This episode might not be as par with the pilot, but it has certainly kept with the show’s momentum. The format is the same as last episode’s, where there’s a case that they solve and it weaves back and the forth to the present day, where the four students were trying to cover up the murder, now with more clues hinting about what happened.
The episode starts back in the woods, where Laurel, Connor and Michaela were panicking (this was before Wes showed up with the statue). Michaela was mouthing off scenarios, particularly about this one person (identified as “her”), if she had pinned the incident on them, or how it’s her doing that lead the three of them become sitting ducks. She even considered calling Asher but Laurel and Connor try to make her stop panicking. Then Wes arrives with the statue, and the scene shifts back to two and a half months ago, back to the subject of the student disappearance.
It was approximately a week after the body has been found, leading to speculation that the incident might have been an accident or murder (it was later on revealed to be murder). Annalise and Sam discuss the incident, with Sam mentioning that he was attending a meeting about the case. With the scene going on, Annalise started to get suspicious from the remark of her husband. Her suspicion leads to an opening line for her class, about her clients lying, and whether you truly know someone. For this week, her case was about a wealthy woman who was stabbed to death in her bedroom, with the husband, Max St. Vincent as the primary suspect.
The group eventually meets the husband, who tells them the story of how he and his second wife have met. He leads them into the scene of the crime, where the remnants have been preserved. There was definitely blood everywhere. The highlight of the scene was when Max St. Vincent demonstrated the theory of the murder, using Connor as an example. From this scene, you would think he is the murderer - the scene was played with very passionate stabbing by Max. He even hints that it might not be a theory!
In a rather random turn of events, Wes interacts again with Rebecca, who asks to use his shower because her water was probably contaminated. In another scene, Wes mentions seeing the guy on television in Rebecca’s apartment, and advised her not to talk without a lawyer present. Both scenes will make sense later on, so I thought I’d drop it here for now.
The case they were working on focuses more on support from evidences, from the name in the police report, to discrediting another witness - all of these done by the students. They even brought in Max St. Vincent’s daughter (Eloise) as witness that he would never hurt his wife. However, things turns for the worst when she was questioned about her birth mother, and it was revealed that her mother didn't die from a car accident. Rather, she was killed by someone who was an experienced hunter. Max, unfortunately, was a hunter, who was having an affair with the victim, leading him to kill his first wife in order for them to be together. After the trial, he changed their identity in order to have a fresh start.
However, Annalise yet again prevails, after Laurel had spoke up about the messiness of the second murder. Back in court, they had proven that he has murdered the first wife by demonstrating a ‘humane’ way to kill an animal, with the procedure being identical to the first murder. It was later on supported by the examiner, who states on record that two different people committed the murders. It turns out that the murderer was Eloise St. Vincent, who harbored revenge on her father for killing her mother. It was discovered that it was she who sent the files regarding her father’s first murder. From the group of people Annalise hired, it was only Wes who figured out who the murderer was, prompting her to address the group that it was Laurel and Wes who could be a threat to them. Was Eloise persecuted? No.
So, let’s get back to our characters, both from the flash back and the present. As I've mentioned, Annalise has been suspicious about whether her husband had relations with the student. She snooped on his phone, found some emails, and confronted him about their relationship. He denied having relations with her, and it was mentioned that this wasn't the first incident. Later on, as they were about to celebrate her win, she checks his phone and finds out that the emails have been deleted, further confirming her suspicions. She then heads to her boyfriend’s (the detective) house in panic, and asks to make sure his alibi is air-tight.
Later on, an arrest was made. The boyfriend and Rebecca were arrested, with reports citing that Rebecca’s workplace has involvement with drugs. Wes recalls her using his shower, and checks his bathroom for something she left. He lifts up the broken drawer floor, where a cellphone was revealed.
Like last episode, the scenes shift back and forth to the present, but as we've witnessed the revelation of the body last episode, the events that occurred during the night are slowly starting to play out, giving us viewers a clue on what is happening. It was revealed that Wes lied about the result of the coin toss. When he was purchasing materials they were going to need to burn the body, he bought a burner phone and called someone. He assured her that he got the rest of the group to do it, and that they were going to protect her. After they burned the body, Wes was shown heading to a motel room and knocked on the door. It was Rebecca who was standing inside. Wes reported that it was done, and the two shared a kiss, the episode ending with Wes consoling her that she was going to be safe.
The case work for the episode was a bit disappointing, as there was more activity going on in the previous episode. It does show how the justice system can work - for completely the wrong people. The writing for this week had the episode divided in such a way that it's a bit difficult to recap because you have to drop bombs here and there in order for the succeeding scenes to make sense. As I've mentioned, the case wasn't as thrilling to watch - everything was evidence-related that it was easy to debunk. Even the shocked reactions of the characters to the murder demonstrations didn't work at keeping things interesting. It was easy to just put the case aside and watch the drama between the characters unfold. Unfortunately, there wasn't much to work with for the episode.
The only one with a stable story line is Annalise, and everyone else just get random bits. Wes is still proving to be the other interesting character, if only for his interactions outside the circle. I think he will have a prominent role in the show, even if he's not as helpful with the cases. Laurel gets a bit more focus here, as she has to prove her worth in being part of the firm, and not just a play thing for Frank - although Frank and Bonnie have discussions of their own. I hope that others get fair play when it comes to character content, because some of them are an interesting bunch. I kind of feel bad for Asher though; here's there purely for comic relief.
I think what makes it a bit difficult for the characters to all get ample screen time and actual chunks to work with is that they started out with such a huge cast, and everyone seems to have their bit of drama, albeit small parts, that there isn't time for everyone to be given a moment. The show is currently highlighting the strengths of the student characters, but Michaela and Asher appear to be the weakest links. The writers do need to bring something else on the table for Connor, because his angle is getting a bit repetitive - unless it has something to do with the future episodes, so who knows?
The present murder incident is getting a bit interesting, as other events surrounding it unfold. I wonder when Annalise will get in the picture, or will she be involved at all. I'm also interesting in finding out the motives of these students, or what really happened that lead to the event.