How Did We Get Here?
How To Get Away With Murder Season 2 Episode 11 recap
One of the things that’s most interesting about this show is the idea that maybe murder changes people, or maybe it doesn’t. I love this concept, and I love what the show does with flashbacks to help us decide whether or not that’s a myth.
So we meet a much warmer Annalise—still tough, but with softer corners—and a much, much softer Sam, ten years ago. Was he really like this? Perspective is everything, and the show never gave us a warm marriage between them before now, so…did Sam change, once he had murderous intentions? Or was he always hiding a monster within?
I don’t know, but I like it because each of our characters thinks they’re good people, mostly. With the possible exception of Bonnie, they all think they just got caught in bad situations, and won’t really be changed by this horrible thing that’s happening around them. But will they? Isn’t that why Wes is in the psych ward?
I have always sort of been exhausted by Frank and Bonnie because there are just too many damn people around the house, but they’re the clearest example of what can happen when you’re around moral relativism for a long period of time. We learn that Bonnie was a student of Annalise but also doing therapy with Sam? That seems completely unethical, but I don’t know whether it actually is or I’m just spouting law-type terms. It seems shady, but maybe that’s her tradeoff. She’s much more confident and strong (in fact, her confidence has increased substantially since she killed Rebecca), but you know, oops, she’s a murderer.
Maybe that’s Frank’s deal, too. You’re a killer and all, but at least you’ve got more swagger than you used to when you had your floppy hair masquerading as ‘cute’. So what if killing a girl is the collateral damage? You’re just a victim of your circumstances…just like Jason, the killer of the week who might have had a heart of gold if things had gone differently.
I guess the bigger question is, what’s your moral obligation then? Are you supposed to be pulling yourself back around to atoning for your transgressions, or, given that you’ve maybe had your morality chip removed, you’re supposed to do other things that people who still have their scruples couldn’t do? Bonnie and Frank both seem to have chosen the latter, and I like that we’re seeing Laurel heading that way too. The benefit of all these characters is that we see all of their disparate reactions, and I really like that Laurel is the kind of person you see in life but rarely on TV—capable enough that nobody worries about her, and smart enough that she might, calculatedly, choose a life on the more amoral side with nobody ever suspecting her because of how she looks.
Is this who Annalise was? Did she see a few morally questionable things and then decide she could internalize them and still do good? Everyone was waiting to hear that her baby was dead, but of course it wasn’t (and I’m not sure I missed the exact announcement, but that looked like a 7-month baby to me), so what happened to ‘him’? Where did he go? Who’s the woman, the one who hands Annalise the baby in her memory, who wants to run away? All of these events are clearly a turning point in Annalise’s life, so who was she before? How hard is she after, and is it because of these events or would she always have been?
So I like the Keating 5 and their various reactions (though Michaela remains the least believable and most two-dimensional). I like that Frank, who apparently has something real with Laurel, is so desperate not to lose it that he confesses his horrible secret. Obviously the only way you can prove something is real is to tell someone a real thing, so he grabs for the very realest thing he can find. What Laurel does with it determines who she is. What Annalise did with the events of 10 years ago should explain to us more…but will it? Or is she a cipher, like Bonnie remains, even though we know many many reasons why Bonnie might be the way she is? Would understanding Annalise undercut the show? I think it might, and I feel secure that they’re going to give us, the viewers, not what we want, but only what we need.