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'How To Get Away With Murder' Season 1, Episode 2: It's All Her Fault

Kelly O'Mara |
October 3, 2014 | 12:44 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Wes Gibbons spends time thinking on "How To Get Away With Murder." (ABC)
Wes Gibbons spends time thinking on "How To Get Away With Murder." (ABC)
Last week’s pilot episode of #HTGAWM left us with a number of questions that are clearly not going to be answered in the second episode: Why are the law students burning bodies? Who killed Lila Stangard? Was the professor’s husband sleeping with the dead girl? If not, why did he get killed too? Who would enroll at this college?

We start tonight’s episode back in the woods with the possibly murderous law students arguing again about burning the body (as drunken college kids party nearby). Is this a rerun? No, just the same thing from a different camera angle!

READ MORE: 'How To Get Away With Murder' Premiere Recap

Michaela freaks out, while Connor swears that Wes would never turn on them. But, do they really know Wes? Does anyone really know anyone? This is the theme of tonight’s episode. In case you miss that, Viola Davis repeats it in the next scene. She may even draw it on a board and underline it.

Viola Davis, sorry, Professor Annalise Keating, and her husband are discussing the super mysterious death of Lila Stangard. But, she’s suspicious of him. We know this because she gives him shifty looks. Then, she’s in front of her class giving a speech about how everyone lies and no one is who they seem — not even the person you marry. Is she talking about herself? Of course not. Obviously, she’s talking about this week’s case: the murder of heiress Marjorie St. Vincent.

Here’s what you need to know about this case: Marjorie St. Vincent is a super rich heiress. Or, she was until she was stabbed 16 times, probably by her husband, Max St. Vincent.

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Of course, the students have to interview the husband while touring his over-the-top mansion, filled with a weirdly large number of mounted animal heads. And, of course, he has preserved the crime scene where his wife was brutally stabbed. He even re-enacts with Connor what the prosecution says he did: sidle up next to her in bed and then stab her over and over and over. This is, obviously, totally normal behavior if your wife is murdered.

At Professor Keating’s ornate office/house, the students we care about — Connor, Michaela, Laurel, Wes, and Asher (who never appears in the wood murder cover-up scenes, so we have to assume he doesn’t make it through the season) — discuss the case. After Keating calls him into her office, the rest of them also talk about why Wes even deserves to be there. Law associate Bonnie asks, “Why are any of them there?” Because they make for such good TV!

Keating wants to make sure Wes isn’t having second thoughts and sends him to the police station to get the supplemental arrest report. This is, apparently, a real thing, in real life.

Wes finds the supplemental arrest report through the complicated method of asking the clerk for it. When he returns to his apartment, his angrily attractive neighbor, Rebecca, knocks on the door with some reason she needs to use his shower. She doesn’t even bother to come up with a reason that she needs to undress before closing the bathroom door. Wes averts his eyes from her naked back, so that we get the message he is naive and gentlemanly.

This is in contrast to the flash-forward of the murderous foursome back in the forest, who are flipping a coin to decide whether they should burn the body or not. It’s a scene we saw last episode, but we assumed Wes was telling the truth about which way the coin flipped. This episode, we find out he’s lying to get everyone on board with the burning and covering-up plan. Wes, how you’ve changed in three months.

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Flash back to Keating’s office, where everyone’s watching the news on TV about Lila Stangard’s murder. That is, evidently, the only thing the TV news ever plays in this town. Wes recognizes Lila’s boyfriend, who is being interviewed by police, as the guy Rebecca was fighting with last episode. He thinks hard about this. He also hands over to Keating the supplemental report, noting a discrepancy in the name of the officer who found the murder weapon.

Keating uses this discrepancy in the courtroom to discredit the finding of the murder weapon. Connor gets his IT hook-up/not-boyfriend to find an email from the dead wife’s best friend disputing her version of events. And Frank brings Michaela and the lesser-known Asher to dig through the garbage of a witness. Everyone’s pitching in to get away with murder, except Laurel. But she wants to prove herself too!

On the steps of the courthouse, Keating and her lover, Detective Nate, have a spat. Does anyone besides lovers have spats? He says they’re through; she blackmailed him on the stand to win her case — which is a pretty good reason to break up with someone. He tells her that she won her case and got laid, what more does she want? This, I think, is our second theme of the episode: Isn’t it hard being a woman and trying to have it all?

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Flashing forward again to the re-running of the scenes we saw last week, but with a new take on Wes, we’re now back in the gas station. But, this time, we see Wes buy a pre-paid (better known as a burner) phone and call someone. He tells this mysterious someone that he got everyone on board, they’ll protect her, don’t worry. Is this the same her that Michaela is worried will double-cross them all? Is it Keating? Who else could it be? *think*

Back in the past, Keating and her husband — don’t bother to learn his name; I haven’t — talk in her bedroom. While he showers, she searches his phone for “Lila Stangard” and finds relatively non-incriminating emails from “L.” She’s still suspicious.

