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‘How to Get Away with Murder’ Review/Recap: “The Night Lila Died” and “It’s All My Fault”

Nora Dominick ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Viola Davis in the How to Get Away with Murder episode "The Night Lila Died." Photo Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/ABC.
Viola Davis in the How to Get Away with Murder episode “The Night Lila Died.” Photo Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/ABC.

How to Get Away with Murder ended its first season with an explosive, heart racing and tense episode that left fans on the edge of their seats and craving more. The 2-hour finale was jammed pack with answers and left some new questions for season two.

“No God should ever forgive me for all the bad things that I’ve done.” The first hour of the amazing finale began with Annalise (Viola Davis) taking on a new client, Father Crawford (Tom Everett Scott) who is accused of killing another priest. While all of this is happening Wes (Alfred Enoch) and Laurel (Karla Souza) continue to dig into Rebecca’s (Katie Findlay) involvement the night Lila was murdered. Davis continues to give a killer performance as she struggles to juggle the new case with Father Crawford and the on-going investigation of Nate (Billy Brown). She effortlessly compartmentalizes the issues happening on the show and creates a character that effortlessly internally struggles with decisions regarding both cases.

In terms of Nate being on trial for Sam’s (Tom Verica) murder, the episode began with Nate not being given bail, an issue Annalise was not going to stand for. Davis and Brown continue to have amazing chemistry as Annalise struggles to help Nate get out of prison while Nate wants nothing to do with her. In an emotional and heart wrenching scene, Annalise has Nate beaten up and seriously injured while in prison. The look on Annalise’s face as she is given the news is agonizing and Davis does a perfect job of allowing her character to be upset but not revealing her true motives to the rest of the characters. In the end, the very handsome Nate is released on bail and ends up taking Annalise’s advice and calling a new lawyer. The question for season two becomes, who is this new lawyer? And can her/she be trusted? Nate’s storyline is far from over and Brown continues to play the tortured soul character with ease.

Charlie Weber, Katie Findlay, Alfred Enoch and Aja Naomi King in the How to Get Away with Murder episode "It's All My Fault." Photo Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/ABC.
Charlie Weber, Katie Findlay, Alfred Enoch and Aja Naomi King in the How to Get Away with Murder episode “It’s All My Fault.” Photo Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/ABC.

Before getting to the burning question of the two hours, who really killed Lila Stangard? Other characters were dealing with emotional baggage especially, Connor (Jack Falahee) and Oliver (Conrad Ricamora). At the beginning of the 2-hour finale, they are blissfully in love. Falahee and Ricamora have flawless chemistry and the two characters have become a fan-favorite relationship over the course of season one. Although all seems happy in Shondaland, it all comes crashing down as soon as Oliver suggests the two of them get tested for STD’s before they take the relationship to the next level. As soon as a bomb like this is dropped in Shondaland, fans know it’s never a good sign. By the end of the two hours, Connor comes home to find Oliver in bed sobbing- he has tested HIV positive. Ricamora gives a gut-wrenching performance as his character finally opens up and reveals his vulnerability. Falahee and Ricamora continue to give stellar performances week after week. This new storyline will push both the characters and the actors to new heights and it will be interesting to see how their relationship shifts come season two.

The next relationship being explored in the 2-hour finale was Asher (Matt McGorry) and Bonnie (Liza Weil). After the two hooked up (on the hood of a car) in last weeks episode, Team Basher seems to be going strong. McGorry and Weil continue to deliver killer performances as McGorry plays the comic relief character while Weil plays the straight-laced, uptight lawyer, except when she is around Asher. The two actors have unbelievable chemistry and it’s hard to believe a scenario when these two are not together. So, how did Team Basher end? Well, Frank let’s it slip he knows about the two of them and of course leaves the looming threat of telling Annalise. Threats to tell your somewhat-uptight-boss are never good, especially in Shondaland. In the end, Asher might finally be dragged into the Lila murder craziness when Nate’s ex-lawyer shows up at his house wanted to know more about Annalise. Will everyone’s favorite frat boy spill the beans? Season two, why are you so far away!

