[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Thursday's episode of How to Get Away with Murder. Read at your own risk.]
#WhoShotAnnalise? It was Wes — or should we say Christophe?
Wes (Alfred Enoch) pulled the trigger on Annalise (Viola Davis) on Thursday's How to Get Away with Murder after she damn well lost her freakin' mind on Murder Night. It all starts after Asher's (Matt McGorry) dad hangs himself over his David Allen case leak. Doucheface blames it all on Sinclair (Sarah Burns), who doesn't help matters by telling him that his dad deserved it for covering up Trotter Lake for Asher. Pissed, Asher backs straight up over Sinclair in the parking garage and calls Bonnie (Liza Weil), who in turns calls Annalise. Fearing that Nate (Billy Brown) will be suspected in Sinclair's death after an earlier tiff at the police station, Annalise gets the brilliant idea to frame Catherine (Amy Okuda), who's fled to a motel, by staging Sinclair's body at the Hapstall mansion and dispatches Frank (Charlie Weber) to drug Catherine.
Slight problem. The Keating 4 are, understandably, not cool with that plan, so Annalise pulls a trump card: She tells Asher that the other four, not Bonnie, killed Sam (um, it was just Wes), and she's been helping them cover it up, so they owe her. Connor (Jack Falahee) and Michaela (Aja Naomi King) help Bonnie and Asher carry Sinclair's body to the balcony to toss over before trying to flee. But Annalise has another brilliant idea: To make the crime scene more believable, she needs to be shot. After Bonnie and Asher leave, Annalise maniacally pleads with the Keating 4 to shoot her in the leg. When no one bites, she deploys her backup plan and tells Wes that Rebecca is actually dead.
It works too well and he tries to shoot her dead, but before he can kill her, Annalise whispers "Christophe." And finally we get more info about the "It's him" exchange between Annalise and Eve (Famke Janssen). A flashback to 10 years ago shows a school-aged Wes telling a detective that he's pretty sure his mother was already dead when he found her. Behind the two-way mirror, Eve says, "Good God, Annalise. What did we do?"
So what did they do? Executive producer Peter Nowalk answers our burning questions below.
That was sufficiently insane. When did you come up with the Christophe arc? Did you always know this was Wes and Annalise's backstory?
Peter Nowalk: [Laughs] No. I just knew they had a backstory and I had a little bit of an idea what it was. We did not decide to put that in this script until we had written the script honestly, so right before we started shooting it. Originally, I thought we'd wait a few seasons before we learn more about that, but it felt like this was the time. That's always been the lesson of this show for me — to just move things up sooner and worry about it later.
Is that how you landed on Wes being the shooter?
Nowalk: Yes. We had everyone in mind. We went through everyone and we honestly didn't know that he was going to shoot to kill until we wrote the script as well. We have goals that we aim for and when we get there, we kind of make it messier, and hopefully it works. Annalise telling Wes about Rebecca — that was it. It made the sense for him to want to actually kill her after that. He shot to kill and he might have had she not said ["Christophe"].
Have you broken the whole Christophe story?
Nowalk: It's in the works. Again, we have goals. By the time I talk to you maybe at the end of the season it might be different than what it is right now. I think all of it — it's only going to get uglier.
What can you say about what Eve and Annalise did? Did they kill his mom or just cover it up? If it was a cover-up, did Christophe kill her? He seemed really annoyed by the detective's line of questioning and I've always felt Wes was a sociopath.
Nowalk: [Laughs] Those are all very valid theories! That's the challenge for us because you're all onto our tricks. I'm hoping we come up with something you don't expect. There are a lot of things implied in that scene, but it's about what you take away from it. Anything's possible!
Was his mother's death the case Eve said she and Annalise consulted on years ago?
Nowalk: Interesting. That is a very observant question! I won't say one way or another, but I will give you real credit for putting that together from that one little comment. That's crazy. That was almost a throwaway. You remember that?
Not purposely. It's one of those things you don't realize you remember until something triggers it, like that scene!
Nowalk: Right. You're watching closely! I would say the math does make sense.
When are other people going to find out Wes shot Annalise?
Nowalk: Well, Laurel [Karla Souza] saw it happen. I'd say people always find out quickly whenever something like that has happened. We know [the Keating 4] are in the car together later that night, and Connor and Michaela know what Annalise was trying to get them to do.
