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‘How To Get Away With Murder’ Season 1 Episode 11 Recap: “Best Christmas Ever”


The end of last week’s How To Get Away With Murder introduced us to Sam Keating’s sister, Hannah Keating (Marcia Gay Harden), who has come to Philadelphia to vouch for her brother’s innocence and probably end up getting in the way of Murder Crew’s murder cover-up. This week’s episode opens on a sleepless Annalise over winter break, hanging out in her hotel room, ignoring phone calls from her boyfriend Nate (is he still her boyfriend?), and drinking all the alcohols. Eventually winter break ends, and she has to go back and be Professor Keating again.

When she returns home, it’s to Hannah trying her hardest to convince Annalise that her brother isn’t a murderer and that they should be considering foul play. Annalise is a little over-zealous in pushing her opinion, which makes Hannah throw a few suspicious looks her way. Annalise sends Hannah off with a box full of the evidence against Sam in the hopes that it will get her to stop believing in him.

Back on Middleton University campus, the Murder Crew reunites shortly before their first class of second semester Criminal Law 100. Wes is seemingly as calm as ever, Laurel is just happy to see that everyone has passed the class, Michaela has replaced her lost engagement ring with a fake, and Connor is still in low-key freak out mode over Hannah Keating… information which, judging by the looks of confusion on everyone’s face when he talks about it, Annalise has neglected to share with the rest of them. Wes in particular is surprised, though Annalise explains to him privately that she thought he had enough on his plate.

Flashbacks of Wes and Rebecca’s winter break reveal that Wes has actually been suffering from nightmares since Sam’s death. They get a Christmas card in the mail addressed to Rudy, the tenant who lived in the apartment before Wes, and Wes expresses confusion over why Rudy’s family doesn’t know he’s moved away. Rebecca casually changes the subject. SUSPICIOUS.

Laurel’s break goes about as well as Wes’ does; frustrated with her wealthy and shallow family’s idle gossip, she snaps during a family dinner and starts ranting in both English and Spanish about her boss’ husband strangling a girl at school. She’s dismissed from the table and ordered to go back to Philadelphia, which she does with a strained grin. Man, I am really starting to like Laurel.

Connor’s family is a lot warmer. He spends some time bonding with his sister, who’s ecstatic that her “slutty little brother is finally growing up” and settling down with a steady boyfriend.

Later, a woman named Jackie comes to Annalise’s law firm asking for her help. She says her husband is holding two women captive in their basement, and one of the women is about to deliver a baby. Annalise takes Jackie’s case and tries to get her a plea deal, as police swarm the woman’s house. The judge refuses to accept the deal until she gets testimony from the victims.

That night, Annalise pays a visit to Nate as Hannah un-stealthily follows her around the city in her car “looking for answers”. Meanwhile Connor’s car is stolen during a pseudo-date with Oliver, but that turns out to be Frank taking care of loose ends like all the DNA left in it from transporting Sam’s dead body. At least the pseudo-date (which turns into two psuedo-dates) manages to get Connor back in Oliver’s good graces, enough for them to try a relationship again.

The women’s testimony reveals that Jackie drugged them before her husband’s rapes, ostensibly to protect them — and in a later session with Annalise, it’s discovered that Jackie has secretly been raising one of the captive women’s babies after lying about it being stillborn. She refuses to tell Annalise where the child is until the plea deal goes through — so Annalise lies to ensure the child’s safety. Thankfully, the kid is saved in time, which seems to give Annalise some hope.

A final flashback tells us what Michaela went through over winter break: after she accused her fiance of sleeping with a male colleague in full view of everyone at a Christmas party, he has called off the wedding, saying he doesn’t want to marry her when she’s “like this”.

While waiting outside the law firm, a level-headed Laurel tries to get everyone to talk about how they feel and remain united rather than falling apart and getting everyone caught. They’re interrupted by Hannah arriving to return Annalise’s box of evidence. Hannah tells Bonnie that nothing she saw in the box convinced her of Sam’s guilt, and tries to get Bonnie to help her figure out what’s going on with Annalise.

Frank spies the end of the conversation and goes straight to Annalise. He tells her he can “handle it” if she wants, which is television-speak for “kill the person and hide the body”, which again makes me question what the hell it is Frank’s job description is, besides taking care of the questionably legal aspects around the firm like planting evidence and reappropriating murder cars. Does he assassinate, too? Well we won’t find out in this episode, because Annalise tells him she can handle it herself.

Cut to Annalise inviting Hannah over for dinner to tell her heavily edited parts of the truth — that she knew about the affair for months and tried to keep it under wraps to protect Sam, which is why she’s going so far to vilify him in court now — to keep Hannah from digging for more. The final scene of the episode is, as usual, a shocking cliffhanger: Rebecca shows Wes a news snippet about human remains found in the trash, remains that have been identified as Sam Keating. Well, that happened faster than I thought it would! Seriously, this is what they get for getting lazy with the body disposal.