On Thursday night’s How to Get Away With Murder winter finale, after all the cryptic flashbacks we saw all season, it was finally revealed who killed Sam. It was Michaela! Or Wes! Or Wes and Annalise?! Wait, what?
Let’s run it down.
1. First, Annalise and Sam get into a nasty fight.
Annalise is packing Sam’s stuff like Bernadine in Waiting to Exhale and tells him, “Get your things and get out, you philandering, impregnating murderer!” Sam “baby, baby” pleads for a hot second, but when Annalise describes how her sidepiece, Nate, puts it down, things turn violent. Sam chokes Annalise up against a wall, but his hands around her neck don’t stop her from talking smack: “I bet you did kill Lila, huh? You enjoyed it, didn’t you? Strangling her. Letting the life go out of her body. … You want to do it to me now, don’t you? Go ahead. Do it. Kill me!” He calls her a monster, a piece of ass and a disgusting slut, and she leaves the house. Geez. That was intense.
2. Then the Keating Five (minus Asher) gets involved.
Shortly after Annalise leaves, Michaela shows up to the house with the trophy to use it to get out of their exam. Then Rebecca comes in and dashes up the stairs to download incriminating information from Sam’s laptop. Sam chases after Rebecca, and she yells for Michaela to call Wes, who has just told Connor and Laurel that Sam killed Lila after getting her pregnant. Wes, with the “S” on his chest, answers the call to come to Rebecca’s rescue, and they show up at Annalise’s house in less than 60 seconds.
This is where things start to move quickly. Sam tries to tackle Rebecca to grab the flash drive, which flies out of her hand when Wes tackles Sam. Laurel grabs the flash drive and makes a break for it, and when Sam takes off after Laurel, Michaela pushes him way from her … and over the staircase railing to his death. Oops.
The gang stand at the bottom of the stairs scratching their heads when Sam comes back to life in true thriller-flick fashion and tries to strangle Rebecca, so Wes bashes Sam’s head in with the trophy. Oooh, y’all are in trouble now!
3. And Wes gets everyone on board.
Wes somehow convinces them that they are all responsible for Sam’s murder, and now they all have to work together to dispose of the body.
Let me just say, for the record, that I am not who you want on your team because I’m not going to prison for some kids who just happened to sign up for the same course at the same time that I did. “I don’t know none of y’all like that.” At any rate …
Wes instructs Connor and Laurel to take Michaela to the woods while he gets Rebecca out of there. (He sure seems to know what he’s doing.) After Wes drops Rebecca and the flash drive off at a motel, he returns to Annalise’s house to retrieve the trophy/murder weapon. While there, he says, “I’m so sorry” to the dead body.
Remember this. This is key.
4. Everyone runs around disposing of evidence and establishing alibis.
This is the part where they clean up the crime scene, dispose of the body, take pics of themselves at the bonfire and post them on Instagram, and check into Chili’s on Foursquare (just kidding about this last one).
Meanwhile (and on a related note), Annalise shows up on Officer Lover’s doorstep all, “Woe is me, I think my husband killed Lila.” Tears, tears and more tears. He comforts her with his sex and his zero-percent body fat.
Somewhere in all of this ruckus, Michaela loses her engagement ring. (Pause.) Baby girl, all signs point to God not wanting you to marry this man. You’re already uncomfortable with his sexual history. You almost slapped his mother over the prenup. And now you’ve lost the engagement ring while covering up the body of the man you kind of helped murder. You might need to let this train pass and wait for the next one.
5. Annalise leaves an Oscar-worthy message for Sam.
Annalise slips out while Nate sleeps and she returns home to record the longest, saddest “I love you. I need you. I’ll stand by you. Please come home” voicemail in the world on Sam’s phone.
This is also key.
6. And, finally, it all makes sense … I think.
The next morning, Wes smashes the flash drive that contains all of the incriminating information that they went through all of that trouble (and by trouble, I mean killing) to get the night before because having it places them at the crime scene. Laurel gets Frank to return the trophy to Annalise without Asher finding out that Michaela stole it from him.
Annalise calls Bonnie frantic with worry about Sam’s whereabouts. She even asks Bonnie if she’s with Sam. This is also key. Bonnie is actually with Asher, but she rushes to Annalise. Bonnie summons the Keating Five over as well. When they get to her house, Annalise lets them know that she and Sam had a fight about his affair with Lila and now he’s missing. The police are there, and Annalise asks the gang to promise to be as honest with the police as possible.
And then, boom. The final flashback. We see Wes when he returned to the scene of the crime to retrieve the trophy. Suddenly we see Annalise sitting in the dark looking like the Ghost of Horrible Things to Come. When he says to Sam’s corpse, “I’m so sorry,” Annalise replies from the dark. “Don’t be.”
Whuuuuuuut? Annalise knew that Sam was dead the whole time because she was home to see his dead body lying in the middle of the floor! She just stopped by Nate’s house to establish an alibi. And she left that voicemail for Sam to clear herself of motive. That’s also why she asked Bonnie if she was with Sam. I see you, Annalise.
And so did Wes.
Wait! Was Wes in on this the whole time?
Hold up! Did Annalise orchestrate the entire murder from beginning to end?
What is happening? Was this all a dream? Tell us how to feel!!
Akilah Green is a recovering Washington, D.C., lawyer-lobbyist-politico turned TV and film writer and producer living in Los Angeles. She currently works for Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show, Chelsea. She has also worked as a staff writer for Kevin Hart’s production company, HartBeat Productions, and as a consultant for Real Time With Bill Maher on HBO. In addition, she co-wrote and is producing Scratch, an indie horror-comedy feature film, and is a regular contributor to The Root. Follow Green’s adventures in La La Land on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.