How to Get Away with MURDER! Episode 3 – Bomb Mom

Annalise and her team prepare Griffin O'Reilly for testimony on How to Get Away with Murder.
How to Get Away with Murder (Photo: Mitch Haaseth / ABC)

Episode 3: Smile or Go to Jail — The case of the week lets us know that a mind control defense is not the best strategy for How to Get Away with Murder.

First off, congratulations to How to Get Away with Murder and black-ish for securing the first full season orders of this season. Murder scoring a full pickup of its 15-episode season wasn’t much of a surprise, but black-ish came a week earlier than I was expecting. Good job good shows!

The Syllabus

United States v. Hearst (1976): The Supreme Court finds that one cannot be “under duress” and “brainwashed” simultaneously. If one wants to use a Mind Control Defense, one must establish (1) that there is a ringleader/mastermind and (2) the criminal act was wholly conceived by the ringleader.

How does this apply to the case of the week? Paula Murphy, AKA Elena Agular, was part of an environmentalist terrorism organization in the mid-90s. The group bombed a financial building where one person was killed. The other members of the group were caught and served time, but Elena managed to go underground until she was picked up for having sex in a park. The goal was to pin the plot on the group’s Svengali Gabriel Shaw, but the prosecution cut a deal for his early release for his testimony. He testified that Elena planted the bomb, throwing mind control out the window. No worries: during a recess Elena and Gabriel boarded a greyhound to start a new life underground.

Lila’s Murder Case

The season arc had the bulk of developments this week. It turns out the phone Wes found in Rebecca’s apartment belonged to Lila. In order to get some answers, Wes photoshopped a lawyer’s license and pretended to be a public defender. Rebecca didn’t play ball, but as Wes was dragged out of the conference room he told Rebecca that Griffin—the star quarterback and potential client of Annalise’s—will be pinning the murder on her.

Meanwhile, Annalise has her hot cop boytoy checking up on Sam’s alibi the night of the murder. He was supposed to have given a lecture at Yale that evening but was a no show. Did he really have food poisoning or was he preying on one of his students? HCBT found some additional evidence to show that Sam’s alibi checked out, so he is off the hook, much to Annalise’s relief. She starts to get handsy with HCBT, but he tells her to go home.

With her husband off the hook and Wes having some inside knowledge on Rebecca, Annalise decides to take her case rather than Griffin’s. As the team goes to meet the client they run into the district attorney played by Alysia Reiner (Figueroa from Orange is the New Black).1 She happily reports that Rebecca has confessed. Uh oh.

Memento Mori

We rejoin the future at the coin flip as the group—Wes, Michaela, Lauren, and Conner—decide to get the body. The bonfire can provide cover for burning the body as well as be the source of their alibi. Wes, Lauren, and Conner work their way through the celebration taking lots of selfies and making sure they are seen. Michaela takes part in what could only be described as mirthless merriment, grimacing rather than smiling in every single photograph. Hehe. However, as the group packs up the truck (I’m not sure if this is before or after the body is disposed), Michaela realizes she has lost her engagement ring. She is not having a good day.

Notes for Next Time

  • Michaela’s fiancee Aiden works for the mayor of New York. He also went to the same all-boys boarding school as Conner and they engaged in some adult activities. This freaks Michaela out and she threatens to destroy Aiden if he steps out on her.
  • Conner lost the Immunity Idol when he expressed doubt in coming up with a defense for the Agular case. Annalise awarded the Idol to Wes after he convinced her to take up Rebecca’s case.
  • Lauren may have a new beau in her life that she met at a Law Review party. Frank is not happy about this development.
  • At Sam’s murder scene: Wes, Rebecca, Michaela (huddled in a corner). Conner walks in.
  1. Why is there so much OITNB crossover on ABC this season? Bennett is also on this show and V is the lieutenant on Forever.  

A Brief Word From Our Sponsors:

About Mike McComb 669 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: