Warning: Spoilers ahead!
On Thursday night's winter finale of How to Get Away With Murder, "Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me," we finally learned who killed Annalise Keating's husband, Sam: Wes Gibbins. (Although, Michaela Pratt probably helped with her slick over-the-railing maneuver. How did Sam survive that fall, anyway?) The episode was packed full of shocking "OMG" moments, but, when it was all said and done, I was left thinking about one specific thing: Michaela's missing engagement ring. A few weeks ago, during Episode 3, "Smile, Or Go to Jail," we discovered that Michaela lost her engagement ring while helping to get rid of Sam's body. Surprisingly, none of her bright law student accomplices were all that concerned or even willing to help her look for it. Isn't anybody worried that the ring might turn up at some point in the near future and link one or all of them to the crime? Yeesh. HTGAWM doesn't return with new episodes until Jan. 29, so in the meantime, let's ponder: what role will Michaela's missing engagement ring play in the remainder of Season 1? I've got a couple ideas...
After the students (sans Asher Millstone) decide to burn Sam's body in the woods in order to get rid of all of the DNA evidence, they proceed to... chop him up into tiny little pieces and put those pieces into garbage bags. Whoa. Whoa.
There's an argument when it comes to disposing of Sam's remains. Wes wants to take them to an incinerator (probably a smart choice, but, uh, where does he plan on gaining access to one of those?) and everyone else just wants to throw the bags into a dumpster. Wes is outnumbered — a dumpster it is! It's around this time that Michaela discovers that her ring is gone. She's panicking, but everyone else is sort of like, "What a drama queen! It's just a ring, get over it." ...BUT WHY ISN'T ANYONE THINKING ABOUT THE IMPACT THAT THIS COULD HAVE ON THEIR EFFORTS TO, YOU KNOW, STAY OUT OF JAIL?
When they arrive at the dumpster, Michaela starts to look for her ring in one of the bags, but is too grossed out to continue. (Which I understand, but also... try harder? Your future is at stake, hello?) Connor Walsh, who appeared to be having a great time cutting up Sam, tells her to grow up and chucks the remainder of the bags.
Case closed. ...Or is it? As morning comes, viewers are deliberately (in my opinion) shown a shot of a garbage truck collecting the contents of the dumpster. Now, this could've been a way to say, "Ah, the garbage is gone. They're home free!" Or, it could've been a way to say, "Pay very close attention to what's happening right now — it's going to come back to bite everyone in the ass later on." I suspect it's the latter.
So, where did our group of fearless future lawyers go wrong? Well, what if they were captured on a security camera at the dumpster? Now, I'm not a garbage expert (yet), but aren't some private dumpsters under surveillance in order to prevent random people from using them? If the students were caught on tape disposing of a bunch of garbage bags... yeah, that would be really bad for them.
Is it possible that the bags could then be recovered before they end up in a landfill somewhere (again, not a garbage expert)? The remains might be unidentifiable, but if Michaela's ring turns up inside one of the bags... yeah, that would be really bad for them, too. (Well, it would mostly be bad for Michaela, but, if someone like Asher were to testify in court that he knew that they were all together that night, then they all could be in trouble.)
Of course, I could be wrong about this whole dumpster thing. It's also possible that, somehow, the police will be led to the woods while investigating Sam's disappearance and stumble upon Michaela's ring on the ground — you know, right next to a big, person-shaped fire pit. That would be really bad, as well. I suppose the ring could've fallen off during the struggle with Sam at the Keating household. It might be found by Michaela or one of the other students and end up being a total non-issue — but that's not what my gut is telling me here. This feels like a big, important loose end.
I'll admit, in some ways, HTGAWM is kind of a silly show — but it's an important one, too. Even with its occasionally over-the-top acting and probably unrealistic legal proceedings, it still manages to be a compelling, fun hour of television, week after week. Personally, I can't wait to see how the rest of Season 1 unfolds.