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A Lawyer's Guide to HTGAWM Season 2, Episode 3: Sex Kills

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on October 09, 2015 10:10 AM

Congratulations on surviving another episode of How to Get Away With Murder. Last night's show was filled with murder, intrigue, and, of course, sex -- not to mention a loose, not always accurate understanding of the law. The one law school scene in the episode (we almost forgot this was a show about law school) sets the mood. "What does sex have to do with criminal law [and ratings]?" Annalise asks her students. "Everything."

Here's our spoiler-filled lawyer's guide to one of the best worst legal T.V. shows on the air.

This Week's Theme: Sex. Just Like Last Time.

HTGAWM isn't afraid to be heavy-handed with the sex, nor the sexual moralizing. Characters love to talk about sex positivity, condemn slut shaming, and otherwise chat about sexual empowerment. (That attitude is somewhat belied by the show's repeated portrayal of sex leading to murder.)

This episode is focused around a murder-orgy trial. Annalise must defend the operator of a swingers' group called the Utopia Circle, which provides sexual healing with a side of rough loving. Long story short, the lady in charge fell in love with a client and accidentally killed him, but gets off because Annalise pins the crime on the man's wife. This is also where the episode gets its title, "It's Called the Octopus," after the victim's favorite Utopia Circle act.

This story, while trite, gives us the campiest line on T.V. maybe ever: "Put me on the stand! I'll make it very clear that I did not murder anyone with my vagina!"

The Utopia Circle story line also gives us our worst legal error of the episode. Annalise, upset that her client is actually guilty, threatens to turn her in to the prosecution. No, Annalise. You can't do that. (And she doesn't.)

The Menendez Brothers: Incest and the World's Worst Assignment

After the obligatory opening flash forward (Annalise is still dying), we start the episode with a husky-voiced Annalise taking notes on the Hapstall case. (Put some ice in your vodka, Annalise. Geesh.) What's their motive for killing their parents, Annalise wonders into her Dictaphone. Probably a messed up childhood! Let's have Bonnie research that. Imagine walking in to work to get a voice memo from your obviously wasted boss. Just what childhood trauma does Annalise want Bonnie to investigate?

  • Adopted child syndrome: the questionable theory that adopted children have attachment and abandonment issues, leading to greater rates of violence and murder.
  • Oppositional defiant disorder: a common diagnosis for troubled sixth graders, ODD is characterized by short tempers, argumentative and defiant behavior, and a refusal to comply with requests -- something we haven't seen any sign of in the Hapstall siblings.
  • Selective mutism: refusing to speak. How this would apply is beyond us. Annalise is drunk.
  • Primal wound theory: problems stemming from childhood abandonment. Also, a great band name.

None of these theories are brought up again. Instead, a photo of the brother and sister comforting, possibly pre-kiss, is leaked to the press. "SIBCEST" the headline declares. This wins the motive competition. (The episode is sex and crime themed, don't forget.)

EGGS 911 and Trotter Lake

When Michaela shows a photo of her new boo, Levi, to the gang, Wes recognizes him from a picture in Rebecca's old apartment. Turns out, Levi is Rebecca's foster brother and Rebecca herself was EGGS, a cute nickname Levi gave her after she was forced by their abusive foster parents to lick eggs off the floor. Mystery solved, right?

And cue new mystery. Asher, who has been aiding the prosecutor from Nate's trial, isn't just a turncoat, it turns out. He's being blackmailed over Trotter Lake and, probably, some missing girl. His father, a judge, may be implicated.

Who Shot Annalise?

We might need to change this to who killed Annalise, since the opening scene shows her giving a very death-like final sigh. Bleeding on the floor, abandoned by Laurel and Wes, she's just missed a phone call from a worried Nate. But don't worry, he might not be as concerned as he seems. At the end, we see the gang fleeing from the mansion, dying Annalise left behind, and into the arms of a speeding by Nate, who seems much more concerned with getting everyone out of there than going to save his lover.

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