Even though it only runs 15 episodes each year (seven fewer than the broadcast standard) enough happens in one season of ABC's How To Get Away With Murder to fill a 4,000-word essay, at least. Trials, hook-ups, betrayals, scandals, schemes, cover-ups, and — of course — murders… they're all essential ingredients in the recipe that makes up one-third of Shonda Rhimes' addictive #TGIT lineup. So summarizing an entire season of the show in one brief article is a daunting task; nonetheless, I shall try my best to get us all caught up in time for the Season 3 premiere with this HTGAWM Season 2 recap.
As fans all know, the inaugural season of the murder-y nighttime soap revolved around the killing of college student Lila Stangard, who turned out to have been murdered by Annalise Keating's henchman Frank at the behest of Annalise's husband Sam because Sam had been having an affair with Lila. Things took a turn for the worst (if that's even possible) when Annalise's interns — known as the Keating 5 — took it into their own hands to get proof that Sam killed Lila… and ended up killing Sam in the process. Whoops! Oh, and then Annalise's henchwoman Bonnie killed Wes' girlfriend (and dead Lila's friend) Rebecca because Bonnie thought Rebecca had killed Lila. It was a hot mess.
And things only got messier from there…
Flowers In The Attic
When Annalise and the Keating 5 weren't busy covering up their various murders and absolutely losing their sh*t, the main bulk of their time was devoted to the case of Caleb and Catherine Hapstall, who were suspected of murdering their adoptive parents in their posh mansion home — and subsequently of murdering their aunt after she testified against them in court.
At first it looked like maybe Catherine did it but eventually it was revealed with the help of Philip, the Hapstalls' creepy half-brother (and the product of incest between their dead aunt and their dead adoptive father) that Caleb — who had been hooking up with Michaela in the meantime — had actually committed all three murders. At the end of the season, Caleb was found dead in a bloody bathtub; but was it suicide? …Or murderrr??
Death Of An ADA
Season 2's twisty flashforwards revolved around a night of bloody events at the Hapstall mansion, as A.D.A. Emily Sinclair lay dead on the ground outside and Annalise lay bleeding out from a gunshot wound inside. How did they both get there? Sinclair had been pressuring Asher to testify against Annalise by threatening to expose his involvement in a rape case and his father's involvement in covering it up, which led to Asher's father (who was a judge) committing suicide. In rage and grief, Asher ran over Sinclair with his car and called Bonnie to help him cover it up. They took her dead body to the Hapstall mansion and threw it off the roof to make it look like Catherine — who they thought was the killer at the time — had murdered her.
In order to make the frame-up look more convincing, Annalise requested that one of her students shoot her. (In the leg, but still.) Shockingly, none of them were willing to turn a gun on their teacher… until Annalise talked Wes into doing it by revealing Rebecca's fate: that she hadn't run away after all but was actually dead, and Annalise had hidden the truth from him this whole time. A furious Wes turned the gun on Annalise — but shot to kill, hitting her in the stomach. The only thing that stopped him from finishing her off was the fact that she whispered his birth name, Christophe. How did she know??
Blast From The Past
It was revealed in flashbacks that a young Annalise and her ex- (and current?) lover Eve have known Wes (aka Christophe) since he was a child… a child who seemingly killed his own mother, having been discovered with a knife in a pool of her blood. Eventually we learn that Annalise was representing a young man named Charles Mahoney in a murder case and that Wes' mother Rose, a cleaning lady, was the key witness — but was too scared of the Mahoneys to testify. It turned out that Charles' father Wallace had raped Rose (resulting in Christophe) and after Annalise enlisted Eve in scaring Rose by threatening to deport her, the terrified woman committed suicide.
Feeling guilty for her role in Rose's death, Annalise planned to expose Wallace Mahoney's rape of the innocent woman. But the wealthy man had bribed Frank into bugging Annalise's hotel room, so when he learned of her plans he had her nearly killed in a car crash — a crash that resulted in the death of her unborn child. Frank confessed his own role in the crash to Sam, and it was this knowledge of Frank's betrayal that Sam was able to hold over Frank's head in order to coerce him into killing Lila back in Season 1.
Of course, amidst all of this bloody intrigue was the usual relationship drama that one expects from a #TGIT show. Laurel continued her dalliance with Frank until the latter skipped town after Bonnie revealed his role in Lila's death to Annalise, and Asher and Michaela surprised everyone by hooking up, but by far the biggest bombshell relationship-wise came from the show's most adorable couple: Connor and Oliver. Understandably, Connor had just about reached his limit with Annalise and her murderous shenanigans and decided to transfer across the country to Stanford instead. But when Oliver learned of his boyfriend's plans, he called Stanford's admissions office pretending to be Connor and declined his acceptance. Ruh-roh!
Finally, there's Wes. When Annalise finally confessed everything about his past, including the identity of his father, the "puppy" went to confront Wallace — but the happy family reunion was cut short by an unknown assailant who fired a bullet through Wallace's head. Now Wes has ended up covered in both his parents' blood! That's symmetry for ya.
Who shot Wallace? Did Caleb really commit suicide? Will Connor find out what Oliver did? Who's next up on the murder block? Find out when How To Get Away With Murder Season 3 premieres this Thursday at 10:00 p.m. ET on ABC.
Images: ABC (5)