WARNING: This review contains spoilers
When I first started reviewing How to get away with murder I knew it would be a very hard show to review and analzse. But now, I’m beginning to think it has also become a very hard show to watch. ‘Shanks Get Shanked’ is proof of how overpacked this season is being. And we are only 4 episodes in!
The reason why the show is giving this ‘too much stuff going on’ sensation is due to many factors: we do have an ongoing case with the Hapstall siblings (whom we finally got to know a little better this episode through Michaela), but we are also still dragging on last season’s Rebecca’s murder with Wes, Nate and Levi. And if that wasn’t enough, we also have pairings, emotional arcs, cases of the week… it’s just too much. Proof of this is that the show had to put Eve aside for a while, Oliver didn’t appear in this episode and Asher doesn’t even feel like a part of the K5 anymore. On top of that, Wes’ character seems to have been left behind in more than one aspect. While Annalise and Wes sort of shared the main protagonist role of the series last year, this season it’s all about Annalise, her morality and her struggles to deal not only with the cases but also with herself.
In last episode, we saw how Annalise made some more than questionable decisions when she won the case by sending an innocent mother to jail. This week, she actually gets called out by Connor, who is noticing how everything has gone out of hands. In a way, Connor worked as a viewer of the show who is looking around and asking: ‘doesn’t anyone else see that what we are doing is wrong?’. And I’m glad for that.
If Annalise’s guilt and currently fragile state of mind wasn’t enough, this week she also gets introduced to Nate’s wife, Nia, who is terminally ill in a hospital. Nia is probably the most good-hearted character of the show. She is not judging Annalise for sleeping with her husband while she is ill and she just wants her to love him so that he can be happy and she can die in peace. Her selfless behaviour appeared to be very refreshing in comparison to that of the rest of the characters. This offer haunts Annalise during all episode, later causing her to lose the case due to Connor’s working behind her back. At the end of the episode, and after encouraging Michaela to keep seeing the best in people, she tells Nia that she can’t give her the pills that would kill her.
This week’s case’s grey areas worked as a mirror to what is going on with our main characters, as well as some possible foreshadowing for that flashback. At first, it looked as if Zoey had been manipulated or brainwashed into killing her best friend. There were also a lot of talks of ‘fear’. The Keating 5 were certainly not manipulated by anyone into killing Sam, but they did see themselves involved in the situation and they did not confess due to fear of going to jail. Annalise said it herself in court: ‘Under the right circumstances, any of us can become a killer‘. After all, isn’t Annalise teaching the K5 how to get away with murder? The case ended up with a plot twist in which Zoey was shown in a video to encourage others to kill her best friend. Will there be a similar plot twist for the upcoming mid-season finale?