Gemma: You know, for all my acumen at following HTGAWM, I found this one uniquely hard to track.
Rasha: They wanted it to be tricky. Like, we’re supposed to think that the time-flash to the body in the ambulance is a flashback to Mahoney getting loaded up after being shot, but SURPRISE TWIST it’s actually a flashforward to AK’s whole damn house burning down. Because the memory of Sam must be cleansed with FIRE.
G: There was surely a lot of primal screaming and visceral breakdown in this ep!
R: I did gasp at that burning reveal! AND NOW WE’RE BEARDLESS!
G: OH GRACIOUS YES. Pete Nowalk tweeted something comparing it to the wig-removal scene, which felt a little off to me, but bullet-headed Frank!
R: Or Connor has just taken up the mantle of floppy hair plus beard.
G: Oh, all their cosmetic changes were adorable. Laurel’s gotten all into this frosty look, Michaela’s got a new bob, Connor’s shaggy…
R: I thought Laurel’s hair made her look middle-aged. And does Bonnie have orange/pink streaks now? I love Ak’s new go-to wig.
G: Oh, I didn’t notice her streaks! I noted her neck-shagginess, as someone who’s often grown out short haircuts.
R: But FRANK SHAVING. Ok, I have to interject a little deep-cut fandom here regarding FRANK SHAVES: Did Ben somehow survive being killed by Giles and will Frank/Ben soon be wearing dresses and/or transforming into an incredibly vain and all-powerful ancient cosmic goddess? Because I both cannot see how Nowalk will fit all that in and I also cannot imagine a universe in which Beardless Frank =/= Nurse Ben.
G: That is deep-cut fandom indeed. But if HTGAWM ever officially goes supernatural, I think we will be into deep-space sharkjumping.
R: I am so ready. Will Shonda please, please produce a vampire show already? I will reiterate that I do not think Frank killed Mahoney. He’s on the run from the folks who did. So: Who Killed Mahoney? Is it the mob that Bonnie keeps tantalizing AK with?
G: Was I supposed to know the guy on the other end of the Magical Burner Phone We Never Need to Charge?
R: No. There’s probably some wireless platform charger built into her jewelry box.
G: Of course there f*cking is. Well, I’m really hoping someone we already know killed Mahoney, just because the neatness of the Caleb-Catherine tie-up still bugs me, and I’m hoping they weren’t just a season-long HTGAWM confusing version of Big Bads.
R: Oh, Goddess. I think the writers just let the Hapstalls go because no one cared about them and then let Laurel say what we were all thinking, like: was Caleb really guilty? and then the show answered: Don’t ask stupid questions and MOVE ON. I would be ok with a mob subplot this season, since we’ve already established that AK and Frank both have had dealings with the legit/illegit businessment in Philly.
G: I could handle that. I also admit I was hoping for a certain lesbian mermaid on the other end of the magical burner phone. Hey, lesbian mermaid could totally have killed Mahoney!
R: I will also repeat my prediction that Lesbian Mermaid Defense Attorney will show up for a minimum of 2 episodes this season, possible 3.
G: I accept that. I’m also intrigued by AK’s treatment of Michaela as the Heiress Apparent to the AK Empire in All Things Including Alcoholism.
R: I think AK’s advice to Michaela is in character–she doesn’t tell her not to drink, she’s just like: come to me, I am a well-supplied alcoholic and I won’t let you drive home. I still don’t understand when/how Nate and AK got to a place of peace and calm after how mad he was at her. JUSTIFIABLY.
G: Yeah, Nate’s decision to continue coming back has never been fully justified. And definitely he was being shot in that scene as though he were a young perky-boobed woman on a Showtime show.
R: OMG, is Nate now a professional body builder since he doesn’t work for the police department anymore, or is he still on the beat cop gig that AK got him reinstated for?
G: Why not both?
R: That was definitely viewer-bait. Nate IRL would totally being posing Fabio-style for the cover art on bodice-ripping chicklit.
G: Oh, no doubt.
R: I would love to see his character scheduling his modelling side gig around his hijinks with the Scooby gang. Dude, Asher’s an RA now!
G: Nothing good will come of this!
R: Some tragedy will happen in the dorms and he will become embroiled in it. Also, someone will catch him and Michaela.
G: Or his fratty past comes out yet again. I mean, they were dropping political provocations right and left, I will actually be more shocked if they do not go into campus rape deeply with Asher in that position than if they do.
R: The show finally did address how little classwork is being done by our Scooby Gang!
G: This is true! With President Lauren Vélez!
