how to get away with murder

Season three of How to Get Away with Murder was a game changer. We saw Annalise at her lowest point after she was accused of murdering Wes (Alfred Enoch) and landed in jail. With lost of Wes, a central character, the Keating Five became the Keating Four and relationships became even more strained. The season ended with the reveal that Laurel’s father had Dominic kill Wes. Going into season four we don’t know his motivation and some of the characters still think the Mahoney family is behind Wes’ death. In the season premiere last night, we learn how Laurel is dealing and witness Annalise make a big decision.

The episode started with Laurel’s father coming for a visit. She revealed to him that she was pregnant, but had an abortion. She’s still suspicious about running into Dominic in New York, but her father brushed it off. Near the end of their tour of Middleton, she received a text from Annalise asking her to come to dinner. We saw Laurel arrive at the restaurant before the first time jump of the night occurred.

In the flashback, Annalise struck up a conversation with a man while on a flight to visit her mother. At a family dinner, she and her sister suggest that their mother looks at a nearby care facility because of her dementia and things went downhill. The aftermath is a tense house and her mother telling her not to visit anymore. Later that night, she met up with the man named Desmond from the flight. Instead of using her real name, she told him her name was Bonnie. Desmond is played by Davis’ real-life husband Julius Tennon. Instead of the expected sex scene, things go awry when Desmond got a phone call from someone named CeCe. He claimed it was his daughter, but Annalise was not having it and left after revealing her real name.

We caught up with Oliver and Connor in a bar. Oliver was still trying to convince Connor to marry him, but Connor isn’t too positive about the idea especially after witnessing a group drunkenly celebrate a bachelorette party. Their conversation shifted when he got a text from Annalise about meeting up for dinner the next night. Oliver wasn’t surprised that he wasn’t invited.  Asher and Michaela made their first appearance of the episode in a mattress store. When an attractive male salesperson tried to discuss a mattress with Michaela, Asher stepped in and awkwardly asked about mattresses that can withstand their active sex life. They too received the text from Annalise. When Asher wondered if Annalise missed them, Michaela shut that idea down saying, “She’s dead inside. She doesn’t miss anyone.”

Back in Memphis, Annalise’s mother has an episode in the middle of the night that leads them to visit the nursing home the next day. While on the tour, Annalise and her father got into an argument where he blamed her mother’s episode on her presence bringing up bad memories. Later that night, Annalise revealed her money and employment issues with her sister; Sam’s sister was suing her for the house, freezing the insurance money and she’s at risk of being disbarred because she had alcohol in her system when she was arrested while already on probation for her alcohol abuse. Her sister comforted her and assured her that she would be okay.

In a short scene, Frank showed Bonnie a possible location for Annalise’s new office. He was well aware that Annalise still wanted nothing to do with him, but was determined to get back in her good graces. Bonnie told him about the dinner coming up with Annalise and the students before leaving.

Before leaving Memphis, Annalise and her mother have an emotional discussion. Her mother doesn’t beat around the bush when discussing her struggles with dementia and that she won’t be around forever. While the conversation left Annalise in tears, her mother soothingly promised to try and stick around for as long as she can. The morning of her departure, her father apologizes for his actions towards her. Annalise simply responded that she would text him when her flight landed. On the plane, we see her send the text about the dinner to the students. After her return to Middleton, Annalise attended her hearing where she begged adamantly for the council not to take away her license because that was the only thing she had left.

Back in the present, Laurel was the last to arrive at the dinner. Annalise told them that she won her hearing, allowing her to continue practice law. When Asher offered Laurel a celebratory drink, she declined and told them that she had decided to have her baby. She explained that she’s due in five months, meaning she lied to her father. Before the students can get excited about Annalise possibly returning to teaching at Middleton University, she dropped more news. She wrote each of them a letter of recommendation and said that she was letting them go. Since they were begging to get away from Annalise and all the drama last season, it’s surprising that Laurel and Michaela got angry and left in a huff, Michaela doing so with scathing words. Asher was upset but calmer about his displeasure. Connor, who told the others that this is what they’ve been wanting, simply said thank you before leaving.

How to Get Away with Murder

Bonnie told Annalise that they will realize that it’s good for them, only to be given her own letter of recommendation. Afterwards, we see Annalise renting a room while each of the students and Bonnie read their letters. Michaela and Asher got to work on updating their resumes, Connor explained to Oliver why he didn’t want to get married right now, and Bonnie had a meeting with the DA possibly about a job. Laurel rested in Wes’ old apartment and got a text from her father with the picture they took during his visit. She almost replied, “Why did you kill Wes?” before changing her mind. In the final minutes of the episode, we saw Annalise attending her first therapy session and then a fast forward. Her therapist is played by Jimmy Smits (Star Wars: Episode II and II, Rogue One, Sons of Anarchy).

In true How to Get Away with Murder fashion, the mystery has to be set up in the first episode of the season. That’s where the final moments of the episode come in. Three months in the future, Annalise’s therapist arrived at a hospital and met up with Frank who led him down a hallway. Frank tells him that drugs were found in “her” system. We soon find out that the her they’re discussing is Laurel. She wakes up in a hospital bed and quickly discovered that something was wrong when she rubs her stomach. The episode ended with Laurel asking Frank where the baby was.

And thus the hashtag for the season is born. #WhereIsTheBaby?

Thoughts on the season four premiere of How to Get Away with Murder.

This was a great season premiere! Writer and producer, Peter Nowalk has set up yet another mystery for fans to watch unravel as the season progresses. In the usual HTGAWM fashion, we jump from the present, past, and future. It makes for one of those shows that you really have to pay attention to or you’ll miss a jump. I love that about the show.

Season finales are usually what leave fans in tears. This time around it was the season premiere. The writers and cast handled the presentation of Annalise and her family dealing with her mother’s dementia in a way that felt authentic and well-written. Cicely Tyson’s performance was amazing and heart-wrenching. Another great scene comes when Annalise begs for the council not to disbar her. While accepting responsibility for her actions, she also laid her cards on the table and made herself vulnerable, which we know her character hates to do. She even stepped in when Bonnie tried to say someone in the DA’s office could have tampered with her test results.

I’m giving “I’m Going Away” a 9/10. A great set up for the season with amazing performances, and strong dynamics between characters who’ve gone through so much together. I’m looking forward to seeing how this season’s mystery unravels and how the characters carry on after Annalise’s decision to part ways with everyone.

How to Get Away with Murder airs on ABC, Thursdays at 10 PM EST.

 

Kira McCall covers entertainment for MFST. Follow her on Twitter at cocovanilla45 and kiramira_.

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