Next up is Laurel. Laurel has seemingly flown under the radar in recent weeks however, that all changed when she accompanied Wes to the mental hospital where Rudy was being held. She is now on a mission to convict Rebecca of Sam’s murder. Souza has created a character that is very hard to figure out. She is extremely three-dimensional and is one of the few characters left on How to Get Away with Murder where we still don’t know much about her. As she leads the angry charge for Rebecca, it turns out she was keeping a few secrets of her own. In the last three minutes of the episode, Laurel hands Michaela (Aja Naomi King) her missing engagement ring! Turns out Laurel was holding onto it the entire time to make sure MIchaela wouldn’t go to the police. Souza delivers an incredible performance and with this news floating to the surface, it’s hard to know what Laurel’s motives truly are.

Charlie Weber and Liza Weil in the How to Get Away with Murder episode "It's All My Fault." Photo Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/ABC.
Charlie Weber and Liza Weil in the How to Get Away with Murder episode “It’s All My Fault.” Photo Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/ABC.

Now is the time we’ve all been waiting for, did Rebecca actually kill Sam? Although other events were focused on during this brutal and emotional 2-hour finale, the Lila Stangard case continued to be the most prevalent. Findlay delivers her best performance on the show as she effortlessly portrays a girl who still loves Wes but, doesn’t know if she can trust him. Rebecca has always been the character no one, not even the audience, knows much about and Findlay creates that character flawlessly. So, what did happen to Rebecca during this 2-hour masterpiece?

“We’re not monsters! We don’t tie people up and hold them captive against their will!” Apparently the Keating Four- Wes, Laurel, Connor and Michaela- do. The second half of the finale begins with Annalise finding out her precious and murderous law students have tied Rebecca up and are holding her hostage. Pretty sure, Annalise did not teach that technique in class. If there were any sequence of events that would showcase Findlay’s incredible acting, these were it. She delivers her best performance to date as she screams, wails and manipulates Keating and Associates. Findlay has rarely shared scenes with Davis and this episode changes that. While tied up in the basement, Annalise and Rebecca finally have a chat about Wes and her friendship with Lila. Davis and Findlay deliver marvelous performances and continue to prove why How to Get Away with Murder boasts some of the best acting on TV today.

Caleb Mixson, Aja Naomi King, Jack Falahee and Matt McGorry in the How to Get Away with Murder episode "The Night Lila Died." Photo Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/ABC.
Caleb Mixson, Aja Naomi King, Jack Falahee and Matt McGorry in the How to Get Away with Murder episode “The Night Lila Died.” Photo Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/ABC.

So, who actually killed Lila Stangard? After revealing to Wes that she did not kill Lila but she did drug Rudy and made him come mentally unhinged, Rebecca’s name is finally cleared. But, the bliss doesn’t last long. When Annalise goes down to the basement to untie Rebecca, she is gone! This leads Wes and Annalise to have one of the greatest and well acted scenes to date. Davis and Enoch have unmatchable chemistry on screen as they ride the fine line between a mother-son relationship and maybe something more. As Wes breaks down crying in Annalise’s lap she assures her favorite law-student that Sam was the one who killed Lila. Fans however know this isn’t true. Through a flashback sequence it’s revealed that Frank killed Lila that night on orders from Sam! Talk about a crazy turn of events and this wasn’t even the biggest bomb dropped last night. In the final minute, it is revealed Rebecca has been murdered and is being stashed in the Keating and Associates basement! INSANE!

So, who killed Rebecca? Will everyone find out about Frank’s involvement with Lila? These questions and many others will hopefully be answered when How to Get Away with Murder returns with a murderous second season this fall.

How to Get Away with Murder returns will brand new episode this fall to ABC

Overall Episode Grade: A

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