TV Review: How to Get Away with Murder (2×03) “It’s Called the Octopus”

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Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “How to Get Away with Murder.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here.

How to Get Away with Murder has benefited greatly so far this season due two components:

1. Taking the drama out of the courtroom

Much of what detracted from season one of the series was the case of the week format, which presented the show with two problems. The first being that it caused a feeling of redundancy to a show that was already dealing with the same opening for half of the first season as we watched all the moments that lead to the death of Sam from different character point of views. While some of the cases were more interesting than others and some gave Viola Davis some truly amazing moments to sink her teeth into, the show was much more interesting watching the cast interact. All the time spent in the courtroom took away from any time that could have (and should have) been used to develop the characters and their relationships a bit more.

The second problem was that the multiple cases they took on led to such a sense of improbability that it grew distracting as time went on. The only real ongoing case was Rebecca’s, something that faltered due to an overwhelming disinterest in her character. We were being told to believe that Analise and the Keating Five were able to come up with concise and powerful defenses in mere days when in reality it would take much more time and much more planning. It’s something that’s easy to overlook when it happens less frequently, and shows have asked me to suspend my disbelief before with little issue. But season two taking the siblings who may have murdered their parents case and dragging it out for what looks to be likely a big chunk of the season helps keep a stronger narrative.

2. Having the characters interact without being simply antagonizing

If you’re finding yourself oddly charmed by Laurel, more engaged with Michaela or invested in Connor and Oliver’s relationship than you were in season one, you aren’t alone, and it’s not that surprising. The writers has seemed to make the active decision this season to give more time to fleshing their characters out, and this week’s episode “It’s Called the Octopus” uses the case of the week about a woman being charged with involuntary manslaughter at a sex party and the show’s general sex positive attitude to expand these relationships. It’s amazing how much more likeable characters can become when they’re not constantly at one another’s throats, and seeing characters like Michaela and Connor getting along or the group all in distress at the idea that Michaela has never had an orgasm despite being with her ex-boyfriend for so long gives all the characters a greater depth. Sure, these scenes may seem inconsequential and may not add anything as significant, say, as learning that Nate and Wes are now working together. Yet, they give the show a feeling of being fuller than it had been previously.

Also, Michaela and Connor being besties is my favorite new addition of season two, and I was so ready for Michaela to hook up with the girl at the sex party, only to reveal that she was playing her to get her to testify in court.

The episode is entirely made up about a message on how sex and, more importantly, a person’s sexuality should never be condemned. This largely applies to women who are called a prude if they don’t and a whore if they do, with little middle ground. How to Get Away with Murder has a powerful, bisexual, women of color admitting to loving sex and having no qualms about it. Whether it’s Connor and Oliver dealing with the latter’s HIV diagnosis and going through PREP before being able to be sexually intimate, or Michaela taking charge of her sexuality and enjoyment of it, this show is like no other in terms of how they allow their characters to dictate their sex lives, which are in turn both empowering and liberating.

The big plot points of the week’s episode are that Nate and Wes begin to work together after Wes meets the mysterious Eggs (who, actually isn’t Eggs–Rebecca was). He puts doubt in Wes’s mind about Rebecca’s well being and teams up with Nate who was already feeling ill will towards Annalise after the trouble she put him through.

The other is at the end when we see Wes, Laurel, Connor and Michaela running away from Annalise, who is bleeding out only to be picked up by Nate.

Are they working together? Who actually shot Annalise (my guess right now with absolutely nothing to back it up is Bonnie but that’s just because Bonnie is shifty) and why? Season two is already better than the first and I can’t wait to see what leads to the pivotal moment we see in the flash forwards.

9/10

She is a 23 year old in Boston MA. She is hugely passionate about film, television and writing. Along with theyoungfolks, she also is a contributor over at TheMarySue.com . You can contact her on Twitter (@AllysonAJ) or via email: allyson@theyoungfolks.com.
  • Jimmy

    It could be the prosecutor. She seems WAY too against Analise

    • s singh

      doubt it…wd be waay too neat for the show