How to Get Away with Murder season 5 finale review: Quick, explain it all!


How to Get Away with Murder ends its fifth season on an episode that’s packed with exposition to try and make sense of the season.

After last week’s reveal that Xavier Castillo had previously visited Nate’s dad in prison, How to Get Away with Murder opens up on a flashback in which Xavier tells Nate Sr., “I think you’re gonna regret this.” The shot pulls out to show Laurel, Annalise, Frank, Nate, and Bonnie having a confrontation about Xavier’s presence. Well, more accurately, it’s just the first three parties, with the other two standing around looking concerned, and Annalise declares that they’re all in hell. Viewers might actually regret this week’s episode of How to Get Away with Murder, or feel that this is essentially purgatory.

“Please Say No One Else Is Dead” ends up being a whirlwind tour of showing just how Xavier and the Castillo family has played into everything that’s happened this season. He spoke to (acting) DA Miller with an offer of power, one other flashbacks show that Miller ended up taking. Xavier also bribed the guards involved in Nate’s death, because of course he did.

Everyone is also scrambling in the present. The FBI comes for Emmett; Annalise comes in to tell him about the Castillo conspiracy later. Of course, there’s also the matter of the FBI having a tape of Annalise calling Emmett “guilty,” so Tegan swoops in to point out that the Castillos can totally frame Emmett, thank you. Nate questions the warden and gets arrested for “just a little shove.” Agent Telesco puts more pressure on Gabriel; Gabriel tells about Laurel’s potential immunity deal, which prompts Laurel to finally reveal that she’s been keeping the blanket all along and burn it.

This may seem a little play-by-play, but all of these scenes fly by too fast to really hit any emotional impact. Everyone speaks at a rapid clip that’s more reminiscent of the worst episodes of Scandal. Even as the music tries to bring feeling into it, it fails, because the music keeps playing while, say, Frank threatens a guard. (And then we get a flashback to it not 10 minutes after!)

The turning point ends up being Sandrine Castillo — or what’s left of her. Even as Asher brings Sandrine’s scalp to the FBI (getting Telesco fired in the process), Xavier, Laurel, and Annalise have a confrontation. It’s revealed that DA Miller actually tried to double-cross Xavier, in one last twist. But, of course, there’s another reveal at hand: the governor really is in cahoots with the Castillos, even as she’s saying she’s innocent on TV and trying to frame Emmett again!

The word that comes to mind for this episode is hasty. After spending so many episodes waffling back and forth between who may have been responsible for Nate Sr.’s murder, the answer ends up being “everyone,” but not for the reasons you think, because the Castillos pop up and complicate things even further. It’s almost like a painful version of Murder on the Orient Express, but without the satisfaction of some strange sense of justice at the end.

Instead, we get to see Emmett choking out what seem to be his last breaths, his drink apparently poisoned. (See you, Timothy Hutton.) Meanwhile, Laurel goes missing, and Christopher too. Did we not promise you a cliffhanger?

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Other thoughts:

  • Oliver speaks the truth about “magical baby scent.” It’s so bizarrely accurate.
  • Laurel tries to convince Connor and Oliver to look after Christopher should something happen to her. Connor is surprisingly good with kids, or at least this particular kid.
  • “Fake news” gets a shout-out from Governor Birkhead.