Nolo Contendere (HTGAWM S1xE13 recap)

keysmash how to get away with murder recap season 1 finale header

Nolo contendere: a legal term that comes from the Latin for “I do not wish to contend.” It is also referred to as a plea of no contest.

We know who killed Sam, but the season finale of HTGAWM finally revealed who killed Lila. Find out under the cut!

I think I can safely say that anyone watching last week’s finale of HTGAWM did not expect FRANK to be Lila’s killer. Twitter was in an uproar, and everyone was floored. However, the episode ended with another shocker, and the setup for season 2, because now we’ll need to find out, who killed Rebecca. Oh that’s right, we have another murder on our hands. But, let me back up…


If you’ll remember, Wes and Laurel went to the psych ward to visit Rudy, who saw Rebecca the night Lila was murdered. After they did some more digging in her case file, they find out a witness saw Rebecca near the sorority house at the time of Lila’s death. A bunch of back and forth between the scooby gang and Rebecca escalates quickly, and Rebecca is ready to turn them all in, so they do the best thing they can: tie her up in the bathroom. Cool.

They bring in Annalise because they realize they have a problem on their hands, and she takes everyone back to her house to try and finally get the truth from Rebecca, who still insists she didn’t kill Lila.

We get flashback from her POV that shows she did deliberately sleep with Lila’s boyfriend, and call Lila to walk in on them, to show her how awful he was. We also find out she tried to track down Lila that night at the sorority house, even going to the roof where she found her cell phone near the water tank. When she looks in, she found Lila floating in the water tank, where she jumped in to try and save her, but was too late.

She tells them in present day that when Rudy saw her, that’s why she was wet, and she was afraid he would take what he knew to the cops so she gave him something PCP-like, a drug she never used before – but knew was powerful, and it sent him into a complete psychotic break: hence him clawing at the walls til his nails bled. She called the cops and that’s when Rudy was taken away.

Wes totally buys her story citing, “hat’s what happens when you grow up like she did. You do things like lie. And deal drugs. And hurt people before they can hurt you. But that doesn’t make you a murderer.”

Meanwhile, we get the Sam POV flashback to that night. While he was out of town on his interview, Lila called him telling him that she tried to sleep with Griffin so he would think the baby was his, but he wasn’t having it. Sam blows her off, and Lila says she’s going to Annalise. As we saw before, Lila shows up but Bonnie opens the door, and sends Lila away.

From here, we get the rest of the story from that night. Sam showed up to Lila’s sorority house, and they meet on the roof where he tells her that he does love her, and he’s going to leave Annalise so he can be with her. He then leaves, and makes a phone call from a nearby payphone ordering someone to take care of things as they planned.

The scene flips back to Lila on the roof getting choked, and as the camera comes around to her POV, we find out Frank is the hitman Laurel jokingly called him before. So, not only did he clean up Annalise’s messes this season, he cleaned up Sam’s biggest mess too.

Back to present day, Annalise is trying everything she knows to get Nate out of jail, including using Frank to contract an assault on Nate by a guard. That does nothing but make him end up in solitary. Later, Annalise meets with the new Prosecutor on the case, and tells her Nate followed her home, and when she arrived, Sam was in the driveway – drunk, yelling at her. Nate tried to calm him down. She vaguely alludes to  things escalating. When the prosecutor asks if she’s claiming there was a physical altercation, Annalise says: “I’m not claiming anything. It happened.” We later discover she tells this false story to give a valid reason why his fingerprint was on Sam’s ring. Nice thinking Annie Mae.

The prosecutor doesn’t fully seem to buy into the things Annalise is selling, and we see her go to Asher’s house to talk to him about what happened that night. Now, remember, Asher is the only one who is innocent in all of this, so whatever he tells her, could end up making trouble for the scooby gang next season.

Back at the house, Laurel, Michaela, and Connor decide to pin Sam’s murder on Rebecca. Just like she pinned Lila’s murder on Sam. Meanwhile, Laurel asks Frank to fix it. However, Bonnie’s done with the Mr. Fix-it routine. “Don’t you dare put this on Frank. This, from the very start, has been your mess.”

Annalise decides to try to talk to Rebecca one more time, and find out she’s gone. The basement door is open, and there is no sign of her. But, who took her? She did manage to make a call to someone to come get her before the tied her hands up again. But I think that’ll be a plot point for season 2 as well.


Wes basically has a break down at this point and blames the whole series of events on himself. He curls up in Annalise’s lap and she says to him, “Sam killed Lila. With everything that’s happened, it’s the version of the truth that makes the most sense and will let us move on. Say it and it will come true.” She makes him repeat this mantra over and over again.

Eventually, everyone leaves her house and when she goes downstairs she finds Frank looking at Rebecca’s dead body which was shoved under the stairs…she didn’t run after all, she was murdered. She asks if he did it, and he says he’s not that kind of man, well at least this time. He thinks she did it, and she’s like, “honestly?” So, who killed Rebecca? Well, I’m sure we’ll find out eventually.

A couple side stories unrelated to the murders went down this episode too. Connor and Oliver decide to take their relationship to the next level, but Oliver insists they get tested first. Connor is nervous because he’s had a lot of sex, and as we find out, a lot of unprotected sex. His results finally come back and he’s negative for HIV, but when he goes to Oliver’s to celebrate, he finds his boyfriend distraught because he found out he was positive. Poor Oliver.


Michaela has another showdown with her ex soon-to-be MIL. She expected her to ask for the ring back and since she’s sporting a fake, she immediately says the ring was part of the engagement and a gift to her, and since her son called it off, it belongs to Michaela. Her MIL doesn’t care about the ring who actually apologizes and asks Michaela to try and win her son back. However, Michaela doesn’t want her son back. She – in a redemption from earlier episode where his sexuality comes up – tells the MIL that her son is gay, or bi, or essentially not interested in Michaela, and she’s tired, and doesn’t care where she came from, but she loves herself and that’s all she needs in this world.

Michaela and Laurel meet up at a bar at the end of the tiring days events, and Laurel has her own confession: she’s had Michaela’s ring this whole time. She found it in Connor’s car, and decided to hold onto it since she knew that was the only reason Michaela likely hadn’t turned them in yet – if her ring was missing – she could be implicated. Who knew Laurel had it in her.

What a season. I can’t believe so much happened in 13 episodes. What did you think of the finale? Will you be back for season 2?

Brie Keysmash
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Brie Keysmash

Professional fangirl, with an over-priced Juris Doctor. Music is her lifeline, and brunch is her hobby. You'll never see her running, unless she's being chased. Her cats are better than your cats, boybands make her world go 'round, and never forget, there's always money in the banana stand.
Brie Keysmash
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  • bisexual narwhal

    I’m REALLY curious about the whole “Frank owed Sam” thing. What could he owe Sam? What is Frank’s deal? IS EVERYONE GOING TO DIE ON THIS SHOW?!

    Also, super sad that Rebecca won’t be back…well, I mean, she will but as a corpse.

    • Brie

      Yeah, I’m curious too. Like, next season we better get some Frank backstory. I’m sure she’ll be around in some more flashbacks. Or something. Like, who did she text? Excited for next season!