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‘How to Get Away with Murder’ Review: “She Hates Us”

Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Co-Executive Stage Editor

How to Get Away with Murder continued to up the intensity this week as new revelations came to light. Last week fans watched as Annalise (Viola Davis) was released from the hospital following her shooting. Although the ramifications of that night are still wreaking havoc on the Keating 5, the Hapstall murder case took a backseat to another case this week. How to Get Away with Murder continues to up the intensity with the latest episode entitled “She Hates Us.”

This week’s How to Get Away with Murder episode focused on Annalise’s first case back after getting shot. Although this episode felt like a filler episode, the murder case presented ended up taking center stage. This week, Annalise and company must represent Jason (Carlos Miranda), a young man who shot an innocent teenage boy. Although this type of case has been presented on How to Get Away with Murder before, this case takes a new turn when the mother of the victim, Joyce (Paula Newsome), interrupts the 15 year plea deal so she can testify on behalf of Jason. This storyline strayed from the typical grieving mother most TV court cases display and it made for an interesting case for fans and Annalise.

Newsome delivers an amazing performance as Joyce as more information regarding her son’s murder comes to light. Her most powerful moments come opposite Carlos Miranda and prove that this is one court case How to Get Away with Murder fans won’t soon forget. When Jason reveals to Joyce that he shot her son on purpose and to make matters worse, he sent a text to Joyce that was seemingly her son’s last words. This revelation evokes one of the best scenes from Newsome and Miranda. The duo play off of each other effortlessly and take a seemingly forgettable court case to new heights on How to Get Away with Murder.

Jack Falahee and Matt McGorry in the How to Get Away with Murder episode "She Hates Us." Photo Credit: ABC/Michael Desmond
Jack Falahee and Matt McGorry in the How to Get Away with Murder episode “She Hates Us.” Photo Credit: ABC/Michael Desmond

Alfred Enoch continues to be one of the stand out players on How to Get Away with Murder this season. This week, Wes deals with the ramifications of shooting Annalise and the PTSD that has arisen involving his mother’s death. Enoch plays a different side to Wes in this episode as fans see him begin to crumble. When Wes goes to the doctor and makes an offhanded comment about killing himself, he’s held in the psych ward for further examination. Enoch has transformed Wes drastically from the law student fans met in the beginning of the series. His storyline ultimately falls a little flat and feels like Wes is simply running in circles. With Wes in the psych ward, he’s sidelined this episode, which allows other characters to take center stage.

Connor (Jack Falahee) and Asher’s (Matt McGorry) friendship took center stage on How to Get Away with Murder. Last week, fans learned that Asher has been living with Connor and Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) following his breakup with Bonnie (Liza Weil) and his father’s apparent suicide. McGorry and Falahee usually share more comedic scenes together, but this week they shared more heartfelt scenes. When Oliver grows frustrated that Asher has been staying with them, Connor tells him that he’s just trying to help, but thinks he’s a pain. Of course nothing on How to Get Away with Murder goes unheard, so Asher naturally hears their conversation. McGorry and Falahee have stepped to the forefront of How to Get Away with Murder this season and it’s refreshing to see the duo share scenes together.

After rarely being in the mid-season premiere, Aja Naomi King astounds in this episode. She has several key moments, one of them being a confrontation with Caleb (Kendrick Sampson). Michaela and Caleb were seen on the outs last week following the events of Annalise’s shooting. King and Sampson have unbelievable chemistry and seeing them tackle this new side to their relationship is exciting. When Caleb confronts Michaela about Catherine’s case, the duo get into a heated argument that ends with Caleb saying he never loved Michaela just to get a rise out of her. Aja Naomi King is always a force to be reckoned with in her scenes and here’s hoping she takes on a larger role in the rest of season 2.

Aja Naomi King, Charlie Weber and Liza Weil in the How to Get Away with Murder episode "She Hates Us." Photo Credit: ABC/Michael Desmond
Aja Naomi King, Charlie Weber and Liza Weil in the How to Get Away with Murder episode “She Hates Us.” Photo Credit: ABC/Michael Desmond

Michaela is also at the center of a major scene this week when she leads a charge against Annalise. When Laurel (Karla Souza) tells Annalise and the rest of the Keating Five that Wes is being held in a psych ward, Annalise refuses to go get him. After following Annalise blindly for too long now, Michaela stands up and doesn’t want to listen to her anymore. King, Falahee, Souza and McGorry work very well together and these large ensemble scenes are always a pleasure to watch. Although this scene is suppose to have a large impact, it ultimately gets swept under the rug in the grand scheme of the episode.

Going back to the case this week on How to Get Away with Murder, Newsome delivers a powerful final scene when Jason is sentenced to life in prison without parole. In a heartbreaking moment, Joyce and Jason share an intimate moment where she tells him that they are in this together and she won’t leave him. Newsome leaves her mark on How to Get Away with Murder this week and is arguable the best part of the episode.

The flashback sequences on How to Get Away with Murder this week also proved to be more interesting than the present day storyline. In flashback form fans get a glimpse at a young Bonnie and Frank as they begin at Keating & Associates. Frank being the secretary makes this flashback even better. Also on top of learning more about them, fans also learn more about Annalise, her pregnancy and her work with Rose, Wes’ mother. In a startling revelation, Annalise travels to visit Rose and gives her a folder filled with newspaper clippings about a murder. This new development will be interesting to see and how it will affect Wes, Annalise and the present day storyline will be something to keep an eye out for.

In typical How to Get Away with Murder fashion, the last ten minutes of the episode hold the most significance. Wes discusses his mother dying with the therapist, the remainder of the Keating Five go to the psych ward to spring him and they all share a typical car ride back to Keating and Associates. Although this sequence doesn’t hold much significance, it’s what it leads to that packs the biggest punch.

Charlie Weber in the How to Get Away with Murder episode "She Hates Us." Photo Credit: ABC/Michael Desmond
Charlie Weber in the How to Get Away with Murder episode “She Hates Us.” Photo Credit: ABC/Michael Desmond

After springing Wes from the psych ward, Laurel returns home to Frank (Charlie Weber) and it’s here that the most significant moment of the entire episode happens. Laurel tells Frank that she is the one who actually shot Annalise and that she is tired of lying to him. Of course this leads Laurel to want something from Frank and in a crazy twist, Frank reveals that he is the one that killed Lyla. Oh my God. Souza and Weber have arguably the best chemistry on How to Get Away with Murder and seeing their characters grow together is extremely rewarding for fans. This bombshell takes Laurel and Frank by surprise as a secret that was revealed in season 1 finally comes to light. Weber has transformed into a crucial character on How to Get Away with Murder and this revelation will surely transport him to the forefront.

Overall, this episode of How to Get Away with Murder falls a little flat in the grand scheme of the entire season. The case of the week arc is the most interesting portion of the episode while other plotlines seem to fall short. The episode does end with Connor receiving an incriminating video of the Keating Five leaving the hapstall mansion the night Annalise was shot, but this furthers the next episode not this one. Hopefully the next episode of How to Get Away with Murder will pack a great punch and leave a bigger impact.

How to Get Away with Murder airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC

Overall Grade: B

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