[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the season finale episode of How to Get Away with Murder.]
Another season of How to Get Away with Murder has come and gone, but Thursday's finale upped the stakes in a way we've never seen before. Rather than ending on a murder (well, OK there might have been one teensy-weensy little murder), we ended on a kidnapping!
After realizing that Laurel's (Karla Souza) brother and the governor were more than likely behind the murder of Nate's (Billy Brown) father in an effort to strike back at Annalise (Viola Davis), things started to look up for Emmett Crawford (Timothy Hutton), who'd been their previous suspect — more on that later. Laurel and Annalise confronted Xavier (Gerardo Celasco) about his role in the hit, and though they appeared to get the upper hand on him, it's hard to classify this one as a win. As they left his office, the governor went on TV to point the finger at Emmett, and while Annalise's back was turned, Laurel vanished. Even worse, when the gang checked in on baby Christopher, he was missing too!
Did Xavier kidnap his own sister and niece to keep his and the governor's dealing under wraps? It seems possible, especially when you factor in Emmett's questionable fate. Back at the office, Emmett and Tegan were settling down to have a drink, but it appears his cup may have been poisoned, making us wonder who the heck else has a motive to see him dead?
To help us sort through the madness, TV Guide conferred with creator Pete Nowalk about all the finale's twists and which clues we should be paying special attention to.
It looks like Laurel and Christoper might have been kidnapped, but should we be worried that this might be some master plan Laurel cooked up herself?
Pete Nowalk: Obviously that's part of the mystery. I think there's even more questions you could be asking like, "Are they dead as well?" But that's a huge mystery as we go into another season, which fingers crossed we'll get. Obviously, we wrote it with the plan that we would get another season. That would be a terrible ending. So yeah, those are all the right questions to be asking. Laurel has always been full of surprises, but so has her family, so either way it's really not good for our characters.
Christopher has become the one thing everyone sort of loves and protects, so how will his and Laurel's disappearance affect the rest of our characters?
Nowalk: I think our characters are going to be asking the same questions that you've asked, and in that is a lot of anger and betrayal and the confusion of whether this is grief or whether this is something they should fix. They're going to be left scared but also confused. ... Really they're all kind of f---ed because they all did love Christopher, I agree with you on that, and they failed. If the job was to protect him and make his life normal, this is not normal.
Emmett is another character whose life is left hanging in the balance after a possible poisoning, so should we suspect the governor and Xavier? Or should we suspect Tegan (Amirah Vann) since she refused that drink he offered?
Nowalk: Again very good guesses, you're noticing the right things. Tegan has been on our side, seemingly, since the middle of the season, but she might have her own goals. We really don't know much about her. We know that she seems to like our characters and wants to help them, but we don't know where she's from or who her allegiance is with or what she really wants for herself beside to get ahead in her job. What's fun for us is to really be delving into what are Tegan's real motivations and what's her long game? That's something we'll be exploring. As for Emmett, anything could happen there.
This is How to Get Away with Murder, so people have got to get murdered, right?
Nowalk: Well, maybe. Or have heart attacks or get poisoned. All of these guesses are correct.
As far as Tegan's storyline with Annalise, where do you guys hope to take them in the future?
Nowalk: Amirah Vann, who plays Tegan, is just a gift. She provides so much life and energy to all of her performances and really just brings this breath of fresh air, for me, to the show, so we've been just following her lead and her performance. I think she has great chemistry with our characters. I like that she's a lesbian, and that that's still an area of Annalise's life that Annalise is confused about and needs to explore. So I want to dive into that storyline, whether that's romantic or friendship or mentor, but I want to see them talk about that. I want to see where Tegan comes from. I want to know who her parents are and what's her mystery and what drives her and what does she want. We're going to be telling a lot more of that story in the future.
Laurel's mother's fate is still unknown, so how much of that storyline are you hoping to give away when we hopefully return for Season 6?
Nowalk: I think we'll get all the answers there for sure. Obviously, the FBI is going to test that hair or scalp or whatever it is, and then they have to determine whether that means could someone survive that. ... Yes, there's a lot of questions there, but I wanted people to at least steer towards that direction so it's not just all left hanging in the balance. I think the big mystery for the Castillo family, for me, more the one people should pay attention to as well, is what happened to Laurel and Christopher.
We also got the reveal that Annalise may have had a connection to Michaela's (Aja Naomi King) birth father, so what does that mean for her and their dynamic?
Nowalk: Yeah, it goes back to the question of why did Annalise pick all of them? We did an episode early this season [... ] where Connor (Jack Falahee) was like, "Why did you pick us? Why did you pick me?" And really what we're telling everyone is there's a reason for both and him and Michaela. We've answered mostly everyone else's question of why she picked them, but it basically confirms for both Michaela and Connor that Annalise has secrets from them still, and that's really messed up at this point. We'll be diving into that next year for Michaela, and I always love for people to spin theories of how Annalise could have known Dwight. The question for me is, is anything of what Michaela's been told about her childhood true? She's been told that her birth father shot her birth mother, but is that true? So this is going to, in an exciting way, really make us explore Michaela next season.
On a lighter note, Connor and Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) seem to be considering parenthood thanks to Christopher, so is that something that's in their future or is it just a lovely possibility? Nowalk: I think it's a lovely possibility. I think they're traumatized and if anyone shouldn't probably consciously decide to bring another human into the mix right now, it's the two of them. But you know what it shows me is that they still are in love and they haven't gotten to enjoy their wedding. What's interesting to me is that the fans are like, "We don't get to see them have much romance since their wedding," and I'm like yeah, because their life's been hell. Someone was murdered at their wedding and it's been horrible, so that's just not real. But I think even just them talking for that moment about kids in the future is reminding them that, wait, we still have each other, we still have this love, and maybe we can get normal things someday. That is the big question of the series.
As far as Gabriel (Rome Flynn) goes, can we officially put him in the good guy category, or are there still questions about him and his mother?
Nowalk: I wouldn't say he's a good guy or bad guy, just in the sense that I wouldn't say that about any of our characters. We're always confused about who their allegiance is to. I will promise this, we're going to meet his mother, Vivian, and that's going to be very complicated for everyone. Whether Gabriel is convinced to drop what happened to Sam, he might be, but Vivian's going to stir all that up again. We're going to have to find out did Annalise and her know each other? And we're going to cast some amazing actress, fingers crossed. I might have some great ideas. But that is an exciting showdown and character. I can't wait for her and Annalise to encounter each other.