Death, conspiracy, sex, scandal, lies, deceit, twists, turns, flashbacks, flashforwards and more make up the third season of the Shondaland hit.
Spoiler Warning for the third season of “How To Get Away With Murder.”
What may be the most twisted season of the show yet, “How to Get Away With Murder” introduces a handful major mysteries that captivate the viewers, leading to wild Internet theories. With the characters finding themselves falling deeper and deeper into a pit of secrets and lies, truths come to the surface in shocking ways. With the loss of one of the key players, nothing will ever be the same again.
The season premiere, “We’re Good People Now,” begins with an odd sense of calm, something that is quite foreign to this series. Things actually seem rather peaceful, but that definitely doesn’t last long. Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) is now teaching a pro-bono law clinic, where the “Keating 5” and her other students are able to practice the law in a real life courtroom. Flashbacks show Annalise coming to the aid of the five, specifically Wes (Alfred Enoch), who has just witnessed the murder of his father, apparently perpetrated by Frank Delfino (Charlie Weber). At the end of the first episode, viewers are thrown for a loop when flashforwards show Annalise screaming out in agony after seeing her house ablaze with an unidentified victim being pulled from the fire and put into an ambulance. Someone has died, but the only person that knows the victim’s identity is Annalise, who is also the only character confirmed to be alive at this point. From this moment, the #UnderTheSheet mystery officially begins.
The initial nine episodes deal with this mystery, as well as the characters’ struggles with their cases and the disappearance of Frank. At the end of each episode, a different character is revealed to be “alive,” one by one, until the winter finale, when the actual victim is finally disclosed to the viewers and survivors. In an expert case of misdirection, the fatality of that fateful night is shown to be Wes, a character that had previously been cleared of being the victim. Bonnie (Liza Weil) breaks the news to the rest of the “Keating 5,” who obviously are hit with a wave of grief; Laurel (Karla Souza) is especially broken up by the news as she was in a short-lived relationship with Wes. The demise of Wes is complicated even further when Nate (Billy Brown) discovers that the fire was not the actual cause of death, Wes was already dead before the fire. This twist pushes the plot into a completely different direction, shifing the series from a legal drama to a full blown murder mystery.
The final six episodes of the season focuses on the aftermath of that fateful night as everyone begins to pick up the pieces and tries to solve the puzzle for themselves. Annalise is arrested for the murder of Wes and is placed in jail, where she wrestles with the difficulties of being so vulnerable. Connor (Jack Falahee), Michaela (Aja Naomi King), Asher (Matt McGorry) and Laurel go on their own missions to figure out who is actually guilty, while dealing with their own sorrow. Bonnie and Frank come up with a plan to get Annalise out of jail by placing all guilt on Frank himself. There is also plenty of romantic turbulence between Asher and Michaela, as well as Connor and Oliver; the relationship drama is definitely some of the weaker material of the season, but serves the important role of developing the characters and humanizing them, something that is necessary after the fact that these characters are truly terrible people is solidified. However, this is part of the genius of the show. The characters have done despicable things on top of all of the murder, but they are still fascinating to watch and the viewers are still able to relate to them.
By the end of the season finale, the events of the night of the fire are shown, allowing viewers to see how Wes actually died. A family friend of the Castillo family, named Dominic (Nicholas Gonzalez) is thrown into the story for the purpose of attacking Wes in Annalise’s home, killing him and setting off an explosion. Dominic is apparently taking his orders from Jorge, Laurel’s father; this is a crazy twist considering much of the second half of the season has revolved around Laurel as she blames everyone for what has happened. How will she react when she finds out that her own father is to blame for the murder of Wes? While this reveal may not have been as dramatic as I was expecting, it does set up some exciting storylines for the fourth season.
As with previous seasons, Viola Davis’ portrayal of Annalise Keating is simply perfect in every way. Her ability to display nearly every emotion is evidence enough that she should win every award. This season solidifies my belief that Annalise is one of the most gripping characters on television currently; a bad ass that isn’t afraid to break down and cry or scream out in anger. Other performers that blew me away this season are Jack Falahee as Connor and Charlie Weber as Frank, both managing to show off the vulnerability of their characters. As usual, “How to Get Away With Murder” always boasts an impressive list of guest stars and this season is no different; Lauren Vélez, Benito Martinez, Famke Janssen, Mary J. Blige, Cicely Tyson, Brian Tyree Henry and L. Scott Caldwell are just a few of the actors that contributed to the overall insanity of the season. As the long hiatus begins, it is clear that there will be plenty of discussion to he had about what comes next for the series. The fourth season is set to premiere this fall on ABC.