I have an announcement: The end of this episode actually sort of got me. I KNOW. I’m sure it’s temporary.

As a refresher, the ashy powder that was once Tom Verica has been found. This lady, with her extremely intense eyes and Urgent Newscaster Voice, is giving us the straight scoop on how police are now digging through his dusty leftovers looking for clues.

The Pretty Little Lawyers are watching the local news on their laptops, rather than on an actual television set. Is this because Wes is supposed to be low on cash? Does the local news actually stream its broadcast via the Interwebs? Does Michaela have a coat? She IS having a conniption fit, because her missing engagement ring — she replaced it over Christmas with an elaborate fake — could link her to the crime. If she is no longer engaged (it sure FELT like they broke up, or at least hit pause), couldn’t she claim she hurled it into the woods in a wounded hissy? Think, McFly.

Hot, Hot Nate is actually being supportive of Annalise, who now looks like Suspect No. 1 in the murder of her philandering strangler of a husband, although this unfortunate screen grab makes it look like she called him while he was having a stroke.

This girl might actually BE having a stroke. Because she is a student in Annalise Keating’s class who is NOT one of the central clique, and SHE HAS BEEN GIVEN LINES. She also got a cutesy sweater with a telephone on it, which I enjoy; if anyone knows where it’s from, please do share. Anyway, Underconfident Blonde Who Had The Right Answer appears to have enjoyed abut 80 percent of her moment in the sun, discussing cases that may or may not apply to various SECRETS that are being harbored by four of her classmates.


Paris is deeply upset. Tom Verica is FERTILIZER now and Annalise knows he kissed her to try and shut her up, and she’s stressed and grieving and broke a glass. Frank encourages her to keep it together, mostly because I think Frank finds feelings a little tiresome. Frank, all of a sudden, is my favorite character. He is the only one who will tell these douchecanoes when there are holes in their boats.


And then Asher makes this face. It doesn’t matter why.

We can skip through this, right? Right. Annalise wants a case to distract her from the Dust To Dust that her husband has become, so she answers the call of her longtime client Peter Onorati, a local “businessman” with “legitimate” “interests” that “don’t” involve drugs, and the “meatloaf” was “moist” but “bland.” And yet one of his shipping containers was boarded and a metric shit-ton of heroin was found inside, and blah blah blah Annalise is able to prove it was ENTRAPMENT or something because the authorities wanted to bust Peter and so they orchestrated a “random” “search” that broke all kinds of laws and ethics and also “dense” but “flavorful” “garlic knots.”


The prosecutor threatens Annalise, saying that if she persists in defending Peter Onorati, he’ll monkey with the probable accusations of murder coming her way, so that she goes away forever. Or something. Honestly, it was hard to pay attention, because I HATE the coat. This is totally a blue coat that somebody cinched with a black belt that looks like she bought it at Banana Republic, and it makes no sense to me. Not only does it make the coat look wonky, but when she has to take it off, she then has this free floating belt hanging around that she has to coil up and put in her pocket. It’s so impractical. If you’re going to be that impractical, please at least be cute.


During the excruciating court scene in which Annalise breaks all kinds of lawyering rules to get her client off — and the ENTIRE COURTROOM BREAKS INTO APPLAUSE — Ms. Keating at least keeps her sleeves on with a much nicer coat.

Marcia Gay Harden puts on her best mischief scarf and tells the police she will testify to any damn thing they want, if it means they’ll search Annalise’s house and convict her of all of the crimes. Including an offer to swear that Annalise has a violent past. She is so cool and cunning about it, too. The thing is, she’s witch-hunting Annalise, and I’m supposed to hate that, BUT because everyone on this show is unlikable and/or a dope — except Asher and increasingly Frank — I am becoming Team Marcia. PUT THEM ALL IN JAIL. Plus Viola Davis is more interesting when she’s backed into a corner than when she’s on top. As we shall soon see.

And then Asher makes this face. It doesn’t matter why.


Paris gets sent to court on Annalise’s behalf, to argue against the search warrant, which Annalise insists she can’t do herself because it’s a conflict of interest. Help me understand: Her representing Rebecca Sutter by trying to claim her HUSBAND was a killer was NOT a conflict of interest, but defending herself in court — which I believe is legal — is a problem? Asher and Paris agree not to let Annalise know that she skipped his Millstone, so to speak, and agree to try and work together kindly. And then Paris gets into court and lets Marcia Gay Harden STOMP ALL OVER HER FACE.


