Real People Are Alone
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How To Get Away With Murder Season 2 Episode 14 recap
This week felt different. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not sure what case we’re solving/hiding from—I guess that the group could be caught at the Hapstall mansion?—and I still don’t feel like our people are as actually afraid of getting in trouble with the law, but I felt like this show was filled with real people. Ironically, it’s highlighted because of all the things that don’t feel real.
Case in point:
“Why haven’t you caught Philip yet?”
Hands up if you’re still not afraid of Philip…at all (and if you regularly forget that Nate is a police officer). We haven’t spent enough time with him to be afraid of him. Similarly, I’m not worried about Caleb, because we haven’t spent enough time with him. He’s just a good looking mannequin. There’s a lot of lip service paid to the names of these people, but at this point I’d be happy to hear that each of them is actually just one of our main characters wearing a Scooby-Doo-style mask. They don’t matter, they don’t have personality traits or react to real situations. They are just words, and so I don’t care, and I’m not afraid of them.
Eve, on the contrary, feels real even though we haven’t spent all that much time with her. She’s a fully formed person with wants and personality traits. Someone we know and understand and feel for. Maybe that’s partly a function of her having scenes with Annalise when she’s closest to being real and unguarded—in fact, I know it is—but it’s also a function of feeling like she knows who she is and what she stands for. I’m not totally sure I buy the idea that she’s still pining for Annalise, that she still wants her in New York even now, but I’m happier spending time with her than I ever was with poor hapless Nate.
In fact, time spent one on one is what actually makes this show work. The group interrogation scene with the ADA cutting between the Keating 5 (or 4, as it happens) had so much energy and so much snappy dialogue, and actually made the group seem like distinct people. Including Bonnie! I knew more about each of them as soon as they were separated from the energy suck of the house and the room and those scenes where everyone has to have two lines. I wish we could have been using more of this device earlier on, to actually bring out the personalities they’ve been growing. It was so much fun to feel like they actually knew what they were doing for a change, like they were the competent ‘top’ law students we were introduced to them as. Even Asher’s trepidation felt understandable and genuine.
Everything feels real. Everything felt real. Even though I knew that all the flashbacks to 10 years ago had to end badly because there was no 10 year old running around, I still hoped. I didn’t know how it would go. Annalise’s instantaneous grieving over losing her baby was so palpable, so real in the moment, not just in a memory, that I instantly forgave her everything she was up to that point. Everything that has happened to her got her to the point where she is now...including the way the distance between Annalise and Sam begins to grow the moment he says ‘we’ll get through this’. Because how can you get through something like that? How can you ever begin to untangle the things that just happened from the things that happened because you thought you were doing the right thing? Because you thought you knew anything about anything? When do we ever start feeling like we’re in control? And when secrets keep unraveling past the point where you thought they started, like Laurel revealing part of Frank’s secret to Annalise—how do you ever trust anyone?
I guess you don’t. Because even Annalise’s joy and pain mixed together—the way you feel when you hope your mother can still figure everything out for you when you’re old enough to know there’s no way that’s true—even that felt real.