This episode gave me the quality Annalise/Isaac content I’ve been begging for all season, but it didn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped. The episode opens with Isaac in his car after Laurel’s trial. He tries to fight it but he can’t resist going to score. Apparently Isaac gets his fix via a food truck that sells “K-Pex” (opioid) pills on the side. He takes his stash home, crushes it up, and after some agonizing, snorts it. He’s where we saw him last week—high as shit in his chair while Annalise calls to him from outside—having flashbacks of the night of Stella’s death. We get a little glimpse of the event but the full picture comes later on.
Frank is working out of some creepy warehouse, trying to figure out WTF is up with Laurel’s mom. Bonnie goes to see him and he gives her some sort of device that can tell if someone cut her brakes. I would say she’s being paranoid but Denver and Mr. Castillo are both capable of some real nasty stuff so that device may actually come in handy.
The Squad is at Michaela and Asher’s place, hard at work on the class action, except for Asher who has apparently taken up baking as a hobby while everyone else tries to help people. Not that baked goods don’t help people in their own way, but Asher seems pretty checked out on the whole thing. It made for a funny gag, but it seemed a little OOC for Asher who, while not the smartest tool in the shed, is actually a goodhearted person who cares about others.
Meanwhile, Annalise goes to Isaac’s place to assure him that she and Bonnie are not going to let his case go to trial. Isaac admits to Annalise that he relapsed the night before after having been sober for 23 years. Annalise feels for him and tells him they should go to a meeting. After the meeting, they have a very cute—dare I say flirty?—breakfast at a diner and now I’m thinking: Good Lord It’s Happening.
Isaac tells Annalise the story of how he became an addict. He was living in New York and wanted to be some sort of musician or rock star or something and was experimenting with drugs. Heroin was the one that stuck and he ended up basically homeless. One day he was in line at a bodega and met Jacqueline and decided he wanted a different life. She cleaned him up and helped him and all was fine and dandy until Stella.
Back at the D.A.’s office, Bonnie goes to see the prosecutor assigned to Isaac’s case and fakes a whole flirty buy-me-a-drink thing to get him to let her look at the files. She tells him she wants to help him figure out how to charge Isaac and he gives her the files. It seemed a little too easy, but more on that later.
The Squad (although it’s basically just Connor and Michaela) is still working on the class action and Connor and Michaela have very different ideas about how they should approach Annalise’s opening statement. Connor wants to take a more emotional approach but using Nate Sr.’s story while Michaela wants to take a more rational approach. Oliver gets a call from Frank for some hacking advice on an international phone. Laurel overhears the conversation and assumes it’s about Dominic’s phone but we know it’s about her mom. She gets on the phone with Frank and pleads with him to just stop because if her father finds out he will use it to never allow her to see her son. Frank promises her he’ll stop and I ALMOST believe him.
Annalise and Nate go visit Nate Sr. in prison to prep him for trial. He tells his story, which begins with getting busted for stealing to feed his family. Once he was out on parole, he got a massive bill for court fees which he had absolutely no way of paying since (as a convicted felon) he couldn’t even get a job. He ended up back in prison, where he was a target for other prisoners because he was a former boxer. They all wanted to take him on. One day, after he had been in solitary for a year—though it fucked with his head so much Nate Sr. thought it was only a month—another prisoner came at him and threw the first punch. Nate Sr. fought back and ended up killing the guy.
After all Connor and Michaela’s hard work (and arguing) Annalise has decided to reject both of their approaches and just wing it. If it was anyone else but Annalise I would say this is a terrible idea but I trust her to get it done. She never gets the chance, though, because just as the trial is beginning, Annalise is interrupted with the news that the attorney general has decided the case is going to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. This means that Annalise has to submit a written brief and there will be no opportunity for testimony. Annalise knows she’s screwed without the ability to present her case in court, which was the whole point of them moving the case to the state supreme court.
Annalise and Isaac have another diner meal and Annalise tells him about the case. As they are wrapping up, Jacqueline calls Isaac. It is the three-year anniversary of Stella’s death and Annalise tells him that he should talk to her. She tells hi that while she doesn’t always miss Sam, at the times she is reminded of their shared trauma over their lost child, Sam is the only one she wants to talk to.
Nate goes back to prison to see his father and update him on the status of the case. Nate Sr. is (understandably) not very trusting and he thinks that Nate and Annalise are lying to him. Nate tells him that he’s got his back but Nate Sr. basically tells him he’s over it and that he doesn’t want to see him again.
The Connor v. Michaela legal showdown continues as they argue over how to approach Annalise’s brief. Connor accuses Michaela of trying to take the credit for all his work so she can get her name on something that’s going to the Supreme Court. She claps back at him and calls him Annalise’s secretary and tells him to go back to law school if he cares so much. They are interrupted with some actual good news: the judge is going to let Laurel meet her baby.
Frank has successfully gotten into Laurel’s mom’s phone and discovered that she’s called Mr. Castillo every day that week. He’s convinced that they are working together to screw Laurel, although he doesn’t know why. He goes to her place and tells her that he knows that it was his fault that she had the baby prematurely and wants to make it up to her by being there for her and protecting her from her father. He asks to go with her when she visits her baby so that he can keep an eye on her dad and she can just enjoy the experience of meeting her son. We know he also wants to keep tabs on Laurel’s mom but I think a lot of this is actually sincere because it’s Frank and he’d literally die for Laurel.
