How to Get Away with Murder: “Pilot” — Sept. 25, 2014
This is not going to be mindless TV. The timeline zips from present to past. One minute there’s Christmas music on the radio, the next it’s three months earlier. You’ve got to engage: sit up straight and pay attention to the teacher. If you get motion sickness, maybe get yourself one of those Sea-Band bracelets. How a recapper is supposed to present this in a lucid way is the most compelling mystery.
- Professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) is everything. She came here to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and she’s all out of bubblegum. Annalise sashays into class with this opening line: “I don’t know what terrible things you’ve done in your life up to this point, but clearly your karma’s out of balance to get assigned my class.” She welcomes the students to Criminal Law 100 or as she dramatically enunciates: “How to Get Away with Murder.” Not unlike Olivia Pope, she’s a tiger in her professional life but her personal life is messy. She’s having an affair with Mr. Sexy Cop (Billy Brown) and gives her husband Sam (Tom Verica), a psychology professor, a lot of side-eye. He gives it back, so it’s mutual side-eye.
- There are three mysteries, two of them are interesting. In Present Day Presumed Murder, We open with a rowdy football rally: Drunk jackasses revel around a bonfire because they loved “Lord of the Flies” in high school. In the woods, students Wes Gibbins (Alfie Enoch), Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King), Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee) and Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza) have apparently used a justice statuette to bludgeon someone and then have a tedious squabble about it. They’re up on pop culture clichés, so they roll the body in a rug to transport it and set it on fire. Jittery Michaela is the girl most likely to fold under questioning and turn State’s witness. Spoiler: The victim’s identity is revealed at the end of the episode and at the end of this recap.
- In Flashback Presumed Murder (three months ago), there’s a case of missing white woman syndrome: Lila Stangard (Megan West) hasn’t been seen in a week. Her body is finally found in a sorority’s water tank. Lila’s jock boyfriend, Griffin O’Reilly (Lenny Platt), and Annalise’s husband both act sketchy, so does Wes’s grouchy neighbor, Rebecca Sutter (Katie Findlay).
- Flashback Case of the Week was filler that allowed the characters to show off how clever they are. They all make a contribution, some are better than others. Connor seduced an IT guy by pretending that IT guys are boner-inducing. Laurel figured out the wife and mistress worked together to take down the cheater. Aside from that, it was a good time to get up for a sandwich unless it was an Annalise scene. Oh, wait, one more thing: Whichever four students impress Annalise get to work for her. The best one wins a justice statuette, it’s an immunity idol which gets them out of a test. Every kid from the woods makes it except for Wes. Psych! Annalise will take five students: Wes is in.
- Is it just me or is Wes the most annoying character? He’s a one-note, wide-eyed, perky, earnest doofus. Even the other characters don’t like him. In the first episode he manages to vex Annalise, Michaela, Rebecca and me. Wes gets the most face time so just settle in for the long haul with that one.
- Oddly enough, douchey student Asher Milstone (Matt McGorry) doesn’t seem to be involved in the murders, but he strikes me as the type whose privileged life will go sideways and he’ll end up working as a guard at a women’s prison and knocking up an inmate. That’s just speculation, of course.
- Both Presumed Murders: Lila was Sam Keating’s student and the body in the woods belongs to him.
The Verdict: Hell yeah, I’ll be glued to this.