‘How To Get Away With Murder’ Winter Premiere: Annalise re-lives her past in show’s return from break

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers from the winter premiere of How To Get Away With Murder, titled “He Betrayed Us Both.” Do not read if you have not seen the episode or read ahead at your own risk.

After the big bombshell in the midseason finale that Gabriel Maddox (Rome Flynn) is Sam Keating’s son, How To Get Away With Murder returned on Thursday with some big answers and even bigger questions.

The winter premiere picks up where we left off as Bonnie (Liza Weil) returns home from Connor and Oliver’s wedding to shower off the dried blood of the now-dead DA Miller from her body. Frank (Charlie Weber) comes in and tells her Gabriel knows he’s Sam’s son and Frank told Annalise (Viola Davis) the truth.

We also get right back to the moment Annalise tells Gabriel she knows who he truly is. However, Gabriel says he only wants to know more about his father and wants answers.

Yeah, I’m not buying that. You’ll understand why in a moment.

So Annalise pours Gabriel some vodka (because why not) and they talk. She accuses him of being a liar and he shoots back that he never got to know his father and only learned about him when he found his birth certificate. Annalise responds that she didn’t know about Gabriel’s true identity until that night. She also tells him Wes killed Sam.

During their talk, we are treated to several flashbacks. Annalise (and us viewers) re-live the moment Annalise and Sam lost their baby along with the aftermath. They return home and as Sam puts Annalise to bed, she tells him about another baby that she wants to adopt because he needs a mother. You guessed it — it was Wes!

So now it all makes sense why Annalise was so protective of Wes early on in the show, viewing him as a second son up until his death.

Sam is downstairs and Googles (or whatever search engine that was) Vivian Maddox. He eventually leaves her a voicemail that he wants to meet his son.

When Sam declined Annalise’s request to go through with the adoption of baby Wes, she does it behind his back. He finds out and quickly tells her if she wants the baby, he won’t stay married to her. Wow, what an ass. These flashbacks really provided context into what Annalise’s life was like before she began teaching. She truly went through hell in her early years.

We flash back and forth between the present and past, but it is the past that gives viewers one of the most heartbreaking scenes in HTGAWM history. Past-Bonnie calls Annalise and goes over to the Keating house to find her passed out on the bathroom floor after taking pills in a suicide attempt. Annalise stirs and begins throwing up while hallucinating that her baby is alive and crying. She says it is all her fault that her baby is dead. It was a truly heartbreaking and devastating scene to watch. Davis did a phenomenal job of portraying the pain Annalise was in and might be one of her best performances since the show began five seasons ago.

We time jump to Sam’s return home and young-Frank is there with an email that Sam sent to Vivian. Sam tells him he is going to delete the email and be there for Annalise because they’re married and she needs him. Sam is a crappy husband — there’s no denying that. But this episode showed us how normal the pair were before everything went to hell with addiction, murders, lies, and several cover-ups.

The final moments of the episode provided some surprises. We get to hear Sam read his letter to Vivian. He explains he still loves her and wants to make things right with Gabriel. Meanwhile, in the present day, Gabriel is in his apartment crying over a basketball, which we learned is part of how he unknowingly met Sam for the first time. He makes a phone call and says to someone on the other end, “They found out who I am.”

Still think Gabriel just wants to know who his dad is?

We also find out the mystery person Frank was calling all last season about Gabriel was Eve Rothlow (Famke Janssen). In the past, she is the one who gave Frank the email from Sam and in the present day, she shows up at Annalise’s door with the same email from Sam. She tells Annalise that Sam never deserved her. But what exactly is Eve getting at? Is she tied up with Gabriel in something too?

Episode Notes:

  • The other plot of the episode saw Nate (Billy Brown) cleaning up the mess following Miller’s murder. Frank picks him up and Nate says he is going to take all the blame but Bonnie won’t let him.
  • The Keating Four know Gabriel’s identity but think Bonnie killed him. Once they learn from Frank that he’s probably alive, they panic (what else is new?) and think Gabe will dig up new evidence against them. Little do they know he is up to something and whatever it is can’t be good.

What did you think of the winter premiere? Tell us in the comments below!

How To Get Away With Murder airs Thursday’s at 10/9c on ABC.

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