TV Review: How to Get Away with Murder 3×03 “Always Get Black”

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER - "Always Bet Black" - Annalise presents her class with a high-profile murder case that pushes even the Keating 5's morals, while Laurel makes a shocking discovery through an unlikely source, on "How to Get Away with Murder," THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Nicole WIlder) ESAI MORALES, KARLA SOUZA
 (ABC/Nicole WIlder)

Welcome to our newest method of reviewing/recapping season three of How to Get Away with Murder where I’ll be joined by film writer Alana Jane Chase in discussing (mainly reacting to) the latest episodes live. The discussion has been edited for (some) clarity. To read our previous coverage, click here

While I sat comfortably at home (with perhaps a glass of wine in hand) watching the latest How to Get Away with Murder, my co-writer Alana was stuck in a hurricane and she still managed to have more to write about the episode than I did. It did also mean that we couldn’t chat live about it so here you’ll be checking out Alana’s thoughts post episode and my reactions to them. It was an episode that didn’t go far enough in it’s condemning of their newest case, a man who murdered one woman for not reciprocating his advances and sexually harassing many others. The episode did however manage to explore Laurel’s background further as well as declare one more character safe from the blaze: Bonnie who, if you’ve followed our previous reviews, know I had been marking for death.

So everything is chaos, essentially.

Take a peak to look at Alana’s thoughts and my accompanying commentary on the next page.




Alana: As I’m sure many others had done, I walked (or rather, tip-toed nervous-excitedly) into the third episode of this season of HTGAWM. The premiere was near-perfect, and the follow-up episode was solid, so how would “Always Get Black” perform? “Quite well” was the answer, thankfully.The six days between episodes of How to Get Away with Murder always have me questioning the plotlines, the intonation of dialogue and the possible ulterior motives of each character; I’ll admit it: I can fall victim to hyper-analysis, but only because I love the show so much. This past window, between the second and third episodes, was both more lax – in the sense that I’m following Ally’s lead and having fun with this season, since the show is one with which you’re meant to have fun – and more wild, as the only question in my mind was, “WHO THE HELL IS UNDER THAT SHEET?” To me, Bonnie made sense. And, as Ally and I had made explicitly clear, we could not lose Laurel or Connor or Michaela. I had accepted that Bonnie was likely the victim of whatever gruesome tragedy Shonda Rhimes and Peter Nowalk cleverly crafted, so it came as a complete surprise when this week’s “I’m totally safe!” character reveal was none other than Bored-to-Death Winterbottom. And then we’re hit with the double whammy: there’s ANOTHER body in the house. In true HTGAWM fashion, I left this episode reevaluating the formula I’d built and the theories I thought might hold even the tiniest bit of clout as the season progressed.

Just as Hurricane Matthew stripped down palm trees and lifted up infrastructures in my home state, the show had me starting over from square one. So rather than dive deep into all my ideas, which will undoubtedly be proven wrong before the halfway mark of episode 4, I thought it wise to list my stand-out thoughts from this episode!

The Laurel-centric storyline was stale.

In seasons past, we’d been given sprinkles of Laurel’s relationship with her family, particularly with her father. This week, it was a bit twisted to see how Mr. Castillo himself was directly connected to the existing storyline. He’s still the sour-mouthed skeeze we’ve come to know (the dude tapped Laurel’s phone and was keeping tabs on her call activity), and I’ll be the first to acknowledge that his inclusion in this episode and in the big mystery was super convenient. Overall, I wish it was handled better and with more care, especially regarding the whole “Oh yeah, I was kidnapped as a child” situation. Props to the actors, though, for the emotional intensity brought to screen in their respective scenes. But give me more actual character development for Laurel! We want to learn more about her! (And marvel at her brilliance and how bomb she always looks.)

Allyson: I thought that it was the most likable Laurel has ever been since I appreciate it when she drops the saint Laurel attitude but I agree that it felt like a weird side plot since it had no ties to the rest of the cast. I agree that the kidnapped bit seemed a little tacked on to create character drama and it would have proven to be a stronger narrative had they interwoven her history a bit more gracefully these past few seasons. In all honesty, the only character whose background I’ve found to be developed well has been Michaela. We know a little, but not all, of her childhood and then her relationship with her ex-fiancee and it’s just enough to inform us of who she is today and why that is.



Something the show does consistently well, and has proven to get even better at, is handling abuse and assault particularly regarding women. Last week’s episode was a fantastic, unfiltered look into violence against women, and this week was no different – but it was much, much more difficult to watch. Why? Because it was a stark, blinding mirroring of reality. This is male-dominated “justice.” This is violence bred by a patriarchal society. This isn’t exaggerated drama; this stuff happens, and far too often. I definitely need a bit more time to synthesize it all, but I’m SO GLAD Annalise gave that bastard what he deserved. Hashtag the slap heard ‘round the world.

Allyson: I again agree with Alana and I do respect the show for trying to both show that sometimes these defense lawyers need to take on cases that are morally abhorrent to them while also showcasing the innate sexism in the world. I do think they should have gone harder in and made his creepiness less of a punch line and more of a legitamate threat. This guy is representative of a lot of assholes in the world and there’s no room for laughing about it. Annalise could have hit him harder.

Asher continues to make me cringe.

From calling Connor “Brokeback” to the general misogynistic snark made around Michaela, I’m growing tired. The most disappointing aspect of all of this is that I actually really liked Asher in season 1. He was goofy and naïve (remember that iconic “make it rain” dance?) – and sure, he did rightfully earn the moniker “Doucheface” – but he wasn’t an out-and-out asshole. Somewhere along the way, Asher’s likability was ruined for me, and I’m thinking the tipping point was involving him in the murders. I would have loved for the Keating 5 to keep up the charade a bit longer than they had, resulting in Asher still finding out about what they’d done to Sam, but not leading him to murder Emily Sinclair. Thus far, season three has done a stellar job of reminding us (or at least Ally and I, I think we can both agree) of why the loved the show by bringing it back to the goodness of season one through a more mature lens. It’s unfortunate that Asher is falling to the wayside in all of this. I want to enjoy him as a character, and not just wish for the sake of the others that he’s the body under the sheet. Here’s to hoping he makes a comeback.

Allyson: All I can say is maybe this is just leading up to him being the one under the sheet since this way it won’t hit us as hard since he’s grown so irritating.


I’m bored of Wes.

And I don’t want to be. I can’t really say much more than that. I don’t want to snuggle up and play fetch with the puppy; I want him to grow up and be the guard dog the Keating house warns visitors to beware of. He’s got the potential to do that, but there’s a blockade – and her name just might be Meggy. (Seriously, I’m sick of the Wes + female love interest formula.)

Allyson: The fact that they continue to saddle his character with romantic woes just shows that the writers have little clue what to actually do with him as a character. And now that they’re setting up possible romantic drama between him and Laurel just further accentuates this notion. Let him develop personally before bogging him down with half-baked romantic subplots.

Rating: 6.5/10


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