Review: How to Get Away with Murder 1.03 – “Smile, or Go to Jail”

As the mystery progresses, more is revealed about the night of the murder months from now, but in the present day classes go on. Students move up and down in standing in Keating’s class. The question is what are these characters willing to do to be on top?

 

******SPOILERS BELOW****

Answer to the above question is, “anything.” Perhaps that’s not anything new considering the pilot, but now on the third episode we delve a bit deeper into the background of various students, specifically, Michaela Pratt. She is ambitious and has her whole life planned, including what kind of job is good enough for her fiancé. As she discusses her vision of the future with her husband-to-be, there does not appear to be any room for lazing about, or even happiness for the couple.

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Michaela is strung very tight and she will allow nothing to throw her off course. This attitude is why she is completely thrown when her classmate Connor confesses to a boarding school dalliance with her fiancé.  Michaela reacts badly, which is the point. Connor wanted Michaela off her game and was not subtle about his ploy at all. Michaela can not deal with unexpected change or stress apparently. In the flash-forward she is the one curled up in a corner, rocking and useless. At first it appeared to be due to her closer connection to the murder or victim. Maybe she was the one to use the murder weapon? However, in comparison to her reactions in the present day story she could just be weak in the face of adversity.

Elsewhere on campus, Wes is obsessing over his next door neighbor, Rebecca. He is sure she is being setup to take the fall for the murder. He finds a hidden phone in Rebecca’s apartment and is sure it is some sort of evidence to clear her. Though if that were true, maybe she would have used it to get herself out of jail? Wes’ storyline was the most frustrating since he is the student that showed the most common sense to this point.

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Everything he does in this episode hinges on his stupidity and blind belief that a total stranger, Rebecca, is innocent because he thinks she is pretty. Wes hides evidence, the phone, even when he discovers it’s the phone of the murdered girl. He should have turned that over to the police or to Keating who is handling the case, or at least asked her advice about what to do with it. His logic was that Keating may be representing the boyfriend of the murdered girl, so she might be biased. That is true to a certain extent, but he needed to talk to someone who had a clue about law. Wes then compounded his error by impersonating a lawyer so he could visit Rebecca in jail. Did I mention he was an idiot? He was quickly caught and would have gone to jail himself except that Keating is his professor. Wes gives this impassioned speech about how the poor can’t afford good lawyers and go to jail for crimes they did not commit. The speech was ok, but what’s hard to believe is that seasoned cut-throat lawyer Keating was moved by it at all. She goes so far as switching clients to Rebecca and giving Wes the immunity idol. That makes no sense at all. Wes did the opposite of work in her class this week, and he is rewarded?

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On the Keating household front, Annalise still suspects her husband may have killed Lila Stangard, but has no proof. She asks her detective boyfriend, Nate to investigate her husband’s alibi. As Nate goes through Sam Keating’s movements the night of the murder he finds a lot of holes, which means Sam could have done it. The confusing bit is that when Nate reports back to Annalise he lies. Why? What are Nate’s motives behind that?

This episode was more frustrating than entertaining, but there is hope with conflict between Annalise, Nate and Sam. It is yet to be determined if the students can competently carry a storyline on their own.

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Post Author: Libya El-Amin

Site editor, staff writer, reviewer, interviewer and all around TV watcher. Host of TV Campfire Podcast where we talk about all the TV shows I manage to watch each week. Sometimes the number of shows is staggering which means I have some sort of addiction. I also edit for television in real life.

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