A Lawyer's Guide to HTGAWM Season 2, Episode 2: Hostile Witness

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on October 02, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Golden Age of Television continues, with How to Get Away With Murder at its vanguard. Yesterday's episode featured two court proceedings, as many dead bodies, and a very chemistry-free Sapphic love scene.

In typical HTGAWM fashion, they got most of the law wrong. But it made for great, if stupefying, TV. Here's your spoiler-filled recap:

Nate's Trial: No Objections, Much Collusion

Sinclair accuses Annalise of helping Nate kill her husband. The courtroom erupts. Apparently, it had been full of reporters and paparazzi, flash bulbs at the ready. Do they not scan at Philly courthouses?

Annalise is called as a hostile witness. (It's clear that the writers don't actually know what "hostile witness" means.) ADA Sinclair's theory seems to be that Annalise and Eve are colluding against Nate -- which is probably correct. At least they got collusion right.

Which leads us to this wonderful exchange:

Annalise: This is not a preliminary hearing, but a witch hunt! I did not put my hand on this court's Bible to be burnt at the stake! [...]
Sinclair: That's quite a temper, Ms. Keating. Seems like you're more than capable of murder.

Brilliant lawyering! They could have just ended the whole trial there. Instead, Annalise is grilled about her relationship with Nate, without a single objection from the defense. Which may have been intentional, as Eve later rips Annalise apart herself, accusing her of killing Sam.

Eve and Annalise reunite briefly off stand. Mouth full of potato chips, failing to hold back tears, Annalise demands with childlike anguish: "Why did you have to do that? You needed to pin it on me, I know that. But you didn't have to make it about me." Disregarding that strange logic (on me, not about me, Eve), the scene is great and we're reminded that Viola Davis is somehow able to pull together some great acting for scenes that could otherwise be pure schlock.

Anyway, Nate gets off for now, since so no can tell if he's even being prosecuted anymore.

The Menendez Brothers: Planted Evidence

Lyle and Erik Menendez, here recast as Caleb and Catherine Hapstall, are in deeper trouble after their aunt, the chief witness against them, turns up with her throat slashed. Catherine does a poor job covering for Caleb's absence, but Oliver saves the day by hacking in to the Philadelphia PD's computers, finding that they planted evidence to connect Caleb to his aunt's murder. The two go free for the moment.

Meanwhile, Back in Law School...

If you forgot that this is a show ostensibly about law school, you're not alone. We're given just a brief reminder that the Keating Five are students when Laurel Castillo turns down Frank's advances because she has a Civ Pro exam. We were just starting to assume that Civ Pro was nothing but a convenient excuse to avoid sex, but it turns out it might be real -- Laurel claims to have aced her exam later in the episode. (But really, guys, there are no law school exams besides your final exams. Come on.)

Elsewhere, a mysterious new character, Levi, puts the moves on Michaela. Could he be EGGS911? Conner and Oliver are still struggling with the whole HIV thing, especially since Conner blurts out "Oliver is HIV positive!" every time someone walks past him on the street.

Who Shot Annalise?

Well, it wasn't Emily Sinclair. At the episode's end, we once again flash forward to Annalise bleeding out on the floor of the Hapstall's mansion. Outside, in the bushes, is Sinclair's dead body.

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