Annalise’s quest to be an actual good person continued this week. She took on a pro bono case for Jasmine, who was her prison cellmate in Season 3. Jasmine saved Annalise’s ass in prison and now she wants to return the favor. As her first case back, Annalise tries to get Jasmine’s gun charge overturned on the basis of an illegal stop-and-frisk. Of course, it’s much more complicated than that as Annalise learns later on.
But first, we find Annalise back in court-ordered therapy with Isaac Roa (Jimmy Smits). She discusses her first case with him but he thinks she’s only doing it to avoid talking about herself. Annalise isn’t really feeling his therapy style and I can’t say I blame her. It takes time to build trust with a therapist, court-ordered or not, and Isaac is putting a lot of pressure on Annalise to jump right in before she’s ready.
The now jobless Keating Four, complete with their atrocious GPAs and notoriety-by-association with Annalise, are preparing to apply for internships at the Middleton Law Fair. Ollie is helping Connor prep and predictably Connor isn’t taking it seriously. Laurel seems less preoccupied with interview prep than she is with Googling Antares Technologies (her psycho-dad’s company) to try to find some sort of evidence of fraud.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, Michaela is killing it. She’s totally prepared, although not as prepared as Laurel who actually did end up with a bunch of research on one of the firms: Caplan & Gold. This seems to be the most prestigious firm at the fair, so naturally Michaela wants in. Asher is sort of keeping it cool while dealing with his nervous sweat problem using diapers shoved in the armpits of his dress shirt.
Also lurking around is Awful Simon who never misses an opportunity to talk shit on the squad. He tells them the only reason any firm will even talk to them is because of morbid curiosity about Annalise. While this may be true, Simon is still the most annoying person on the show and I wish he would just go away.
The interviews go pretty much as expected. Michaela nails it, Laurel does pretty well, Asher fumbles through and sounds like an idiot, and Connor totally blows it. He can’t even answer the question of why he wants to be a lawyer (which is probably because he doesn’t actually want to be one).
In court, Annalise’s first hearing for Jasmine’s case isn’t going particularly well. She’s trying to get the case tossed because the police stop-and-frisk had no probable cause. While this is true, there’s more to the story than Jasmine had failed to tell Annalise. The prosecutor tells Annalise to watch the body cam footage of the arrest and then she’ll realize that he’s being generous with Jasmine. Turns out, Jasmine tried to solicit the officers so they would let her go—something that carries some serious additional charges.
When Annalise confronts Jasmine with the recording, she snaps back at Annalise that she’s only taking on her case to feel good about herself and that she can’t actually help her. Jasmine tells Annalise that she was a victim of sex trafficking at the age of 13 when her father essentially sold her for drugs. She was gang raped and forced into sex work as a minor, and she turned to drugs to numb herself. This cycle, which started when she was underage, continued for her entire life, which she has spent in and out of prison.
We cut to Annalise’s therapy session, which is the same session throughout the entire episode. She tells Isaac more of the details of the case and his response is to force her to fill out a life-trauma checklist. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a piece of paper listing various traumatic experiences. Annalise is supposed to just check the boxes—and we all know that she’s got a lot of boxes to check. It’s the most horribly impersonal thing I’ve ever seen and Annalise isn’t really having it. Isaac’s response is that, by criticizing his approach, she’s really deflecting, which is typical behavior in patients with alcoholism. While that may be true, he takes things too far when he threatens to tell the court that she’s not participating in the therapy to his satisfaction.
Bonnie is settling in to her new job at the DA’s office, which we find out later she got by bribing Denver. She asks Nate, who has been promoted to lead investigator, for some help tracking down a witness but Nate refuses because he thinks Bonnie is a mole for Annalise. Later, when he runs in to Annalise trying (and failing) to get Jasmine’s misdemeanor records from an unhelpful clerk, he helps her out and she tells him that she fired Bonnie and only just discovered that she’s working at the DA’s office.
In going through Jasmine’s old files, which start with her arrest at the age of 18, she soon realizes that there’s something missing. When she asks Jasmine when her first arrest was, she learns that it was at age 13 and that the juvenile record is probably sealed. She goes to Bonnie to ask her to get Jasmine’s sealed file and that goes about as well as one would expect. Bonnie isn’t about to help Annalise but seeing her drives her to drink. She gets hammered and calls Frank to tell him what happened.
Frank is being his usual sketchy self and lurking outside Laurel’s apartment—actually, it’s Wes’s apartment, which I still find a bit creepy—but he decides it’s more important to help Annalise than to secretly stalk Laurel. He manages to get his hands on the sealed file and brings it to Annalise at her hotel apartment. Annalise still doesn’t want anything to do with Frank but she does take the file. Frank tells her that, whether she wants him to be or not, he will always be there for her and try to help her. Frank’s intentions with Annalise are good but he just can’t manage to do or say anything without coming off like a total psycho.
