If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: Annalise selects students for her new legal clinic at Middleton and juggles job offers from competing firms, all while the Keating 4 attempt to move on from last semester’s turmoil. And in a startling flash-forward, a new mystery is introduced and it shakes things up for everyone. (IMDB)
Writer: Peter Nowalk
Director: Stephen Cragg
Running Time: 43mins
Airs: Thursdays at 10pm on ABC (United States)/Fridays at 9pm on CTV (Canada)
I didn’t have time to write a season review for this one either but it was definitely a thrilling one. In true Shondaland style, it kept us on the edge of our collective seats while throwing plenty of OMG moments along the way. Viola Davis can do no wrong and continues to be well worth the watch here. This season looks to be just as crazy as the last but unfortunately was not off to the same kind of start as last season.
Of course each half of the season has a major moment that it builds up to and the moment for this half of the season was Connor and Oliver’s wedding. This episode started with a flashforward to a party after the wedding where Annalise is interrupted by some news from Frank that she was not thrilled about. Meanwhile, someone is bleeding outside in the snow and then collapses (the promos mention who died at the wedding so someone died).
Then the episode went back to where last’s season finale ended, which we now know is 3 months before the wedding, with the introduction of a new law student named Gabriel Maddox (Rome Flynn). Everyone was gearing up for Annalise’s new Advanced Trial Skills class. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that she was just as intense as usual, maybe even more here. She started off by widdling her class down by having them prove their passions. The usual suspects shaped up at first here along with Gabriel and a few other new students. It was ultimately up to Asher and Gabriel for the final seat with Gabriel edging out Asher. Annalise saw that Asher was not in a good place and therefore was not good enough for her class.
One of the law firms hoping to hire Annalise was Caplan & Gold. After what happened last season, the firm was under new management, led by Emmett Crawford (Timothy Hutton). Tegan was still there but she wanted Annalise away from her. She played the firms against each other to get the best offer for herself. Bonnie was still not over Denver’s death as his files on everyone were still unaccounted for (she doesn’t know that Nate has them) so she had a plan to play the other prosecutor who seemed interested in her (they finally gave him the name of Ronald) to figure out if Denver shared the files with him.
Going through the Denver files, Nate figured out that Bonnie’s baby, a son, was still alive and Denver had found him. Annalise faced her first recourse from her Supreme Court win when the government cost her all the law firm offers. Annalise later tried to convince Bonnie to start a new film together but she was focused on this mission and protecting everyone. Running out of options, Annalise circled back to Caplan & Gold and finally got what she wanted (Tegan was jealous). They were even funding her clinic and awarding the best student with a year’s tuition.
Frank has been a good father to Laurel’s baby Christopher. He also wanted in with Annalise’s class. On the other hand, Annalise was busy fielding offers from other law firms to retry her class action suit cases. Gabriel’s attempts at making a good impression with Annalise made Frank suspicious. We already know that he was watching Gabriel for some unknown character and this continued here. Frank put the idea in Connor’s head that he got back in the class because of a favor for Annalise (but it was really because he helped her with her Supreme Court case). Michaela was still not over Marcus. Laurel wasn’t sure if she loved Frank and felt bad because she thought she was using him to take care of Christopher.
Oliver found an old frat house for everyone to live in. For Laurel, it would mean leaving Frank so when she broke the news to him, he tried to convince her to stay by proposing which she refused. Then it was time for Christopher’s baptism and Michaela and Laurel’s vows to be abstinent. Going back to the flashforward, Christopher was there and so was Bonnie who covered the face of whoever collapsed in the snow.
Overall, this was a good episode that started to set up where the season was going. There was a lot to unpack here so of course there was very little payoff other than Bonnie having a son somewhere. The first half mystery could have been set up a little better than it was here although that should get better with time. There are a few potential candidates for the body in the snow with the most likely being Frank but who really knows? The series wouldn’t introduce a new character so late for nothing so it will be interesting to see how Gabriel fits in to everything. The class action subplot started slow so hopefully that will pick up soon as well. A decent start for sure.