[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Thursday's midseason finale of How to Get Away with Murder. Read at your own risk.]
Who killed Sam on How to Get Away with Murder?
It was Wes (Alfred Enoch) in the living room with the Immunity Idol. But it turns out he wasn't the only one there. No, we're not talking about Rebecca (Katie Findlay), Connor (Jack Falahee), Laurel (Karla Souza) and Michaela (Aja Naomi King)... but Annalise (Viola Davis)!
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After an insane war of words between Sam (Tom Verica) and Annalise (see: "That's how foul you are, you disgusting slut") on Murder Night, she leaves the house, while Sam hits the bottle. Michaela turns up with the Immunity Idol just as Rebecca enters. Sam chases Rebecca upstairs, but she locks herself in the bathroom to copy info from Sam's computer onto a flash drive. Instead of, say, calling the cops, Michaela calls Wes, Connor and Laurel, who show up to "help." Things get physical when Sam tries to wrestle the flash drive out of Rebecca's hands. In the ensuing struggle, Michaela accidentally pushes him over the stairwell. Kerplunk! But Sam wasn't dead yet! All of a sudden, he's trying to strangle Rebecca in the living room and Wes slugs him on the back of the head with the trophy.
The rest of Murder Night unfolds as we've been teased, with a never-before-seen detour by Annalise to Nate's (Billy Brown) for a hot little nightcap — a nice contrast against that awkwardly hilarious booty call between Asher (Matt McGorry) and Bonnie (Liza Weil). Afterwards, Annalise leaves a lengthy, emotional voicemail for Sam, begging to start over. The next morning, everyone convenes at House Keating to speak with the police about Sam's disappearance. Annalise explains that Sam might be on the lam because she had indirectly turned him in for Lila's murder, and thus she wants the Keating 5 to be as honest as possible about the details of Rebecca's case.
Flash-back to when Wes returned to the house solo to retrieve the murder weapon. "I'm sorry," he tells Sam's lifeless corpse.
"Don't be," Annalise suddenly snarls from her desk.
Yup, she's known this whole time. So what's next? Creator and showrunner Peter Nowalk answer our burning questions.
I don't think anyone saw the Annalise reveal coming.
Good! That makes me so happy! [Laughs]
A lot of people pegged Wes as the killer. He was the most wide-eyed member of the group, and he was invested in protecting Rebecca. What was your thought process in having Annalise know?
I have to give my writers a lot of credit for that. They were the ones who first said, "Maybe if Wes went back for the trophy, Annalise is there." I think that was probably pretty early in the season when we discussed that. I wish I could say I knew when I wrote the pilot. But I did not. We debated a lot. We went back and forth about whether that was something we wanted to show and where we wanted to reveal that. For a while, it was like, "We'll end the midseason [finale] on who killed Sam." And just seeing how much story we had, we were like, "No, we can show who killed Sam early, see the night and hope that people think it's over and then we can deliver this final twist." It was a challenge to figure out what Annalise was doing throughout the night as we weren't showing her. We had to figure out our timeline because when you don't see Annalise for a while on the show, you start to wonder. I'm glad people did not see it coming because that is my big worry all the time — they'll see the twist coming from a mile away.
How to Get Away with Murder's Katie Findlay on Rebecca and Wes' relationship
Can you confirm Annalise's timeline? I'm assuming she left the house, we saw her sit outside the police station, then she went back to the house and saw Sam's body and Wes, then headed to Nate's to give herself an alibi and then left that voicemail?
I don't want to confirm one way or another. That's why we chose to end the episode with a question mark and a little bit of a, "Wait, what?" I love that if people are interested, they can go back and put those puzzle pieces together themselves, especially since we don't really know what happens after that moment when she says, "Don't be." Anything could've happened. We will be revealing what she was doing.
This explains why Wes was so calm and cool about everything. I thought he was just a sociopath, but now we know what he was doing and that Annalise was part of it! Are we going to see what went down between them in the living room?
