Who killed Rebecca? And does he or she get some sort of prize?
That was the question that plagued us all summer long during the sweaty wait for the season 2 return of How to Get Away With Murder. And sure, some people hated Rebecca while others enjoyed her equity of rebellion and eyeliner — but everyone wanted to know who silenced her in order to put an end to her whistleblowing shenanigans.
But in the wake of the season 2 premiere, there is now a MUCH bigger question that needs to be answered. It’s a question of such magnitude that it makes “Who killed Rebecca?” as shrugworthy a query as “Well, where do you feel like eating?” The new question sets into motion our entire second season.
WHO. SHOT. ANNALISE. KEATING.
In one swift move, the sophomore Murder ride is off and running. The slow tick to the night Annalise Keating is shot is, in a way, structurally reminiscent of the show’s first cycle, but the victim demands a different set of questions. Who had the motivation to kill her? Is it the lawyer she disgraced? The boyfriend she framed? The sister-in-law she silenced? The ex-lesbian lover she left? Or is one of her homicidal students to blame? Moreso than Sam Keating’s murder, the as-yet-attempted murder of Annalise is far more open to motivational interpretation.
We’ve got the time: two months from now. The location: the Definitely Incestuous Adopted Siblings’ Fancy Mansion, or DIASFM. The persons present, for now: Wes, who runs panicked out of the mansion; Annalise, who has been shot in the stomach and who suffers twofold because all she can do is clutch her wound and look at the siblings’ fugly family portrait; and a third figure, an as-yet-unidentified shadowy presence ostensibly fleeing the scene.
What we’ll discover over the course of the season — or its first half, at least — is why Annalise is lying on the cold hard ground (Oh!). Who could have motivation to kill her? I mean, aside from everyone. Her overlaid narration bookending the episode asserts that most murderers are people who know the victim personally, which narrows it down to… again, everyone.
Sigh. We have a loooong road ahead of us. But that’s HTGAWM, and there are plenty of other mysteries to address besides this big bang query on…The Night of the Fancy Mansion? The Night of the Splattered Portrait? The Night of the Flying Cheerleader II: Reckoning? (I’m beta-testing this).
The three big questions of the evening:
1. WHO KILLED REBECCA?
In the immediate aftermath of Rebecca’s death, Annalise and Frank quickly dispose of the corpse (displaying the most personality she’s had in years) in a suitcase, because a TV drama doesn’t exist if you don’t stuff at least one dead body into a valise (seriously, you guys must start watching The Americans). As Frank toils away de-Becca-ing the basement, he suggests that Wes had to have done it, but Annalise knows better.
Ten days pass, and Frank and Annalise have successfully kept the secret of Rebecca’s murder from the kids of Murder, Inc. — that’s what we at EW call Wes, Michaela, Connor, and Laurel, a.k.a. the homicidal Scooby Doo foursome. The gang believes that Rebecca simply ran off, and they’re stressed about the very, very scary threat she presents to their possible incarceration. An aura of seriousness — more so than usual — hangs over the group. Connor thinks Wes let Rebecca go, Michaela’s still mad that Laurel stole and hid her engagement ring, and nobody’s enthused enough to take on a case about two insane siblings accused of torturing and killing their parents (see page three).
In all of this, Wes exhibits the worst behavior. He feels betrayed by Rebecca and resentful toward Annalise, whom he thinks is lying about Rebecca’s whereabouts. Like Elphaba to gravity, Wes defies her authority at every turn, blatantly strolling in late to lecture and declining to answer when she calls on him in class (an adroit call back to the series pilot, where Wes and Annalise took the first steps in the demented tango that is their relationship; also, does Wes even realize how lucky he is to be called on in that classroom?!).
Frank spies on Wes’s computer and sets a trap to see if Wes will follow a false lead that Rebecca’s in a motel, but no dice. Eventually, Annalise decides to get Wes’ forgiveness by doing something strange called coo…king? Wes finally realizes that his misguided anger toward Annalise should be directed toward Rebecca. “Of course [I want to find her], but I’m not pathetic,” he tells Annalise. “She ran away, after I told her I believed her and after everything I did for her.”
With the emotional confession, Annalise can eliminate Wes as a possible culprit. Frank has a new suspect in Laurel, whom we confidently know in season 2 to be the show’s smartest, most logical player. She’s approached him with the assertion that Rebecca must be dead (and figured out the perfect time to go to Frank’s house to catch him and his eight chiseled, uh, roommates). Frank thusly thinks she killed Rebecca — “It’s always the quiet ones” — but Annalise already figured out who the real quiet one who did it. The case, like a lip without balm, has been cracked.
NEXT: Bon, bag, and beyond