Gemma: WELL then!
Rasha: This show is incredibly stressful to watch. Maybe even more so than last season?
G: Definitely more so. The deeper the relationships among the primary characters, the higher the stakes.
R: And this season seems to be focusing on the long-term consequences of trying to avoid consequences.
G: And yet, the show is pretty much predicated on the evasion of consequences for its entertainment value.
R: Shall we tally some of our predictions?
G: Sure, let’s.
R: I think we split the score on the two major ones. Wes shot Annalise!
And Asher did “accidentally” kill Sinclair. Twice, sorta?
G: I sort of can’t believe both of us missed the straight white guy committing the actual crime.
R: It’s the ones you least suspect because you would otherwise most suspect them? This show is too twisty, but it does often enough come back to some basic rules. So whose blood is on Catherine’s shirt?
G: Do we just have a shirt with Annalise’s blood on it lying around?
R: Did Frank get a vial when he was fainting over AK’s hospital gurney?
G: Ooooh, you are probably correct.
R: Not just any shirt. Catherine’s still in her PJs.
G: You’ve got it. That’s why he hospital blablablaed.
R: Blah, blah, bled. Oh man, I am finding myself a little overwhelmed by this mid-season finale. Really grim.
G: You were right, too, that our actual Meet Frank episode isn’t coming ’til later.
R: Neither of us saw that Sinclair died before arriving at the Hapstall house, though! As much as I hated her character, I didn’t hate her quite as much as we got to hate Sam last season. I feel more squicky about her death.
G: Well, her strings were getting pulled, and we still don’t know by whom, although it might well have been the Hon. Judge Millstone, as you said.
R: Those scenes with Nate, though, where her eyes are just glittering with sick triumph, I could hate her for those.
G: I mean, this actor was working pretty bloody hard to make her character hateable.
R: I give the actress credit for that, or the casting director, or both.
G: Any sympathy you had by this point was entirely accidental.
G: You think? I’m going with actual accidental, but I’m ready to be proven wrong.
R: Just adding levity, if that’s possible. But will we ever find out why Sinclair had a bug up her a** about taking down AK? I mean, in addition to racism? Since she doesn’t think that’s why.
G: I suspect we will.
R: I was wrong on another count, we did get some first peeks at who Wes is to Annalise. This show does know what we want to be teased about.
G: I kind of love that Eve is implicated, not just someone who knew about it.
R: Oh yeah. It means a lot more to hear her say that she thinks AK is a good person (i.e. as opposed to Eve, who has done nothing for the kid whose life they both apparently ruined!).
G: Though if she’s going to be wrapped up in the second-half story line, we are hurtling towards that TWAT-TV bi women thing where She Must Choose Between a Man and a Woman.
R: Do you mean AK must choose?
R: I think she’ll choose herself. And she won’t be happy about it, but she’ll be strong.
G: Annalise both always and never chooses herself.
R: Yeah, she’ll feel forced to stand alone.
Annalise is emerging as an epically tragic heroine in this series.
G: I mean, you’re right about the construction: we will never see her kill anyone. But we will see murder almost constantly filtering through her. Wes’s mother will be no exception.
R: Annalise is incredibly loving and perceptive, and successful at her work (though her reliance on interns and lawbreaking is problematic, like how far back does that extend?), but because of her choices to care for others and her position as a defense lawyer protecting people who are guilty, she regularly puts up her own life as collateral.
So now we know the compromises go back as far as Wes’ mother, but that is unlikely to be the first dance.
G: Yeah. For some reason I thought AK and Eve went back to undergrad, and it was going to be that late.
R: They were in law school together.
G: I am satisfied that Annalise is not Wes’s mother, though I know many viewers are not going to be.
R: Dude, I woulda been so disappointed. It seemed too telenovela for this show. This show is going to connect people, but through the mechanisms of the show. Which are muuuurrrderrr.
G: SO MUCH MURRRDERRRRRR.
R: I can’t believe you think Michaela and Caleb are related, though! I hope for something to be saved for that girl, even though I’m pretty sure Caleb is the new Rebecca (or Levi is). Either way, the new Rebecca is not likely to live through the end of the season.
G: Well, I’m cautious about thinking this season will mirror last season too closely, in that I’ll be disappointed if it does. I am pulling for two of our myriad adoptees to be related, and Michaela and Caleb would be the most scandalous.
R: I think there’s some mirroring of stories that would allow the show to pursue more deeply the themes of consequences coming back to bite you in the arse.
G: This show cannot exist if the consequences bite us too hard.
R: LIKE AK CONFESSING TO WES ABOUT REBECCA.
AND NOW ASHER KNOWS ABOUT SAM.
G: It’s always hampered for me by the fact that Rebecca sucked so badly I never really believed Wes’s feelings for her, but I agree–YES TO THE REVEALS.
