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The Dude Recaps: “How To Get Away With Murder,” Season 1, Episode 3

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HGAWM ep 3

The third episode of any TV show is crucial. Kind of like the old school notion of a third date, this is kind of the point where you decide whether you’re going to go all the way or stop before you make what you think would be a major mistake. Should you decide to ride How To Get Away With Murder until the end?

The show finally began bringing together the two main murders we’re supposed to want to solve this season. The university asked Annalisse for a favor: defend the accused QB of the Lila Stanguard murder. She responded to the university president’s request by asking for a bit of time to make her decision. In fact, she just wanted to rule out her husband having had an affair with Lila first, I’m assuming because that would, in her mind, automatically rule him out as a suspect. Well, after begging Detective Nate (does his last name really matter?) last week into looking into Sam’s alibi for the night of Lila’s murder, we saw Nate discover Sam’s alibi was complete BS. Then he boldfaced lied to Annalisse, making her believe Sam’s alibi was solid. Was this his stab at revenge for her discrediting him on the witness stand?

Of course, then came the next twist: Annalisse decided to defend Rebecca instead. Thanks to Wes! Who we’re seeing the most character progression out of any of the law students.

This week he forged an attorney license. He used his fake ID to get an interview with the arrested Rebecca and she exposed his fraud. Then he plead her case to Professor Keating, hoping she will take Rebecca on as a client instead of the star QB. Still the Puppy but he’s getting some teeth.

Granted, maybe it had nothing to do with Wes. Maybe Annalisse doesn’t believe Nate at all. Maybe she had Frank do a separate investigation and found out Sam’s alibi was a lie. Maybe she knows the QB is guilty. Maybe she killed Lila. Okay, that last one is a bit of a stretch but I get the feeling that Annalisse is holding onto a couple of key pieces of information that she hasn’t been sharing with anyone.

As far as the two main murders go, here’s what we learned this week:

Lila Stangard murder-
-Sam Keating’s alibi doesn’t hold up.
-Lila had a drug connection.
-QB is pinning the murder on Rebecca. He told a story about how Rebecca set Lila up to stumble upon her and Griffin hooking up, inciting her to attack him, hence why his DNA was under her fingernails when her body was found.
-Rebecca stashed Lila’s phone at Wes’.

Sam Keating murder-
-Nothing.

Seriously, Sam’s murder was severely underserved this week. The show rehashed the coin toss where Fab Five decided to go back for his body. Perhaps the rehashing is meant to show us how multilayered every step of covering up Sam’s murder is meant to be but the reveals haven’t been super satisfying. We need some more movement on who could have killed him. Although we did see that Laurel came up with the group’s alibi: the bonfire!

This episode’s case of the week was really only meant to establish one thing: Annalisse loves a challenge. For such a slick show, the set up for it came off as pretty stupid. “Hooker Mom turns out to be Bomb Mom” as Ash so succinctly put it. A woman gets picked up for prostituting and as she’s released gets picked up by the FBI for being a terrorist under a different name. WHAT?!?!?! Just sloppy. Viola Davis looked like she was just trying to get through the scene. Even great actors have to grit their way through crappy writing some of the time.

As we get deeper into the season, the case of the week is going to be harder and harder to keep an audience’s interest. When every case is about a murder and life and death stakes then soon the awe factor will lose its appeal. Partially, it’s a matter of time and investment. Too much time of every episode is being given to the two murders that this show actually cares about (or in this episode’s case, one of the two murders). Therefore, these incidental cases are going to become distractions from the meat of the season and cause the overall momentum to slow on the bigger storylines. It’s a fine line to tread. We have a lot of season to go and will have to see if the show can avoid that pitfall.

The one interesting tidbit about the case was that, at the end of the episode, Annalisse lost. Yes, the judge said the case was permanently put on hold until Bomb Mom was found so technically the decision didn’t go against her, but it was meant to be perceived as a loss. She’s not the perfect attorney, she doesn’t always win, she can’t conquer every challenge, and it is her penchant for taking on too much that could lead to her downfall. Perhaps it could even lead to her killing her husband…?

It’s that type of tantalizing notion that has me willing to take the ride. Yes, I’m sticking with this show for the season. I want to know if my cuckoo theories are correct or if they’ll swerve me in an awesome final episode reveal. Are you coming with me?

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
-Sex Scene Count: 1 hetero. Shonda, you’re slipping…

-Lame ass subplot alert: Michaela’s fiancée happened to have hooked up with Connor back at “prep school.” She decides to not break up with him because she spent a lot of money on her Vera Wang dress…Fair.

-So far, here’s how you get away with murder so far as we know:
1. Burn the body.
2. Establish a public alibi filled with tweeted photos.
3. You DON’T lose your engagement ring somewhere along the way of disposing of said body.

-In the pilot, Annalisse made a snide remark when Lila’s murder was first reported on the news: “I’ll bet you the boyfriend did it.” Isn’t that what they say about the husband when the wife is murdered? Or about the wife when the husband’s murdered? Oh, Annalisse, are you actually a Bond villain and this is all part of your master plan for how to get away with killing Sam?

-Crazy theory this week: Analisse somehow orchestrated Lila’s murder, meant to pin it on Sam, but something went wrong and she killed Sam, too. Any takers?

Check out previous How To Get Away With Murder episode recaps here.

COLLEGECANDY Writer
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