Nora Dominick ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Who killed Sam? That was the major question leading into the epic, heart pounding mid-season finale of How to Get Away with Murder. This chilling, amazing hour of television redefined what it means to be on the edge of your seat.
Since the beginning of this series, fans knew How to Get Away with Murder would push their mental capacities to the breaking point. Week after week, fans were given small doses of information as to who killed Sam Keating (Tom Verica). This roller-coaster ride of an episode answered that burning question and gave fans a cliffhanger that will have them wanting more. This episode opened with an emotional confrontation between Sam and Annalise (Viola Davis). Both actors pushed themselves to the breaking point as they gave one of the best performances of the year, as they portray a marriage that is being ripped apart at the seams. It’s safe to say, Verica will be greatly missed in future seasons. As Sam and Annalise struggle, she points out the fact that Sam is only with her because she is the “black woman on your [Sam’s] arm so you can hide.” The writing for this show is spectacular and if fans thought this was intense, the rest of the episode was insanity.
Everyone’s favorite murder students were in some compromising situations this week. After Annalise storms out of Keating and Associates, Rebecca (Katie Findlay) shows up to prove Sam killed Lila and Sam chases Rebecca trying to stop her. She isn’t in danger for long because her knight in shining armor, Wes (Alfred Enoch), shows up to save the day. He convinces Rebecca to give Sam his computer back and they try to walk out calmly. This lasts all of five seconds because Sam is on the attack. He leaps onto Rebecca and begins punching anyone in his way. Laurel (Karla Souza) quickly grabs the flash drive and tries to escape with Michaela (Aja Naomi King) . In a heart pounding scene, Michaela pushes Sam over the stair railing and he falls to the ground, appearing to be dead. Let’s be honest, Sam wasn’t staying dead for long. He leaps up and begins strangling Rebecca. Once again, Wes is there to save the day. He whacks Sam over the head with the trophy, killing him. That’s right folks, everyone’s favorite soft-spoken lawyer has killed Sam. And this all happens within the first ten minutes.
The next thirty minutes are filled with outstanding performances and incredible twists and turns. Alfred Enoch has grown exponentially on this show. His portrayal of Wes is exceptional and deserves recognition. On a show with Academy Award Nominee Viola Davis at the helm, it might seem hard to steal the spotlight however, Enoch has done just that. He is the star of this murder show and fans hope he’s here to stay.
The flash forward sequences that were shown throughout the first eight episodes of How to Get Away with Murder were finally put into context. Fans saw all the scenes of the students burning Sam’s body, pretending to have fun at the bonfire and dodging Asher (Matt McGorry) in real time. This mode of storytelling has proven to shine and fans hope this continues during the next half of the season. It’s inventive and keeps viewers coming back week after week.
Although the second half of the episode focused heavily on putting the previously seen flash forward scenes into context, viewers also saw what Annalise, Bonnie (Liza Weil), and Asher were up to. It turns out after her explosive fight with Sam, Annalise goes crawling back to her extremely attractive boyfriend, Nate (Billy Brown). She tells him that Sam may have killed Lila and that she doesn’t trust him anymore. Meanwhile, Bonnie and Asher are busy getting freaky at Asher’s apartment. Team Basher seems to be going strong. The most emotional scene of the night came when Annalise leaves Nate’s and returns to Keating and Associates. She calls Sam and leaves a heart-breaking voicemail explaining that she is sorry and that they are a team. This is utilized as a voiceover as the students burn Sam’s body. Pretty poetic don’t you think?
By the episode’s end, Sam’s body has been appropriately disposed of (in the form of garbage bags), the students all return to their relatively normal lives of sleeping with their significant others and confiding in them (Connor goes to see Oliver and admits he has a drug problem). All seems normal at Keating and Associates until Bonnie calls them all into work. In another stellar performance, Annalise is seen crying to the students and telling them about Sam’s involvement with Lila. Davis has taken Annalise from a hardened teacher to an emotionally devastated woman.
Fans may have thought this was the end of the episode and that everything was going to be fine. But they were mistaken, this is a ShondaLand show after all. In the last three minutes, it is revealed that when Wes went back for the trophy and apologized to Sam’s corpse for killing him, Annalise was sitting in her office. She knows everything. This twist was insane and will surely have fans on the edge of their seats waiting for new episodes this January.
It’s safe to say that How to Get Away with Murder is the greatest new drama of the season. The roller coaster ride fans are subjected to are magnificent. This show has created killer storylines and amazing characters. It’s going to be a long break, but How to Get Away with Murder will be back with a brand new episode on January 29, 2015.
How to Get Away with Murder airs on Thursday’s at 10/9c on ABC.
Overall Episode Grade: A