HTGAWM Season 1 Episode 2 recap

So far, the most unbelievable part of the whole show is that all of this is happening in Keating’s living room, like she doesn’t have the money and resources for an absolutely stunning suite of offices. Second most unbelievable is that a woman as tough as Annalise Keating would ever answer to “Annie”.  

So this woman is – I mean, at least she’s not boring. They subvert the whole trope of the hard unfeeling cold woman by making her a messed-up basketcase as soon as she’s in front of her boyfriend (his word, not mine) and/or her husband. She also, for someone who is supposed to be such a hardass, has zero poker face. This is fine, I can get into it – in fact, I like it. Calm, cool, and collected might be interesting if we were always with her and had a window into why she was so unflappable, but we actually spend enough time away from Annalise, or watching her through the students’ wide eyes, actually, that I appreciate the time we spend with her being a good bit unhinged. We want to jump all the way into this show, we need a reason.

That’s not to say that I’m thrilled with all the flashes forward. We probably spent about 10 total minutes on the “2 ½ months later” murder this episode and I just am not connecting to it. But, since we’re supposed to feel clever about it, here’s what we know.

- Annalise’s husband is dead. Wrapped up.
- Wes went back for the statuette
- “Heads we go back” – it was tails and he lied
- Wes takes care of Rebecca, who’s hiding scared in a hotel room (and who, by the end of the “realtime” episode had been arrested and implicated)
- There are no signs of the middle managers who wander around AnnaLise’s office getting offended that the wee children don’t feel as scared of them as they should.

There’s a lot to go on there –but is it really going to sustain us all the way until the Christmas break?

On another note – TV critic Ryan McGee tweeted, about Scandal, “I know why this show has cases of the week, but they are never…the best part”. I feel the same way about HTGAWM, even though it’s only two weeks old. The solving of a murder is cool, but it’s not like we’re ever going to have a lot of time to debate it and get better at it. There seems to be a lot else going on. Which was why, tonight, well…

If you’re a Good Wife fan, and you should be, because it, like Shonda Rhimes night, is absolutely awesome TV, network or not, and they’ve kind of been flirting with some of this same territory. I love Steven Weber but they already did the creepy maybe-I-did-it guy on Good Wife in the form of Colin Sweeney, and he had a creepier smile.    However -- he has never mounted a young man in a bloody bed under the guise of showing how sex can turn into murder, while a student, fully dressed, gives new meaning to the word “stiff”…so it’s a great way to start the show.

Still, though, I don’t know whether we need as much from the murder case as we seem to. We’ve abandoned the pretense that these kids have any other classes, just like we’ve abandoned the idea that nobody can just drop massive amounts of evidence on a courtroom without it having been in “discovery” first (look at me with my law words that I only know from TV, half of which I’m sure don’t apply in Canada anyway).

In short, I’m interested, but they don’t have to work so hard to make me. Dead Lila in the water tank and real life Liza Weil, putting a fun spin on the idea of Resting Bitch Face, and AnnaLise and her love life, and everyone else – it’s enough without all the flashing forward. I’m sure they’re shooting however much they need to, but if someone is up googling HTGAWM who works on the show, bring up “a week without flash-forwards” in a meeting. I’m interested to hear what they would say.

Here’s what’s not landing for me quite yet. The other lieutenant who’s not Liza Weil, even though he did get out the great line “Prom Queen and Doucheface”. What’s his story? It’s very obvious that she is in love with Keating’s husband, but does he just hang out leering at first year students or what?

Also not loving Laurel, in all her thoughtful perfection. I prefer my students with flaws so even though last week she “took a learning opportunity” from another student, I’d like to see some actual vice.

Here’s the other thing. If you show me that two and a half months forward, the hero and the ne’er-do-well erstwhile roommate/dealer are kissing, it kind of takes the mystery out of whether or not he’ll be able to unlock the mystery iPhone, you know?  How are you liking it? 

Attached: Viola Davis attends The Rape Foundation’s Annual Brunch at Greenacres on September 28, 2014 in Beverly Hills.