It’s episode seven out of 15 for this show, and I’m already REALLY getting weary of green-tinged flashbacks and MUUURDER. Which is not a great sign.
Rebecca Sutter is also tired of it all, but that might be because this pork blood facial she tried did NOTHING to reduce the size of her pores.
On The Night of the Brain Bleed, Wes appears to have taken a splattered Rebecca up to Annalise’s bathroom to wash off Sam’s DNA. With a TOWEL. One of Annalise’s towels, I presume. I wonder where he put it. Did they burn it? Did he take it to a launderette? Anyway, he wets it and wipes her face off as best he can, and then kisses her, and… I mean, I know she’s traumatized, but I might not have kissed this person until some soap was involved.
Flashback — we are now, by the way, two weeks before MUUURder, Shonda Wrote — to the The Pretty Little Landscape of Lawyers, jotting down notes intently as Rebecca discusses what happened the night Lila was killed. Her story matches Griffin’s, including her saying she choked Lila out on the roof. Everyone gasps, until Rebecca giggles about pulling their collective legs. Annalise, who is doing her patented Lean and Listen, starts barking at her that everyone will dismiss her as guilty trash if she can’t take this seriously, because if Rebecca doesn’t care then why should anyone else. Including a jury. She has a point. Characters who are willfully smug and stupid really chap my hide. This idiot CONFESSED TO MUURDER and is now acting like it’s super inconvenient and boring that anyone is trying to get her off the hook for said muuurder. I mistakenly wrote “flaskback” before I corrected it to “flashback,” but I’ve decided that “flaskback” should be a thing that means I Need A Drink To Deal With This Show.
Asher makes this face. It doesn’t matter why.
In court, Annalise and her Guns of Justice are trying to achieve something for Rebecca that I can’t remember, because it involved ONLY yelling and zero deployments of the phrase “Your Honor.” WAIT, I did remember: It’s about a gag order. They want a media blackout surrounding the case, for reasons that are best described as Something The Show Can Renege On Later To Dramatic Effect.
And Greg Germann from Ally McBeal is there, because he has experience dealing with lawyers who wear stuff that’s probably not realistic for the workplace. Here, he introduces a motion to exhume Lila Stangard’s body because he thinks the autopsy didn’t pay close enough attention to marks on her neck, which he will contend were from Rebecca’s nails. And which he will claim could NOT be from his client’s, because as a star quarterback for an extremely made-up institution, he HAS to keep his fingernails cut to the quick. I am VERY EAGER for a Fug National with knowledge of football fingernails to weigh in on this one. But also, how the hell are they going to prove that he didn’t kill her on a day when he didn’t have practice so he blew off his ritual clipping? Or maybe he has to keep his nails cut down, but doesn’t, because he is lazy? Do you have documented proof of the daily condition of his fingernails? Will his center be testifying to whether his quarterback’s hands ever inadvertently nick the inside of his thighs when they’re getting set? DO TELL.
Annalise does not care for this. She leans onto her table, as is her wont, and starts shouting– as does the prosecution, but without the hunching, because that’s Annalise’s signature move I guess. The judge sighs, “The two of you will have plenty of time to righteously object at the hearing tomorrow morning,” and I laugh, because it’s a faint hope that anyone on this show will remember legal procedure. They don’t object as it IS.
Connor once slept with this dude, but doesn’t remember who he is. Let me move this along for you: Connor PARTLY remembers, later, and even though this dude has a boyfriend the mere HINT of interest from Connor is enough for them to sneak into the public bathroom at the courthouse and explore the laws of friction. (“You forgot his name and he’s still into you? What, do you have some kind of voodoo penis?” complains Asher.) So I can’t tell if Connor is a sex addict, a control addict, or trying to treat notches on his bedpost like emotional fulfillment. Worse, I don’t care. I think if I understood people’s attraction to him, I might, but I don’t — and that’s not even his fault, really; it’s just a case where that actor doesn’t work for me in the way that I gather he works for much of the Internet. It’s not personal. It’s just hormones.
