‘How To Get Away With Murder’ Gets Messier & Darker In Season 5
The Netflix series stars Viola Davis, Aja Naomi King, Jack Falahee.
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How To Get Away With Murder
‘How To Get Away With Murder’ Gets Messier & Darker In Season 5
(This review may contain spoilers)
Is it even a murder, if it doesn’t have conspiracies, evidence and a murderer? Trust Annalise Keating, played by the stunning Viola Davis, to throw you off track and do the unexpected. Currently in its fifth season, How To Get Away With Murder has come a long way from its premiere where five law students (now known as the Keating 4, after Wes’ death in season 3) get embroiled in a murder investigation, only to be saved by their Professor Keating.
For these students, there has been no looking back since then. They have committed and witnessed multiple murders, each one making their lives even more miserable than they already are.
This season picks up from season four’s final episode, where a mysterious student shows up at the Middleton Law School and Oliver & Connor announce their wedding. The opening episode starts at a rather happy note with Annalise dancing her heart out at the wedding.
However, the show is hardly known for joyful times, and that becomes evident once we see Frank Delfino in the scene, followed by someone’s blood falling onto the snow. For a fan of the crime drama series, this is enough to guess what’s coming next.
Like previous seasons, this one too maintains the flash-forward narrative style of storytelling. Every episode begins with current happenings at the murder scene and eventually shows the past events leading to the kill. The murder victim isn’t revealed until the mid-season finale, and all that the viewers can do is rule out one character with every passing episode. The makers know better than to reveal everything so soon, and thus tease just enough for us to remain hooked on to the show.
Of Confusing and Messy Murders
The main narratives driving the entire season are Oliver and Connor’s wedding (where the murder takes place, ironically) and Annalise’s class action suit, especially focusing on Nate’s father’s trial. Mixed up with these storylines are other parallel leads like Gabriel Maddox’s identity, Laurel and her baby, Christopher and her family’s role in every crime ever committed on the show.
The makers have made sure to give each character a history, a proper character arc and its own journey. However, at times a lot of it becomes confusing and messy for the viewer to keep up with. The show has a measured pace, which picks up after the murder victim is revealed and the investigation begins.
Though strong characters like Ronald Miller, Emmet Crawford and Governor Birkhead have been introduced in this season, only Gabriel settled in with the viewers because of the character’s concrete writing. Most of the cases at the C&G law firm take up unnecessary screen time, adding nothing to the plot.
Once most of the murder details are revealed is when the show starts getting messy. Everyone’s past comes to light and dark secrets are revealed. Flashbacks and flash-forwards are repeated multiple times, showing distrust in viewers. Many a times, already known facts are repeated after crimes to reiterate the reason behind the same. Bonnie’s past had no connection to the plot, and yet took most of the time in the first few episodes.
Moreover, the payoff in the season finale is not what one would be looking for. Among all the chaos and drama, it is revealed that the hit ordered on Nate’s father was by Xavier Castillo, Laurel’s brother, who we have not even heard of in the entire season. With no background to that character and no clear motive for his ordered hit, it leads us to believe that it was all just a set-up with a disappointing payoff. The season ends on a cliffhanger, as Laurel and her child go missing, possibly abducted by her family.
Viola Davis - Savior of the Sinking Ship
What catches and keeps the attention of the audience are the unexpected plot twists. Having watched all previous seasons, it was still highly difficult for me to anticipate what would happen next. As mentioned above, trust Annalise Keating to do the unexpected at cleaning everyone else’s mess.
Viola Davis, as Annalise, is who keeps the show running. Not for a second does one fail to admire her.
She makes Annalise the most likable character across seasons, despite all her dirty illegal deeds. She makes no attempt to hide Annalise’s flaws, and makes her one of the most fierce, arrogant yet headstrong women on television.
The Keating 4 – Connor (Jack Falahee), Michaela (Aja Naomi King), Laurel (Karla Souza) and Asher (Matt McGorry) – keep the essence of the show. The story did take a setback during season 3, when Wes died and no one expected the series to retain its viewership. However, due to the powerful screen presence of these four characters, I stayed hooked to it. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t ignore how Michaela can easily be the next Annalise Keating, or how Connor has changed himself for Oliver, or how Laurel is on her way to becoming the best mother. The character growth given to them by the writers has been tremendous.
The only light moments in this dark mysterious show are offered by Connor and Oliver, who are like a breath of fresh air on screen. Their wedding preparations and the wedding itself is what provides everyone with a sense of relief.
A compelling and beautiful scenario is created in episode 8, when Oliver sings All Of Me by John Legend for Connor at their wedding and the entire murder revelation takes place with the song as the backdrop. One moment we are shedding tears of joy at their dreamy love story, and another second a brutal murder takes place.
How To Get Away With Murder began as a groundbreaking crime drama with a huge fan following. Somewhere down the line, the makers seem to have lost the original idea of the plot. It has now started racking up a body count with little logic, and that makes those deaths almost inconsequential. Watch the show on Netflix if you’re a fan of gripping twists and turns and for some powerful performances, especially by Viola Davis.
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