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How to Get Away with Murder Postmortem: Boss Breaks Down Annalise's Motives and Killer Theories

[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Thursday's episode of How to Get Away with Murder. Read at your own risk.]

Joyce Eng

[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Thursday's episode of How to Get Away with Murder. Read at your own risk.]
Good thing How to Get Away with Murder isn't called How to Keep a Secret. Because nobody's doing a real good job of that. Setting the stage for Murder Night, Thursday's episode featured hookups, lies, death stares, a near-slap, a pink slip, and ended with Annalise (Viola Davis) basically turning in Sam (Tom Verica).
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After Bonnie (Liza Weil) delivered (heh) the pregnancy news, Sam adamantly denies to his wife and Bonnie that he knew Lila was with child. Through flashbacks, we learn that Lila told her pal/dealer Rebecca (Katie Findlay) that she is hooking up with a married "Mr. Darcy" and also find out that Sam tried to end things with Lila. The final Lila flashback takes place moments (hours?) before she was murdered: She shows up inconsolable at the Keatings' to tell Annalise about the affair and the bun in the oven. Bonnie answers the door and intimidates away Lila, who implies that Sam knew she was pregnant.
In the present, now Murder Night, Bonnie confronts Sam, who tries to buy Bonnie's loyalty with a smooch, but we all know Bonnie's devotion truly lies with Annalise. Bonnie, whom Annalise had earlier chewed out for not doing her job, tearfully tells her boss/idol everything, including the kiss. "He's not a good man," she blubbers before literally falling on her hands and knees. "You're fired," Annalise says. "Leave and don't come back." When Sam comes home, Annalise says she just told the cops to collect DNA from all the men in Lila's life, including her teachers.
Before all that, Annalise tells Wes (Alfred Enoch) that Lila was pregnant — because she knows not to keep secrets from him anymore — and trusts that he won't tell Rebecca. He does, of course, and Rebecca works with Nate (Billy Brown) to expose Sam. When getting his hair sample fails, Wes witnesses Nate giving Rebecca a flash drive to collect data off Sam's computer. The new lovebirds fight, and Rebecca, drive in hand, takes off to the Keatings', as Connor (Jack Falahee) and Laurel (Karla Souza) — whose quickie with Frank (Charlie Weber) is interrupted by his girlfriend — arrive at Wes' for study group.
Meanwhile, Michaela (Aja Naomi King), who nearly slaps her future mother-in-law (Lynn Whitfield) over the pre-nup, wants the Immunity Idol for solving the case of the week. When Annalise refuses, she ostensibly shows up for Asher's (Matt McGorry) pre-bonfire party, swipes it and leaves while he's getting drinks. Poor Asher. At least he has Team Bosher to look forward to?
So what can we expect on Murder Night on next week's midseason finale? Creator Peter Nowalk gave us the scoop.
I really liked how the episode put all the pieces in place for Murder Night.
Peter Nowalk:
Thank you! You never know how it'll turn out. ... Next week, we'll see who killed Sam. We'll see pieces we saw on Murder Night in context. We will also see scenes from that night that we haven't seen. We'll see where Bonnie was. Where did she go after she got fired? And before she called Asher. We'll also get through the night and some of the next day. I hope it's a roller-coaster ride of puzzle pieces coming together.
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I loved the scene with Bonnie and Annlise. Her crying and begging for forgiveness and worshipping at Annalise's altar encapsulate who she was. There's a theory that Bonnie's the killer because she's in love with Annalise and not Sam. Have you heard that?
[Laughs] I actually haven't heard that. I won't confirm or deny either way. To me, the fun is people have theories. Everything's possible really. I will say there is definite love between Annalise and Bonnie. The way they both played the scene, which I have to give them and our director Debbie Allen so much credit because they came up with that themselves, was amazing. When I see it, I'm like, "That is the most amazing thing. I want to watch it on repeat." There is a history to the relationship that we don't know about and there's a form of love, definitely.
Do you know what their history is? Is that something we'll see in the future?
We definitely have theories of how Bonnie came to work for Annalise, just like we have theories for Frank too. The longer we stay on the air, I hope we eventually we'll get there.
Does Annalise have another motive for firing Bonnie besides not telling her about Lila and Sam kissing her? It seemed like when Bonnie said that Sam wasn't a good man, she still wasn't ready to hear that.