Douchebag QB starts mouthing off at Rebecca in the hallway of the courthouse, because again, this show is full of people doing unsupervised and STUPID STUPID THINGS in stupid places. He accuses her of planting the phone in his car, and Rebecca lunges at him; Greg Germann pops up and threatens to wallop her with the full force of his legal might for bodily harassing his client. He might want to tell his client not to hiss things about people in public, but Rebecca is so ridiculous about her own situation — DON’T CONFESS TO A MUUURDER YOU DIDN’T COMMIT and even also probably any muuurder you DID commit — that it’s hard to have sympathy for either of them.
Back in her office, Annalise — in what FEELS like a continuation of the earlier scene where she yelled at Rebecca and then stormed into her office, but which mentions stuff that happened in court so it can’t be — sits down at her desk as Sam closes her office door. “She’s a terrorist,” Annalise says of Rebecca. “It makes me grateful for the miscarriages. Imagine having a child like that.” I hate that line a lot. For a hundred reasons. I don’t even care if she said part of it just to hurt Sam, or to seem blasé about something that was actually really important to her and which she feels like he violated when he nailed his student. It is REALLY HARD to have any likability factor when you’re all, “I met an asshole and it made me glad our fetuses died!” It’s not a line that rings true. Neither does the terrorist line, really, but that MIGHT just be because Rebecca finds all these people irritating and I do as well, so she and I are automatically on the same side about 85 percent of the time (the exceptions being, Don’t Sell Drugs, and Don’t Be Stupid, and the like).
You k now what does ring true? That bracelet. That sucker is real and it is HAPPENING and I am glad of it. I like to imagine this is the face Annalise made when Sam was like, “So, I saw on our Amex statement that you spent a LOT of money at Stella & Dot last month.”
Michaela’s prim schoolgirl thing is cute; I like her little necktie/ascot hybrid. She makes a big show of telling Paris that she has an interview for a summer internship at an extremely prestigious Philadelphia firm — the kind of place that makes Asher feel a tingle of jealousy in his millstone. HOWEVER, it will come to pass that the firm actually only wants her to come in and discuss a pre-nup, which offends her to the very core on multiple levels. She pretends to her colleagues that it was a real interview and the coil of her pent-up rage is twisted tighter and tighter. Perhaps a killing spree, Michaela? Maybe this show should just give up and turn itself into Gossip Girl: Psycho Killer, which, if you didn’t know of it, is a retelling of the first Gossip Girl book as if they are all gleeful serial murderers.
The prosecutor tells Annalise that she doesn’t want Lila’s body exhumed any more than the defense does, because she fears the unknown. Her prosecution will go better if she can zero in on Rebecca and Griffin without any unpleasant surprises. So she gives Annalise a whole binder full of dirt on the guy Greg Germann wants to perform the new autopsy, which can’t come from HER because it’d discredit a bunch of other convictions (which were before her time as DA, so privately they aren’t sacred to her). It seems strange to have a Scandal Binder on someone if you’re not ever supposed to use it. Maybe she asked her assistant to make a Scandal Binder. That seems like a lousy paper trail to leave, but perhaps the first rule of Scandal Binder is you don’t talk about Scandal Binder.
You should know that Asher carries the immunity statue with him at all times, and likes to hug it in class when he’s giving answers. This is how I would behave if I won an Oscar. Mira Sorvino and Marisa Tomei and Roberto Benigni should be clutching those suckers to their bosoms all the livelong day.
Basically, this middle bit is Scandal-style blah-blah where they intercut Annalise’s class lecture about how to shit all over the expert witnesses, with shots of her team doing exactly that, and with ease. It’s the Car Wash montage without any expensive music. Here, the find ways to imply Greg Germann’s chosen guy is a hack, while convincing their own expert to come in and argue that the neck marks could easily have been caused by a particular kind of bug that might’ve been living in the water tank. Annalise is confident, and she’s right about one thing: that IS a good coat. She and Olivia Pope can start a podcast — I am all about fantasy podcasts, apparently — about outerwear called, say, “Getting My Coat.” Or “Hope Coats.” Or just “Jacket Required,” and Phil Collins will be the first guest, so they can ask him about his opposing views.
