"How To Get Away With Murder" Season Three, Episode 13 Recap: (“It's War”)

ABC screenshot
ABC screenshot

The big mystery of the third season’s second half continues in episode 13 as everyone tries to figure out who killed Wes… Wait, I started the last episode recap the exact same way. So much for uncharted territory here. Well, Annalise is out of jail now, so that’s new.


Now that she’s out and rewigged, she goes to stare at the charred remains of her house—looks like she’s facing the reality of what’s been going on outside her jail cell. She gets a call and goes to meet up with Nate, who is now back on her side, apparently. The night of the fire, we see Wes tell Nate about all Annalise did to help him over the years, which apparently didn’t do much to sway him then, but… is causing Nate to go to Annalise after he gets in trouble with A.D.A. Bae? Hmm. For all the angry, wounded good guy shit he’s been on since the first season, he sure is seeming… shrewd lately. In any case, it looks like Nate probably didn’t kill Wes, though he is quite worried about being placed there all the same, after having taken a call from the police department inside the house. And having some survivor’s guilt, in the first vulnerable moment he’s had with Annalise in a while. I admittedly am too exhausted with the two of them to care, but I am holding out hope that there will be nekkid Nate body on my screen very soon.

The next day, Laurel is still on her grieving vigilante tip and trying to figure out who killed Wes instead of acting “weak and victimy” (?). There’s something about making one of your characters the overzealous avatar of the entire mystery of the season’s arc that’s a little bit grating over multiple episodes. Admittedly, I am here for characters continuing to put a boot up Annalise’s ass so she does more. Impotent Annalise is interesting, but I’m exhausted with the other characters flailing around without her leadership.

Speaking of flailing around without Annalise, Frank and Bonnie are meeting. And Bonnie is telling Frank how suspicious that looks since she’s Annalise’s lawyer. Again, she’s telling him this… while meeting him. Um. Okay. So. Why did she agree to this meeting again? I didn’t even see anything that looked like vital information exchanged. Frank and Bonnie are as good at wasting each other’s time as they are at wasting screen time at this point. Dope. Take your dickmatized ass home, Bonnie.

We go back to sad Laurel, who is pulling a Wes and obsessively going over a bunch of materials related to Wes’s death… until a private investigator comes. This could be interesting… What is also interesting is that Laurel calls him Howard, and he asks her to call him “Howie.” So… At this point we have a grown ass Black woman named Meggy and a grown ass Black man named Howie. Got it.

We return to Annalise… Who decides she’s about to start playing hardball again. Yesss, Annalise. She starts up a letter to the attorney general’s office saying that if they don’t investigate A.D.A. Atwood’s actions, she’ll end up releasing information about the loss of the body, etc. In Attorney General Ingrid Peters’s office, Annalise takes it as far a bringing up what it would do to Peters’s reputation… Again, IN her office. Yikes. Attorney General Ingrid Peters is not about the bullshit, says she doesn’t like threats, and Annalise doubles up on the bass in her voice and then leaves. Goddamn. I’m glad to see Annalise making bold moves again, but she may be in over her head on this one. Atwood and… A.D.A.-whose-name-I-never-remember (Denver, Google reminds me) meet up with Bonnie and threaten her in retaliation… I wonder If this is aimed at Bonnie in particular? Either way, I’m not particularly shook by them adding more threats to the equation. I’m not convinced they have that all much left in the chamber.

Included in the fallout from Annalise’s trip to the attorney general’s office is… Nate. Who is pissed. Again. And honestly, Annalise does sound a little naïve on this one—the attorney general would be making herself look bad if she investigated and found something that looked suspicious. Nate vocalizes what’s been obvious in all Annalise’s interactions this episode—everyone thinks she’s a joke now.


We quickly move forward to see how valid that accusation is—Annalise has Oliver leak the information about Wes’s missing body to the press. This is not before we see Oli looking at all Annalise’s outgoing emails, below:

Awww. The hangover thing with Eve is a cute little detail. And some of the other emails here are… interesting. I’m sure we’ll see more on that later.


The information about Wes’s lost body is out into the world, and in a rare moment of acting I actually enjoy from her, all Atwood can say is, “This bitch…” Poor Atwood. Looks like it is war. I still get the sense Annalise is in over her head a little bit, but at least it’s getting interesting again.

Meanwhile, Laurel’s digging got her something—apparently, the Mahoneys did a DNA test on Wes, which… I’m surprised they hadn’t done already? I don’t know—apparently, this is an important detail. I’m still wondering who Wes called as “Christophe.” In any case, Annalise is pissed Laurel hired a PI and doesn’t see a productive way to use the information. In one of her “I TOLD YOU NOT TO FIND THIS OUT” rampages, which you’d think she’d realize by now aren’t all too productive for getting everyone to trust her, she angrily admits to everyone that the Mahoneys killed her baby years back… And Laurel tells her that Wes deserved better and storms out. Damn. Laurel might be the cast MVP for petty, emotionally devastating one-liners at this point.


