“HTGAWM” S1 rewind: “Smile or Go to Jail”

Once again, there’s stuff that happened in this week’s episode of How to Get Away with Murder, “Smile or Go to Jail,” that I want to talk about more than the actual synopsis of the show. So I’ll knock it out in a couple of sentences, despite my love for Ana Ortiz.

Ortiz played the criminal-of-the-week, Mrs. Murphy. However, Mrs. Murphy is actually Elena Aguilar, a former member of some kind of criminal/activist group that killed people. Annalise and the Scooby Team (can’t claim credit for that nickname)have to represent her, but the witness that’s supposed to save her from jail—her former flame/group leader Gabriel, rats her out on the stand. But they both double-cross Annalise, who is left without a defendant while Elena and Gabriel both skip town together. The con was a con!

Okay, now that that’s done, the big notes:

What’s up with Michaela?: I know that she’s unwillingly getting rid of a body during Bonfire Night,  and that if I were her, I’d be a blubbering mess too, with my whole life flashing constantly in front of my eyes. But she needs to get it together, right? She’s beginning to seem like she had something to do with Sam’s murder. Like I said, anyone’s a suspect, and Michaela could have just as much motive as Rebecca, Griffin, Annalise, Bonnie and Wes. We just don’t know what hers is yet.

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Connor’s a tool: What exactly was his endgame with constantly torturing Michaela about her fiance Aiden’s past dalliance with him? Him being a manizer (is that the male form of “womanizer”)? Fine. Him being someone that makes you want to take off your earrings for a fight? Not fine. Not fine at all.

(Aiden, by the way, is played by Elliot Knight, who’s claim to fame is that intriguing British Sky 1 show Sinbad. Multicultural cast—including Naveen Andrews—but the show just fell apart after the first two episodes. The pilot was really strong; was bummed to see the show peter out the way it did.)

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Aiden and his sexuality: Speaking of Aiden, why can’t Michaela think of bisexuality as a possible explanation for Aiden’s romance with the same sex? Why didn’t the show use that? That kind of a moment stands out when HTGAWM has done nothing but show a willingness to explore the full range of human sexuality? Well, scratch that—the show explores the full range of gay/lesbian sexuality. The last bisexual we had—Max, the client who came on to Connor during last week’s episode—was a gleefully evil hack-slash murderer. This week, our possibly bisexual character is certainly not evil, but he’s still shady for not telling Michaela the truth, especially since Michaela said they’d discussed each other’s former lovers.

If that’s the one thing that I find disconcerting about the show so far, it’s the treatment of bisexual (or possibly bisexual) characters.  “But he said he was going through a phase! Does it matter that much?” Yes, Imaginary Reader, it does. Sure, Aiden could have been in a situation similar to women who say they were “college lesbians,” which a very interesting label for bi-curiosity. But even still, whether Aiden only experimented with the same sex because that’s all that was there or if he actually is bisexual, his side of the story should have been explored more than just swept under the rug.

Griffin’s not the killer: Or so he claims. He states that he and Lila had a big fight, and that’s why his DNA was under her nails. That same night, he and Rebecca slept together. He claims that Rebecca had everything planned from the start and she’s the killer. Rebecca also doesn’t help herself when she confesses to a crime she later states in next week’s preview she didn’t commit. But this doesn’t mean Griffin’s story holds up. What happened to Lila is still a mystery and he could still be guilty.

Wes’ big heart for Rebecca: Seems like the fandom is a little ticked at Wes for giving Rebecca the time of day. I don’t feel as strongly, but I’m still concerned about why exactly he’s fallen so hard for her. For the most part, Rebecca has blown him off. She even exposed him as a fraud lawyer after he had gone through the trouble to create a fake ID to get into the prison to see her. But him attempting to help Rebecca was a great plot convenience for Annalise to take pity on him (and for him to win the coveted Lady Liberty statue). Maybe she only views him as a son she never had. Maybe she’s not the chew-‘em-up-and-spit-‘em-out cougar we thought she was in the beginning.

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Why’d you lie, Nate!?: Out of all the lies, Nate’s lies about Sam are some I really don’t understand. What does Nate gain from lying to Annalise about Sam’s whereabouts? Is he just trying to keep Annalise out of his hair so he can get off probation and get back to being a better husband to his dying wife? Is he trying to be noble? Or does he have larger machinations at work? Is Nate cheating on Annalise with Sam and he’s trying to protect him? What in the world could be the reason for this seemingly unnecessary deception?!

Michaela’s ring: We started with Michaela and we’ll end with Michaela. Her engagement ring is now lost on the college grounds and it could pin the Scooby Team right in the pen. So much for staging those bonfire selfies, guys. Your alibi now lies in the mud with that ring.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Give me your comments!

Photo credit: Mitch Haaseth/ABC

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