How to Get Away with Murder
Season 2, Episode 2: ‘She’s Dying’
After How to Get Away with Murder’s chaotic premiere, the second episode of season two slows things down, the focus alternating between Nate’s Preliminary Hearing and the arraignment of the two wealthy siblings accused of murdering their parents in the previous episode.
It also wouldn’t be Murder if we didn’t bookend an episode with a flash forward or two. We’re offered a few more important pieces of information that build on from last week’s reveal that Wes was fleeing from what appeared to be the attempted murder of Annalise. Now we know that he had been running to find Michaela and Laurel, while Connor had stayed back with Annalise. Connor chillingly tells her, “This is your fault. It’s always your fault.”
We’re taken back two months earlier (to what I’m going to call the ‘present’) and siblings Katherine and Caleb have been arrested. Their arrest warrant has been sealed, but it’s clear that the two have been taken into police custody because along with being the prime suspects in their parents’ murders, they are now also the chief suspects in their Aunt’s murder.
These two have a habit of lying to cover for one another, which of course only serves to make them look guilty as hell. So Annalise and co. are given approximately seventy-two hours until the siblings’ arraignment to manufacture an alibi. Caleb is convinced the two are being framed and when a falsified DNA report is uncovered in the Police Data Base, it’s the Hail-Mary pass Annalise needs to win their arraignment.
Nate’s preliminary hearing is also underway, with Annalise attempting micro-manage Eve’s defence strategy. Prosecutor Felicia is sniffing around Annalise and Eve’s history and implies to the court that the two women have been colluding with one another and manipulating Nate’s defence to cover up Annalise’s involvement in Sam’s murder. Of course, this is exactly what they are doing, except Annalise is still withholding all the real facts from her ex-lover. Annalise and Eve end up sleeping together again by episode’s end, but everything between them still feels so rushed that we’ve hardly been given enough to become invested in their relationship.
I have to admit that I’m also terribly interested in the outcome of Nate’s hearing, but it does provide some great moments for Sam’s actual killers. Michaela is insistent on going to Nate’s hearing and Connor points out the hilarious irony of such a thing, “You want us, the real murderers to go to the fake murderers trial?”
Something that became even more prominent this episode is everybody’s cavalier attitude to the fact that almost the entire main cast has murdered someone at one point or another. The ever-sleazy Frank says to Bonnie, “Researching your next murder?” right before he commends her for the “clean” way she killed Rebecca. Later, after Katherine and Caleb’s arraignment, Annalise glibly advises, “Now go home and don’t kill anyone.” It’s almost ridiculous how easily each character can joke about murder and it makes so many of the stakes of the series feel very low. Yet, it’s also weirdly in-tone with what we have seen on Murder so far. Annalise has an eerie ability to compartmentalise when her work requires it, specifically when she is defending a person who is actually guilty. It makes sense that she’d handle the events of Sam, Rebecca and Lila’s murders much in the same way and that her method of coping has been adopted by her students as well. For better or worse, there are pieces of Annalise in all of her protégées; Wes, Bonnie, Laurel, Connor, the list continues.
Annalise is ruthless when she’s in full-blown lawyer mode, and we see evidence of this once again in Nate’s hearing when she is being questioned on the stand, personally objecting to the prosecutor’s question as if she is in complete command of the court. And let’s face it, she totally is. But her moments of quiet vulnerability are just as profound; her silent tears in the toilet stall after her character is ripped to shreds in court, her admission to Bonnie that she “didn’t take care of [her]”, but ruined her instead.
I really enjoyed Bonnie’s interpretation that Annalise saved her because it continues to serve as a reminder that “saving” people, or more accurately, instructing them on how to get away with murder, has been exactly what Annalise has been doing all along. And it harps back to Connor’s words at the beginning of the episode, “It’s always all your fault”. It should be interesting in the next several episodes to discover just exactly how culpable Annalise will be in her own attempted murder.
Review by Tegan Lyon