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'How to Get Away With Murder' premiere recap: 'It's Time to Move On'

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Mitchell Haaseth/ABC

How to Get Away With Murder

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
tvpgr:
TV-14
seasons:
2
run date:
09/25/14
performer:
Viola Davis, Alfred Enoch
broadcaster:
ABC
genre:
Crime, Drama, Mystery

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. 

QUESTION MARK.

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[pagebreak]

So who killed Rebecca? Saucy pearlstress Bonnie, who admitted to Annalise that she had to kill the girl to protect everyone. We see a flashback to the homicide, and Bonnie reveals that she sees part of herself in Rebecca. “Bad things happened to me, too,” she shares. “The worst things. The difference is I don’t use them as an excuse.” What damage does Bonnie come from? Has she killed before? Surely we’ll glimpse more of Bonnie’s backstory this season, as there are bound to be secrets behind that perfect bob.

The bigger question is, did Bonnie kill Rebecca to protect the clan, or because she believes so strongly that Sam was innocent? Remember, her devotion to the dead Mr. Keating hasn’t diminished, and this is an act of bloody love that seals in her crazy like Norma Bates’ Tupperware. Annalise calls her out on this exact notion, screaming that she did it for Sam because she still needs him to be the good, kind man that the real Mrs. Keating has loooong abandoned. They leave, and the Bonnie-Annalise friendship continues to dissolve.

THE QUESTION NOW: How long until everyone else finds out that Rebecca’s dead — and that it was Ann Taylor Loft’s favorite customer who did it?

2. WHOSE NUMBER DID ANNALISE GIVE NATE TO CALL?

After framing Nate for Sam’s murder last season, Annalise visited him in jail and delivered a note with “Fire your lawyer” scrawled above an unknown number. Well, Nate called, and the number belongs to Eve (guest star Famke Janssen of X-Men and mispronunciation fame), a mysterious lawyer from Annalise’s past whose very appearance seems to be a surprise to Annalise, as if Nate actually wasn’t supposed to call.

Eve, much like everyone from Annalise’s past, has beef, but this is more, uh, emotional beef than other guests. Eve’s a wise one — she already smells that something’s wrong with the situation and assumes Annalise and Nate killed Sam together. When Annalise refuses and begs her to still take the case, Eve deduces that Annalise framed him. She bails, telling a tearful Annalise, “I’m not letting you ruin me the way you ruined him.”

It takes a devastated Annalise appearing at her doorstep in New York to convince her otherwise. Mirroring Connor’s desperate arrival at Oliver’s apartment on the Night of the Flying Cheerleader, Annalise shows up at Eve’s place after Bonnie admits to killing Rebecca. Eve, to her credit, welcomes Annalise back, and she admits that she framed Sam, but only to protect the person who killed him — and she insists that said person deserves protection. Eve agrees to take the kiss. I mean, case. Oh, and they also kiss, and Twitter just about exploded, because the sexual energy between Eve and Annalise (Evalise?) could bring down a California richter scale.

THE QUESTION NOW: Eve’s on Nate’s trial, but how deep will she dig into the case? Will the kids trust her? And what’s the over-under that she actually survives to January sweeps?

3. WHO IS EGGS 911?

Here’s a mystery we’re just cooking up (sorry). Who is the mysterious phone number that Rebecca speed-texted “EGGS 911. Lawyer’s house.” in her free moment with Michaela’s phone? It certainly has to be someone with immediate recognition of who “lawyer” is (Griffin, maybe?).

In the aftermath of Rebecca’s disappearance, Michaela thinks she ought to get a new phone. Connor agrees (and I agree whenever Connor and Michaela team up), but Frank suspiciously tells her she can’t. “You change it now and the police ever learn Rebecca’s MIA…” he reasons, but I’m a bit skeptical as to whether the advice is sage or shady, like encountering a willow that’s equal parts Grandmother and Whomping.

Michaela heads to a bar — newly single now — and contemplates the text message, as well as the number. During her solitude, she meets a handsome man who asks her about a cocktail, and she is on the brink of living her best life, but he says he’s gay. Ouch! Another handsome black man who expresses interest in her before coming out? Sounds way too familiar to Aidengate. Maybe then, perhaps out of some sad desperation and compulsion to not leave well enough alone, Michaela texts “Hi.” She doesn’t even use an emoji! Is Eggs supposed to reply without two dancing girls!? She gets that same pit in her stomach that any of us get during the first Tinder message. (Is the handsome man a plant? Is he actually gay? Is this the world’s worst revenge from Mrs. Walker for the slap not heard round the world?)

