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'How to Get Away with Murder' Review: "Skanks Get Shanked"

Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Assistant Stage Editor

Enuka Okuma in the How to Get Away with Murder episode "Skanks Get Shanked." Photo Credit: ABC
Enuka Okuma in the How to Get Away with Murder episode “Skanks Get Shanked.” Photo Credit: ABC

How to Get Away with Murder continues to roll out crazy episode after episode in its second season. In the latest episode of How to Get Away with Murder entitled, “Skanks Get Shanked,” Annalise (Viola Davis) and the team are hired to represent an unlikely suspect when a teenager is found murdered in the woods, meanwhile Wes (Alfred Enoch) continues to dig deeper into Rebecca’s (Katie Findlay) disappearance.

This week on How to Get Away with Murder, fans met a character that has been a crucial puzzle piece since episode one of the series. Nia Lahey (Enuka Okuma) entered the scene when she calls Annalise to come to the hospital and visit her. Since the series start, Nia has been battling ovarian cancer and until this episode was simply a talking point between Nate and Annalise. Nia asks Annalise probably the most difficult thing Annalise has been faced with on How to Get Away with Murder, Nia wants Annalise to kill her. Enuka Okuma is mostly known for her work on the ABC/Global TV drama, Rookie Blue. This week, Okuma stepped away from the role of Traci Nash and gave fans one of the best performances on How to Get Away with Murder to date.

Throughout the entire episode, Annalise appears distracted and fans get glimpses of her encounter with Nia. Okuma and Davis create some of the most gut-wrenching scenes ever showcased on How to Get Away with Murder. Okuma knocks it out of the park with her portrayal of Nia. Davis and Okuma manage to tug on the heartstrings of fans solely from their interactions with each other. In scenes that only rely on acting and no other forces, Okuma and Davis prove their acting abilities. As Nia pleads with Annalise to get her the pills to end her life, she tells Annalise to do it for Nate (Billy Brown), “As long as I’m alive, he’s in pain. That’s why I told him to keep seeing you… If you can’t do this for me or him just do it for yourself. Be a good person for once and get me the pills.” Although these short exchanges about ending Nia’s life are extraordinary, it’s the final scene between the duo that really seals the deal.

Jack Falahee in the How to Get Away with Murder episode "Skanks Get Shanked." Photo Credit: ABC/Mitch Haaseth
Jack Falahee in the How to Get Away with Murder episode “Skanks Get Shanked.” Photo Credit: ABC/Mitch Haaseth

During the entire episode, Annalise is dealing with the idea of ending Nia’s life. It affects her work and she even lies to Nate about why she visited his wife. The storyline comes full circle when Annalise returns to the hospital and fans believe she will give her the pills. In an eloquently written speech, Annalise tells Nia, “I think about it a lot, killing myself. ever since I was a child. You are a better woman than me. If i don’t deserve to die, then you definitely don’t… I’m not the woman you think I am. I’m sorry I can’t help you.” Davis further proves why she is the driving force behind How to Get Away with Murder. She has the natural ability to deliver lines with a such compassion and drive that it’s hard to seperate Davis from Annalise Keating.

How to Get Away with Murder also dove into a murder trial involving teenage girls brutally killing one of their best friends. Although Annalise prosecutes this case, it’s Connor (Jack Falahee) who truly stands out in this storyline. When a video emerges revealing that Keating and Associates client is indeed the killer, Annalise decides to get rid of the evidence in order to win the case. As the trail continues, the defence finds the video causing Annalise to lose the case (one of the few times she has on How to Get Away with Murder). In a scene filled with heart-stopping drama, Annalise confronts Connor about leaking the video to the opposing counsel because he believes doing what is right is better than winning the case. Falahee had taken Connor from a self-centered playboy to a caring, respectful, soon-to-be lawyer in only a season. Falahee has transcended all expectations and has truly turned Connor into a complex character on How to Get Away with Murder. Davis and Falahee go head-to-head and fans cannot help but sit on the edge of their seats and watch this heated confrontation. The duo are probably portray two of the most beloved characters on How to Get Away with Murder and it’s been interesting to see their dynamic grow.

How to Get Away with Murder also dove deeper into Rebecca’s disappearance as Wes teams up with Nate and Levi (Matt Cohen) to investigate and possibly take Annalise down. Enoch is playing a different side to Wes this season as Wes works around Annalise to get answers. The trio are developing an interesting dynamic that will continue to influence the rest of the season. Asher (Matt McGorry) also had an important task in this episode of How to Get Away with Murder. His entire storyline dealt with seeking immunity for helping D.A Emily (Sarah Burns). McGorry has come into his own on How to Get Away with Murder and he has taken Asher from a secondary character to a full-blown main character and important character.

Liza Weil, Charlie Weber, Aja Naomi King and Karla Souza in the How to Get Away with Murder episode "Skanks Get Shanked." Photo Credit: ABC/Mitch Haaseth
Liza Weil, Charlie Weber, Aja Naomi King and Karla Souza in the How to Get Away with Murder episode “Skanks Get Shanked.” Photo Credit: ABC/Mitch Haaseth

Michaela (Aja Naomi King) also got a special project on How to Get Away with Murder this week. She was tasked to get more information about Catherine (Amy Okuda) and Caleb (Kendrick Sampson) possible romance. Aja Naomi King continues to flourish as Michaela and she continues to grow the character. When fans first met Michaela she was an uptight law student who was preoccupied with finishing first in her class and getting married. King adds layer after layer to Michaela and she is becoming a heavy hitter this season on How to Get Away with Murder.

By episodes end, Catherine and Caleb reveal that they have never slept together, Wes, Nate and Levi find a cemetery where Frank most likely hid Rebecca’s body, but the biggest interaction at the end of How to Get Away with Murder comes when Bonnie (Liza Weil) confronts Asher about his behavior and he reveals to her that he knows everything. About Sam’s death and how Annalise covered it up and pinned it on Nate. Bonnie tells Asher that she is actually the one that killed Sam (Tom Verica). Crazy. Next week’s episode called “Meet Bonnie,” will no doubt deal with this fallout and Bonnie’s actions.

How to Get Away with Murder continues to turn up the crazy week after week. The flash forward sequences involving Annalise dying also got crazier this week when Annalise is seen flatlining in the ambulance. How to Get Away with Murder continues to drag audience members in and enticing them with engaging and unpredictable storylines.

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

Overall Grade: B+

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