How to Get Away with Murder 1.10: “Hello Raskolnikov”

Bonnie (Liza Weil) and Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) are right back in the thick of things.

ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder opened its first season with the revelation that the main character’s husband, Sam Keating, would be killed in the future. Over the next nine episodes, we saw all the events that led up to the death, and we wrapped up the first half of the first season with another revelation, that Sam’s wife, Annalise Keating as masterfully portrayed by Viola Davis, knew about the murder that her own law students were attempting to cover up.

All in all, those first episodes told a self-contained story. But now it’s going to get messy.

The flashforwards are gone, replaced with a daunting number of flashbacks detailing the entire night of the murder. All the main characters are questioned by a pair of police detectives in connection with Sam’s mysterious disappearance, and they all give their own version of events—which is roughly 25 percent truth, 75 percent lies.

In an entertaining stylistic move, the flashbacks are narrated by each character’s false testimonial. Which means that most of them are spinning their entire story while the audience watches them facing a very dead Sam. It gets a little repetitive.

One of the first new bits of information confirms what anyone who knows the title of this show probably suspected: Keating is indeed helping her students to get away with murder. Only Wes (Alfred Enoch) knows that she knows about the crime, but he relays all of her advice to the others: they should move the body from the crime scene and burn it in order to destroy the DNA evidence they’ve left. And Keating makes sure that her involvement is kept quiet, telling Wes that the less the other know, the less they’ll have to look guilty about.

Meanwhile, they’re all handling the new twist in Rebecca’s trial for the murder of her friend Lila—that Sam was having an affair with Lila while she was his student. Rebecca tips off the team to take a trip to a woman’s clinic, which Lila may have been considering an abortion at the behest of Sam. Initially blocked from obtaining the clinic’s waiting room footage, Keating’s team uses a legal precedent to overturn the judge’s ruling. As in most legal shows, the audience doesn’t care exactly how the legal loopholes work, as evidenced in the decision to change scenes mid-sentence and get it over with as quickly as possible. More important: the peppy pop anthem playing as the team walks out of court with another win.

Connor (Jack Falahee) only cares about himself.

Connor (Jack Falahee) is still the sleaziest of the law students, although he kicks it up a notch this episode: he’s looking for every chance to save his own skin at the expense of everyone else’s, first by considering blaming them while being questioned, and then by conspiring with Michaela (Aja Naomi King) once he realizes he needs help. If he keeps morally deteriorating, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him turn up murdered at the opening of Season 2.  

The coverup dominates the groups’ discussions.

But while the secret of Sam’s death pulls Connor away from the others, it draws some together. The law students are hanging out regularly now, even though it’s entirely to discuss their next move in their ongoing cover-up. Keating apologizes to Rebecca for not being most honest with her, and Bonnie tells Keating that she will always be there if she needs someone to talk to. It’s nice to see these characters care about each other a little.

Will Keating need to take Bonnie up on her offer?

One thing that isn’t working: the relationships on this show. Every character has some dysfunctional love life, and very little of them matter. Wes and Rebecca (Katie Findlay) are the couple most relevant to the plot right now, but they’re also the most boring. Connor and his would-be boyfriend, Laurel (Karla Souza) and Frank (Charlie Weber), Bonnie (Liza Weil) and Asher (Matt McGorry)—they’re all kind of the same. In all three cases, one of them wants to pursue a relationship, the other doesn’t, and neither of them are connected to the plot or very emotionally engaging. This show can have a problem with spinning its wheels, and right now there’s nothing that displays that trait better than these relationships.

Bonnie and Asher (Matt McGorrey). Snore.

By the episode’s end, Rebecca is cleared of Lila’s murder, and the entire team finds out that Keating will help them cover up Sam’s death. All seems decently well… but Keating is also keeping Sam’s wedding ring, incriminating evidence, and Sam’s sister, played by the always-welcome Marcia Gay Harden, is in town to defend his innocence. How To Get Away With Murder is back, and with most of the cast implicated in a murder, the stakes are higher than ever.


Adam Rowe is an information writer and science history enthusiast who runs 70sscifiart.tumblr.com. Follow him @AdamRRowe.

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