I’ve been waiting to get more character development from Asher and I finally got it this week! The name of the episode, “Freakin-Whack-A-Mole,” was coined by Connor during a scene from the present. I switched the order of the recap a little bit this week because of what happened at the end!
The Past – 5 Weeks Earlier
Wes’s absence is noted by all of the major players when he leaves the trophy at his desk in class. In the middle of a class discussion, Bonnie walks in and whispers to Annalise. Class is dismissed early but the “Keating 5” stay. We now have a nickname! I guess she was in denial that there was four. While Annalise is on the phone Connor notes the four. Asher thinks the trophy is back up for grabs. Laurel at least suggests that Wes could’ve been sick while Michaela thinks he couldn’t take the pressure.
Annalise tells the four that she’s taken on a new case. She’s trying to stop the execution of David Allen (Peter Macon), a man who was convicted 21 years ago of murdering his girlfriend Trisha Stanley with circumstantial evidence. The prosecution argued that the motive was Allen thought Stanley was in love with her boss. This case is personal for Annalise because at the time she was a law student and it made her realize that sometimes the justice system doesn’t always work for those that tell the truth “but for those that have the power to create their own.” She’s on a mission to save this man and you see the passion she has for this case in how she treats Allen versus the other clients we’ve seen so far.
Annalise filed an appeal and was granted an emergency hearing in three days so the Keating 4 (initially) work to find new evidence that could sway the Supreme Court to stay Allen’s execution and dismiss the case. Back at Annalise’s house the Keating 4 go over the trail notes. Laurel discovers that Asher’s Dad, Judge William Millstone (John Posey), presided over the case. Connor snidely remarks that he now knows why Asher is even there. When he asks Annalise if she knew later, she closes the door in his face. Laurel tells Frank while getting coffee they won’t kiss again.
Wes is brought up to speed on the case. Now it’s back to Keating 5! Annalise has him and Laurel talk to the original defense attorney while Connor and Michaela question the original prosecutor. Asher and Bonnie talk to the witness Linda Morelli (Donna Pieroni), a teacher that saw him with the gun. Go team Bosher! More on that later. The original defense attorney thought the case was hopeless because of the witness Morelli despite the fact that Allen had an alibi. Allen’s alibi, J-Wat aka Jason Watkins, was on drugs and he didn’t want Allen associated with that. Annalise tries to find Watkins but he died from an overdose 15 months ago. The original prosecutor claims that he left because of stress but Michaela busted him when she found he filed to work on another case right after leaving the Allen one. He admits off record that he was tipped to witness perjury and there was pressure to convict which is why he left. He brought it up to Judge Millstone at the time who didn’t do anything about it.
Asher is in denial that his father was involved in misconduct. He storms off when Annalise says they are going after his father. So far Connor and Michaela don’t find any noted misconduct about Judge Millstone or any signs of prejudice. When Michaela thinks Asher may be right, Annalise reminds her about clinical objectivity. Hmmm, how about following your own advice there Annalise, especially when it comes to your husband.
Asher goes to his father’s house and looks at his father’s notes during the case. He finds something. He confronts his father about it during a football game. He mentions that there are no notes on the day he met with the prosecutor about the Allen case. He finds it odd because his father has kept meticulous ones all the years he’s been a judge. Daddy Millstone denies any wrongdoing, even when Asher reveals after the trail Millstone got his federal judge appointment. Asher mentions a friend of his Dad’s senator Art Trucco putting in a good word. I liked this scene because we actually get to see an emotional side to Asher by seeing the disappointment and hurt about his dad. Father Millstone tells him to get out. Asher leaves.
Asher approaches Annalise with information that can help the case but before he divulges it he demands the trophy and that his father’s role is not revealed. Annalise agrees. She meets with the rest of the team to find out who the false witness was. She also tells them that they go after Trucco to find out why he needed Allen to be convicted. The Keating 5 pull long hours trying to figure out motive and who the witness could be. While mostly everyone’s asleep, Laurel sees Frank about to leave. Looking at Wes she goes to Frank and asks him if he’s looking for Rebecca. Laurel seems to be flirting heavily with him. Bonnie see the exchange (she seems to do that a lot) and demands to talk to Laurel. Bonnie then tells her to stop leading Frank on. Bonnie shows concern because Laurel is rich and feels like she is giving Frank false hope. Bonnie threatens to tell Annalise, who considers Frank family. Laurel then starts giving Frank the cold shoulder the next time they see each other.
Annalise talks with Allen about Trucco. He tells her that Trucco was buying property in Fairmount and trying to raise rents so the poor move out. Trisha was trying to stop the development. Allen thought she had no power. Annalise thinks that wasn’t the case. Back at the house Wes wakes up to see Connor looking at him. The question comes up about whether he’s sleeping with Rebecca which he denies. Michaela gets in the teasing. Laurel tries to stick up for Wes to tell them to stop. Asher brings it up and Wes tells him he can’t talk since he has a corrupt Dad. Connor makes a snide remark when Asher tries to bum rush and trips over some boxes of files. I cracked up at Connor’s line, “that’s the best thing I’ve seen in days.” Annalise walks in demanding to know what’s going on. Asher picks up a sheet referring to Trucco’s real estate group. Asher recognizes the logo because he saw it in the building where Ms. Morelli lives when he questioned her. Looks like they found their false witness!
The day of the state Supreme Court hearing arrives. Annalise has Ms. Morelli on the stand and accuses her of perjury. Annalise asks the judges to subpoena Senator Trucco which they do. Annalise goes hard after Trucco but he doesn’t really answer her question about if he had Trisha Stanley killed. The prosecutor and one of the judges have to rein her in but not before she made her point about the injustice inflicted on Allen and the community. This scene was everything. Laurel and Michaela during the break at court were in awe. I don’t blame them.