R: Which political provocations are you thinking of? (btw, I think Vélez is actually better cast here as the smarmy but mostly out-matched President squaring off against AK)
G: (Well, yes, she was always royally miscast on Dexter.) I wish I’d taken notes! I was too out of it this morning. But in addition to the overt material in the immigration case, there were the clear indications between Annalise and Michaela that there are actually black folks on the HTGAWM writing staff, some quality casual commentary on class, a lot of things that I appreciated more deeply having nearly thrown my computer across the room while watching SVU yesterday.
R: I have an article to retweet that reiterates many of the points we made about Cop Show Norms. I agree with them agreeing with us. The relationship between Michaela and AK definitely showed up last season and was welcome. I’m sure that as the show gains ratings and awards clout, they will have more latitude to push content, both overt and subtle. The moments you’re pointing to just felt very truthful, particularly as sketches of character used to summarize several months of time passing.
G: Oh, this was a step beyond Cop Show Norms. If they’re still at it next week they’re due for some nasty haiku. I’m starting to think Mariska Hargitay’s even more of a secret conservative than I previously thought, and I’m with a huge cadre of queer women in love with Olivia Benson in my devastation.
R: I have never been a fan of SVU. I think it sensationalizes the sexual assault. I think it’s ultimately a salacious and voyeuristic show.
G: I have a similar relationship with it to the one Roxane Gay describes in Bad Feminist. I certainly can’t altogether deny the salaciousness, but I don’t think it’s quite that one-to-one. I think that Olivia Benson has been a uniquely powerful character, and that the show did change the ways we addressed rape on TV, in the early stages for the better. That was the position I took until the last couple of seasons. I cannot argue for it anymore.
R: I’m not trying to take it away from anyone who gets something useful from it, but it just never got anything accomplished for me and always left me feeling slimed.
G: Which is fair. Back to HTGAWM and what you were saying about truthfulness—I agree on all fronts.
R: It was interesting to me that this episode features an Arab Israeli actor playing an Iraqi immigrant and also a Persian actor playing Simon Drake, the possible future nemesis of the Scooby Gang. I’m excited to see the outsider dynamic play out with a non-Scooby student.
G: Oh, those are both interesting! I do hope they don’t just shaft Mr. Drake as AK did in the moment. He seems very interesting.
R: Yes, there seems to be much potential there. Ok, we have to go to the ending: WHO IS UNDER THE DAMN SHEET?!?!
G: Oh lord. It’s somebody who’s been here all along, or it will be anticlimactic.
R: I can only begin from who it’s not: It’s not Wes.
G: No. I’m actually going with Frank or Bonnie.
R: I’d be more likely to say Frank. Or even Oliver, though I will cry and scream if that’s right.
G: I don’t think AK would be that devastated about Oliver. The person has to be hers. I’m still pulling for Evil Oliver.
And not just because that’s almost a palindrome.
R: Oooo, I like the palindrominess.
R: Could the show kill Nate?
G: Oh, gracious, if he stays as superfluous as he was in this ep, sure.
R: Who would just be at AK’s house alone with no one else there. NOT MAMA, do not let it be Mama. Cicely Tyson is eternal. It would be cheap if it was Eve, so I’m also saying: It’s not Eve.
G: Again, the only way it makes sense to me is if it’s someone who’s been present onscreen since the pilot. That’s one of the Scooby Gang, Frank or Bonnie, or Nate. And you’re right, it’s not Wes. And on a non-story note, if it’s Michaela because Aja Naomi King wanted out of her contract after the early buzz for Birth of a Nation, well, I will be sad.
R: Ah, that would be sad. I was also thinking: which actor would want to leave the show?
G: Yeah, that was my thought process, but it’s, which actor would’ve wanted to leave the show six months ago when they started shaping this story? And unfortunately, six months ago she’d’ve been a good candidate.
R: Welp, I guess we’ll find out by mid-season! Final predictions for things we’ll see this season: The Mob, Eve x 3, Mama x 2, and I think you’re right about campus rape showing up as a theme.
G: I accept all these predictions. And unfortunately, they’re foreshadowing a Meggy-Wes-Laurel love triangle, and DO NOT WANT. Asher and Michaela are all the Scoobycest I can take.
R: Waurel, my name is NO. My sign is NO. My number is NO. You do not need to go there. Laurel’s attachment needs to remain unrequited. Something interesting should happen with Meggy and the Scoobies, but I have no guesses right now. Also, it’s unprofessional to sleep with your patients, doctors.
G: That’s one of the #1 TWAT-TV issues for the night.
R: Also: Laurel’s Dad will show up again! Ok, that’s all I’ve got.
G: HE IS THE MOB CONNECTION!!!
G: I just had that flash. I’m almost sure I’m right.
R: We should revisit this next week.