Gemma: I don’t feel like I’ve said this about this show before, but I’m a little disappointed.
Rasha: We have said this before.
G: Actually, more than a little. There were parts of this episode that I liked tremendously, but none of them were about the story.
R: Tell your tale.
G: The whole Hapstall tie-off made all the time we have spent with it this season seem pointless. I guess I’m glad that Frank had real and reasonable Inner Demons, but it was rushed through in a way that detracted from its resonance.
R: Agreed. We’ve got Laurel’s shady comments about the case: like, haven’t we learned by now not to ask whether someone is actually guilty or if the truth is actually the truth. And agreed that Frank’s bit was rushed. We have one episode of story plus a season of Charlie Weber making pained bearded expressions like he has gastrointestinal disturbances. That is not an arc.
G: Cheers. I like Annalise’s family very much, but there was something disproportionate, structurally, about giving them all this time this episode and it being the end of the season. It’s too much info we’re not going to have story-time to process and engage with. The construction in this was just genuinely poor. Which is very unusual for them.
R: I get the time with Annalise’s family. And it even makes sense that going to Ophelia’s house/back to AnnaMae’s family requires a tone shift. It was winking at the audience, and let’s be real, as folks who are not Black, some of that was Not About Us, and I can still celebrate it. As a Southerner, I will eat that cupcake when it is put in front of me. I don’t think the construction was super-poor so much as rushed, and therefore very different in style than the rest of the show up till this point.
G: That’s all completely fair. I liked all of the family work, it’s just sticking it all at the end of the season, and not giving us time to see either how it plays out or how it impacts Annalise in the other worlds of story we have spent the season on, read as an overall construction issue.
R: This show has done cliffhangers so satisfyingly, so wrenchingly, that this episode felt simultaneously too tidy and all over the place.
R: Annalise just KNOWS how to pin this all on Caleb. Caleb just HAPPENS to show up on video as the police informant?! Philip is showing up like Keyser Soze/Jason Bourne?!!!? Catherine suddenly is convinced to spin a yarn about Caleb’s late-night run, something we found so suspiciously tidy at the beginning of the season that we dismissed it outright.
G: I guess I’m hoping that we’ll have more Hapstall twists next season because that’s the only way I’ll be satisfied, but if we’re expected to wonder about Frank, follow the Keating 5, expose Bonnie, stay connected to Annalise’s fam, and deal with disconnected Hapstalls along with the COTW, that’s gonna be too much.
R: Yes, it is.
G: And follow the Annalise-Nate and Annalise-Eve questions.
R: I agree in not understanding why the Hapstalls even became a thing, except as an excuse for Wes to shoot Annalise and all the Mama Drama to come out.
G: Yeah, exactly!
R: And for Asher to kill someone and join the League of Bumbling Assassins?
G: Well, we definitely couldn’t continue with Asher as he was in S1, so yeah. The Wes arc has been satisfying and I suppose I’m interested in who shot Wallace, but since Wes hasn’t been given much variety in the way he handles these things he’s begun to feel like a punching bag.
R: Wes’ only character direction this season was Obsessed. It has made him exhausting, and I’m not sure how any of them are even doing any work in class.
G: Yes, that’s conceptually a joke at this point.
R: Though I guess in the world of the story it’s only been like a few months since the start of the semester? At most.
G: I honestly have no perception of how the passage of time works on this show.
R: What IS TIME?
G: SERIOUSLY WHAT IS IT EVEN
R: …questions that come up while blogging HTGAWM.
R: Ok, so I’m really unsatisfied by Caleb’s not-suicide, because that is so not a suicide. And I still don’t believe he killed his parents.
G: I agree with both of those things. And I’m sad to lose him as a piece on this chessboard. Though I suppose no one ever really dies in the Land of Endless Flashbacks.
R: Dude, this show is like the sentient, psychic planet in Solaris that keeps reincarnating dead people from the astronauts’ pasts in order to communicate.
It was Catherine all the way. She loved Caleb, but he didn’t love her back like that, and she was only narrating her fantasies.
G: I agree, but it’s like, at this point, who cares? Why have we even?
