How To Get Away With Murder 2.08: Oh, All My Pleas!
“I told her to take the deal, because it’s what I should have done for Sam… instead it just weighs on me, on you, on all of us,” explains Wes (Alfred Enoch) to Annalise (Viola Davis). Episode eight, Hi I’m Philip, brings the focus back onto the ongoing Hapstall case. “You were protecting Rebecca and now I am protecting you… protecting someone no one should go to jail for that,” replies Annalise to Wes. During this exchange I saw the thematic foiling between the Hapstall case, with the remaining guilty conscience residue from the events in season one. Guilt, protection, under the table deals, blame, and the scary truth continue to complicate the lives of those involved with both cases. They continue to play defense against Sinclair, as she continues to investigate their past crimes; while simultaneously making innocent pleas for two siblings, who are just are trying to take care of one another. “Hi I’m Philip” is just the first domino to fall into place, three days before both ADA Sinclair (Sarah Burns) gets pushed off a roof and Annelise gets shot in the chest… all at the Hapstall estate.
The previous episode concludes with an Annalise/Bonnie showdown, Laurel pulling the plug on Frank’s rogue mission to get a new Hapstall case suspect, and Connor meeting Philip. Note, the writers mindfully use the consequences of the decisions our characters previously made, to construct this opening sequence. Bonnie relives her argument with Annalise, while taking a shower; meanwhile Annelise does the same as she looks at herself in the mirror to remove her makeup. Connor returns to his apartment to find Oliver’s (Conrad Ricamora) spilled milk on the floor and other signs indicating his boyfriend been kidnapped by Philip Jessup (Jefferson White). Laurel (Karla Souza) and Frank (Charlie Weber) argue on their way home, about her selling him out to Annalise. All these plot lines are edited together with a rather intense conversation between a drunken Nate Lahey (Billy Brown) and a vulnerable Annalise, “You need to decide whether you’re going to forgive me… but I’m not going to spread my legs as some sort of payment.” All this story progression is set to the song Ghost, by Acid; techno-pop music is slowly becoming the new violin music on the small screen; as this genre continues to be used to heighten intensity during a confrontation between two characters. The opening sequence score choice continues to serve an episode construction purpose, as it’s tone contrasts the song Indian Summer, by Jai Wolf; heard during the ending sequence. “Imagine your parents are the sick ones and you get thrown out with the trash. I’d kill them too,” says Annalise to ADA Sinclair; after giving her DNA evidence that both places Philip at the crime scene and gives him motive. The upbeat, hopeful score of Indian Summer begins to play, as Oliver and Connor make out in a lecture hall; Caleb (Kendrick Sampson) and Michaela (Aja Naomi King) have sex for the first time; Nate and Annalise reignite their romantic relationship. This episode is circular by design, as these characters continue to make decisions that leading them fatefully to the Hapstall residence… three nights later.
“Look right there, that’s one of Catherine’s paintings,” explains Wes as he cracks the Hapstall case wide open. For weeks now there’s been a lot of speculation about the Hapstall siblings’ innocence; turns out we’ve been half right this whole time… Catherine Hapstall (Amy Okuda) is guilty. Remember, three days later Frank will plant her unconscious body in the woods on the Hapstall estate. After the montage of hopeful new beginnings, Wes barges in on Nate and Annalise to take another look at Philip’s evidentiary file. The photo they showed both Catherine and Caleb has one of Catherine’s paintings in the background. Throughout the episode the Hapstall’s consider a plea deal from ADA Sinclair. “It’s a terrible deal, you took thirty years,” says Annalise to Caleb after he agrees to an ex parte plea, behind her back, “So, Catherine would get none!” cries Caleb in return. Oh, the deals we make to protect the ones we love. Annalise easily enough gets Caleb to not plea guilty… but it’s hard to keep your eye on one plea with two sibling suspects. “Don’t be upset that your client did your job for you, in fact she negotiated a better deal than you would of… ten years while her brother serves none,” states ADA Sinclair, although her victory is short lived as Frank delivers the Philip Jessup DNA evidence just in time. Allowing the guilty Hapstall to reject the plea in court, dismissing all charges against both her and Caleb. “I need to tell you something… I found this last week… I’m scared, what if she did it?” asks Caleb as he reveals to Michaela this hidden murder weapon. Meanwhile, Catherine meets up with Philip in her car, and he assures her that everything will be fine. No wonder the writers continue to pair Catherine up with Wes, both are guilty of murder… and they both allow others to protect them from taking responsibility for their actions. Just, another tip on how to get away with murder… To be continued…