This episode pops back and forth between Laurel’s custody case and the class action, with special focus on the incarcerated Nate Lahey, who it turns out is our Nate’s dad. Asher and Connor call Annalise to tell her about the whole Nate’s dad thing, but she’s focusing on the fact that Laurel’s mom is now in the picture. Annalise doesn’t think it’s a good idea to involve Mommy in the case but Laurel insists that her mother will be able to help.
Laurel gets ready for the hearing at Michaela’s place, choosing a pink outfit that is not at all flattering but will probably make her look like mommy-material to the judge. Michaela wants to figure out what the deal is with Wes and Dominic (and so do I, tbh) but Laurel has got enough on her plate with the custody thing and tells Michaela that she can’t deal with questioning Wes’s character at the moment. Fair enough.
Bonnie is on the case, though. In the process of trying to locate Wes’s phone in police evidence, Bonnie notices that her computer is doing something weird and calls Oliver, who confirms that it’s probably being mirrored and that she’s under surveillance. After last week, it’s safe to assume that it’s Denver and Mr. Castillo who are watching her. What they don’t know is whether it’s just Bonnie or whether the entire squad is under surveillance, which would be very, very bad because they are always doing sketchy things.
Taking a break from the custody case, Annalise goes to see Nate to ask him about his father’s case file and he admits that he sent the file to her. We learn that Nate Lahey the Elder has been in prison since Nate was a child and he hasn’t seen his father since he was 15. They are no longer in contact because Nate the Elder was convicted of beating another inmate to death after he’d been inside for some non-violent crimes—drug charges and parole violations and the like.
He has been in solitary confinement for two years when Annalise and Nate go to see him and he seems like he’s in rough shape, which will happen to a person held in solitary for a long period of time. Nate the Elder is not happy to see his son, who he calls a “pig” and “the white man’s bitch” because of his former career with the police. Nate doesn’t seem all that surprised but he’s still upset to see the state his father is in.
Back at the courthouse, Laurel confronts her father in the hallway right before going into the courtroom and he tells her she can have her son if she just gives him what he wants. Laurel straight up tells him that she doesn’t have the hard drive and her father tells her that he didn’t kill Wes. It’s kind of an inappropriate convo to have in a courthouse, and I don’t know if I believe Mr. Castillo, but it would be an interesting plot twist if he actually didn’t do it. He’s still a Very Bad Man, though.
Laurel takes the stand and testifies that she did not use cocaine during her pregnancy. Annalise presents evidence of clean blood tests from throughout her pregnancy and also notes that the hospital had several cases of false positive results. During cross-examination by her dad’s smarmy lawyer, we learn that Laurel was institutionalized for an eating disorder when she was a teenager and that she had used cocaine a few times in order to suppress her appetite. Then he tries to slut-shame her but Annalise and the judge are not having any of that. Then smarmy lawyer goes even further and accuses Laurel of wanting to kill her baby because its father was a sociopath and a murderer. Yikes.
Meanwhile, Oliver is still feeling hella guilty about what happened to Simon and is crowdfunding to help Simon’s parents come over from Pakistan to see their son. They will need about $15K in lawyer fees to get their visas sorted and Oliver has decided that it’s a great idea to get involved in that. Connor tries to gently explain to Oliver that he’s looking guilty as hell and needs to just stop when it comes to Simon. Connor tells Oliver that his heart will absolutely break if Oliver ends up in jail, which I hope will finally convince Oliver to keep his distance from Simon. Also, I still think Simon was/is an asshole and is not worth all this anguish Oliver is feeling.
Laurel’s mom has disappeared before she’s supposed to take the stand but it turns out she’s just getting some air outside. Annalise tells her that she doesn’t need to testify but Laurel’s mother insists that she can do it. The whole “Laurel’s mom is crazy and unfit because she has bipolar disorder” undercurrent that runs throughout this episode is kind of gross, tbh. They hide it behind the fact that she’ll be discredited on the stand by the opposing counsel, and while that is probably true, Annalise & Co. still look at Laurel’s mom like she’s crazy because of her past. It left a bad taste in my mouth.
Do better, HTGAWM.
Laurel’s mom finally takes the stand and she’s totally fine and together. She talks about her past when Laurel was a child and she was very ill and, instead of it being used against Laurel, it actually looks good for her because she was a mother to her own mother when she couldn’t take care of herself. Mr. Castillo’s lawyer chooses not to cross-examine Mrs. Castillo, which is our first clue that something fishy is going on. Turns out he’s got another target: Isaac Roa.
Isaac takes the stand and testifies to Laurel’s competence and the smarmy lawyer absolutely tears him to shreds about his history of addiction and his daughter’s suicide. In fact, they’ve actually managed to get his daughter’s case reopened as a homicide investigation, with Isaac as the prime suspect. This is obviously Denver’s work, but—as Bonnie later tells Annalise—there is some evidence against Isaac that looks legit. Either way, Isaac’s testimony is thrown out and Laurel loses the custody case because she doesn’t have a proper psych evaluation. Later, when Annalise goes to see Isaac to apologize for dragging him into her mess, he doesn’t answer and we see a shot of him looking drugged out in his chair. When I asked for a toxic relationship between Isaac and Annalise, THIS IS NOT WHAT I MEANT.
Back on the class action front, Annalise tells Nate that she wants to make his father the face case because he was never given a psych evaluation or the opportunity to make an insanity plea after his solitary confinement. She gets Nate to go back to see him and talk him into joining the class action, which he does. There is a nice/sad moment between Nate and his father where Nate tries to explain to him tat the system has broken him down and made him ill and that he can help people if he agrees to join the case. He ends up signing and when Nate goes to give the paperwork to Annalise, they end up making out. Apparently, Nate is back on that Annalise crack. She tells him it’s a bad idea (and good on Annalise for having the willpower to do it because Nate, as always, looks fine) and he leaves.
Laurel is devastated by the outcome of the case and she’s at her/Wes’s apartment with her mother, who is comforting her. Laurel is starting to have doubts about the whole thing but her mother assures her that that is exactly what her father wants. She tells Laurel that “Wes will be back soon,” which is a very weird way to phrase the fact that they’ll get the baby back but okay. Meanwhile, Michaela returns to her place to find Connor, Oliver, and Asher getting drunk and dancing. They are having a little party to celebrate that Nate the Elder has agreed to be the face case but Michaela tells them that Laurel lost the custody hearing and everyone immediately feels like a huge asshole. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t have found out sooner but I will accept any excuse for Michaela to put those fools in their place.
We see Nate the Elder in his jail cell, freaking out about something, and it’s clear that he is very unwell. He tears his cell apart looking for something and when he finds it, it is a picture of him and Nate as a child. He looks at it and starts to cry and now I’m 100% sure that this Nate/Nate story line is going to be heartbreaking.
Bonnie and Frank have another parking garage meet up and Bonnie lets Frank know that she went through Wes’s phone and found out some interesting info. He only called Dominic that one time, but he entered an address into his phone the day before he died. When Bonnie checked the security footage around the location, she discovered that Wes met with Laurel’s mom.
Could Laurel’s mom be working with her father? What is her relationship to Wes? What is anyone’s relationship to Wes at this point? As usual, HTGAWM provides us with more questions and no answers.
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