I don't want to say for sure one way or another, but it's my goal to give the audience answers and not just confuse them for the heck of it. So my goal right now is to connect the dots for people.
Are we going to see her reaction to finding Sam's body?
I'll just say you'll get all the answers you want.
I noticed that the scales on the trophy are missing. Is that going to come back to haunt the Keating 5?
They are missing. Good eye! [Laughs] The rule that I've always had about the little things on the show, like the scales, Michaela's missing ring and shirtless Frank calling Laurel that we saw in the pilot — sometimes things aren't what they seem and sometimes they are. Yes, the scales are missing and there are a lot of other loose ends that for sure could come back to haunt them. The point is these are young people who are not used to committing murder. Mistakes will be made and there will be a lot of work to cover it up.
A lot of fans are wondering why didn't they just call the police, especially after Sam choked Rebecca? I guess you wouldn't have a show then. Would you chalk that up to nerves and shock?
Nowalk: They didn't call the police because, and we really want to point this out, what Laurel said about felony murder is a true legal thing. It's taking a risk calling the police. They could've all been charged. I think you chalk it up to nerves and shock and making decisions in the spur of the moment when you're not thinking straight. Or are they just smarter than the rest of us and they don't want to get in trouble for something that was a mistake?
What's Annalise and Wes' relationship going to be like now? They've been trying to one-up each other so far. But she's pulling the strings now, since she's helping him get away with murder.
Nowalk: I think their relationship is really complicated. Annalise has always seen something in Wes. She sees potential and a little bit of herself in him. Hopefully the relationship will feel like it gets deeper and more complicated. There's a real mother-son thing going on with them. I think every parent wants to protect their child to an extreme degree, even if that means covering up for murder. Or sometimes they're really disappointed in them and wants to put them in their place. [Laughs] It's all complex and Wes doesn't have a mother, so it goes both ways for him too.
Are we going to find out more about those scratch marks on his wall and Rudy?
Yes, I will say that. I don't know if it'll all tie together because that makes me nervous, but that's another question mark that we'll answer.
How will everyone deal with the investigation into Sam's "disappearance"? Connor and Michaela are losing their minds, but I thought it was interesting how calm Laurel was. It's always the quiet ones, right?
[Laughs] That's what Annalise said in the second episode! It's like if you've seen a car accident or [seen] someone choke on their food, these are four people and they all react differently. That's always been psychologically really fun. All these characters are so different. I love how Laurel is always thinking 10 steps ahead and tries to plan. She says to Michaela, "This is not a thing you can control" and I think that's Laurel's way of controlling it. Michaela, in a sense, is actually having the most healthy reaction, which is to be f---ing traumatized and freaking out. None of us know what we'd do in that situation.
How to Get Away with Murder's Liza Weil: Everything changes between Bonnie and Annalise
Asher is my favorite character. I loved how he didn't want to take advantage of Bonnie because she was drunk. His dad has basically disowned him and he's the odd man out of the Keating 5 now, so what's that dynamic like? They considered telling him.
He's definitely on the outside and completely clueless, which is complicated for them because they spend so much time together. How do they keep this a secret from him? The big thing that bleeds through all the characters is their paranoia in the next few episodes, and who knows what. "Am I being played?" The distrust is running high. At the same time, they have to rely on each other more than ever.
What can we expect in the final six episodes? Are we going to see Rebecca's trial? Do you know how the season ends?
It's not gonna go how you expect. We pick up very soon after where Episode 9 ended. We are not doing flash-forwards, per se. We do play with time in different episodes. We felt for the final six that we want to put that device away because we had done it. A lot of the questions that we started with will be answered. How much do Bonnie and Frank know? In terms of what happens with Rebecca's trial, that will be resolved.
Are you going to ID Lila's murderer?
Yes, I can say that!
How to Get Away with Murder returns Thursday, Jan. 29 at 10/9c on ABC. What did you think of the midseason finale?
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