We have a brief moment of Annalise nearly taking some of Bonnie’s Vicodin, but she stops herself. Looks like we’re on the edge of a whole new emotional spiral… Interestingly, a scene follows where Connor takes a bottle of beer from Michaela. Hmm. Annalise #2? She has been adamant about letting everyone know how much she’s been keeping shit together. And as weirded out by Asher x Michaela as I’ve been, it’s been sort of interesting to see each of them as the other’s moral compass… And infuriating to see Michaela refuse to think anything’s wrong with Connor. Asher brings up something that’s been bothering him—Connor has been extra suspicious. Michaela, for some reason, doesn’t really believe this, even though Asher presents a good point—Connor keeps accusing Annalise, talking about plea deals, and generally acting like a whiny bitch. It’s reaching the point where I’m actually suspicious of Michaela to some extent, largely because I don’t think her character is that naïve. Speaking of Connor, he has a brief scene kicked off by him making a dead baby joke, so I have to believe at this point that the writers have made a game out of seeing how little chill they can give a character before making him an actual cartoon character. In that scene, we get Annalise’s outgoing call records:


Bonnie tries to comfort Laurel—in the process, Bonnie mentions that she was a 1L when Annalise was pregnant, which is interesting only because I keep finding myself forgetting that she’s an actual lawyer despite her best efforts to act like one. She also brings up abortion with Laurel, which, you know—great timing there, Bonnie. Laurel is not happy.


In other unhappy people news, Annalise gets a call from a furious Ingrid Peters, who has too much sense not to know Annalise was the one who leaked the information about Wes’s body… Peters rejects Annalise’s request for a grand jury investigation and says if Annalise keeps her shenanigans up, Peters will have her prosecutors go for not just life, but the death penalty… “That. Is what I call a threat.” OOP. Peters got in that ass. Dial it on back a little bit, Anna Mae. Stressed Annalise is eyeing these drugs in Bonnie’s medicine cabinet again… The Vicodin, some cough syrup… Is Annalise going to give up liquor for lean?

In another instance of what-the-fuck-are-you-thinking, Frank calls Bonnie’s house, knowing he’s recorded, and ultimately talks to (an almost totally silent) Annalise. Seriously—in what universe is anyone supposed to believe he’s not trying to take the fall for her? So suspicious. I guess the point is that everyone is a mess without her leadership, but… I truly need some competence to balance out all the wild and suspicious shit everyone has been up to.


Speaking of wild and suspicious shit, Annalise puts two and two together on President Hargrove’s recent odd behavior and realizes she’s been working with Atwood. I kind of wish Annalise had cussed her out instead of indignantly leaving, but I guess that wouldn’t help her case much. Dah, well. So much for their weird little frenemyship.

In another hilarious instance of everyone being able to help Annalise more than Bonnie, Frank, defending himself (and actually impressing Annalise!), convinces a judge to grant a subpoena and turn over all Atwood’s communications for the day of the fire and the resulting investigation. He also reveals Atwood’s little relationship with Nate—it looks like she ended up setting herself up by setting Nate up. Damn. Sucks to suck, Atwood. Frank, as he should be, is quite pleased with himself. If only Bonnie’s ineffectual ass were in jail instead of him. Oddly, Denver is chewing Atwood out as if he didn’t already know all of what happened… you’re just mad y’all got caught. And… Nate’s off the hook! He’s not mad at Annalise! GIVE ME NATE BODY, DAMMIT.


In a surprisingly touching scene, Annalise lets Laurel know that Wes… was cremated. Shit. Well, no chance of reexamining the body. Atwood was not fucking around. The scene Annalise and Laurel have is one of the most emotional and well-done recently in the show, with both getting into their feelings in a more complex way than all the flailing and screaming we’ve seen in the show of late. The grieving process as written seemed overdone and grating before—the shock, confusion, sadness, and anger in this scene was actually moving in comparison. YES for making me give a damn about these characters again!

Finally… Asher and Bonnie point out the fact that Connor has been an annoying little asshole and outright accuse him of being the anonymous source… Even Michaela has to agree he’s been doing the most. And… Uh oh. As Connor gets back home later, it looks like Oli found something suspicious, too: Connor actually checked his voicemail the night of the fire… and left his apartment way before it happened. RUH ROH. And sure enough… He was at the house… GIVING WES CPR. HOOOOOLY SHIT. Obviously, this brings up a lot of questions… Though it actually doesn’t make me think Connor did it. If he did, it definitely wasn’t on purpose. I’m still confused about his behavior, though—just guilt, maybe? Honestly, him asking to check into what Annalise did could just as easily cast more suspicion on him. And if he was in the house, he probably knows Annalise didn’t do it. I also still don’t want to make a judgment until I know exactly where Annalise’s ass was that entire day… Especially since we keep finding out new people were in the house. Shit, next episode we’re probably going to find out that I was in the house. As a matter of fact, we were ALL in the house. Maybe we all killed Wes. In any case, this episode was a little uneventful, relatively… they must have spent all their money on the finale. So that’ll be exciting, hopefully.

Natalie Degraffinried is a senior editor for Kotaku.



Slightly off topic, but would love to discuss non black shows with a black audience. Basically us critiquing they stuff.