Rebecca is studying the evidence photos, all casual-like, at Wes’s place. Because Wes has COPIES OF EVIDENCE lying around his house (I think it’s because he took it to their scientist and tried to convince him to testify, but STILL). She puts her fingers over the photo and then suggests that they should just measure her hands and see if they match up, and although that sounds imprecise, it’s not the WORST idea in the world (unless it turns out they do). If I remember correctly, this turns into a conversation where she talks about how he is a cipher, and he spouts a bunch of stuff about how she could do anything she wants and doesn’t need to sell drugs or be a total dink. Some of that might have happened later. The gist of it is, we don’t entirely get these two yet, and they don’t entirely get themselves yet either.
Cut to: Rebecca hiding in that hotel room. She says to Wes, “He wanted to kill me… the trophy was there. I hit him in the head with it.” There is something in the way that line is written and delivered that makes me think we’re supposed to THINK we know something now, but actually, I think she’s presenting it to Wes as a potential cover story. Because her NEXT line is that she’s already going to trial and possibly to jail for murder, so she might as well go down for this also. Wes kisses her and tells her to stay put until he can convince the others to bend to their will. She ends up climbing the walls and then momentarily calling 9-1-1 to report the crime, which is asinine and I don’t believe it AT ALL for a SECOND. Ultimately she balks and hangs up (by saying, “Um this is a prank call never mind,” instead of just, you know, hanging up) and then feels better when Wes calls to say — in something we already saw, from his side — that they’re going to take care of everything. It’s extremely boring backstory. Aren’t you glad I shared it? Whoever wrote on the story board “scenes of Rebecca alone and bored in hotel room” probably wasn’t having the best day creatively.
Is it just me or have we not paid much attention yet to Annalise’s wedding rock? It’s impressive, and it’s on full display in a scene where Annalise finally extends a partial olive branch offered by Sam (after having rejected his neck rub earlier). He tells her that Lila’s parents didn’t trust Griffin, and thought he was sucking her into his vortex of religion, or something. This is apparently enough to cue Annalise that she should persuade Mrs. Stangard not to allow the exhumation by playing on how it would help Griffin.
The ONLY interesting part of the scene is when Sam is on his way into the office, Rebecca glares at him and says, “Hi, Mr. Darcy.” This happens as she’s flouncing out of the room because she’s so tired of listening to the Pretty Little Lawyers get competitive and snippy with each other, which prompted her to say, “You people are so BORING.” And this is when I realized I actually like Rebecca, when she’s not shooting herself in the foot. She’s a pill but she’s not WRONG.
To frost the cake, they have Laurel go talk to Lila’s mother, which she chooses to do while YET AGAIN dressed like Cher Horowitz. I love Cher Horowitz but I don’t know if she’s my first choice of person for a heart-to-heart about why someone’s daughter should stay in the grave. It would make a GREAT debate topic, though: “Okay, so like, Griffin is the worst? And so we don’t want to celebrate the precarious morals of our legal system by authorizing an act designed to help him get back to his hair gel and khakis because those are so yesteryear. Thank you.” This works on Mrs. Stangard, so she gets up and speaks to the courtroom and Griffin never ONCE stands up and asks to go to the nurse because his foot hurts.
This coat is a rare misstep by Michaela. What’s the point of wearing something that looks like either the wearer or the maker does not understand the basics of clothes? She wore it to what she thought was her law interview, and honestly, had it been real, they should not have hired her based SOLELY on the fact that she voluntarily wore this and/or might not be able to navigate the delicate tango of button and hole.
Sam does love Annalise. We know this because he makes her a cocktail. It’s the greatest love of all, and it’s easy to achieve; maybe Whitney Houston was just being selfish that whole time and she should have been singing about the wonders of a dirty martini.
Annalise gets all hunchy in court because suddenly, the prosecutor — her backstage ally — has brought in her own expert who believes the marks WERE from a woman’s fingernails. It really chaps her wig. She is like, “I did NOT put on a seasick green tweed bag to come here and read more SCIENCE.” The judge agrees that all this back-and-forth blows and is REALLY making her want to clip her own fingernails so she decides to just exhume the body already so they can be sure. And presumably everyone is going to fire the fist medical examiner, right? Like, en masse? They all go down there and relieve him of his job in an enraged throng?
