WARNING: This review contains spoilers
‘She Hates Us’ goes back to case of the week formula with a much slower-paced episode featuring a not-so-revealing flashback, Wes suffering from PTSD and everyone being at odds with each other.
We have been told that this second half of the season will explore more about Annalise’s past with Rose and Wes/Christophe. Well, ‘She Hates Us’ decided to go all the way with the flashback by taking us 10 years backs, when Annalise was still pregnant and living “happily” with Sam. The most interesting part about this flashback is that we got to see the old group of students Annalise had (even though not much was done with them) and younger versions of Bonnie and Frank. While seeing young Bonnie was tied to Annalise taking her back after firing Laurel, it still felt like it was a bit pointless. However, we do find out some new information, like the fact that the case Annalise was working on was about a hedge fund heir named Charles Mahoney who was on trial for murder, and that that had something to do with Rose.
Meanwhile, Wes continues going downhill. During a visit to the doctor to get some sleeping pills, he’s locked in a psych ward after joking about shooting himself. He is forced to talk about his feelings, many of them having to do with his childhood and the fact that his mother committed suicide. Unfortunately, the doctor also knows about Annalise being shot and the fact that she’s his teacher, which leads her to assume that Wes has been triggered by that event¡. Even though all of the Keating 5 called Annalise out for leaving Wes in there, I have to wonder how many of them actually cared about Wes (I know Laurel does) and how many just wanted him to keep his mouth shut.
The Keating 5 talking about having a conscience, calling out Annalise on her BS (for the 2548th time) and leaving her house was emphasized by this week’s particularly unique case. The victim’s mother didn’t blame the culprit, but the system. Even though the case was supposed to parallel the sense of morality and cosnciousness of the main characters, it still felt quite disconnected. I believe this case would have worked much better in the first season, when things weren’t so complicated yet. The acting was phenomenal and the victim’s mother gave one of the most real, emotional speeches I remember from this show, but it was still a bit hard to care about the outcome of the case.
The episode ended with one of its classic musical sequences often used for dropping bombshells. For one, Laurel breaks up with Frank because of all the lies he tells her on a daily basis. Karla Souza’s acting was phenomenal, but I never really cared too much about this couple in the first place, as I always assumed that they just had a sexual connection. Their scene together was still worth it though, as Frank confesses to having killed Lila. This was a plot point that had to come back at some point, but I’m confused as to what Laurel is going to do with this information now. We also had Annalise leaving the files for the case she was working on in the flashback at Wes’ door and, finally, Connor calls Annalise to tell her that he just received an email with a video from that night, most likely from Philip.
Maybe it’s because this show isn’t used to doing slower-paced episodes that ‘She Hates Us’ came out as a very bland episode. The flashback didn’t offer a lot of new information, the case, while interesting, was a little off-putting, and some scenes like Wes talking about his childhood or Frank and Laurel’s break up talk lacked the emotional impact they deserved. Hopefully things will heat up again next week after that mysterious email.