What a difference a year makes.
When How to Get Away With Murder‘s fourth season came to a close last March, Laurel Castillo’s father had been thrown in jail, her mother had gone off the grid, for better or worse, and life at Middleton University seemed to resume some version of normalcy (except for the lingering mystery of Gabriel Maddox, that is).
But during Thursday’s fifth season finale, the Castillo family made a comeback of sorts, reminding all of us — especially Laurel herself — that defeat won’t come so easily. First, let’s briefly break down what happened in the final Season 5 installment:
* Via flashbacks, we learn that Laurel’s brother, Xavier Castillo, had approached Ronald Miller a few months back, claiming that he could help make Miller the actualdistrict attorney instead of just the interim guy — and it would start with the death of Nate Sr. Throughout the episode, we’re initially led to believe that Miller wanted to work with Xavier wholeheartedly, and that he was OK with Nate Sr.’s murder if it meant becoming D.A. Later, though, it’s revealed that Miller secretly tried to get Nate Sr. transferred from the prison on Wednesday night, a full 12 hours earlier than the Thursday-morning transfer that Xavier had requested, in order to avoid Nate Sr. getting killed.
Miller’s efforts, though, were all for naught. Xavier had found out that Miller was trying to play him, and he paid the prison guards to kill Nate Sr. when he was being moved at night. Miller had been heartbroken to see Nate Sr.’s death on the news, and even more devastated to realize that he’d gotten involved with someone very, very dangerous.
* Laurel sees the video footage of her brother meeting with Nate Sr. at the prison, and she’s convinced that her family has been behind all of these unsavory events ever since Wes died. Together, she and Annalise confront Xavier and reveal what they know: that Xavier had Nate Sr. killed, that he’s been working with Gov. Birkhead to destroy Annalise and that he killed Sandrine. (Xavier claims not to know anything about his mother’s whereabouts and insists he didn’t hurt her… but this is also Xavier Castillo we’re talking about, so I don’t exactly trust him.)
After Laurel and Annalise leave, Xavier calls Gov. Birkhead and reveals that his sister and Annalise foiled his master plan. “So, Plan B?” he asks the governor, to which she responds, “She’s given us no other choice.” Later, while Annalise and Laurel are walking down a Philadelphia street, Annalise answers a phone call from Tegan — and halfway through the conversation, she realizes that Laurel is no longer standing next to her. In fact, Laurel is nowhere to be found.
At the same time, Frank bursts into Laurel’s house and races up to Christopher’s nursery, only to find that Christopher is missing from his crib. “He’s gone, Annalise. They’re both gone,” Frank tells Annalise, who is left to helplessly scream Laurel’s name in the middle of the street.
* Gov. Birkhead goes on live television to tell the people of Pennsylvania that Emmett Crawford is a person of interest in both Nate Sr.’s death and Miller’s death. Even worse for Emmett? After pouring himself a drink in his office later that night, he falls to the floor, convulsing, having presumably been poisoned. (Or perhaps having a heart attack? He is clutching his chest, after all.) Emmett is still alive the last time we see him, even though he’s gasping for air — but on the other hand, Timothy Hutton did just book a pilot for the fall TV season. Hmm.
That’s a wrap, Murder fans! What did you think of Thursday’s finale (and Season 5 overall)?