How to Get Away with Murder was one of my favorite new shows of 2014. Despite its penchant for going off the rails in terms of its narrative, the complete nonsensical plotting of the court cases on the week to week basis, and the persistently spinning cheerleader of doom in the opening flashbacks, the show touched upon the instantly obsessive nature of television. Sure, it was ludicrous at times (a lot) but I was hooked within the first hour and eagerly awaiting it’s start at 10:00 pm each week. As a fan, and a critic, I can say that the season two premiere might be the shows finest hour yet. Showcasing a tighter narrative, more Annalise character development, and supporting characters who are finally being given interesting things to do, the show seems (for now) to have learned from some of their messier missteps and are heading down a road equally as engaging as season one, but one that might also have a firmer grasp of the story they’re telling and how they’re telling it.
We are brought back into the fold immediately set after the events of the season one finale. Rebecca has been murdered and neither Annalise nor Frank are the culprit, nor do they know who is. They are once again put in the position of clean up and are forced to dispose of the body
To jump right into it, I’m not that surprised that it ends up being Bonnie who killed Rebecca, especially as I spent a large portion of season one believing she’d been the one who had killed Lila. What I don’t buy is her motives, which are simply to protect Sam and to a lesser extent, Annalise. It’s always the quiet ones, Frank says when he believes Laurel is the one behind it and while Annalise believes the quiet ones to be true, she knows it’s another figure in the house who mouses around. I buy that Bonnie is capable, I just wish if she were to be behind it, they would have built up to it a bit more.
That’s just about the only problem I had with the premiere because everything else was pure fun.
The greatest moment of the episode however has nothing to do with the newest case of the week (adopted children charged for killing their parents) or the cast of characters still covering their tracks after Sam’s murder, but the arrival of Famke Janssen’s Eve, who Annalise called upon to help get Nate acquitted after she framed him. The instant that Eve is on the scene, she and Annalise are playing a game of guarded catch up, refusing to divulge any type of emotion until, late in the episode, they kiss.
Janssen and Viola Davis have a remarkable amount of chemistry, and we should certainly make sure to note how significant it is to see a powerful, bi, woman of color as the lead of a highly successful television show. I can’t wait to see how this relationship plays out and I hope it lasts longer than a single episode because the two on screen together is electric and gives Davis someone who can least touch her caliber of skill.
Elsewhere Frank is being given more to do as he becomes paranoid of who of the Keating Five could have murdered Rebecca, believing it at first to be Wes and following him around until Annalise confronts him, after he acts out in class, and ask him why he’s acting so skittish. Wes admits that he knows he won’t ever be able to find Rebecca and that it hurts, but he’ll get over it, confirming that he wasn’t the one who killed her (as we already pretty much know). I don’t mind Frank, and I’d be interested in seeing what lead to his and Annalise’s friendship, but I’d rather spend time with the students than him, or Bonnie for that matter.
I’m glad to see that Michael and Connor are still my favorite of the younger characters and Connor and Oliver continue to be the only romantic couple I have any investment in. After last seasons reveal that Oliver was HIV positive, I was worried about how they’d handle the storyline and I’m glad to see that it’s been written with delicacy and realism. I want more of the two of them together, and I want more of Michael and Connor being surprise friends after last years season long antagonism.
The episode ends with a fantastic, mildly pointless dance scene with Annalise, Connor, Wes, Laurel and Michael at an underground rave and despite it’s inconsequential nature, it’s a hell of a lot of fun to see these five characters cutting loose and enjoying the moment before more stress heads their way. Especially as the episode ends with a scene of a flash forward with Annalise bleeding out on the floor as a frantic Wes runs away from the scene. While I doubt the show would actually kill of its Emmy winning lead, the gasp the scene elicited from me proves that the show knows how to create effective tension and drama. We have a season until we learn who actually is the one who shoots Annalise, but as her lesson teaches us, it will likely be someone she’s close to, someone who loves her, and it’s only a matter of time until we learn who.
Welcome to my weekly coverage of How to Get Away with Murder! (From here on out I promise more timely recaps.)