Wesley runs into Rebecca at his apartment. They only ever run into each other at his apartment. He tells her he saw her friend was questioned by the police and he’s sorry. She says she wasn’t friends with Lila. He tells her to never talk to police without a lawyer. Foreshadowing! Also, good advice.

Laurel is trying to prove herself and something is bothering her. She asks Bonnie if she was picked for the law student team just because sleazy associate Frank picked her. Bonnie tells her that she looks nice, but she's not nice. She does not care about Laurel's problems. She tells her to spend her time getting Keating to actually learn her name. Boom.

The law students then have to prep Max St. Vincent’s daughter, Eloise, as his character witness. She seems like she’s going to be great. But, if you think that things are as they seem, then you haven’t really been paying attention to this show. 

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On the stand, the prosecution cross-examines her. As a kid, her dad told her that mother died in a car accident and he then met and married his second wife — the one who is now also dead. But, the prosection has some exciting, terrible news. It was all lies! Everyone lies! Her mother was really killed by a stab wound to the neck in Switzerland! And, her dad was tried for the murder, because he wanted to run away with his mistress (his second wife) and create a new identity and name. Let’s all look sinisterly at her dad!!

Keating is pissed, but not quite as pissed as the daughter. Keating tells the law students and associates to fix this. She then semi-confronts her husband, accusing him of sleeping with Lila. “It’s happened before,” she says! They yell at each other and the law students listen in the other room. He reassures her and she apologizes. It’s just so hard being Viola Davis/Professor Keating.

Frank rushes in on them: "You need to see this!" (No, we don’t get to find out what it is yet.)

The whole gang traipses back to the scene of the crime to examine it again. Because when police and detectives and forensic experts can’t find something, you definitely want first-year law students on it. Fortunately, Laurel is eager to prove herself, so she solves the whole thing. He’s a hunter! Hence the weird animal heads! That means he must know how to kill! It wouldn’t have taken him 16 tries to kill his wife!

Keating then examines him in court, asking him to demonstrate a humane way to kill animals. Obviously, he does this by miming the slicing Bonnie’s jugular. Even the prosecutor has to be like ‘yo, for real?’ But don’t worry, Keating is going somewhere. “Is this the humane way you murdered your first wife?” He says yes! 

The lawyers and the judge have to argue a little bit about whether or not that guy just confessed to murder in open court. It’s ok, though, some legal TV talk says it’s ok. That means the medical examiner can get up on the stand next and explain that the two murders were clearly done by different people. But, who did the second one? Who? 

Wes is doing some serious staring. Whenever people do serious staring it means they’ve figured something out. He tells Keating he thinks the daughter did it. But, she already knew that. That’s what Frank busted in on her and her husband to share.

They win! Surprise! I wonder if they’ll ever lose a case. You have to assume yes. Otherwise, the show would just be unrealistic.

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Connor then rushes to his IT hook-up’s house to bring him dinner, since he had to bail on dinner before. The IT guy says he isn’t that easy, but then he opens the door back up and pulls Connor in. It’s actually one of the sweeter moments in the show. In a weird way.

Keating’s husband also wants to celebrate. She’s happy! But, then, she looks at his phone and searches for “Lila Stangaurd” again. Only this time, there are no emails. They’ve all been deleted. She rushes out. 

She finds her detective boyfriend on the street and tells him her suspicions. Detective Nate says she’s crazy. Crazy like a fox. In a flashing back and forth, we see her return home and jump on her husband, telling him it’s all ok, let’s have sex. But, at the same time we see her begging Detective Nate to check her husband’s alibi for the night of Lila Stangaurd’s murder. Please, she needs this. Then, she lays in bed after sex and one tear rolls down her cheek.

When Wes returns home after the win, Rebecca is being arrested by the police. He watches the TV news to learn that she’s accused of being a drug dealer. Really, if these people didn’t watch TV news nicely summarizing plot points, we would never learn anything. That reminds him that he saw her hide something when she used his bathroom. He goes in there and finds a loose board, under which is a phone.

We flash-forward one last time to Wes biking up to a motel after burning the body and bleaching the murder weapon. Who is he going to meet? Who was he trying to protect? If you still think it's Professor Keating, well, that really would have been a twist. Rebecca answers the door, scared. He promises never to leave her like that again. “You’re safe now,” he says. Somehow, I feel like that isn’t going to be true.

Reach staff reporter Kelly O'Mara here



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