Saturday, September 30, 2017

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 4x01: "I'm Going Away"

Written by Peter Nowalk
Directed by Jet Wilkinson

Annalise (to Keating 4): "We don’t need each other anymore. So it’s time we went our separate ways."

This felt oddly quiet for a season premiere. I mean, don't get me wrong, there was certainly a lot going on in the episode itself but compared to the more booming openers we've had in the previous seasons, this felt more subdued until the main mystery presented itself in the last minute.

The mystery itself - who's taken Laurel's baby? Right now, the obvious answer would be either the Mahoneys or Laurel's father herself. She's definitely convinced that the latter had something to do with Wes's death and she also lied to him about having an abortion but saying that as well, it's also pretty obvious that we're not done with the Mahoneys either, so the next eight episodes are probably going to be throwing a lot at us before we get the answer.

It was interesting though that the two people who came to Laurel's aid as she realised her baby was missing was both Frank and Dr Isaac (Jimmy Smits) - the latter whom is also Annalise's therapist in the current day but appeared in the flashforward. Could he also have a role in the disappearance? I'm intrigued that Isaac will now factor into both Annalise and Laurel's storylines this season.

As for Annalise, this was definitely a challenging episode for her. On one hand while the threat of being disbarred on a permanent basis lingered throughout the episode, it was resolved rather quickly and then resulted in Annalise writing her Keating 4 and Bonnie recommendation letters as she let them all go, much to all of their anger except for Connor.

The biggest challenge in the episode though was Annalise, her sister and father handling Ophelia's  Alzheimer's and it was certainly the strongest and hard hitting parts of the episode. Some beautiful performances from both Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson made the scenes tough to watch but utterly absorbing nonetheless. I do sadly have a feeling that the next time we see Ophelia though, it will be with her dying.

As for the Keating 4 themselves - Michaela and Asher seem to be in a rather happy place when the latter wasn't ranting about Annalise abandoning them while Laurel was in a darker place and that was before the flash forward. Connor and Oliver didn't actually get engaged but we did get a nice commentary on straight girls fetishizing gay men (pay attention, Tumblr) and they're also in a happy place while Bonnie went to work for Denver and Frank tried to get an office space in his quest to redeem himself with Annalise.

- Viola Davis's real life husband appeared in this episode as a near conquest for Annalise named Desmond. Annalise also used Bonnie as pseudonym.
- Aside from Alfred Enoch (Wes) no longer credited, there's no dramatic changes to the cast for this season.
- The ratings were less than four million for this episode, which is not a good sign.
- Chronology: About a month since Wes left off.

I'm Going Away wasn't the strongest opening episode we've had but it was definitely a good one, especially for the family scenes and setting up the main mystery. I'm not sure Annalise will be able to stay away from her former team for long though and to be honest, I wouldn't want her to either.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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