Season 2, Episode 5 – ‘Meet Bonnie’
Since Connor’s shrewd observation last week, I haven’t been able to shake the idea that life with Annalise is like being part of a cult, or at least some kind of life and death society. There was a brief time not so long ago where Annalise’s actions went unquestioned, a time when she was blindly followed and admired. Her image is tainted now, and every member of her ‘cult’ seems to be going rogue.
There are two characters who have always felt a little like outsiders; Asher and Bonnie. Due in part because they weren’t directly involved in Sam’s murder, but also because these two aren’t nearly as adept at manipulation as their colleagues and peers. They’re almost never let in on the big secrets and they have to fight for scraps – praise, respect, information. For these reasons it also makes sense that they were paired together romantically. In ‘Meet Bonnie’, these two are finally brought to the forefront.
Asher is still working as an informant in the investigation into Annalise’s professional and legal misconduct, but his conscience begins to unravel following Bonnie’s false confession that she killed Sam. Bonnie tells Asher that she killed Sam because he attempted to rape her and that Annalise and Frank helped her cover it up, something that Annalise quickly corroborates, despite being dubious of Bonnie’s plan. Bonnie is far from the smooth operator that Annalise is, but she’s smart to play on Asher’s obvious feelings for her, and what’s more, her performance is incredibly convincing – for reasons that make complete sense by episode’s end.
There’s no self-contained case to solve this episode, a wise choice on the part of writers Peter Nowalk and Sarah L. Thompson that allows them to dedicate more screen time to the weird, toxic bubble that is the law offices of Annalise Keating. The characters have become oddly co-dependent since season one, exacerbated by the fact that they are all burden by similar secrets. Interestingly, there are lingering alliances within this unit, Annalise and Frank, Annalise and Bonnie, Michaela and Connor, the list continues. Everybody is a suspect and their loyalty to one another is flimsy at the best of times, but there is virtually nobody outside of their circle that they can trust, Oliver perhaps being the sole exception. “Accept the fact that our lives belong to her,” Conner says, playing the voice of reason again this week. At this point I truly wouldn’t be surprised if everybody legitimately did have an orgy.
Things also come to a head with Wes and Levi’s search for Rebecca when the others discover that he’s Rebecca’s foster brother. Wes believes they have a lead on his deceased girlfriend when in actuality, Frank has been two steps ahead of them the entire time, getting Levi busted for drug charges and effectively destroying whatever trust remained between the core four.
But the episode truly belongs to Bonnie and Asher. I don’t think anybody would have thought at the beginning of the series that the privileged, immature “douche face” would end up becoming the moral centre of the show. Asher wants so badly to do the right thing and turn in Sam’s murderer, but Annalise swoops in at the last moment, giving him a glimpse of Bonnie’s horrific childhood to guilt him into staying quiet. Matt McGory’s face is simply heartbreaking in the scene and it solidifies Asher as my favourite character. Bonnie’s sexual abuse sheds a whole new light on her character, the intense way she punishes herself and her belief that Annalise “saved her”. The romantic in me would love for Bonnie and Asher to run far away from Philadelphia and start their own law firm but that’s not Murder.