Nowalk: I think what Annalise is feeling in that moment is multiple layers of betrayal. The obvious one being, "Oh, my husband lied to me again." ... People are always like, "Why is she staying with him?" Well, they've been together for 20 years. We don't know what their life was like for 19 years and nine months. It clearly was full of love and history. She's also dealing with the betrayal of Bonnie not telling her about Lila coming to the house. And she knows Bonnie has a loyalty to Sam, so hearing that is a lot of worst fears coming out her mouth. I get why she fired her. I want to remind people that we've seen a scene after that between Bonnie and Annalise [when Annalise calls her asking if she's with Sam]. Once the murder happens, everything changes.
If Annalise wants to turn Sam in, why is she doing it the roundabout way with the DNA tests? Does she have a bigger plan in mind?
Nowalk: That's a good question to ask. I think she is done with him. Put the clothes out on the curb, get out of the house, done with him. We'll see where that conversation goes next week. That's not the end of that conversation. But yes, you wonder because she could just told the police the truth, but why is she going about it that way?
Wes thought he had a trump card on Annalise because she told him she knows she can't keep secrets from him anymore, but she was playing him. How does that affect their relationship?
Nowalk: I think that's the challenge of being in Annalise's sphere. Wes knows enough that he should wonder. When Wes tells Rebecca, "This was her plan, she was setting us up," I think he knows a little in that moment, but before that, I don't know if he was sure of that. Annalise has done really good things for him too. He clearly has some mommy issues. And Annalise has some issues of her own.
He wants more nipple-rubbing. I get it.
Yeah! [Laughs] There's something maternal a lot of the time. She has pride for him. It's a relationship that is not one set thing.
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Will we find out how and why he got off the wait list and into her class? Or is that not an important thread?
Right now, that's not a thread that's important. ... I'd love to say we have every step planned out. Sometimes things are just what they are. I'm not saying that is the case with the wait list, but not everything is a mystery. I think that would be very annoying.
That's also why the show is fun because everyone is picking at every little detail for clues and to support their theories.
Exactly, and one of the most fun lines we put in the show was when Asher said, "Maybe he's her secret baby." That one, I was like, "That's such a TV trope." I love when people have done it, but for our show, that'd be a little weird.
You said at the beginning of the season that you might change the killer depending on how the story plays out. Did you?
We haven't. I'm not sure I knew in the pilot who it was. Between the pilot and when we started, I had a theory and I was willing to throw it out, but it's the same one. Good or bad, we'll see! [Laughs]
Do you think fans will be surprised by who it is?
I have no idea to be honest. I've known for so long that I have no idea how people will react. So many times, I'm like, "That's not much of a twist." Like Lila being pregnant, I thought people would get that the minute we talk about exhuming her body and I didn't know if it was going to be a good enough end for the episode, but people really liked it. So I am the worst judge when it comes to that!
Can you say if it's one killer or multiple people?
I don't want to say.
What can you say? I'm assuming there's a cliff-hanger.
Whether you call it a cliff-hanger I think depends on how you interpret the ending. I think it ends on an exciting note. I would encourage people, after they find out who the killer is, to watch until the last second. ... You'll get answers early on. What I'm having so much with now is we're not doing flash-forwards anymore. We've caught up to them. All of the characters, they don't know each other and they're going to get to know each other more intimately when we return. Right now, the students are just strangers and there'll hopefully be more character development and insight as they have to deal with the repercussions of what happened.
Murder brings everyone closer together.
[Laughs] Doesn't it always?

How to Get Away with Murder
airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC. Who do you think killed Sam?

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