The winter finale for Shonda Rhimes-produced hit series How To Get Away With Murder airs tonight, and we are… weirdly ambivalent about it. We started off really liking the pilot for this show, but our interest has been dwindling as the season goes on. It is, to put it nicely, a hot mess. Still, despite the show’s many issues, there is something addicting about it, and since we want to know #WhoKilledSam and #WhoKilledLila (and we’d rather watch it live than be spoiled) we’re tuning in for tonight’s episode despite ourselves.
Read on for our top three reasons why you should, and three reasons why you shouldn’t, be watching How To Get Away With Murder. Spoilers for the season abound, obviously.
3 Reasons Not to Watch How To Get Away With Murder
1. The Shonda Rhimes School of Talking Fast and Overacting
Our biggest problem is with the actors playing the Keating Five. Are they actively being told to overact? Because some of it so over-the-top and exaggerated (or simply doesn’t reach the emotional depth required from them), it’s actually cringe-worthy. Possibly the worst offender of this is Aja Naomi King, who plays overachieving and super competitive Michaela. We really wanted to like Michaela, but it’s nearly impossible. In “Smile, Or Go To Jail”, Michaela has to deal with the knowledge that her fiance not only went to school with her rival Connor, but that the two boys have a history of fooling around. The episode itself was pretty horrible but her reaction in particular was unbearable to watch. Grating, even.
Maybe it’s unfair to expect these newbies to rise to the level of two-time Oscar nominee Viola Davis, who acts circles around everyone else in the cast. A seasoned professional, Davis makes everyone else in How To Get Away With Murder look like they’re performing in a high school play.
2. Insta-Love & Grand Romantic Gestures
People will go from a few “meaningful looks” to sudden make-out sessions to having stand-up sex on the front porch of their law professor’s house/office. (We’re talking about you, Frank and Laurel.) Wes and Rebecca are no less guilty of this; these two perfect strangers exchanged a few neighborly words and then in an instant Wes went from hunky boy-next-door to hunky “I would do anything for you including helping you get away with murder” pseudo-boyfriend. We like the idea of Connor and Oliver, but when exactly did notorious playboy Connor become so invested in their relationship — that started out as a meaningless one-night stand just so Connor could use Oliver’s hacking skills — that he would bring Oliver flowers to try and woo him back?
All of these relationships seem to skip over any scenes that would actually develop the love connections and help get viewers invested in favor of diving straight into the “I’d die without you” declarations. Instead of showing us why these people want/need each other so badly, we’re simply told this, and then expected to believe it no questions asked.
3. Annalise’s Husband, Dr. What’s-His-Face (It Doesn’t Matter What His Name Is Because He’s Dead)
He is so damn bland. So bland. Not even knowing he’s going to die is enough to make this guy interesting or watchable. All we see is the boring ass age old trope of the professor who slept with his student. His attempts at manipulation (kissing Bonnie to try to silence her, his constant wide-eyed innocence act with Annalise) come off lazy.
Also, this ties in more with the previous point about undeveloped relationships, but we don’t understand why Annalise would go to these drastic lengths to protect a man she herself suspects of murder. We understand how thinking your husband may have killed somebody would make anyone a little distraught, but — again, thanks to them telling us rather than showing us — we feel nothing for What’s His Face, or the married couple’s plight. Why are they so in love to the point where despite their already rocky marriage and the 99% certainty he had something to do with Lila’s murder, Annalise kept protecting him up until the most recent episode? More importantly, why should we care?
3 Reasons You Should Watch How To Get Away With Murder
1. (Queen) Viola Davis
Like we said before, Viola Davis acts circles around everyone else in the cast. Basically, she’s a queen and slays every scene she’s in. And if there’s just one reason to tune into How To Get Away With Murder, then Davis is enough. Her speech in episode 6, “Freakin’ Whack-a-Mole”, was one of the most powerful things we’ve seen on television all year.
2. The Diversity
There’s a lot of it in the cast for How To Get Away With Murder. Annalise and Michaela are Black women, Wes and Annalise’s ex-lover Nate are Black men, Laurel is Latina (the character’s name was changed from Laurel Wilding — a white character — to Laurel Castillo at actress Karla Souza’s encouragement), Laurel’s boyfriend Khan is South Asian, and Connor and Oliver are gay (also, Oliver is played by Conrad Ricamora, who is Filipino). The only straight white men are Asher, who is mostly played for comedic relief, and What’s His Face, who is dead. And Frank, who nobody cares about. (We totally almost forgot about him, that’s how much we don’t care.)
3. It’s A Hot Mess
It sounds like we’re contradicting ourselves but How To Get Away With Murder being a hot, hot mess is exactly why you should be tuning in. The sex is hot and the drama/relationships are even messier. Who doesn’t love a good soap opera with all kinds of crazy, chaotic things going on that will consistently shock you on a weekly basis? Murder, mayhem, romance, secrets, extramarital affairs — HTGAWM has it all.
Are you excited to watch How To Get Away With Murder tonight? Post your theories!