How to Get Away with Murder promised a shocking twist in its season finale, and as usual, the show delivered. But after the wild ride of this season, will viewers be able to stomach another one just like this one?
[WARNING: spoilers ahead. Don’t read unless you’ve seen the finale!]
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We finally know who killed Lila Stangard, but we have a new question… who killed Rebecca Sutter? The first season was a tightly-wound (and sometimes dizzying) ride, where we didn’t always know what was going on and who was double-crossing whom, but we had the solace that eventually all would be revealed. Now after the finale, we are back where we started: with a dead girl, a number of suspects, and absolutely no answers. Can the show sustain this format? Or will viewers become exhausted at the prospect of going through the whole thing all over again and tune out? Here are a few suggestions (are you listening, ABC?) for how to keep this show from succumbing to “been there, seen that” syndrome.
Deal with Rebecca’s Death Quickly
Okay, so, Rebecca’s dead. Nobody (except maybe Wes) is really sad to see her go. The prospect of a season-long hunt for her killer has us rolling our eyes already. They had to kill her off because of everything she knew, but let’s not drag it out. Next season, Frank and Annalise need to sit everyone down right off the bat and say, “Okay, Frank killed Rebecca, but this has got to stop here. Let’s move on.” (Because of course it was Frank, right?) They won’t be able to move on, of course, and they will keep making mistakes and getting paranoid, and that’s where the drama will come from, but at least the question won’t be hanging over our heads. No more smash-cut flashbacks. No drawn-out re-enactment of her murder. The girl is dead — let’s bury her.
Flesh Out the Supporting Characters
Viola Davis is a national treasure and we would watch her in literally anything. Her backstory doesn’t matter because she conveys so much through her acting. The rest of the cast? Not so much. Right now this is ‘The Annalise Show With Occasional Interruptions By Supporting Characters.’ (And no, sorry, the Christmases at home doesn’t count as backstory.) Let’s change that up. Sure, these people are murderers, but we love murderers all the time! (see: Dexter, Hannibal.)
So let’s spend some time really getting to know these people. Bonnie is interesting, Asher is interesting, Laurel is almost interesting… let’s find out more about who they are, why they came to law school/started working for Annalise, what their life outside the law firm is like. Sister Shonda Rhimes-helmed show Grey’s Anatomy does a great job of balancing personal and professional, so hopefully HTGAWM can follow its lead.
The show has done a great job so far developing Connor’s character. We care about him and we care about Oliver. (SOB! Poor Oliver…) Let us care about some other people too. Oh, and make Bonnie and Annalise make up, STAT. We need some women friendships in this show like, yesterday.
Add Some New Blood
Next fall, Middleton Law will be bustling with new 1Ls. Let’s add a few to the staff! That will keep the Rebecca drama to a minimum and also give the chance to lighten up a bit. Ignoring the fact that attorneys don’t take 1L interns for a moment, most attorneys have interns for a semester or a year at most. Annalise will have to take in some new kids to avoid drawing suspicion on herself. Some new people will give the show a chance to introduce some more likable characters and ease up on the ones that aren’t working. (Looking at you, Michaela!)
Adding some new characters will also demonstrate the passage of time and allow the show to ease into a less frenetic and convoluted (and more confident and measured) pace. You’re a hit, HTGAWM. You don’t have to be so gimmicky or try so hard to get viewers. You have them! So don’t jerk them around so much. Let us catch our breaths a minute.
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More Courtroom Drama
HTGAWM is, at heart, a lawyer show. Viewers have a myriad of other options if they want cops and murder mysteries. Tuning in to this show means we want some legal drama. Annalise is an amazing lawyer who (almost) always wins her case. We want to see more of her in her element, doing what she does best. Yes, the show has done an excellent (and groundbreaking) job so far of showing her vulnerabilities (that scene where she took off her wig for the first time was breathtaking) but now let’s see her not-vulnerable. We want to see Annalise proud and strong and kicking ass. We want to see the rest of her office stretching their legal wings. We want to see evidence that Annalise is teaching these kids something besides lying. After all, the best way to get away with murder… is to have a really good lawyer.
HTGAWM will return to ABC this fall.
(Image courtesy of ABC)