By Chelsea Hensley
When I asked my mom who she thought killed Sam she said “Paris.”
Paris is of course Bonnie Winterbottom and, despite all our hopes and all our dreams, she didn’t kill Sam. That would have been interesting, Bonnie going after Sam in a vengeful rage after her affections for him have been effectively ruined her life, even indirectly getting her fired. But no, that’s not what happens since she’s drowning her sorrows at a bar and hooking up with some guy in dental equipment sales before she tearfully calls Asher. She feels bad because Dental Equipment doesn’t want to talk to her, compared to that one time Asher was nice to her. Bonnie’s grasping for affection is strangely mournful, turning to a goofball like Asher. But he’s just what he needs in that moment, a big doofus eager to please when the seemingly biggest part of her life is falling apart. But when Annalise calls in the morning, Bonnie’s quick to go back to her and throw herself into helping Annalise through this difficult time.
The difficult time in question is Sam going missing. Annalise’s distress almost makes you feel bad about the whole thing since she loves Sam so much, and seeing Viola Davis sad just makes you feel bad. Annalise’s adoration for her husband has perhaps been her biggest flaw as she contorts herself to protect him. It’s a weirdly earthen form of weakness for someone who’s as much of a force of nature as she is. This woman who disguises her emotions so often becomes victim to them, unable to move on from serial cheater of a husband even she starts a side relationship of her own, learns about another affair, his mistress being pregnant and him maybe having killed her to cover it up.
So when “Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me” opens it’s with Annalise and Sam midfight. She’s officially writing him off, leaving him open to a DNA test. He’s not under her protection anymore, and it likely means Sam is doomed whether he killed Lila or not. Sam “I’m Not A Violent Man” Keating doesn’t exactly demand mourners to his passing, not when he attacks Rebecca to get the flashdrive and gets tossed over a railing chasing Laurel, not when he grabs Annalise by the throat because he can’t deal with her sordid confession to hers and Nate’s affair and not when he announces that he only saw Annalise as a woman willing to sleep with him.
We don’t know for sure that Sam killed Lila. Despite all the evidence, we just don’t know, and it wouldn’t be surprising to find that someone else is guilty. What we do know is that Sam is very guilty of being the worst husband (worst person?) on earth, and if you ask HTGAWM that means he’s worthy of murder.
Annalise certainly doesn’t care. Despite all her tears, her apparent worries about his whereabouts, her concern for his safety, she doesn’t care. When the episode ends, with her imploring the students to cooperate with the police we flash back to Wes’ return to the office. And sitting across from Sam’s body is Annalise, telling him not to be sorry for killing him.
It’s a great reveal in an otherwise humdrum episode. Wes seems like he’s the one in charge here, giving out orders to the others, and he is. Everyone gets dragged into this because he wants to protect Rebecca, and he’s the one who actually kills Sam, but still he convinces his classmates to ride this out with him (because they too are guilty) when it would probably be easier to cut him and Rebecca loose. But Annalise is even more in charge than him, getting Wes and her other interns to dispose of her husband’s body, never once getting her own hands dirty. Wes is working just as much on her behalf as he is on his and Rebecca’s. She’s a player that no one even realizes is playing. Not Nate, who she tells all to and then sleeps with. Not Bonnie, who she calls in tears. Not any of the other students, terrified that Annalise knows what they did and is going to have them arrested. Not Sam’s voicemail, which receives her heartfelt hopes that they can work things out after all.
It’s the voicemail that’s the shining jewel of the episode. It’s ridiculous, with Annalise treating her and Sam’s conflict as some kind of run of the mill marital spat over a missed date night or dirty dishes. It doesn’t sound at all like they fought over him maybe murdering Lila as Annalise recalls how nice their marriage has been. It sounds ridiculous knowing what we know, but for the purposes of the episode it makes sense. We know Annalise has been burned by her love for Sam before so her going back isn’t so shocking, but it’s all part of the plan. That voicemail will effectively diminish any suspicions that would be cast on her as his wife when she reports Sam missing.
Annalise does her part, making sure there’s no one who could suspect her as being privy to Sam’s murder. It’s up to Wes to handle the rest, but he drops the ball. After a night of the group following his orders, he can’t convince them to take Sam’s remains to an incinerator, and it gets dropped in a dumpster instead. That’s foolproof. It’s not satisfying for Wes, but he has to let it go. Enlisting Wes takes us back to the show’s beginning, before Wes and Annalise’s relationship was tainted by their opposing sides in the matter of Lila and Rebecca. We’re back to Annalise tearfully appealing to Wes to keep her affair a secret (though no inappropriate chest caressing this time), and now the two have an even bigger secret to keep.
The finale does at least prove that this show is much better without a case of the week. At least then we’d get to see more of the characters interpersonal drama. Michaela’s prenuptial woes still don’t make a lot of sense, but it makes more sense that she signs the prenup in a vain attempt at keeping something in her life under control. Connor’s return to Oliver is both disturbing and hilarious as he chalks up his hysterics to a drug addiction rather than tell him the truth. Then there’s Laurel, glossing over Frank’s “ex-girlfriend” comment to make sure he returns the trophy. And Wes, poor puppy Wes, destroys the flash drive, and when Rebecca remarks that this was all for nothing he says, “Don’t think about that.”
- I might be shipping Bonnie and Asher. Maybe. Definitely. Their hookup was so awkward and hilarious that I just want to see more of them.
- Connor: “Enough about the ring, Frodo.”