Who's Having The Worst Week On How To Get Away With Murder?
And is the top of this heap really worth aiming for?
Is it possible that somewhere, in the darkest depths of some writer's Drafts file, there's a version of the How To Get Away With Murder pilot titled Mostly Bad Things Happening To People? It's not a very compelling name, but it sure does capture the soul of this show. From worst to best, how bad a week are these characters having?
Everything that happens to Simon this week is unpleasant -- but then, he probably deserves it, on grounds of both vileness and stupidity. Michaela steals his laptop in search of the arbitration brief he owes the group, only to find the template for the Killer Annalise posters just hanging out in an open Photoshop file, all casual-like. Which: I know Simon's new, and nobody should expect to have his or her stuff stolen, but in this context of secrets and murrrrrder around every corner, is a passcode too much to expect? Some basic technological literacy from the great legal minds of tomorrow? Oh, it is too much to expect? Okay.
Anyway, Simon gets off easy for now, in the sense that Annalise bursts in and confronts him, but doesn't actually act on any of her threats and doesn't even keep the laptop. However, the season is young, and Simon should 100 percent expect to be getting his fingernails dirty and/or bloody by Christmas at the latest.
Everything that happens to Wes this week is also unpleasant, and he probably only halfway deserves it. First of all, he meets Meggy's nosy dad, which I guess is bad even if you don't have A Shadowed Past, but in this case makes him think he'd better break up with Meggy. Which is too bad, since she seems cooler and nicer than any of the loons in the law department. Seriously, why does anybody want to be a part of this cohort?
Wes also continues his codependent behavior with regard to Annalise; his wan "...aren't you not supposed to be drinking?" soon becomes taking care of her while she barfs and eventually dumping her into bed. You and your giraffe neck are good eggs, Wes (I mean, aside from The Shadowed Past), and probably nobody would blame you if you decided to spend evenings with your nice girlfriend instead of your manipulative alcoholic law professor. I know this won't change your behavior, but someone should say it.
Bonnie isn't doing much better than anybody else: she tries to bring Frank home and back into Annalise's fold (again: you guys, this fold is terrible and you should find another fold). He has a counteroffer -- they can run away together instead and have a family in some boring town! The tentative way he slides this into the conversation is honestly not very encouraging, by the way. But Bonnie's into it and gets pretty enthusiastic about the imaginative play, only to have Frank disappear from their hotel room the next day. This is all terrible, and poor Bonnie cries a lot, but it does seem that she's dodged a bit of a bullet for the time being. Is there a universe in which Bonnie and Frank can actually live in some beach town and go hiking on the weekends, as she proposes? If so, it's called virtual reality, and nobody even wants to put on those goggles.
Bonnie may be cleaning up Annalise's metaphorical vomit, but not her actual physical body fluids, which at least puts her ahead of Wes.
Is it me, or is someone always trying to talk Frank down from something? In flashback, we get Sam and Annalise each trying to convince him of his own decency (he counters with the story of his unrepentant murder of his father at the age of 13, which, fair enough); in the present, Bonnie's telling him to come home with her and be forgiven. Talk therapy must be his thing.
At this point, it's not actually clear how Frank's doing, because it's not clear where he went after he left Bonnie at the hotel. However, things don't seem so bad: Bonnie came after him, Laurel hasn't ditched him forever, they think Annalise might forgive him someday, and the shorn-head look really agrees with him. Of course, nothing good will happen to Frank until he forgives himself, and redemption for him isn't likely for another six or seven episodes, so either he's off self-flagellating in one of those cute beach towns or somebody kidnapped him. This could really go either way!
The top of this particular power ranking is kind of like being at the top of a pile of dirty laundry. It's not that much higher than ground level, and it doesn't smell great. In fact, Annalise spends most of this episode in a decidedly low spot -- she makes a big show of throwing out all the bottles stashed around her house, but gets distracted by her own grief and a bottle of gin, and before we know it she's inviting a mildly horrified Wes into her personal dance party.
However, Annalise "wins" this week because she's essentially the only character who got anything she wanted. After running into President Hargrove at the AA meeting she's only attending to get her license back, she threatens to sue the university for $50 million, citing a whole slew of charges. President Hargrove wilts and promises to start making calls to have Annalise reinstated. That was quick! Also, it's unclear why President Hargrove thought any of Annalise's charges would actually pan out in court, since it seems like 97 percent of Annalise's waking activities qualify as fireable offenses. But since all the lawyers on this show are working for Annalise, I guess there's nobody sane and legally knowledgeable for her to speak to, so here we are. Annalise gets her job and her terrible-idea clinic back. ...Yay?