How to Get Away with Murder review: Dinner and a possible betrayal


It’s the holidays on How to Get Away with Murder, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be yet more intrigue among the lights and ugly sweaters.

How to Get Away with Murder, it seems, knows that we’re in the depths of the boring part of winter, and so it decided to try and liven things up by bringing us back to the holidays for an hour or so. Of course, there’s still a lot going on, so the festivities don’t last very long at the house of students or Annalise’s place.

Both are cut short by phone calls: one for Laurel from someone she thinks is her mother, and one for Annalise from the FBI and Agent Talesco, with a promise of immunity.

Parents definitely have their roles to play in this episode, with Miller’s mom giving a eulogy at the funeral and Annalise’s mom making her much-hyped return to ask pointed questions Annalise isn’t equipped to answer. Connor’s mom comes to visit, having deleted the photo that seemed like such a big deal. It also comes up in the title of the episode, spoken by Pam Walsh herself, as she asks everyone else the question about why they aren’t with her families.

In fact, Bonnie might be joining the ranks of the parents on the show along with Frank, as she says later that she isn’t feeling well. She’s had bad experiences with pregnancy and parents in general, so this just seems like another reason for her to feel like she’s not in a stable situation.

Granted, she really isn’t. No one is, but Bonnie seems to exist to be traumatized over and over again and torn between all the different loyalties she now holds these days, rather than someone who actually does things. More accurately, when she does make decisions, they always turn out to be bad ones. Even Asher is capable of not messing up every so often and has actually shown growth in that area. (At least it turns out that she isn’t pregnant.)

But the big thing is the dinner Annalise hosts for Bonnie, Tegan, Emmett, Frank, Nate, and Ophelia. Everyone’s decked out, and though Ophelia comments that Annalise is “generous,” she also thinks that Emmett is Annalise’s new boyfriend. It honestly would be the kind of inappropriate, bad decision that usually plagues these characters.

It’s contrasted with the much smaller holiday dinner at the students’, with Gabriel invited in order for him to be watched. In fact, Pam Walsh wins the “embarrassing mother” award by owning up to her moment with Asher, among other things.

Somehow, the FBI showing up to look at the wedding photos is less terrible than continuing to hear Pam talk. Surprisingly, it’s Asher who comes up with the save for her, giving a fake reason for the photo being deleted, but the feds still take Oliver’s laptop. That is especially not good, and even though he says his protections are good, even he doesn’t sound particularly confident.

It takes a while for the episode to bring it back to Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson, sitting together, having conversations about love in all of its forms. There’s so much in the body language and even just the tones used that even without context, you could learn a lot about this mother and daughter and what they prioritize.

Once Ophelia is in bed, Annalise finally calls Telesco and says she’ll meet, with Tegan in the car to hear Telesco’s side of the conversation.

This week’s episode ends with Tegan revealing that she and Claire Telesco had an encounter in the car that night to another FBI agent, which means that Annalise doesn’t get her meeting and deal, because Claire gets pulled off the case … thanks to Tegan and Annalise planning the sleeping with Claire part of the story. Yes, really.

But the real kicker is that Annalise gets a call to meet. At a church, Governor Birkhead’s waiting, and she says, “I know who killed Nate Sr. You know him too: Emmett Crawford.”

How’s that for a twist? How fitting it is it that “What is going on?” is the first thing said in the teaser?

For an episode, it’s hard not to say that this one is better than most of the second half so far solely because of the Ophelia and Annalise scenes. But there’s actually quite a lot to unpack here, even before we get to the twist that Emmett is apparently shadier than previously thought. He was already shady, but why would he care about the Nate Sr. case? What motive does he have, or was the governor really involved?

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More thoughts:

  • Ophelia asking Nate to “put those big arms around me” is the kind of line that should get delivered more often.
  • Santa Oliver is adorable even as he jokes about his beard.
  • Annalise is so fancy she even has matching containers for her leftovers, and it’s almost a shame that Ophelia didn’t get to comment on that.