R: EYELASHES. BECAUSE EYELASHES IN PRISON. I don’t know.
G: PRISON EYELASHES: HTGAWM FAN TOUCHSTONE
R: That Philip reveal made me LULZ. Is he trying to play like he’s part of LULZSEC? Like, how did he not just fabricate the evidence on the FitBit if he’s that mega-haxxor?
G: Seriously. I guess there had to be something, but the missing middles from the flashbacks are never where I want them to be.
R: I will always love more time with Cicely Tyson…
… and I enjoyed watching AK with her sister…
… but the story with her dad felt too pointed, like much of this episode. This show is usually good at Showing, not Telling, but it felt like there was a lot of Telling in this episode.
G: I know we’ve been disappointed in this show in the past, but not for a while, and this disappointment hits directly at the heart of what I love the most about it.
R: And then Wallace Mahoney was assassinated in the street in front of Wes! That poor young man better spend a lot of time with his very lovely psych next season. Or run far away to an island and change his name again and become a journalist or something. Like #CallOPA, honey.
G: That would obviously be the best choice, so he will not make it.
R: Structurally, I guess the show ups the ante from last season by having two deaths (Caleb and Mahoney) in the finale instead of just one (Rebecca, S1). Are they going to have 3 deaths at the end of next season? Imma say this because I know people are going to be speculating: Frank did not shoot Mahoney. Let’s just get on the same page people, because he didn’t .
G: Nah, Frank got other fish to fry.
R: Will Levi ever come back?
G: Why? We have no more reasons to care about him.
R: Well, I agree with you that Bonnie killing Rebecca will come out next season. Then will she run away to join Frank’s fish-taco catering service?
G: See, this is what I mean! You cannot move from a story that tightly plotted to one this full of red herrings!
R: That sounds tweetable.
G: Bonnie killing Rebecca and Bonnie talking to Lila, which we have still never discussed! (“We”=the show, not you and me. I bring that ish up all the time.) We do not know what happened when she answered that door!
R: I think it was just the threat and that we won’t see any more. I think this show has you shadowboxing again.
G: But see, that’s usually okay, because usually it all comes together and then I Get It! Today it is not okay!
R: I guess we’ll see Wes’ awful bio dad in flashbacks, but I would much rather that Mahoney, racist rapist nastyman that he is, stay alive and be a troublesome presence who dies at the end/middle of season 3. Maybe the actor didn’t want to be playing someone so terrible for a whole season?
G: Maybe the writers didn’t want to keep striking that one note for an entire season.
R: Well, there are racist rapist nastymen who live in the world and make endless trouble and great piles of money. He could be this show’s Trump surrogate, just like Escandolo brought back Hollis Doyle.
G: There certainly are, but he hasn’t added much to the story by being a presence onscreen that he wouldn’t have added by simply acknowledging his existence and his horrible racist rapist nastiness. HTGAWM, you are gonna have to do a bit of work to win me back to your story meanderings and maneuverings, which I have vociferously defended up until this point.
R: I think they’ll do something very different next season, and that if it failz, will fail in a different way. I predict Eve will be back for 3 episodes, AK and Nate will fight, Bonnie will be outed as Rebecca’s killer, the Michaela/Asher slashfic will implode with consequences for the Scooby Gang…
…and Oliver will be involved in killing someone next season.
G: I predict that Oliver was already involved in killing someone.
R: You do like to up the ante! I have to say: I loved Mama Ophelia’s ritual for Annalise to let go of the child she lost after the accident/attempted murder.
G: Laurel will pine after Wes and Frank simultaneously and become difficult to manage, but will end up bringing her family to bear on the next story twist.
R: Yes. Because Dadz be Bad.
G: We will spend more time with Annalise’s family, and one member of said family or someone we met briefly down in Memphis will become a part of the story up in Fishtown, with chaotic consequences. And Wes will have a weird relationship with the once-perfectly-competent psychiatrist that will mirror whatever Bonnie and Sam’s relationship was in the past. That’s all I got.
R: Alright then. Till next Fall.
G: Till next!