Our season-long mystery has already gotten well underway with the first two episodes of this season of How to Get Away With Murder, so let’s take a look at this week’s new entry, wonderfully titled “It’s Called the Octopus.”
The episode opens, as per usual, with a continuing look at the future events surrounding Annalise, but a fun reveal in this week’s opening is that the interns are all aware (and apparently okay with) the prosecutor’s death and that Nate is closer to Annalise seven weeks from now than he is in the “present” (timelines are often difficult to explain in How to Get Away With Murder). I mentioned it in a previous interview, but I’m so much more invested in the Annalise mystery this season than I was with Sam last season, and I think that the writers have done an incredible job at knowing exactly what emotional buttons to push after the learning curve they experienced last year.
The case of the siblings accused of killing their parents takes up a lot of Annalise’s time these days, and the case is proving to be one of the more interesting ones that we’ve seen on the show. In addition to “It’s Called the Octopus” bringing the case back to the forefront after the (admittedly great) character development of the season’s first two episodes, we also get a return to Annalise’s classroom. The classroom lessons on How to Get Away With Murder are almost always juxtaposed wonderfully with the personal lives of our main characters (which does often require a suspension of disbelief, but this is television, right?), and that’s the case again here with a lesson on sex leading to motive. One of the strengths of this series is its ability to make you care about every character, even when they do terrible things, and the interweaving of personal lives with work and school helps to accomplish this in an extremely successful way.
Elsewhere on the law front, the case-of-the week this week hit on all the right notes: funny, interesting, and sexy (it also provides a typically raunchy explanation of the episode’s title). The storyline is one that you would only be able to see on How to Get Away With Murder, and the guest cast is used exactly as they need to be. That said, it really does stick to the show’s general formula, and that’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because we know that the quality will be as strong as usual, but it does make’ you wonder if the writers will be willing to try something more out-of-the-box later on.
The writing on this show is always better than most of what you’ll find elsewhere, but I’d be lying if I said that “It’s Called the Octopus” felt “soapier” than usual every time personal lives came into play here. I mean, let’s be honest, How to Get Away With Murder is essentially a procedural soap opera, so we all know what we’re getting ourselves into when we tune in each week, but it felt so much heavier this week. A big reason for that could really be the fact that sex lives played such a big role, but I have to wonder if it could have been done in a better way.
I want to point out one thing that I think How to Get Away With Murder is doing much better this season than last season, and that’s Matt McGorry’s Asher. By nature of the story, Asher was often set apart from the other characters, mostly just being used as comic relief when he actually was around. While he’s still spending a lot of time away from the others, the character now has a real purpose that he didn’t have before, and that strengthens the show a lot more than I realized it could. He still gets some great comedic moments (and he had one of my favorite lines in this episode), but the narrative is actually using him to its advantage now.
How to Get Away With Murder is great. Even when it’s uneven, I don’t think there’s really ever been a bad episode. Was “It’s Called the Octopus” my favorite episode this season? No, but it was still really good, despite the issues that I did have with it. I can’t wait to see the remainder of the season, and I really think that we’re shaping up to see an even better season than we got last year.
What did you think about “It’s Called the Octopus?” Do you agree with me that season 2 of How to Get Away With Murder is shaping up to be even better than the first? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!
[Photo credit: Mitch Haaseth/ABC]