Bonnie goes to see Annalise—and can I just say I am so happy that they’ve worked their shit out (or at least started to). Bonnie tells Annalise that there isn’t enough evidence to charge Isaac but when Annalise looks at the file, she sees that Stella died from the same drug that Isaac uses. Uh-oh.
When she goes to confront Isaac he finally admits the truth of what happened that night. He came home and found that Stella had taken all of his K-Pex pills. He has been lying about being sober for 23 years. Not wanting Jacqueline to find out he was using again, he flushed the pills and faked a goodbye text from Stella. Annalise pledges to help him anyway and tells Bonnie she has to get the case thrown out because they both owe it to Isaac for helping them.
Laurel goes to see her son with Frank and finds that only her mother is there. Mr. Castillo is (thankfully) absent. Mrs. Castillo is clearly not very fond of Frank and doesn’t want him around. This is likely some sort of maternal intuition that enables her to see that Frank is a total psycho, albeit one that loves her daughter. Laurel finally gets to meet her son and it’s all very emotional. Laurel decides to name the baby Christopher in honor of Wes/Christophe.
They take a picture with her and the baby and send it to Annalise. It puts a big smile on her face to see them finally together, but that is short-lived because she’s currently in Harrisburg at the courthouse, waiting for the Supreme Court judges to give their ruling. Isaac texts her a picture of their usual diner breakfast with a wish-you-were-here text and I’m thinking Yes Yes YES, but instead of calling Isaac she calls Nate.
Meanwhile, Bonnie’s weak-ass attempts at flirting with the prosecutor in Isaac’s case actually backfired because it just tipped him off that she’s still working with Annalise. He tells her that he probably wouldn’t have done anything with the case but now he’s going to charge Isaac with death by delivery or maybe even second-degree murder. Bonnie flips out and has a minor meltdown in her office.
She pulls it together and goes to Denver with the recording she’d made of him discussing Antares. She tells him that if anything happens to her, the recordings will be leaked to the press and that if he doesn’t drop the case against Isaac she’ll ruin him. It’s a pretty ballsy move but it’s the only thing she’s got at this point and it actually works.
Annalise gets word that they’ve lost the case and tells Nate but she gets some good news from Bonnie about Isaac’s case. When she goes to tell Isaac the good news they come SO FRIGGIN CLOSE to making out but Annalise realizes that he’s high and all my dreams are dashed.
Well, sort of. I did enjoy (in an incredibly masochistic way) the screaming argument they have after the almost-kiss. Isaac calls her a narcissist and basically blames her for ruining his life, which is unfair but not entirely untrue. Annalise screams at him that it’s not on her and that he made his own choices. They scream at each other that they’re no good for one another, which is exactly WHY I would like them to be with one another, but things end very badly. Isaac gets legit scary and Annalise calls Jacqueline and tells her that Isaac has relapsed and to “ask him about Stella.”
I think my Annalise/Isaac dreams have been solidly dashed, but I never gave up on Flaurel and I will not let this dream die either.
Nate goes to see his father, despite the fact that he specifically said he didn’t want to see him again. He tells Nate Sr. that they lost the case but that he’s going to continue to come to visit him whether he likes it or not. Nate Sr. can’t believe that Nate doesn’t hate him but Nate tells him that they’re all good now.
Annalise is packing up all the files for the class action, including the photos of the people she was trying to help. Basically, Annalise is having the worst day ever, and I thought with all the relapsing going around that she was going to have a bit of a moment thinking about hitting that vodka bottle but she stayed solid all the way through and I am super proud of her.
The Squad gets the news that they lost the case. Unlike the others, Michaela isn’t ready to give up because she’s Michaela and that’s not what she does so she storms out of the apartment on a mission. Connor has decided to go back to law school and is planning to catch up over the summer. He also drops a bomb out of nowhere that he’s going to be planning a wedding, which is news to Oliver because Connor had called off their wedding. So I guess they are engaged again? Yay? Their relationship is so fucked up I don’t even know whether to be happy about this but everyone else is super stoked and they deserve a bit of good news so ok, fine. Yay Colliver.
Frank has given up on his stealth mission against Laurel’s mom so he goes to see her with the photo of her and Wes meeting and straight-up asks her how they know each other. There’s something to be said for the direct approach but we don’t get an answer to this just yet.
Michaela is still on her mission to get the case to the Supreme Court and she goes to Annalise with an idea: they need someone with power and influence to help them, and that person is… Olivia Pope.
Yes, that’s right, the Scandal/HTGAWM crossover episode is happening, people. This is not a drill. The episode ends with Annalise going to a lecture hall very similar to the one she used to have. Someone is writing on the board, just like she did in the very first episode. But this time it’s “How To Get Away With A Scandal,” and the author is Olivia.
We’re on an Olympics hiatus for a few weeks but How To Get Away With Murder returns on March 1 with the crossover episode we’ve all been waiting for.