‘HTGAWM’ recap: Annalise nearly comes to blows (twice)

We gave it an A-

After the first two episodes focused on Annalise’s character growth — at her home in Memphis and in her therapist’s office — we’re back to business as usual this week with an episode structured around a central trial.

“It’s for the Greater Good” wastes no time jumping in where we left off: Michaela is angrily storming away from Laurel after being faced with Laurel’s demand that she use her new internship at Caplan & Gold to take down her father. Michaela wants them all to move on with their lives now that they’re free of the cycle of murder and regret — especially given that Wes’ investigating is what got him killed in the first place. She jumps in a cab and tells Laurel not to follow her.

Meanwhile, Annalise is continuing to explore the new leaf she’s turned over. Instead of taking on a dubious, high-powered client, she visits the public defender’s office, where she volunteers her services to help with case overflow. Virginia Cross, the head of the office, accuses her of only being there to rehab her rep, but Annalise counters with a reminder that she’s broke and doing herself no favors monetarily by taking on this work.

Cross assigns her to an appeal case for Ben Carter, a reformed gang member accused of killing his fiancée, Kim. He wrote his own plea for an appeal from jail, insisting he was not given a fair trial based solely on his tattoo-covered appearance. Annalise meets with Carter, and he insists Kim jumped from the 10th-story window of their apartment; he didn’t push her. He also admits they were fighting because Kim told him their daughter Madison wasn’t his, and he called her terrible names. Annalise deletes the recording of their conversation (which feels like an extreme precaution stemming from an old-habits-die-hard sensibility). Carter reveals that Kim was suffering from postpartum depression when she died.

Oliver visits the DA’s office to give his business card to Nate and sell him on the idea of using his I.T. services. He sees Bonnie across the room and realizes she’s now working for Denver. Since no one on this show is capable of keeping a secret, he immediately races to tell Laurel and Asher the news, fearing that Bonnie has made a deal and sold them all out. Asher reveals that he already knew because Frank (who is now living with Bonnie) told him — it turns out Asher is helping our favorite local hitman study for the LSATs. Connor shows up to drop a bomb of his own: a check for over $32,000. It’s a refund for his tuition, as he has officially dropped out of law school.

Michaela is hard at work at her new job, while Simon tries to coast along on his frat boy antics, yukking it up with the boys club at the firm. Michaela gets a frantic call from Asher filling her in on Connor’s decision to drop out, but she’s cut off when Teagan Price — seemingly the only other black woman at the firm — interrupts her and chastises her for taking a personal call.

It’s time for the Caplan & Gold Hell Bowl, a head-to-head trivia contest that makes excellent use of the interns’ and firm’s time by pitting all of the interns against in each other in a test of their knowledge of the firm. The winner gets a Magnum bottle of champagne and their choice of which partner to work under. Naturally, Michaela kills it (despite being visibly upset when Antares, the name of Laurel’s dad’s company, is the answer to a question). She makes it to the final four alongside Simon. Ick.

Laurel, meanwhile, is trying to course-correct her career and goes to Bonnie to beg for an internship at the DA’s office. She insists it’s her only chance given her low GPA and her pregnancy. Nate and Bonnie both give her the cold shoulder and shut down her request. Nate has come to Bonnie with an opportunity to prove to the entire DA’s office once and for all that she’s not still on Team Annalise.

In a largely hollow face-off, Nate takes the stand as a lead investigator in Annalise’s trial, claiming the original investigator is sick. (Cough, cough.) He makes much out of a newly discovered deleted voicemail from Kim saying she and Ben need to talk; Annalise rightfully points out that this proves nothing. Annalise later puts Ben on the stand to prove to the jury he’s more than he appears.

She gets blindsided by a disciplinary board random urine sample and runs into Laurel in the bathroom. Laurel fills her in with an update on the Keating Four, plus Oliver, and reminds her they still don’t know who killed Wes. Annalise tries to discern what Laurel wants from her; is it just to hurt her feelings?  To which Laurel responds, “That would require you to have feelings.” Ouch. Annalise tells her to stop acting like a child before she gives birth to one, and in turn, Laurel reveals her baby is a boy. Or maybe not. I don’t trust anything Laurel says anymore. (Recap continues on page 2)