R: There has to be a delicate balance between letting the shoes drop and stringing up new shoes to hang over us. I might be willfully misusing that metaphor.
G: As long as it’s willful.
R: I feel like Scandal just realized that eventually the secrets had to come out or you lose the tension you’re building, and the show is much better this season for it. Not quite S1-S2 level good, but better than last year. And HTGAWM knows how to tease us with reveals and mysteries like few other shows. And I am so incredibly stressed out by this show that I need to go watch Grey’s Anatomy after our chat. And people have PTSD on that show.
G: Well, I always think about that Nowalk interview, where he said the writing team actively chooses to write themselves into corners to see if they can get out. I adore that as a strategy. It seems like absolutely the right way to compose this show.
R: On a side note, on a TWAT-TV norm-challenging level: have any of the murder victims on HTGAWM not been white? I’m not counting Nia, that was assisted suicide.
G: Any of the main ones? No. I cannot remember if any of the COTW ones.
R: That’s what I’m thinking about.
G: I mean, I’m fully consciously noticing for the first time that Asher is our only primary straight white guy, which is itself pretty impressive. That’s if we’re assuming Frank is bi, though.
R: I would love to assume that, but I don’t know that it’s actually fair. Both decisions seem like deliberate choices which I can appreciate.
R: I think that’s what made AK’s shooting this season such a shock, at least for me. Even though I know she’s the star and will survive, I feel grief for any harm to come to her. Beyond being invested in the character and being a fan of the formidable and subtle actress playing her, it’s hard to watch violence happen in fiction when it’s happening so often in real life. I appreciate this show because it doesn’t often trade in violence against people of color, as grim as it otherwise is. Anyway! What else do we have to say? Dude, Philip was outside the Hapstall house, though!
G: I appreciate that we didn’t get all the way through the flashbacks in this episode, that we’ve still got a great deal of unravelling to do after the break. Michaela and Connor won’t completely understand what happened, but they will know something went awry.
Nate didn’t know this was going to happen exactly, unless Wes told him.
G: And yes, Philip was there and we’ve still no idea how he and Catherine came together. And Caleb don’t know sh*t, so he’s a few steps beyond “not in on it” at this point.
R: I feel like Philip is going to be a problem witness to what happened that night, even if he doesn’t have all the pieces. Is he going to get murdered? Could he maybe go to jail? If someone doesn’t go to jail for something, I might start to be concerned about how all roads lead to death. And we still don’t really know why/if/how Catherine collaborated with Philip.
G: “If someone doesn’t go to jail …” –that’s kind of what I mean about the show falling apart if there are actual consequences. Structurally, it can’t lose anyone we care about right now, which means all Hapstalls are expendable but feels a little cheap, since we don’t care about any of them that much.
R: Perhaps it’s late in the day for me to be concerned about all the murdering happening on a show titled How To Get Away With It.
G: I would argue that, yes.
R: But Philip, he could go to jail, right?
G: Sure, but does anyone care? I’ll go on record as saying I do not, and this show will have to do some real impressive tricks to get me to.
R: I suppose then we’d have the problem of the possible TV trope known as “oh no, our worst enemy who has evidence against us and is a murderer is up for parole/escaped from prison.” I don’t want to see Philip return, so I guess he can have an “accident.”
G: And again. The Hapstalls are expendable UNLESS one of them has a past with one of our primaries.
R: Dude, when did Asher confess to the police? Is that after he and Bon go through the carwash? Is that part of the plan?!
G: Oooh, I hope so!
R: WHAT WILL HE CONFESS TO? Trotter Lake? Seems unlikely.
G: To redeem his relationship with his mom somehow? That could happen.
R: Dude, his mom! His parents are the worst, now and forever. Maybe we could meet his sister who they thought was so awful? I feel certain I’ll like her.
G: I’m sure we’ll meet his sister or they wouldn’t have bothered mentioning her by name. Definitely a Pointed Reference.
R: Since the funeral’s coming up, seems likely we’ll meet the whole Millstone family.
G: Among other things, girl damn well better be queer.
R: Right?! I know. Same. I hope she was also a part of either Anonymous or Occupy Wall Street, like the better moments of it.
G: Well, if so, this show will do a better job with Anonymous than Quantico has.
R: OMG, we are going to flash back to law school in the second half!!!
G: Oh, you are correct!!
R: Sam will be there.
G: Ulgh. I’m not sure I’m ready for all of Sam’s doings with both Annalise and Bonnie as patients.
R: Annalise and Eve will be interns for some other lawyer, like maybe Mutter? Wait, that’s the other show with professional lesbians.
G: Our professional lesbian cup runneth over.
R: Praise Kindred.