The judges, while they admonished Annalise about her conduct, agree that the prosecutions’ case as well as her’s is based on speculation. They order an investigation on the false witness and Senator Trucco. Asher looks worried after hearing that there will be an investigation. They overturn the conviction and death sentence. They also prohibit another trial for Allen! He gets to go home! I was so happy for him! Asher now has the statue on his bookshelf and celebrates. Looks like Annalise kept her promise.
The Lila Stangard Murder Case
At the start of class where Wes left the trophy, Annalise remembers the tail end of last week’s conversation. Wes calls Annalise a liar and she disgusts him. He leaves and Annalise yells down at him from the top of the stairs to not leave the house.
Sam is panicking thinking Wes went to the police. Annalise reassures Sam that he didnt and that she can handle Wes because he’s a confused child. Ouch! Sam’s miffed that she has a hearing in a few days during his crisis and she counters that she didn’t know that he was having an affair when she filed the petition. Oh well! Bonnie walks in to tell Annalise that Frank says it’s okay to go somewhere now. Sam stops Bon (that’s his nickname for her) after Annalise leaves to thank her for dealing with their drama. She says it’s for Annalise. “I would do anything for her.” Yeah right.
Frank told Annalise to go to Wes’s apartment. Wes just came out of the shower. Annalise mentions he was missed in class today and that there’s the David Allen case he can help work on. She brings the trophy with her but Wes doesn’t want it back. Annalise notices the scratches on the walls and asks if that was him and Rebecca. Wes ignores that and asks what she wants, Annalise asks the question back. He tells her to do whatever it takes to bring Rebecca back since she has a hearing soon or he goes to the police. Wes tries to act like an adult when he shows an envelope containing all that he knew written and he has copies in a safe deposit box. Annalise really hopes that Wes doesn’t fully believe that Rebecca, a drug dealer, is completely innocent. Wes tells her that he just wants to do the right thing. Annalise tries to reassure Wes that she wants to help Rebecca not just her husband.
Annalise has Frank find Rebecca but tells him to not approach her. She thinks Rebecca’s using one of her drug connections to hide out. I love how she told Frank “the puppy is acting up.” When she gets upset about a turn in the Allen case, she looks at the different files on her desks and finds Lila’s boyfriend Griffin O’Reilly’s file. She later asks Frank to do something for her.
After the court hearing, Wes goes into Annalise’s office. She tells him that there have been new developments in Rebecca’s case. She plays on her computer a news report about an anonymous tip to new evidence found in O’Reilly’s car, Lila’s phone. The police think there is now a motive because there were photos of a unidentified lover. Annalise had Frank make sure there was no trace of anything on Lila’s phone that could identify Sam. Wes, the kid, did mention to do whatever it takes. Annalise tells him he can give Rebecca the good news. Frank will tell him where she is.
Rebecca’s initially not okay with what Annalise did because she knows that Griffin didn’t know about the lover. Wes brings up he doesn’t want her to go to jail if she didn’t do it. He’s hoping she’s not lying to him. Rebecca goes awww, no one’s ever believed in me before like this. Wes asks her to come home and let Annalise defend her.
Sam hears on the news that the police are trying to look for the man in the photo. Annalise walks in. She changed the wallpaper so at least it’s no longer obvious if someone pays attention. He asks why she’s doing this. She responds that she needs him and loves him. She starts crying. Sam goes over and tells her he loves her too. A knock on the door shows Wes and Rebecca. Annalise says that they can go over the next steps of her case and brings them in.
Nate is in his car outside of the house. He gets photos from a surveillance done on Griffin from the last 48 hours. Some of the photos show Frank planting the phone during the day. Not looking good Frank!
Asher is prepping to go to the bonfire by dancing around in his apartment making it rain when he gets a call from a girl named Alicia. He’s happy he doesn’t have to study when he notices his trophy is missing. Then we see Asher banging on the door. Wes, Rebecca, Michaela, Connor, and Laurel are hiding in Annalise’s office near Sam’s dead body. Laurel suggests that they let Asher in so he can be part of the conspiracy. Connor and Rebecca like that idea but Wes shuts it down. Connor brings up if Asher was brought in maybe Judge Millstone could let them off. Asher left because Michaela, surprisingly calm, texted him that she was in the library.
Connor and co leave the house with the body. They are discussing what gas station to get supplies at when they almost hit Asher. He had walked right in front of them. They try to hide themselves but Asher doesn’t see them. He’s happy that he’s about to have someone over at his place.
That person turns out to be Bonnie. Team Bosher indeed! He’s miffed after seeing the photos of the Keating four at the bonfire because they teased him about wanting to go and he accuses them of stealing his trophy. It is still missing. Bonnie tells him that no one can know about what happened between them. Asher wants to go at it again. Bonnie’s phone rings. It’s Annalise, frantic, asking if Sam is with her. Bonnie tells her no. Annalise thinks something bad has happened to him. When we see her, the rug is gone.
So where was Annalise all this time? Was she with Nate? Why is Bonnie all of a sudden interested in Asher that she would have sex with him? Especially since she gets upset with Frank when he does it with the female students.
Each episode leaves more questions. I can’t wait until next week! Sound below in the comments your thoughts about the episode!
“Freakin’ Whack-a-Mole” was written by Mike Foley and directed by Bill D’Elia according to the press release.
*Photos courtesy of ABC/Mitchell Haaseth