Marcia is testifying about a night years ago when Annalise and Tom Verica had a big party, which was disrupted by a big marital fight. I think the story is that nobody saw any actual abuse but supposedly everyone knew the shindig got broken up because they were violently arguing, and then Marcia claims Annalise became abusive. Paris clumsily tries to discredit it, and Marcia just picks her teeth with Paris’s bones, at one point sneering condescendingly, “Honey, do I have to do ALL the work for you?” It’s actually delicious, because Paris comes across as supremely incompetent. I thought at first that Annalise — despite offering a half-hearted urging that Paris shouldn’t screw it up — sent Paris because she WANTED her to fail, as part of a larger master plan. But I don’t think that’s true, because the search warrant scene is FULL of tense expressions and poorly veiled paranoia.


I mean: Annalise climbs up the stairs and then glowers at the police as they comb her house, looking for clues. They even find the Scales of Justice lying underneath a bookshelf. And they’re all, “Hmm, whaaaat?” until Paris walks over and TAKES IT WITH HER BARE HAND and is like, “Aha,” hanging it back onto the statue. Why are the cops letting everyone grab all over everything during their big search? AND THEN the cop notices Annalise standing up there glaring down at the exact spot where Tom Verica died. With, like, her ENTIRE BEING quivering. So naturally the cop goes, “Hey, let’s check for blood splatter RIGHT HERE,” because she is marginally less blind and moronic than your average tertiary TV police officer.

But ONLY marginally, because if she had any real sense, she’d look outside and smell a rat — nay, FORTY RATS, having a sweaty orgy.

Because NOBODY has ever looked MORE SUSPICIOUS than these freaking idiots, who are now standing on their boss’s lawn discussing their guilt with squirrelly facial expressions WHILE THE COPS ARE SWARMING THE PROPERTY LOOKING FOR MURDER CLUES. You people need to choose your moments better YOU FOOLS.

And then Asher makes this face. It doesn’t matter why.

But Annalise’s house passes the Viscera Test, and we learn it’s because she got on her hands and knees and bleached the DNA off her floor. She also cried some, because it’s become imperative for the show to communicate that she’s sad about how her students bludgeoned and barbecued her husband.

Connor has spent the entire episode making cranky remarks about how he doesn’t think Annalise is protecting them, and they’re SCREWED, THEY’RE ALL SCREWED, until Annalise finally snaps him into her office so that he can say these things to her face. Then she comforts him by telling him she gave him the trophy the first week not because he screwed his way to getting some key evidence — “Although I’ve certainly done that in my day” — but because she saw immediately that he is just like she is. That they’re both worrying worriers who worry, or something equally boring. Essentially, she tries to make him feel safe by pretending they are similar, so that he will stop crying and acting like a guilty burner of dead bodies. It seems to work, even though if I were Connor and I had seen how Annalise can operate, I would not trust her to check my mail and throw out my leftovers, much less with my alibi.

And then Asher makes this face. It doesn’t matter why.

And THEN Asher makes THIS face. And it still doesn’t matter why.

Hot Nate does us the extreme service of chatting on the phone while shirtless, and I thank him for his shoulders. Annalise is fretting and she asks if he thinks she did it. He sidesteps the question and then she gets hurt that he didn’t immediately say no, but they’re actually fairly nice and supportive to one another, and I cannot figure out this character’s trajectory at ALL. He was having an affair with her, he hated her, he then seemed to pity her, THEN he banged her again, and now he’s telling his dying wife that he’s sleeping with her and taking her confidences and whatnot. Are we to think he has FEELINGS, or is just driven by grief that he’s channeling into Annalise’s genitals?

These two are still pretending they’re not going to have sex again. Call me when THAT farce ends.

And, Aggressive Newscaster is now reporting that they found carpet fibers and foliage in with Tom Verica’s ashes, so they have some clues. Naturally, the Pretty Little Lawyers are certain they will trace the foliage to the woods, and then straight back to them. Except that “the woods” are not a three square-foot patch of land in Annalise’s back yard; they’re BIG LARGE WOODS, and they were near the bonfire where all the students on campus were hanging out, and we even heard at least two other random students milling around in The Woods. So the idea that The Woods are IMMEDIATELY traceable to these fools is crazy. Like, why is THAT what they’re afraid of, when there is a campus cop roaming around WHO SAW THEM DRAGGING A RUG OUT OF ANNALISE’S HOUSE ON THE NIGHT OF THE MURDER AND STOPPED AND DISCUSSED IT WITH THEM. You know what DOES trace you back to the murder? CARPET FIBERS, dingbats.