Meanwhile, the Keating Four have heard back about their interviews and Michaela is the big winner with five callbacks. By some miracle, Asher got three. Connor and Laurel both say they got zero, which is not a surprise for Connor because he totally tanked. It seems a bit strange that Laurel got nothing, since she interviewed fairly well, but as we soon learn, she is lying. Ollie has decided that he’s going to start his own IT company complete with the absolutely atrocious name, “Control Oli Delete.” Sure, Ollie can be cheesy sometimes, but this is pretty extra even for him.
Michaela and Asher are invited to an interview/cocktail party at Caplan & Gold. Awful Simon has also gotten a callback and he uses the party as an opportunity to get in Asher’s head, and because Simon is The Absolute Worst, he decides to use Asher’s father’s suicide as a way to get him to break. Michaela, who is across the room working her magic, sees this going down and breaks it up. She sends Asher to the bathroom to get himself together and tells Simon she’ll cut off his balls if he fucks with Asher again. Have I mentioned how much I love Michaela? Because I love Michaela.
Connor finds out that Laurel was lying about the callbacks when he tries to talk his way into an interview with a social justice firm. He goes to find her at her apartment but soon discovers that she’s living at Wes’s. He goes to Laurel and tells her that he wants to help her find out what happened to Wes, admitting how guilty he feels and how he hates himself for his lies about his involvement in the situation surrounding Wes’s death. He doesn’t know that Laurel is a thousand steps ahead of him when it comes to what happened to Wes. Laurel tells him he needs to forgive himself for what happened.
Back in court, Annalise is in classic form—only this time she hasn’t done anything super shady to win. She does this one by the book, calling the judge who prosecuted the thirteen-year old Jasmine. She rips into him for prosecuting a minor for prostitution instead of treating her like the victim she was. She also presents as evidence a series of nearly identical juvenile cases but with one important difference: the rest of the girls were white. The judge gave them rehabilitation instead of just sealing the file as he did with Jasmine. The white victims were given a chance to start over but Jasmine was forced back out on the street. Annalise’s request that all Jasmine’s previous convictions be vacated isn’t granted but the judge does acknowledge that the court did wrong by Jasmine as a child and orders all the prior convictions sealed so that Jasmine can try to start over with access to government assistance and the ability to apply for jobs without having to disclose her criminal record.
Speaking of jobs, Awful Simon got one at Caplan & Gould, but so did Michaela. None of the rest of the squad got anything, which is no big surprise. What is surprising is that Laurel pulls Michaela aside and tells her that Caplan & Gould is the firm her father uses. She straight up tells Michaela that her dad killed Wes and she needs her on the inside to help her take him down. I have to say, this level of honesty is refreshing in this group. Michaela is pretty ride or die for Laurel, too, so I think she’ll help her even though it might screw with her career prospects.
Back in Annalise’s therapy session, she tells Isaac that she wanted to talk about the case because it was her first case back and she won it. Because of Annalise’s history of sexual abuse, Isaac thinks that she relates to Jasmine and that’s why she wants to talk about it. This infuriates Annalise, who tells Isaac that she is nothing like Jasmine because she had support from her mother and from teachers who all told her that she was smart and could make something of herself. Jasmine never had that kind of support and Annalise thinks that Jasmine going to end up back in jail pretty soon. It’s harsh but not outside the realm of possibility. Annalise claims it’s because people don’t change, and this triggers a personal response from Isaac, who tells her that he used to be a heroin addict. Annalise tells him that she’d rather not know about that. Her history with getting too personal with a therapist led to her marriage to Sam, and we all know how that turned out.
But it would seem that Annalise and Isaac do end up getting personally involved in some way because the episode ends with another flash-forward to the hospital. Laurel is still asking after her baby as Frank comforts her. For some as-yet-undisclosed reason, Isaac is there, and he makes a phone call to Annalise. She doesn’t pick up and he leaves a voicemail saying, “She’s awake.” It’s all very mysterious, and we can add more to the mystery after the final scene of this week: Annalise is missing and her hotel apartment is a crime scene, complete with an elevator covered in blood.
My gut instinct is that the blood is Laurel’s from a miscarriage but who knows. It’s too early in the season to even speculate and we will be thrown a million curve balls in between now and the time that the mystery is solved. I am curious as to exactly how personal Annalise and Isaac got. Why is he there? What does he have to do with any of this? Since I kind of don’t care at all about Laurel’s baby, these are the questions that will carry me through the season.