Nine words that are nice to hear: “I need help eating all these freshly baked cookies.” “Do you want this full sheet of bubble wrap?” “We have decided to bring back French Toast Crunch.”
Nine words that are not nice to hear: “Your iPhone is unfortunately no longer covered under warranty.” “I’m sorry, but the Smash cruise is fully booked.” “Why is your penis on a dead girl’s phone?”
Of course, only one of those phrases was uttered on tonight’s mind-numbing episode of How to Get Away With Murder, which was so gasp-inducing that I felt like a tankless scuba diver bingeing Scandal. So if you had “Why is your penis on a dead girl’s phone?” on your Viola Davis Last-Nine-Words Bingo card, go ahead and scratch that off, and then go buy a lottery ticket because your clairvoyance is weirdly specific and not long for this world.
Just like the promos teased, Annalise Keating’s last nine words in the episode—spoken only after she calmly and coolly thanked Wes for Lila’s phone, ran a hot bath, watched a little Colbert, and removed her wig, eyelashes, and makeup like a gorgeous Athenian goddess cleansing herself of the world’s artificiality—sent viewers into jaw-dropping shock and confirmed the one thing we’ve been suspecting for quite some time now: Sam and Lila were definitely, undeniably double-dipping the hummus. And next week, that sleazy, broad-shouldered Mr. Keating had better have a good excuse for why he’s been sexting/Snapchatting/sending-just-the-eggplant-emoji to a sorority girl who’s taken up new residence at Kappa Kappa Morgue.
Annalise’s incendiary question wasn’t the only shocking moment in episode 4, and not by a long shot. There’s so much to get through, between Bonnie’s icy betrayal, that surprising suicide, the whole Rebecca confession thing, and Connor’s slow descent into pure, greasy-haired madness.
CONNOR AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD LIBIDO
Oh, Connor Walsh. You beautiful, tortured soul. With body by J. Crew, eyebrows like a Greek sculpture, and a smirk that would make even Bart Simpson suspicious, you’ve permeated the gooey surface of How to Get Away With Murder and exploded into the atmosphere as the second most fascinating character next to Annalise. The Connor-centric episode we’ve been waiting for showed us a little more of what we already know—he uses sex to get what he wants, he’s short-tempered and insensitive and devious and manipulative, and he “doesn’t do boyfriends” except when he totally *high five bro* does—but this episode revealed that with Connor, just like autumn, it’s all about the layers.
Connor’s relationship with Oliver the IT Guy is going, but it’s not exactly going strong. They flirt and have fun and do lots of sex intercourses, but Oliver’s frustrated that Connor won’t commit. (Also, Connor still employs hack-friendly Oliver to aid him in his legal misdoings, even though Oliver totally seems like the kind of guy who plays by all the rules, even parley, which is really more what you’d call guidelines.) It’s surprising Connor has even let the relationship get this far, since they certainly seem like a poorly matched pair considering Oliver is a nice guy and Connor is just an all-around pretty horrible person.
But whether or not they D.T.R. (define the relationship), the wrinkle here is that a fed-up Oliver finally tosses Connor out after he discovers that his smoldering not-boyfriend slept with another guy… and seven weeks later, Connor shows up at Oliver’s door at 6 a.m. on the Night of the Flying Cheerleader, crying and panting and enduring a full-on panic attack because he’s just burned and hacked and sacked and hacky-sacked a man’s corpse. All he says is “I screwed up,” but what’s he talking about? Did he make some kind of individual mistake on the night of Sam’s murder? Michaela may have lost her ring and Laurel’s loud phone call might have spooked the couple in the woods and Rebecca may have, like, killed a person, but what did Connor do wrong that night? And when he shows up sweaty and panic-stricken on Oliver’s doorstep, is it their first reunion since being thrown out?
I’m getting ahead of myself here, because we also need to talk about Connor’s big sex scene, which in turn means we need to talk about the
CASE OF THE WEEK!
which gave a healthy dose of thematic reflection for Connor as we saw him get that first taste of guilt when you accidentally cause someone’s suicide.
The case involved Marren Trudeau (guest star Elizabeth Perkins of Weeds and live-action Flintstones fame), a stockbroker CEO charged with insider trading whose name Annalise must clear before the case gets to trial. Marren claims she was hacked by an outside source, so she’s reluctant when Annalise turns the investigation to her employees (reflective of Annalise’s penchant for always turning the suspicion inward, RIGHT SAM?). Annalise enlists her students to interrogate all 52 employees, and they all check out except one: Pax, Marren’s trusty and well-hung assistant, who clicks with Connor because of the unspoken gay rule of eye contact. (Real thing, look it up.)
Connor, unsurprisingly, does his usual info-digging by cozying up to Pax with one damn hot sex scene in the office (I’ll never look at a copy machine the same way again). It was raunchy, it was shocking, and it pushed the boundaries of what you can really say, show, and even allude to on network TV. (Bravo! I think.) But it wasn’t just for sex: Immediately post-coitus, Pax makes an ill-timed phone call to his criminal hacking partner—which Connor’s planted iPhone records.
When Connor brings the recording to Annalise and Marren, the CEO flips out and publicly confronts Pax in front of the whole office, damning his betrayal and even busting out the gay shame. Pax confesses to the crime but, devastated, flings himself out the window, as Marren’s, Connor’s, Annalise’s, and my Lucky Charm marshmallow-filled mouths all unhinge and drop.
Perhaps, then, we realize that the case of the week means a lot more to Connor than others have meant (to Annalise or Michaela, for instance) in weeks past. Pax’s suicide and the resultant distress to Connor may be the first significant event marking Connor’s slow-burn descent into madness seven weeks later. Michaela may be the most traumatized that night, but Connor is the most unhinged, and there could be traces back to this suicide—indirectly caused by Connor—as the first stop on his express train to hysteria. Sexy, sexy hysteria. Furthermore, maybe Connor will finally realize that you can’t just use sex to get what you want.
NEXT: Bonnie, girl, I knew you were shady, but I didn’t know how much