7:30 am EST, November 22, 2019

‘HTGAWM’ season 6, episode 9 review: The party gloves are off

The HTGAWM mid-season finale gave us some of the show’s biggest twists ever.

When an episode of HTGAWM basically begins with a headline that says, “Annalise Keating is suspected of all the murders,” you know things can only get crazier from there. These characters have gone to extreme lengths to cover up their crimes since the series began, and now they’re being forced to do it again on a much shorter timeline.

How to Get Away With Murder season 6, episode 9 was packed with big reveals and even bigger questions. It shone a light on some things we’ve been wondering about all season, and set us up for some huge new mysteries in the back-half of season 6.

Very early in the mid-season finale, HTGAWM gave us all an early holiday gift by finally telling us where Laurel is! I was so beyond excited to see this girl’s face. I didn’t know if she was ever coming back. Sure, she now has less of an incentive to come back than ever before, but it was still amazing to see her face and know that she’s safe.

That being said, I’m a little disappointed that Laurel disappeared of her own accord. It does feel like she kind of left everyone with the big mess that her family caused, but she has her son’s safety to think about, so I understand. I like that Tegan was the one to help her get away. Tegan knows, better than anyone, what the Castillos are capable of, so I’m glad she was able to see that Laurel was different long enough to help her.

I was expecting there to be some huge fallout from last week’s episode in the HTGAWM mid-season finale, but it was actually fairly minimal. Xavier still hasn’t been arrested, and Bonnie has barely had time to process what she did, and what Frank and Annalise did to her. If anything, she already seems to be working toward forgiving them. With everything coming to light, she might be forced to put her feelings aside sooner rather than later.

Nate dealt with things a little differently. I think HTGAWM season 6, episode 9 showed us an uglier side of Nate than we’ve ever seen before. The scene that went back and forth between Annalise/Nate and Frank/Gabriel was a rough one. Everyone was at their worst. In their desperation for truth and freedom, they held nothing back.

With everything Annalise has done for everyone and the way they still push her away, it’s no wonder she’s been making plans to escape. Knowing what she was about to do made her “goodbye speech” to her class so much sweeter, yet infinitely more heartbreaking.

However, it still had nothing on that phone call to her mother. If she’s truly making the decision to start over, it’s likely she won’t be able to go home again. At the very least, she’ll have to stay away for a long time. I can’t bear the thought of how much pain that would cause her mother, so I can’t even imagine what Annalise is going through in that moment.

I have to wonder if she’s really gone for good. If she faked her own death, let’s hope she did it thoroughly because I doubt even that would stop the FBI from trying to take her down. We’ve seen her get away with countless murders on HTGAWM, but can she pull off her own?

htagwm season 6, episode 9

All right, take your party gloves off because it’s time to talk about Asher.

To be quite honest, I hated this reveal. I’ve been crying out for a good storyline for Asher in HTGAWM season 6, but this is far from what I wanted.

Sure, Asher has always been toeing the line of the inner circle. He wasn’t involved in Sam’s murder, he wasn’t included in last season’s clinic, and he doesn’t live in the Keating Hive. That being said, he has still found more of a family with this group of people than anywhere else in his life. He has still found love and acceptance with them, and he’s shown them unshakeable loyalty because of it.

For him to turn on them now, for the sake of his mother and sister, makes no sense. All they ever did was try to shape him into a man he would have despised. Yes, he’s correct about Annalise’s actions being the probable cause of his father’s death, but they’re all guilty. They’re all in this together.

I think the final season of HTGAWM should be the time for them all to take responsibility for their actions and to stop pinning everything on Annalise. To me, Asher’s decision shows nothing but weakness. Maybe he’s been a weak man this entire time, but I don’t think his previous actions and choices have supported that. I wish they hadn’t chosen to end his story on How to Get Away With Murder on such a weak note.

And his story is over because, unfortunately, his life is over. He doesn’t even get a chance to redeem himself, or agonize over how this decision tore him apart. He’s just dead on the floor of the OG apartment building.

htgawm season 6 mid-season finale

So, how did he get there? That’s definitely one of the biggest questions that needs to be answered. Was he the one who showed up at Gabriel’s door? Did Frank put him there? All of these are big question marks going into the rest of HTGAWM season 6.

Another big question is, of course, who killed him? My best guess is that Oliver was right to confess. You don’t just shake off a head wound like the one Oliver delivered to Asher.

I think he succumbed to his previous injuries, and anything that makes the crime scene indicate otherwise is planted. This could either be an effort to frame somebody or part of Annalise’s plan to fake her own death.

Alternatively, Asher could have brought the murder weapon with him to kill Gabriel in an effort to make amends for his actions. Frank was just about to take care of Gabriel when Bonnie called him over. Maybe he sent Asher to do his dirty work instead.

Annalise also has some time that’s unaccounted for. Unless her driver was extremely unresponsive, she made a stop before she got in that plane. I’m thinking the act of disappearing isn’t enough to make anybody believe you’re dead, so there has to be more to her story that night.

Another possibility is that Annalise was doing something with Wes because *mic drop* he’s alive! When we heard there was a mysterious informant, my first thought was Wes, but I obviously dismissed it because his body was super burnt and super dead two years ago! Alas, it turns out, it was not.

If Annalise could fake her death to win her, and presumably everyone else’s, freedom (assuming she’ll take the blame for everything “post-mortem”), then it makes perfect sense that Wes could’ve done the same. It kind of sucks that he left Laurel and Christopher, but maybe he didn’t! Maybe Laurel has known this whole time, or at least for a while, and actually escaped to be with him.

Thinking about all these possibilities is getting me way too excited for the return of HTGAWM. It’s the final season, so there are definitely some more twists waiting for us. I can’t wait to see what they are!

Unfortunately, HTGAWM season 6 doesn’t return until April, so we have tons of time to speculate. If you have any questions or theories, please leave them in the comments.

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