Written by Matt Taylor
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that How to Get Away with Murder has only been on for two seasons. In 25 episodes, the show has covered more ground than other series have done in their entire run. That’s a testament to the talented writers, who not only keep the story moving, but also, miraculously, avoid jumping the shark. This week’s episode, “What Happened to You, Annalise?” gave fans some long waited answers, teased where the rest of the season would go, offered some terrific character development, and even threw in one of the stranger subplots the series has showcased. And it all worked wonderfully.
Of course, when we last left the Keating Five, they were in the midst of a chaotic night at the Hastings mansion. Asher had joined the “murderers club” by killing Emily Sinclair, while Frank kidnapped Catherine to pin all the crimes on her. Most importantly, Annalise begged one of her students to shoot her in the leg to make the crime scene more convincing but after finding out that Rebecca’s been dead the whole time, Wes went for the kill. Now, two weeks later, the Keating Five are trying to return to normal, while a painkiller-taking Annalise struggles with having to take the stand against Catherine.
Annalise’s post-traumatic stress and confusing relationship with Wes manifested itself in an unusual manner, with the typically levelheaded lawyer hallucinating that a crying woman abandoned her baby at the practice’s front door. While having an entire subplot take place in a character’s mind is a risky venture that often goes awry (see last season of The Good Wife), this week’s episode worked shockingly well, mainly because the baby opened the door for some much needed character development. As one character put it later in the episode, Annalise is a deeply unhappy woman and, finally, fans are going to get some insight into why that is. Furthermore, Viola Davis is more than capable of showing Annalise’s inner struggle, and this subplot will undoubtedly produce more Emmy-quality work from her. Even better, it seems like we’ll finally figure out the details about Annalise and Wes’ complex relationship, and the two shared a scene that was suspenseful and marvelously acted.
This was an Annalise-centric episode, but that doesn’t mean the other members of the cast were ignored. Asher was particularly well developed, with a darker side of the character being explored as he tries to convince the others that his father was murdered. Matt McGorry was never my favorite member of the cast, but he did a nice job making his character sympathetic and appropriately pathetic. We also saw another side of Laurel, as she gained Annalise’s confidence and is in the process of forming a mysterious alliance. There’s definitely a side to Laurel we haven’t seen yet, and I’m interested in seeing where their relationship goes. Based on the offhanded references to the criminal activities that Laurel’s father takes part in, she definitely has a dark side, and it’s bound to come out sometime soon.
The episode wasn’t perfect, with Michaela romantic relationship with Caleb being resolved too quickly, and far too little time being spent with Connor. It’s great to see the writers quickly moving past the events at the Hapstall mansion, moving the story in another direction that will, hopefully, provide more answers. The last few minutes of the episode hint that we will finally find out about Annalise and Wes’ complicated backstory, and I have faith that the writer’s will live up to the viewers’ high expectations.
Overall rating: 9 out of 10