Yeah, I caved in and I have decided to do review/recaps for this series for the time being. This should be interesting.
Written by Peter Nowalk
Directed by Michael Offer
The Body: This episode opened with the death (by law trophy) of a mysterious person and four frantic law students - Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), Wes Gibbons (Alfred Enoch), Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza) and Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King) mostly panicking, trying to get the body out of the place of their professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) before eventually getting to the woods (amidst a lot of arguing and almost being caught). Like Revenge, this is actually a flashforward but one that takes up a great portion of the opening episode as the body is burned and we learn that it actually happens to be Annalise's husband, Sam Keating (Tom Verica). I guess the mystery is why Sam was killed and can Connor, Wes, Laurel and Michaela get away with murder? However the most disturbing thing about those flashforward scenes wasn't the actual murder/body disposal itself but Connor's completely inappropriate singing of Jingle Bells during the episode. That bit seriously creeped me out more than anything else really.
Professor Formidable: If you love Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope on Scandal, then you'll probably have no problem with falling in love with Viola Davis's crime law professor/attorney, Annalise Keating, who is just every bit as interesting, if possibly not more so. She also seems a lot tougher than Olivia too, what with the way she challenged her students during a 'how to get away with murder' segment before she ended up picking four of them along with frat boy like Asher Millstone (Matt McGorry). Like Olivia too, Annalise has something of an interesting private life - her affair with detective Nate Lachey (Billy Brown) got uncovered by Wes and she seemed a little suspicious about her husband's concern for student Lila Stangard's mysterious death ("I bet you the boyfriend did it.") as well. Character wise, she certainly pulls no punches and you don't have to be a genius to predict that an Emmy for this role is clearly in Davis's imminent future as well.
Bad Boy: Out of all the students, only five were on screen to make an impression from Annalise's class. Asher was the only one from the five not to be involved in the murder and while likeable, he didn't really have a whole lot to do here. As for the others - Wes is clearly the nice guy of the bunch, even trying to help out his mysterious neighbour Rebecca (Katie Findley) who blew hot and cold with him, Laurel was implied to be sleeping with Annalise's associate, Frank Delfino (Charlie Weber) while Michaela seemed to be ultra competitive and the most in denial about the murder but it was Connor who stood out the most here. Aside from the bickering with Michaela and his creepy singing, it's nice to see a gay character on network television unapologetic about their sexuality and the scene where he seduced IT guy Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) for information was fantastic. Aside from Annalise, he's definitely the most interesting character of the bunch here. Cyrus Beene would be proud and a tiny bit afraid of Connor.
Frank & Bonnie: While Olivia has her Gladiators, when Annalise isn't scouting for students to hire at her firm, she's got both Frank and Bonnie Winterbottom (Liza Weil). In terms of first episode stuff, neither of them did anything that truly stood out as such, though it was implied that Frank had a habit for sleeping with students (here's looking at you, Laurel) and both Bonnie and Annalise seemed aware of that and not particularly cool with it either. While they were overshadowed by Annalise, her students and the two murder mysteries of the episode, I'm sure we'll see both characters fleshed out in no time.
Case Of The Week: I have a feeling the case of the week bits of this show will be fine but less interesting than the flashforwards to Sam's murder, the mystery of Lila's murder (which Rebecca and some other guy might be involved with) or the various interactions with the main cast. This week's one revolved around an attempted murder of a man with both his wife and mistress looking like they have been in cahoots at different points in the episode. The various jumping about with the case as each of the students (particularly Connor, Laurel and Michaela) all trying to find various bits of evidence on what really happened was fun enough to seen. Like Scandal, there are times when this show jumps so fast, it could cause you whiplash. It's fun in parts but it can also take you out of the story a tiny bit but other than that, this was an interesting start to a promising series.
Next week, there's a case about a millionaire bumping off his wife as the students in flashforwards buy supplies to clean up their murder.