Next, Annalise has one of her covert conversations with Nate, wherein she asks him to find out why the prosecutor flipped on her like that. Nate doesn’t want anything to do with her. He’d like some actual meaty scenes, please. I will say it again: I really, really don’t care for how neither of these actors plays their scenes like they have the same shared history. Or any shared history.
Unless there’s something I’m missing, Lett magazine is the most hilariously stupid prop yet. What does that even mean? Live Every Teen Trend? Also “Boys Boys Boys: See Your Favorite Celebs Tell All” is not the best headline. You can READ about them telling it all. And that cover photo… it’s magnificently bad, and Rebecca was right to deface it. I’m not even sure why it’s in the office. Why is Annalise keeping magazines around about Boys Boys Boys? Maybe it’s one of the PLLs’ magazines. Maybe Laurel is reading it so she can better understand why her character is torn between two unexciting options.
Laurel privately weighing taking a job at her boyfriend’s legal-aid office. Maybe the magazine stands for Lawyers Enable Truth-Terrorist, because Rebecca mocks Laurel with the fact that she has figured this out and knows Laurel’s indecision is Frank-related; when Michaela overhears, Rebecca taunts her with all the details of her pre-nup. No one can figure out how she knows all this, but Rebecca tells them she isn’t sleeping with Wes, and that if they stop laying into him for that, she won’t tell anyone what she knows about them. The show shouldn’t have called Rebecca a terrorist, because this terrorist just won.
Asher makes this face. It barely matters why.
But: Annalise tells them to go to a bar called the Thirsty Whale — there are some sperm jokes here I’m afraid to look for — where the DA’s assistants and associates all go get drunk and spill SECRETS (and seed). Connor tries to hit on one of them, but can’t stop talking about his ex and how to make things better; the girl suggests flowers. Asher, meanwhile, spots a more modestly attractive lady and purrs to Wes that it’s time to “release the Kraken,” which he then defines as, “My dingus. Disco stick. Millstone meatsicle.” I decided right now that he’s an extremely frustrated virgin.
Asher does, however, find the right loudmouth. He learns that the DA and Greg Germann made a deal: She supports the autopsy, and Griffin gets a deal. Wes just sits by and listens, because Wes only ever sits by and listens.
Annalise calls in Rebecca and informs her of this, and then says their best hope is to make sure something deplorable abut Griffin gets into the media so that it’ll make a plea deal impossible. But there’s a gag order on the case. Rebecca gets a sly smile and says she can say whatever she wants and pretend she didn’t understand what “gag order” meant. It sure seems to be right there in the words — hard to misinterpret unless you are literal about the use of props — but Annalise nods approvingly and says, “Tell me again about the night you and Griffin had sex.”
There is MAYBE a trace of disapproval in there? But honestly, it’s more apparent in the freeze frame than it was in motion. I love Alfred Enoch as a concept — and he’s so very adorable — but he has as many shades as a desert.
And so the Philadelphia Current gets to break the news that the weather forecast in Philly is surprisingly pleasant but chilly at night so bring layers.
These two are Seriously Displeased with the media play. Annalise insists that a reporter was simply tricky with Rebecca and that she didn’t understand answering simple questions was violating this incredibly confusingly named thing called a “gag order.” Annalise crabbily tells the DA later that she thinks she took the easy way out, trading Griffin for Rebecca because it’d be an easier conviction. The DA says, “You’d better pray those aren’t her nails.” Annalise spits, “Prayers are for the weak. I’ll stick to beating your ass in court.” And she’s very worked-up about it. I think Annalise getting forceful in the courtroom would have more impact if she weren’t also forceful and furious all the time. She has NO poker face. The DA knows she’s under Annalise’s skin. There’s no wry confidence, nor smug smiling. Just FIRE AND BRIMSTONE.
