HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER: “Best Christmas Ever” Review
Well, last week, I wondered what structure would be in place week to week on How to Get Away with Murder to replace the flash forwards to Murder Night now that Murder Night is passed. Last week it was the interviews with the police about Sam’s (Tom Verica) disappearance. This week moves us forward to the beginning of the spring semester at Middleton, and each of the cutaways shows what each of the characters did over the course of their winter break, giving us a little background into each character and showing how the murder is affecting them.
For Annalise (Viola Davis), things are pretty hard. She spent the winter break drinking in a hotel by herself, allowing herself to grieve the death of her husband and avoid her sister-in-law, Hannah (special guest star Marcia Gay Harden), who is convinced her brother is innocent. Throughout the episode, Hannah tries to get Annalise to open up about the situation, but Annalise keeps her at arm’s length until the end of the episode, where she tells Hannah the partial truth, just enough to get Hannah on her side, though that truce is unlikely to last.
Meanwhile the four students involved in the murder each are dealing with what they’ve done in their own way. Michaela (Aja Naomi King) is freaking out the most, shutting everyone out, and living in complete denial. Over the break, she sleeps too much, drinks too much, accuses her fiance of having a homosexual affair, and he breaks off their engagement. However, back at school, she wears a fake engagement ring (her real one was lost on Murder Night), and refuses to acknowledge that anything is wrong.
Wes (Alfred Enoch) is having nightmares every time he goes to sleep. He and Rebecca (Katie Findlay) stay in his apartment during the break, and they receive a Christmas card addressed to the former occupant of his room. Possible thread for next season’s storyline? Or something that may tie in to Lila Stangard’s murder? Too soon to tell.
During the break, Connor (Jack Falahee) went home, where his sister tries to set him up with a sexy guy at a Christmas party, but he tells her that he has a boyfriend. Back at school, he tries to cozy back up to Oliver (Conrad Ricamora), wanting a real relationship for the first time. But Oliver is hesitant, since Connor burned him once before, even though he’s crazy for Connor. In a really beautiful moment between the two of them, Oliver confesses how deeply he feels about Connor, and Connor begs Oliver to let him stay, since Oliver is the only person in Connor’s life he can truly trust.
Laurel (Karla Souza), on the other hand, isn’t breaking down or freaking out. She actually seems to be empowered by the events of Murder Night, which is fascinating to watch. During the break, she is blatantly honest with her parents, seemingly for the first time. Back at school, she is the one holding the group together, and she even goes so far as to talk to Frank (Charlie Weber) about Murder Night, revealing that Connor’s car still has trace evidence. When Connor’s car goes missing, she confronts Frank again, telling him that she knows he got rid of the car and is buddying up to Asher (Matt McGorry) to keep an eye on him. Frank admits to nothing, but you can tell that he is impressed with her.
Speaking of Frank and Asher, the only glimpse of them during the break we get to see is the two of them drinking together at a bar, where Asher tries to get some info about Bonnie (Liza Weil), unsuccessfully. Back at school, he is outright rude to her and when she confronts him about it, he tells her that she hurt his feelings when she dismissed him before the break and in a very mean way. Might we see that relationship blossom? I doubt it. It’s far more likely that it will come back to haunt both of them in a very real and meaningful way.
All of this is set against the backdrop of a new case. A woman comes to Annalise claiming that her husband has two teen girls locked in their basement. The husband is raping them as he raped her, and one of the girls is pregnant and about to give birth, so she comes to Annalise. Despite moral objections from the students (after all, the woman is an accomplise to kidnapping and rape), Annalise takes the case, arguing that the woman is also a victim. As it turns out, the woman stole a child from one of the two girls already, keeping the child hidden in a cupboard and pretending she is the child’s mother. Once Annalise obtains the information about where the child is hidden, she drops the case, leaving the woman to stand trial for her crimes.
The case is interesting, but largely unimportant in the grand scheme of things, only really showing that Annalise is getting back to work, and you can see that at first, she overidentifies with the woman, wanting to believe herself a victim as well.
Just when Annalise convinces Hannah why she believes Sam killed Lila, it seems like things might be okay again. Until the remains of Sam Keating are discovered in a landfill. Bring on the evidence, and let’s see the kiddies squirm, shall we?
Only three episodes left this season….do you think the group will get away with it?