‘How to Get Away With Murder’ Dives Deep into Sam’s Past (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 6, Episode 13 of How to Get Away With Murder, “What If Sam Wasn’t the Bad Guy This Whole Time?”]
Just when you think How to Get Away With Murder has run out of ways to make you go O-M-G, an episode like Thursday’s comes along.
“What If Sam Wasn’t the Bad Guy This Whole Time?” delves deep into Tom Verica‘s character’s past — specifically his relationship with Hannah that resulted from their parents’ neglect. First, Vivian (Marsha Stephanie Blake) reveals to Annalise (Viola Davis) that she and Sam were briefly together in 2005. In the months that followed Annalise and Sam losing their baby, he tried to become part of Gabriel’s life.
Then Vivian drops a bombshell. “Think about how Sam always used sex to get what he wanted,” she tells Annalise. “I’m guessing he did the same thing with you. Generous sometimes, freaky others. That’s how he played us. And what woman do you think he learned that from?” Annalise refuses to believe it, but Vivian continues: “Who was Sam closest to his whole life? And when their parents ignored them their whole childhood, left them to fend for themselves? Hannah and Sam were desperate for love so they found it in each other.”
Neither Sam nor Hannah ever said a word themselves to Vivian, but flashbacks throughout the episode contain moments that do suggest that Vivian could be right. “What happened to me and Hannah, we weren’t okay,” Sam tells Vivian in one. In another, he admits to Annalise that he has “personal experience” with abuse, but she assumes that he’s categorizing his parents’ neglect as such. “Love and abuse often feel like the same thing,” he replies.
And at one point, Sam asks Annalise, “What if there are things that you don’t want to know? … What if there are things you can’t accept?” He calls himself “ruined” and “broken in ways you can’t fix,” but the conversation turns to him still loving her and he doesn’t say anything else on the subject.
But does Vivian have any proof to support her claim? Not really, other than the research she’s done. “Incest comes out of neglect a lot of the time,” she shares with Annalise. “Then when you think about both him and Hannah becoming psychologists, that’s so they could try to understand it.” After she suggests Hannah was all up in her marriage to Sam, Annalise — after a flashback illustrating that point — kicks her out.
But she follows up on the possible lead with Frank (Charlie Weber) and Bonnie (Liza Weil). It could help her case, too, Bonnie points out. They could argue that Hannah started the conspiracy against Annalise because she stole her man. Annalise has Tegan (Amirah Vann) get an investigator to dig into Hannah. While they don’t come up with proof of incest, Hannah has been near the FBI building in Philadelphia.
Still, Annalise believes Vivian, she confides in Bonnie. “He was so good with us … because he was us,” she realizes. “Why did we love him? Because he understood us? It was his gift, getting us to see that we were just children, that we weren’t to blame.”
But he, too, suffered trauma. “Hannah was older. He might have been a boy. But there was nobody to tell him that,” Annalise continues. “He could heal others, but he couldn’t heal himself.”
It’s when Tegan gets Annalise Hannah’s school records that she figures out how they can find proof. Hannah missed 83 days of school, ostensibly for mono, but Annalise suspects she was pregnant. And once she realizes that Hannah gave birth in March, she puts the pieces together. All that’s left to do is run a DNA test.
Annalise then calls Bonnie over to share the proof that Hannah and Sam slept together: a child. They ran a DNA test against Sam, and the sample was a match: Frank.
The fallout of that should be something, but there are only two episodes left of the series. Will this affect Frank and Bonnie’s future? How do you think it’ll end?
How to Get Away With Murder, Thursdays, 10/9c, ABC