Season 2, Episode 6 – ‘Two Birds, One Millstone’
Even as How to Get Away With Murder continues to grow more and more serialised, it’s great to see the series is still able to produce such an engaging case-of-the-week that almost threatens overshadow all other elements of the episode. One thing I truly love about Annalise’s character is her protective instincts. It makes her a natural, if questionable leader, but it also makes her a great attorney, and if I’d just stabbed my husband in cold blood like Jill Hartford (Alexandra Billings), she’d be my first call too.
Annalise is quick to ask the important questions first, “Are there signs of a struggle?” “Did he hit you? Leave any marks on your body?” but in doing so, inadvertently feeds her client the exact information she needs to stage a crime scene. Jill is a battered woman, except she knows that nobody is going to believe her defence because she is transgender. The ignorant, transphobic detective who first questions her at the scene provides more than enough evidence to support this belief. Another series ill-equipped to deliver a story like this would end up having that hokey ‘special episode’ feel, but Murder discusses a very relevant topic about hate crimes with grace. Murder doesn’t attempt to box or categorise its characters based on gender, race or sexuality, and despite the flaws the series may have, this is something that has never wavered.
Jill’s physical abuse also ties into what we previously learned of Bonnie’s. While it isn’t the focus of the episode, it still weighs heavily on Asher’s mind, both because it means he will be disappointing his father by refusing to testify against Annalise, and because the sweet way he behaves with Bonnie suggests all he wants is to naively save her from any future pain. Poor Asher is being played like a fiddle though. Annalise may claim that she is “protecting him”, when she’s actually just protecting her own interests, and that of her client’s. Annalise has Bonnie and Frank gather all the evidence they have on Asher’s father and she takes it to the prosecutor in Jill’s case. Not only does she manage to strike a deal that gets Jill released, but the investigation against her is shut down now that evidence of Judge Millstone’s corruption and judicial misconduct has come to light.
Elsewhere, the Keating Five are sent to the Haptstall mansion to present possible alternative suspects to the siblings in preparation for their trial. Too preoccupied with their own drama; Wes with Rebecca’s death, Laurel with her newly re-kindled relationship with Frank, Michaela with her poor taste in men etc. the group thoughtlessly debate over their clients’ innocence (or lack thereof) without realising that Katherine has been recording them the entire time. Annalise rightly chews them out for it, “You’re all garbage”. But that unique brand of Keating charm is exactly the motivation they need to pull their heads out of their arses and discover another plausible suspect in the case – an illegitimate cousin. Okay, so maybe only ‘plausible’ in the soap opera sense.
We’re only two weeks away from catching up to the flash-forwards and the suspects for Annalise’s attempted murder are beginning to line themselves up; Wes, Nate, Asher. These three all have legitimate motives for wanting Annalise dead, but Annalise is playing every person that is close to her, so it could very well be anyone under her roof.