What To Watch: HTGAWM Season 2
The first episode of "How To Get Away With Murder" starts with a bonfire and four students in the woods arguing over what they should do with a dead body. Two of them want to leave it where it is, two of them want to bury it, and no one wants to get thrown in jail.
After the short argument in the woods in which everyone pins blame on someone else, the show flashes back to the beginning of the school year several months earlier. Wesley Gibbons (Alfred Enoch), riding his bike to class, is immediately identifiable as one of the students in the woods from the previous scene. As he joins his new law class, we see the other three students from the woods seated around the classroom. All the students fall silent as Professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) walks in. “This is Criminal Law 100,” she said, standing in front of the class. “Or as I prefer to call it, how to get away with murder.”
The first season of HTGAWM follows the confident Professor Annalise Keating and her five students as they become intertwined in not one, but two murders. The first is the murder of Sam, the man the students killed. The second is the murder of Lila Stangard, a sorority girl whose death is very prominent in the media. The law office takes on the defense case of her friend Rebecca, who’s been accused of Lila’s murder. The first nine episodes deal with the murder of Sam in the woods, with each episode shedding more and more light through flashbacks. The last six episodes focus on how the interns cover-up their murder and focuses on finding Lila Stangard’s killer.
The first season was gripping – the plot was intense and incredibly detailed and full of twists that no one saw coming. While in some shows this could be annoying, "How To Get Away With Murder" makes the plots twists so utterly believable and tie in the subplots beautifully. Whether the subplot is the students competing to be the best intern or sleeping with maybe-murders, it only enhanced the experience instead of detracting.
It isn’t only the plot that made this a worthwhile show, however, it was every single character and every single cast member. Every character has realistic plotlines, dreams, and faults, and the cast played them amazingly. Viola Davis was captivating as the fearsome bold professor, Matthew McGorry perfectly played the part of the rich white straight douchebag Asher, and Karla Souza rocks as Laurel Castillo, capturing the transition from idealistic law student to hard and tough murderer. Even the characters that you don’t like, you have to admire.
The two-hour season finale finally pulled all the pieces together and revealed Lila’s murderer, while setting the scene for another season. As the students try to cover up their murder, inevitably other accidents happen. Apparently murderers don’t quit.
It seemed impossible that the second season could actually beat the first. How could a plot escalate from two murders in the first season? Could the show make finding another killer an important plot point without feeling exactly the same as discovering who killed Lila?
After watching the first two episodes, however, I predict that the second season will live up to the first. The first episode set us up for a tantalizing new season, full of (somehow) more murder, more legal loopholes, and old flames.
The students worry about who may be looking for the new girl they murdered, since she texted someone the location of where she was tied up. Annalise Keating takes on the burden of Sam’s murder and tries keep bother her students and herself away from suspicion. Famke Janssen is a new addition to the cast, playing the well-known death row lawyer Eve. Annalise called her in to defend the man she framed for murder, though it’s clear the two women have a lot of history together. Lastly, the Keating law office officially takes the case of adopted siblings accused of murdering their parents, an arc that will clearly sustain through the entire season, given the flashbacks (and flashfowards). The flashforwards have Annalise’s students standing around a dying body, somehow in the same position they were in the last year.
While the style of the show is the same – two running timelines, one in current time and the other as a flashforward to reveal bits and pieces of the murder – the plot doesn’t feel like a stale, recycled version of the first season. Instead, it feels like the natural progression of things. In this show, naturally covering up a murder would lead to more murder. Everything in the second season just feels like it’s clicking into place, plots from the first season tying in seamlessly into the new plots.
I predict the new season will be just as excellent as the first, and have me screaming at my television every Thursday night it comes on. This show is full of twists and if you haven’t watch the first season, I highly recommend you catch up.