I guess it was inevitable that no episode could live up to last week’s superb outing. But this was a particularly odd one, especially for a season finale. Part of it has to do with the fact that Annalise spends most of the episode visiting another show called “Anna Mae’s Family” co-starring Cicely Tyson.
Look, ordinarily I’d be into this sort of deep dive into a character’s background and getting to see different sides to Annalise. But it seems like a strange choice given there are about 827 lingering questions going on right now with other storylines. As a result, the pacing of the whole episode is off, and we get a huge exposition dump in the last 15 minutes in which two major mysteries are hastily resolved.
Still, there are some wonderful moments in those family scenes — particularly when Annalise’s mother, after repeatedly sticking her foot in her mouth about her daughter’s lack of children, then helps her get some emotional closure over losing her baby. Plus we learn that a young Annalise had a thing for Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston! How adorable is that?
Meanwhile, the rest of the gang spend most of the episode in their own limbo, holed up in Annalise’s house and pairing off for intimate conversations where they express their worries and frustrations. Frank, Bonnie and Laurel, for example, are all convinced Annalise took off because drunk Laurel drunkenly revealed Frank killed Lila — and they’re all scared of what she’s going to do with that info when she gets back.
Connor and Oliver have a small but important coupling moment of their own. Since Connor wants to move to California and Oliver doesn’t, Connor’s solution is for them to have sex and whichever one of them “arrives” first loses. Of course this means they both also win but that’s besides the point.
The real point is that moments before this, we saw Oliver call Stanford pretending to be Connor and turn down their acceptance to law school before Connor could even be aware of it. Ugh. I don’t even know where to start with this. Leaving aside the notion that you can just call up a law school and turn down their offer by phone, or that Oliver would be so dumb as to think he’d be able to keep Connor in the dark about this, leaving all that aside, why is Oliver even doing this?
I get that we’re supposed to think he’s so addicted to the danger of working for Annalise that he wants to stick around. But really? Wouldn’t he want his boyfriend going to the top law school in the nation rather than the obviously crappy one he’s in now? Plus it’s California! That means shirtless Connor 24/7 year round! I just want to jump into my TV and knock some sense into him!
But getting to the bigger plot resolutions … Detective Downtown gives the gang a heads up that the A.D.A. is looking to arrest Annalise. Against Connor’s wishes, Oliver hacks the police database and they realize someone is ratting them out to the police. They all briefly think one of them is the rat, suspiciously giving each other the side-eye.
Then Oliver hacks some police surveillance footage (!) and they see that the rat is … Murder Brother! Who is not dead or missing but working with the police behind their backs. They manage to get this information to Annalise at her mother’s house and she comes back home.
Annalise smirks and says that’s rich because their whole case rests on the word of a psycho. Whaaaaa???? It turns out that Annalise — and the show — have been holding out on some crucial information.
Okay, that doesn’t explain why Murder Cousin was in Wes’s apartment and decided to grab Annalise rather than calmly talk to her, but still! This is big news!
Plus Murder Cousin has proof! Murder Brother, in the dumbest move any criminal ever made ever, was wearing a fitbit at the time of the murder. I swear I’m not making this up. So it tracked his movements and placed him at the scene of the murder. The lesson being that no good ever came from being fit.
What’s more, Murder Cousin persuades Murder Sister to come clean. In jail, she reveals to Detective Downtown that on most nights the Murder Siblings went to bed together to “cuddle” (oh my lord!). But on the night their parents were killed, he wasn’t there.
News of these developments soon hits the airwaves, and Murder Brother commits suicide. Congratulations Michaela — your terrible taste in boyfriends has hit a new low.
Much more compelling, though, is the episode’s other major revelation — all about Frank.
Anyway, this woman’s idea of pillow talk is to open up a suitcase full of money and ask Frank if he wants a life or, quote, “Do you want to be Annalise Keating’s little bitch?” Whatever this woman then asks him to do is enough to send Frank into a moral quandary only resolved by naked calisthenics. So we can thank her for that!
Somewhere mid-shirtless-pushups, he decides to take the loot. All he needs to do in exchange is place a teeny, tiny bug in Annalise’s hotel room. No harm done, right? Wrong. Because this is how Hedge Fund Daddy discovers that Annalise is planning to go to the police to rat him out for pressuring Rose to lie on the stand.
Hedge Fund Daddy orders his hottie minion to “take care of this,” which leads to the car crash that takes Annalise out on her way to the police and kills the baby — not a random drive by but a deliberate act against her. (You have to wonder which Hedge Fund employee got that little assignment — “Um, on your way to work today, we need you to make a quick stop … into the driver’s side of a Honda rental car driven by a stunning pregnant woman in cornrows. Wear a seatbelt.”)
At the hospital, Frank is devastated to learn from Sam that they lost the baby. In a dumb move to rival Murder Brother’s fitbit, Frank confesses to Sam what he did and says he wants to tell Annalise. But Sam thinks that learning their loss is partly due to the case Annalise was working would ruin her and persuades Frank never to tell her.
And at long last we now know what Sam had over Frank that compelled Frank to kill Lila at his request. Whew! That was a long time coming!
In the present, Frank tells Bonnie, and Bonnie assures him that she’ll get it all square with Annalise, who is going to be wondering why Frank killed Lila after drunk Laurel blurted the news to her.
After Bonnie kicks everyone out of the house, she explains to Annalise that Sam was holding this information over Frank all these years and Frank suffered for it. But Annalise is having none of it and wants him gone.
And gone he goes … as Laurel discovers when she shows up at his house to find it empty.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a season finale without one more last minute cliff hanger. Wes approaches Hedge Fund Daddy on the street in front of his office and says, “Hi Daddy!” Just as Daddy’s head gets blown off right in front of him.
What did you think of season 2? I liked it a lot but I have to say not as much as I loved last year. Many of my favorite series have had season 2 problems and it’s usually because, having a hit first season, the creators make the mistake of thinking they need to up the ante and give their fans more of what they love.
So this season we got more mysteries, more murders, more flashbacks, more hook ups. But we lost the more interesting case of the week storylines and subtle character development. Having seen other shows go through similar growing pains, I’m confident HTGAWM season 3 will be worth watching. I know I’m still on board.
Finally, just want to thank all of you for reading and commenting. It’s much more fun watching this show with all of you. Now go out there and murder someone!