Are other people going to learn about Christophe? Did Laurel overhear Annalise whisper "Christophe"?
Nowalk: That is another question we'll answer when we get back. You're asking all the right ones, but I can't answer or else we'll have nothing to surprise you with!
Annalise was so unhinged in that gun scene. What was her thought process through all that? Was it just desperate times, desperate measures?
Nowalk: Yes. I think she's extremely desperate. She's also firing on all cylinders in terms of her planning. I don't even know what the word is. She's honestly really overwhelmed. There's all this stuff that happened in her past that I think at some point anyone with it would break. You need an escape from it all and I don't think this is a good one. I think she was just kind of tired.
It did seem like she wanted everything to end when she first got the call about Sinclair and the camera swirled around her. But her spilling the beans about Sam's death and Rebecca's death was very conniving and kind of doing the opposite. She's just pissing more people off.
Nowalk: Yeah, she's all about moving forward. I think she's reacting in the moment and thinking later. I think that's sort of what makes her genius, and I love to watch her and write her. She's very smart and she's in a war. She's just making battlefield positions.
I was kind of bummed Asher killed Sinclair. He was one of the few, if not the only one, with a conscience and a clean resume.
Nowalk: [Laughs] Sort of clean if you don't count Trotter Lake! It felt very believable to me that someone could run over someone in a Snatched moment. I've seen that show and it's happened! It's completely out of character and they say they don't know what came over them and that it just happened. He had all the motivation in the world. This is a woman he thinks has ruined his life and now his father's dead, his mother hates him, and Sinclair just said horrible things to him. I agree it's a bummer and it's a bummer he has to deal with when we come back.
When are we gonna see the rest of his police station scene?
Nowalk: We're going to see that when we come back and we'll understand what he's doing there. Is he confessing? Is this part of the plan? Does it not have anything to do with anything?
What is Asher and Bonnie's relationship going to be like? She really came through and protected him through all this and now he knows she didn't kill Sam, but he still doesn't know that she killed Rebecca.
Nowalk: The last thing she said to him was, "I can't look at you the same way anymore." I still think that applies. She was really there for him in an intense way. Does that mean they're romantically in love? I don't think that's the same thing.
How does the back six episodes look? You've still got the Hapstall case, now the D.A. is dead, the defense attorney's been shot, Annalise knows about Christophe...
Nowalk: [Laughs] It's jam-packed honestly. My goal is to delve into the characters more and have their dynamics change, learn about certain people's backstories. For us, it's trying to find ways to show how different people are from each other. There's a lot to deal with Wes and Annalise. He has a lot of questions for her. I think he's probably full of guilt for what he did. All the rules have changed. I don't think she's gonna be able to deal with him in the same way anymore or wants to.
I'm assuming we'll see Eve again.
Nowalk: Yes. That's exciting for me because I love Famke and she agreed to come to us for a little bit.
Is there any way the Keating 5 will remain intact after all of this? Asher is already an outsider, and Connor and Michaela have paired off out of fear.
Nowalk: Or are they more bonded together? They have a common enemy now in Annalise. They can truly stick together. The whole group can even more bonded together by blood.
I liked what Bonnie said to Frank about how they say they're protecting themselves, but they've become the people that others need to be protected from.
Nowalk: I think at this point they are definitely the people other people need to be protected from. [Laughs] It's kind of interesting to me. If they were all alone, they probably would've given up already, but the group's togetherness and support allows them to keep going and not pay for their sins.
Now that Wes knows Rebecca's dead, is he going to investigate that and try to find her body? Will we see Levi again?
Nowalk: He's a hanging chad for us — the audience and for us here. Wes definitely wants more answers about Rebecca. We already know how determined he was to find her when she was just missing. Now that he knows she's dead, he's going to want a body. Levi is one of the many people in the wind that could complicate things later. Philip is another. He was right outside that freakin' mansion!
Do you have any idea how you'll end the season yet or is this a one-day-a-time situation?
Nowalk: Yes and yes. We have things planned, but for us, it's always adding a cherry on top, so I'm very open to ideas. We just go one episode at a time. It's so fast-paced and crazy. I know every showrunner says this, but we've done well with just following our nose. Hopefully people are intrigued by this new mystery. I think people have wanted to know the truth behind Wes and Annalise for a while, so we're finally going to do it.
How to Get Away with Murder returns Thursday, Feb. 11 at 10/9c on ABC.