Wes being oddly upset with Rebecca — despite his own numerous violations of ethics — ends when they start making out, because she is super touched that she drew a stalker who’s actually extremely helpful. And as the two of them finally have sex, the show juxtaposes the undressing and figurative opening-up of Rebecca…
… with the undressing and opening up of Dead Lila Stangard, and it’s really creepy and kind of fetishizes this dead woman as her stitches are clipped open and her embalmed corpse taken apart. I understand it thematically but didn’t care for it visually. I mean, as a general rule, I like my sex scenes free of dead people. Then again, one could argue Wes might as well be dead because he too only has one facial expression.
As Lila’s truth is being discovered, Wes offers up all of his own: He is Haitian-born, moved to Ohio with his mother, his mother killed herself when he was twelve, he’s allergic to peanuts… Rebecca surely knows a hot button when she sees (or hears) one, but she also clearly knows a Hot Button when she nails one, and the latter wins.
Connor brings flowers to his boyfriend, and an extremely tasty, sculpted piece of man answers the door and tells Connor that if he ever felt ANYTHING for Nerd, he should LEAVE AND NEVER COME BACK. And so Connor leaves the show forever and transfers to Looking on HBO, and we REVENGE him on the cast photo with a red Sharpie. … Okay, no. But it was fun to dream.
Frank knows about Laurel considering another job and says, “Is this about me being a jerk? Because if it is, I’ll stop.” And if it’s not, then he won’t? What a sensitive offer. He then admits to Laurel that he doesn’t WANT to stop being a jerk, because I guess that is how he deals with girls he likes. He’s an IMMENSE catch, ladies. He is not afraid to leer at you all the time AND he knows all the good bathtub gin joints in town. Laurel shakily admits that the problem is, she doesn’t want him to stop, which would have so much more impact if either of these actors had found any levels in their performances. Laurel looks at everyone she both likes and dislikes with the EXACT same semi-distressed expression and never layered in any sexual heat with Frank at all, so… seriously, the only reason this makes sense is because we knew it was going to happen and so we’ve been waiting for it and looking for it. On its own, I don’t think it’s there.
But, they disagree, and start going at it on Annalise’s porch. This is wonderfully subtle. The very best way to conceal your illicit feelings for each other is a hearty public romp. RIGHT on the front stoop of your employer’s home and office. Annalise should let him teach “How To Get Away With Orgasms.”
Nate corners Rebecca in a convenience store and says he thinks they BOTH know who killed Lila Stangard, and that he’d like her help in making the killer fry. I am glad Nate is doing something that involves standing in well-lit spaces, but I’m also distracted by the sheer size of the banner in the back advertising the presence of water. The word “BEER” might get the store more sales. I’ll prepare a report.
I just read that it was Viola Davis’s idea to Rip Off Her Wig, and well played to THAT, because it was a master class. I also enjoy that they still let her do it, and she looks lovely as ever in this scene, where she finally warms up to Sam’s wheedling and looks like she might forgive him for dragging her wallpaper into his penis selfies…
… until Paris shows up, like an Orange Julius that’s been left out in the rain, to tell Annalise that a) the marks on Lila’s neck are ant bites, but b) the Worst Medical Examiner in the World somehow managed to miss that Lila was six weeks pregnant. I thought the new autopsy was JUST supposed to be for the neck marks, but whatever, it was thoughtful of this guy to do this. However, I’m confused. If she was embalmed, did they dig into her bagged and tagged internal organs as well, just in case? Where… was her womb, in all of this? Why would they think to check it? Did they look at blood test results and see an anomaly? I need a lengthy review of the process, by which I mean, I probably don’t want to know any of this but that first medical examiner really, really had better be out of a job at this point, right? Maybe that’ll be Shonda’s first foray into a multi-cam sitcom: Time of Death stars Kevin James, Jessica Walter, JoAnna Garcia, Kenan Thompson, and Bring It On’s Jesse Bradford, who plays a hotshot ME who loses his job because he’s terrible at it and has to move home to his family spread in rural Iowa. Jaime King guest-stars as the fiancé he left behind when he fled in disgrace. COMING SOON.