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How to Get Away With Murder 1.01 “Pilot”

September 30, 2014

Wow, so there’s a lot to say here and it’s just the first episode.  Oh Shonda, what have you brought upon us…

How to Get Away With Murder immediately brings the audience in by revealing to us a scene of an unsettling murder involving four individuals:  Wes Gibbins (Alfred Enoch), Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King), Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), and Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza). They flip a coin to determine whether the body laying before them is to be left alone, or destroyed along with the murder weapon that Wes conveniently brings to the scene.  Did anyone else feel like they were watching a scene from I Know What You Did Last Summer when all of this was go on?  And what is Amanda Tanner doing on this show?  LOL!

Moving along.  We would later come to understand that these four individuals were chosen to become a part of Professor Annalise Keating’s firm.  Keating, played by Viola Davis, works at Middleton Law School, but despite being a teacher of the law, she has her own issues fluttering in her life at home.  It is revealed that she is cheating on her husband, Sam Keating (Tom Verica), with Detective Nate Lahey (Billy Brown); who happens to have a wife who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Anyone need a drink yet?

Oh, I forgot to mention, there was a fifth person chosen to be a part of the firm: Asher Millstone (Matt McGorry), but he failed to matter that much in this pilot, which probably means he’ll matter A LOT in the future.  Actually, what I found interesting is that from beginning to end we are made to believe that it was only Wes, Connor, Michaela, and Laurel that make it into Prof. Keating’s firm, but once Asher is revealed to have made the cut it’s pretty easy for someone watching to assume that Asher is the one who was murdered at the beginning…but nope, it wasn’t him.

Side note: The murder weapon I mentioned earlier; a golden statue of Lady Justice, resided in Prof. Keating’s office.  She mentions that the statue will be given to the top student who could later use it to exempt themselves from a future exam.  She said, “Consider this your immunity idol”, which got me all Survivor giddy.

This episode was extremely fast paced.  So much happened in just 43 minutes.  Outside of the main murder that took place at the beginning, we flashback to three months prior to when the missing case of Lila Stangard (Megan West) becomes a murder case when her body is found in the water supply tank of the Kappa Kappa Theta sorority house.  What we DO know is that she’s had a longterm relationship with Middleton football star Griffin O’Reilly (Lenny Platt) who also knows Wes’ dorm neighbor, Rebecca Sutter (Katie Findlay). In the middle of the episode we see Griffin leave Rebecca’s apartment after breaking things in his exit.  Normally this would make me believe that his anger issues would suggest he is likely to have killed Lila, but I feel like that would just be too easy.

What I enjoy about this show is that it constantly keeps you guessing.  For instance, Connor, desperate to join Prof. Keating’s firm, works to find information to help solve the Aspirin Assassin case and ends up sleeping with an I.T. worker.  But what’s puzzling is that he sleeps with the I.T. guy AFTER getting the emails he was inquiring about which brings up the question, is Connor gay or nay?  His complicated persona presents him in a very strong, demanding, aggressively cunning way that makes him a hard person to read.  (I accept the challenge).  Sam Keating is another mystery, not only because HE’S the murdered party at the beginning, but also because of his confusing relationship with Prof. Keating.

Prof. Keating tells Wes in the bathroom (which by the way Viola Davis has expressed is one of her favorite scenes) that her relationship with her husband has been pressurized to a stressful point all because of their desire to have a child.  Once Wes leaves the bathroom, Prof. Keating gets herself together in a way that makes the story she just shared questionable; almost as if it had been rehearsed.  The episode ends with Sam seeing the breaking news of his former student, Lila Stangard, being found dead.  But the look on his face reads as if he’s more attached than he should be.  Sam shares the news with Prof. Keating to which she says, “I bet you the boyfriend did it”.  He responds, “I guess we’ll see”. You could tell that these words were very deep-rooted and was telling of the mystery behind their relationship.  I think it’s possible that Sam had a relationship with Lila and this was Prof. Keating’s way of calling him out on it.  But at the same time, she took things a step further by potentially accusing him of the crime.

With this interpretation in mind, I feel like somewhere within the next three months, more will be uncovered about Lila’s murder case that will reveal that Sam was in fact cheating on Prof. Keating and this somehow resulted in Prof. Keating having Sam killed.  I mean, she deals with cases of the law all the time and if anyone could get away with murder, it would be her right?  So yeah, I actually have no idea what’s going to happen, but for now I’ll say that Prof. Keating did it, and she’s using her students to clean up the mess for her.  I don’t know how, might know why, but that’s all I have so far.  This is what excites me about the show.  I’m sure that just like with this pilot, we’ll be going back and forth from the night Wes, Connor, Michaela, and Laurel got rid of Sam’s body to the events that took place throughout the three months prior.  It’ll be interesting to see what took place in between; starting with Lila’s murder.

Phew!  That was a lot.  I won’t need to be this detailed for episode 2 because much of the back story was explained here in the pilot.  So look forward to more speculations!  I’ll also be focusing more on the character development as the season goes on because there were a few things I didn’t mention about some of these characters that I’m sure will come back around in future episodes.

“That’s exactly what you said right before accusing me of illegal acts to win this case.  We won because I did my job.  You think carefully.  Everything after this moment will not only determine your career, but life.  You can spend it in a corporate office drafting contracts and hitting on chubby paralegals before finally putting a gun in your mouth, or you can join my firm and actually become someone you like.  So decide.  Do you want the job or not?”  – Prof. Keating to Wes

I’m so thankful to be able to see Viola Davis on a weekly basis!  She’s incredibly talented and the fact that she’s working within a Shonda Rhimes show is enough to get my goosebumps going.  I think we’re in for a great one this year guys!

Here’s the promo to the second episode…


So I actually just now saw this promo for the first time and everything I said about the show keeping us guessing is so true!  “Do you know who ANYone really is?”  I think that’s going to be the central theme of the show and that’s very exciting to see.  It’s like Pretty Little Liars, but for adults.  (Some of you are like, “How DARE you even compare!”)

For now, I’ll leave you with this public service announcement…in case you didn’t already know…

For more reviews and news on How to Get Away With Murder stay tuned to my blog!  And you can catch all new episodes on Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC!


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