Paris has figured this all out, too. She is apparently way less of an idiot than her performance in court suggests, so she noticed all the whispered conversations and covert shenanigans and has put all the pieces of the puzzle together. She warns Annalise not to hitch her wagon to these dying, burnt-out wisps, because they will drag her down and ruin her life, and are too stupid to live. I mean, I’m paraphrasing. But it makes Annalise nervous enough to caress her vodka bottle. She then later takes a shot, recalls promising Wes and the others that she’d help them get away with this, and then gulps and places a phone call.

Here, Michaela has just learned that the cops found a ring in The Woods, whose foliage matches the burnt herbs and spices in Tom Verica’s smoky remains. As Michaela quietly freaks, everyone else looks at her like, “Oh, yeah, she’s as screwed as a two-by-four.”

But HARK: The ring was Tom Verica’s wedding ring, which last we saw, Wes had handed to Annalise so she could lock it away in her room as a memento of that ragey guy who nearly choked her out in her own living room. #NeverForget. There is a fingerprint on the ring, and we learn in flashbacks that Frank broke into someone’s apartment to lift a print — like a freaking C.S.I. scientist all of a sudden — and then transfer it to Tom’s ring, which he then dumped in The Woods. And the cops immediately found it.

Whose print was it?

HOT NATE, DAMMIT. I have to admit, when he opened his door and the cops arrested him, I was like, “Stop it. He’s innocent. Stop it, guys. STOP IT. JUST STOP IT.” Hot Nate doesn’t have much of a personality, but boy, is he aptly nicknamed, and there’s a weird nobility to him somehow. He is cheating on his wife but she’s DYING and he’s GRIEVING Y’ALL and… I don’t know, for whatever reason, him getting framed for this was the moment where I sat up and went, “Ooooookay, now I’m in.” Even though I should be out, because it’s a horrible thing to do, but the show did a nice job setting up Annalise doing an AWFUL thing for a semi-noble reason. She promised her twerps that she’d save them, and obviously she is trying to save herself, and so she needed one grown-ass sacrificial lamb to whom she’d never made a promise of safety and who knew nothing he could then tell the cops to incriminate her.

I will say this: Nate’s expression when the cops came felt almost, “Of course. OF COURSE.” And for a SPLIT SECOND I thought it meant she’d warned him and he’d been waiting for this, but I actually think that would be dumb, because the whole POINT seems to be to (temporarily, perhaps) frame someone who  knows nothing and can’t perjure himself and also can’t turn on her and spill any dangerous truths. So warning him would be stupid. Maybe he just saw Annalise’s influence in all this, or just that he knew it was a matter of time before The Other Man got fingered for the crime, or he was thinking, “Can you guys come back in ten minutes when The Walking Dead is over?”

Marcia Gay Harden snipes at Annalise that it doesn’t matter if Nate did it; she blames Annalise for everything, always, forever, MUUUUURDERERRRR. Marcia is so dramatic. There is a moment in the episode where Marcia is obsessing over her dead brother and Annalise actually accuses her of being creepily obsessed with him and then says, “What’s that they say? ‘Incest is best, so put your brother to the test’?” Marcia is not as grossed out by that barb as she should be, but maybe the lady — who is a psychiatrist — understands the art of not protesting too much. I don’t know. Also, ew. I do not want it to be that kind of party. There need be no flowers in this attic.

Some of the Pretty Little Lawyers feel sorry for Nate. But Michaela — whose skin has just been saved — tells them to chill out because this is Annalise doing exactly what she said she’d do: She’s protecting them. The others are contemplating switching their freak outs from “Oops we killed a bad person” to “Great, now we’re ruining the life of a perfectly nice one.”

Annalise goes home from the police station, crawls into bed, and calls her mother, crying. “I need you,” she rasps. Yes, I’d be bummed out too if I knew I’d tapped Hot Nate for the LAST TIME. YOU FOOL ANNALISE. I mean, I get it, from a planning standpoint, but… from a LIFE standpoint you’re going miss that once it’s gone.