'HTGAWM' Finally Explained Annalise's Maternal Connection With Wes

ABC/Eric McCandless

Before Wes' untimely death on How To Get Away With Murder, he and Annalise had a special bond during his time as a Middleton law student. This week's episode explores more of Annalise's bond with Wes on HTGAWM, and fans finally have a better understanding of why she cared so much for him. It turns out, Annalise tried to adopt Wes after his mom's death, while he was still a child.

Until now, it was always been a little unclear why Annalise was so determined to look after Wes, even into adulthood. She helped him off the Middleton waitlist, accepted him into the Keating Five, and helped cover up Sam's murder. At one point, Annalise even called Wes her son when talking about his death, a move that makes a lot more sense now. When she looks after Christopher, it's easy to think that Annalise is reminded of the baby's dad.

So, how did Annalise's attempt to make Wes her son come about? It all goes back to the original Mahoney case and Annalise's miscarriage. Fans already knew that Annalise felt guilty about Wes' mom's death, but it turns out there's way more to the story, especially where Sam is concerned.

The HTGAWM midseason premiere happens largely in flashbacks, with Annalise, Sam, Bonnie, and Frank dealing with the aftermath of Annalise's late-term miscarriage. Frank has already told Sam that it's his fault, but Sam still doesn't want Annalise to know the truth. Annalise, meanwhile, tells Bonnie that she knows about her feelings for Sam, asking her to put them aside.

But what's especially new in these flashbacks is the focus on Sam's perspective, which also ties into Gabriel's revelation in the midseason finale last year. Gabriel is Sam's son, and the new flashbacks show Sam's regret about abandoning his first wife and child.

Annalise and Sam's reactions to the miscarriage take them in opposite directions, putting even more strain on their relationship. Annalise wants to adopt Wes, filling out paperwork to do so. His mom is dead, and so is Annalise's son, so she thinks the idea makes sense. Sam, meanwhile, has a sudden desire to connect with Gabriel, whom he's never met, after losing his son with Annalise.

Neither of these plans work out, though. Annalise's application to adopt Wes isn't accepted. And when Sam goes to see his ex-wife, Vivian, her mom tells him that he needs to leave her and Gabriel alone. But as Sam turns to leave the building, he sees a young Gabriel in the hallway, holding a Chicago Bulls-branded basketball. Evidently, the look of remorse on Sam's face has stuck with Gabriel, even though Sam never told the child who he was — Gabriel still has the basketball in his adulthood.

Fans have already seen how heartbroken Annalise was to lose her child, after struggling to become pregnant in the first place. But this week's episode is even more heart-wrenching. Sam and Annalise both try to heal their feelings about their lost child by turning to other children, rather than addressing their grief head-on.

Instead of supporting each other through the tragic time, the two of them drift even further apart. Annalise won't see Wes again until he steps foot on the Middleton campus, while Gabriel never gets the chance to meet Sam properly. It's a situation that truly has no winners, and fans will feel for Annalise and Gabriel even more after seeing the past events play out.