How to Get Away With Murder is Phenomenal (15 episodes was not enough ABC, fix this next season)
Some of you may know I just reviewed the Broadchurch season finale so when Shannon suggested I review this after the season finale I was more than up for it - a far better murder mystery which I honestly have nothing but praise for.
SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY, DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND DON’T RUIN THIS FOR YOURSELF, JUST WATCH THE FINALE. PLEASE.
How to Get Away With Murder is incredible. It was the first of the shows that started last year that I watched religiously. It kept me guessing and give me well-rounded, diverse characters. The twists and turns have been constantly shocking, there was never one time I could predict what was going to happen, and I really usually can on murder mystery shows. I can’t express how thoroughly enjoyable it’s been. I honestly am devastated that we only got fifteen episodes, it was not enough, though they rounded the season out well, tied some things up and left some loose strings - they had to keep us guessing until the end and totally fucking kill me with that cliffhanger.
Let me first turn my attention to what I simply could not review this without mentioning, the awe-inspiring talents of Viola Davis as Annalise Keating. From her first moments on screen she blew my mind, she grabs on to my attention in every scene she’s in. I’m honestly having trouble putting into words just how good she is in this, how well-rounded and perfectly acted the character is. For want of a better expression, she is fucking on point all the time. I’m so impressed that this show has such a strong, black leading lady and does so without batting an eye and executes it so perfectly. Take notes every other show ever, have a black actress as your best most vivid character and don’t make her race her main story line. Develop her well and make her an actual person. To Viola Davis, can you please be in everything? Your shining light would make anything so much better.
In fact, all the characters are well-developed on this show, and it has such effortless diversity, I almost hate to point it out. It should be something shows are doing naturally, and of course they aren’t. By putting shows like HTGAWM on a pedestal the hope is always that others will follow suite, and so they should. #NoMoreGroupsOfWhitePeopleLivingInAnAmericanCityWhichInRealityWouldBeDiverseButYou’reIgnoringThatInApartmentsTooBigForTheirIncome2K15.
Minor rant over, and back to the characters. What I love about the show is that they’re not afraid to give you a dislikeable character in a major role, specifically Bonnie and Rebecca. Looking especially at Rebecca, I love how she is put in a light where you both sympathise with and despise her in the same scene, I think that shows incredibly clever writing and acting on the part of Katie Findlay. Also, congratulations to the show for being able to totally flip characters on their heads (I’m looking at you, Frank). The characters all interacted well with each other, and most of all they were believeable and well-acted. I can’t think of one on the show where the acting was something I took issue with, which for a TV show is so rare with me.
The overall plot had been totally thrilling all season. I’ve enjoyed both the main plots of Lila and Sam’s deaths and finding out the twists and turns of those cases as much as I’ve enjoyed the legal stories every week. I fully admit to being able to solve very few of the ones where guessing was possible.
The show is also one which isn’t afraid to dive in at the deep end when it comes to difficult topics. Infidelity is especially dealt with on the parts of Annalise and her husband, though I found it interesting that I sympathised with her and not with Sam (maybe it was because I just hated him, maybe it was because sleeping with a student is always sleazy and you already cheated on your first wife, fuck, I’m glad you’re dead). However, there are others that tend to be left alone by other shows that it uses too. One I liked from the beginning was the idea that Lila’s boyfriend wanted to keep her ‘pure’. So often with teenagers in shows you see the reverse, the male desperate to loose his virginity and the female less sure, and I liked the recurring theme of suppression of female desires. Another I liked to do with the legal side was the idea of representing a guilty client which you tend not to see on legal shows, though when you do they so rarely do it as well - don’t pretend you’ve ever seen ‘I murdered my first wife’ as a defense on anything before. Finally, I loved the story set up in the finale with Oliver and his being sadly HIV positive, STD’s are very rarely covered in shows, accidental pregnancy is far more common and I think if any show was going to cover it respectfully and well, this is the one to do it.
Finally, let’s just take a moment to relive that finale. Fuck. I was full on speechless for about seven minutes. I had wondered if a main character might die, but after the revelation of Frank as the killer? I thought there was no way they were going for another bombshell. Of course they did, that’s the show, and I’m ashamed for thinking otherwise. I was so glad Lila’s killer wasn’t Rebecca or Sam (though I still hate Sam more than Frank, I blame him) because I had no idea, I hadn’t even considered that Frank could be a suspect. Honestly, even while it was on those gloves I thought it might be Bonnie, though should have known she’s too tiny to do anything like that. Frank, you have betrayed my trust and lulled me into a false sense of security. Poor Laurel. I have a feeling she might be the first to work it out and have to live with it or give him in. I couldn’t predict which she’ll do if she’s put in a situation like that.
Of all of them, I’m glad Rebecca was the one to die, now we know she killed no-one she was definitely a disposable character, and she probably deserved it after what she did to her poor neighbour.
I genuinely have no clue where this show is going next season, what’s going to happen, who’s the killer, who dies next, but I can’t wait to find out!