Well, well, well…THAT’S the way to end a winter finale!

Admittedly, I don’t get the idea of a “winter finale” when a show is still in its current season. Just finish out the season for good instead of trying to create unnecessary hype. But, if you’ve got to do a winter finale, then there’s no better way than to give your audience something satisfying as well as a little something extra to chew on for the weeks to come.

I’ve already tooted my horn about Katrina’s descent into WTF-ery on Sleepy Hollow, and now I can successfully say that I called Wes and Annalise working together for deliciously evil ends. Here’s what I wrote in my pilot recap:

The Aspirin Assassin is saved, our main kids make it to an apprenticeship in Annalise’s office, and all is great, right? Wrong. Wes thinks he’s gotten his position because of what he knows about Annalise, and confronts her about this. She says that he got it solely on his own merits and because he’s a piece of moldable clay that can become something greater than what he is. She didn’t use the exact terms “moldable clay,” but she can certainly see that he is, in fact, someone she can mold to fit exactly what she needs for whatever purpose she needs him for. Could that purpose have been having a hand in offing Sam? The whole time, I had assumed that either the body was a fake body the students were using to reenact a murder or the actual body of Lisa Stanguard. It was only at the end of the episode that we see it’s Sam in that rug.

So, as I wrote in my “Heartless” recap: TOOT TOOT!

However, it was only after the reveal came that I realized that I had predicted Annalise and Wes’ collusion. Most of the time spent during that reveal involved my mouth hanging open in disbelief that Annalise could so masterfully portray the worried, grieving wife all the while knowing she was asking her students to lie for her. I literally thought she was acting like a human throughout the episode, so her turning back into her Impenetrable Woman mode during the reveal-flashback threw me for a loop. Annalise, you sure know how to play on some emotions! Has anyone told you that you should be an actress?

So where does that leave Wes and Rebecca, since it seems like Wes’ loyalties really do lie with Annalise? Is Rebecca just set-dressing for an eventual fall from the little grace she has left due to Wes and Annalise’s machinations? What’s the endgame for all of this? Why employ Rebecca in this plan at all? Does any of this have to do with Lila anymore?

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Also, what’s up with Bonnie? What was the purpose for sleeping with that guy at the bar? I know he does something important, but what information does he have that she wants? Why sleep with Asher afterwards? I initially thought it was her plan to stay in the loop with Annalise’s shenanigans, but now I’m not sure. Once agin, what’s the endgame?

As for the rest of the Keating Five, I only have a few thoughts. First: Poor Connor. He’s severely traumatized, yet he cares enough about Oliver to not drag him down into his personal hell. That’s good, but Connor needs to get some therapy pronto.

Second: Michaela’s so worried about her financial future that she jumped head-first into that pre-nup to save her skin. Possibly, if she has a shark like her mother-in-law on her side (as well as all that money), she just might be able to skate past any accomplice allegations that might come her way in the future.

Third: Why is Laurel so good at hiding secrets? Has she killed people before? She seemed to know immediately what to do, despite the fact that no one really covered their tracks (or DNA) well.

Fourth: Let’s thank the writing gods that Asher was saved from this mess. He’s still the only innocent person and actual human being with appropriate feelings on this show. How’d he get lassoed into this group? It wasn’t solely because his father is a racist judge, was it? This guy needs to be cut from the group and left to roam free at all the bonfires and frat parties his dudebro heart can handle.

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Another thought: Where in the world was Frank that night? Some folks brought it up on Twitter, and it is a good point. Asher was similarly missing from the proceedings during the flashbacks this season, and we had forgotten until yesterday that Frank was nowhere to be found as well. “But he was at home!” you say. Yeah, well, Asher was at home too, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t up to shenanigans (i.e. having sex with Bonnie). I’m not saying Frank’s guilty, but Frank seems to have a lot more guilt written into his character than Asher. But perhaps I’m just reading into the fact that he seems to go through women like toilet paper.

Last thing is this: That argument between Annalise and Sam was one tough thing to watch. And by “tough,” I mean “nearly outing Sam as something akin to a KKK member.” Sam calling Annalise just a “piece of ass” and reducing her down to only her sexual ability was…troubling. Troubling and disgusting. Perhaps if Sam and Annalise were of the same race, the scene wouldn’t have played so close to “racist” on Sam’s part as it did, but with Sam being a white man and Annalise being a black woman, all I could see was the history of black women’s sexual subjugation playing out in this domestic argument.

Was Annalise “a fast-tailed gal” (as your mom or grandmother might describe her)? Perhaps. How she got with Sam is suspect in the first place–she was Sam’s initial jump-off when he was married to another woman. But if all Sam sees her for is sex (and not just sex, but rough sex, which continues the vibe of sexual subjugation and sexual stereotyping), then whether Annalise was fast or not doesn’t even play into the narrative Sam’s trying to push on Annalise. Sam’s a bigot. There. I said it.

What did you think of this episode? Give me your responses in the comments section!

Screencaps: ABC, HTGAWM on TV Tag (Twitter)

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