The next night, Annalise decides to de-serious the Keating Five with a cheeky night out. It’s perhaps HTGAWM’s most bizarre scene, if only because it makes us realize how infrequent the characters smile, but by the same token it’s a treat. Personally, I’ve only ever wanted to see this motley crew form a friendlier bond, and it seems like that could be a possibility this season. Laurel begs forgiveness from Michaela for that whole ring ruse — and, though they bicker, I think she’ll be granted it — but in their distraction from Michaela’s purse, we see that the EGGS number has REPLIED.

THE QUESTION NOW: WHO THE F— IS EGGS.

NEXT: Meet the siblings… and Coliver[pagebreak]

With two of the three biggest cliffhanger questions answered, here’s what else you need to know of this week’s episode.

CONNOR AND OLIVER

After Oliver found out he was HIV positive, Connor has sworn to be by his side, but Oliver doesn’t truly believe it. (Therein is already the truth of the situation, where many serodiscordant couples don’t often feel the same level of long-term relationship security.) Connor is making plenty of welcome sexual gestures to get Oliver to open up again, but all Oliver will do is hack for Annalise. Finally, Connor decides to make a huge promise: He sublets his apartment and moves in with Oliver. It’s the most committed we’ve ever seen Connor and perhaps the most honest, too.

THE SIBLINGS

Don’t even get me started on these siblings. Kendrick Sampson and Amy Okuda will recur this season as Caleb and Catherine Hapstall, two siblings adopted into a wealthy family — the same one that owns the very well-lit home where Annalise is shot on the Night of the Fancy Mansion.

The siblings have been accused of killing their parents, and their aunt Helena is the prime witness who saw them do it. Annalise decides that taking the case will simply “be fun” and could get the Keating Five out of their funk. The problem is that the siblings are already represented by a lawyer, so Annalise has Bonnie and Laurel disgrace the attorney until the siblings are desperate for her representation.

Why is she so keen to take the case? And now that she has it, WTF is up with the siblings? Their aunt’s dead body is discovered in her car just as Caleb returns to the mansion after a definitely-not-innocent jog; he discovers Catherine creepily painting a new family portrait (because, fact, it’s scientifically impossible to paint a family portrait and not be creepy about it).

The twins are almost definitely probably certainly sleeping together — I have seen Bones and they are definitely going to bones before the season’s end. The fact that Annalise is shot in their home two months later leads me to believe that big things are in store for these terrible, horrible, no good, very bad siblings.

RUNNING WILD WITH ASHER MILLSTONE

What’s Asher up to this week? Life on the outskirts of the Keating Five is not without its thrills. When he’s not fighting for power in his relationship with Bonnie, he’s offering surreptitious intel on Annalise for the assistant district attorney. Ohhhh, Asher. How long until you’re brought into this wicked house of cards, you sweet gentle Cheez-It!?

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“You do realize I’m not scared to hit a bitch.” – Michaela, calling out Laurel

WELCOME TO THE RECAPS

If you’re new this season to the show or EW’s recaps, know that it’s strongly encouraged to drop your CRAZIEST conspiracy theory in the comments section. I will do my best to highlight the best one each week so we can all weigh in on whether you’re a genius or terrible (it’s usually somewhere in the middle).

Also, consider this brief vocabulary primer for some words we’ll use here:

Murder, Inc. – Wes, Michaela, Connor, and Laurel, a.k.a. the homicidal equivalent of the Scooby Doo gang (I’ll let you guess who’s who).

DGL – Dead Girl Lila, who we’ll hopefully be speaking less of this year since she was so, so awful

The Night of the Flying Cheerleader – Our humble reference to the night that the kids murdered Sam and an unknown actress perfected the greatest aerial stunt in television history

Coliver – Connor and Oliver

Flaurel Frank and Laurel

Bonbon – Bonnie, obviously.

And always feel free to send me your deepest, strangest HTGAWM thoughts on Twitter before next week’s episode!

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