Wes; according to the coroner, he was already dead.
Leave it to HTGAWM to double-plot-twist us in the winter finale. I shouldn’t be surprised and yet the show always manages to surprise me anyway. As painful as it will be, we’re gonna have to wait until the second half of the season to find out #WhoKilledWes. See you all in 2017!