September 3rd brought the return of ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder, the hit TGIT show that revolves around mystery and drama.
The opening of season 3 reminded viewers about the Frank dilemma that ended last season with a tear-jerking bang. The crew–Michaela, Laurel, Wes, Connor, and Asher–is joined by Oliver, Connor’s previous boyfriend and is once again involved in some chaotic conspiracy. As is custom with HTGAWM, the premiere started with the dire situation (in this case, Annalise’s house aflame) and then began to take us back, in an effort to show us how we arrived at this fiery showdown. This method continues to work: Rhimes leaves viewers in a heap of anxiety due to the mystery.
Annalise, played by Viola Davis, continues to be possibly the most dynamic, layered character on television. The fact that the woman is always intriguing and enigmatic merits praise by itself. Each season has showed a different side of her: in this season we see how she deals with lapses in power. In just 3 episodes, she has been at odds not only with authoritative figures, but with love interests and colleagues, as well. Seeing her weather the storm has proved that she cannot be silenced. Although she definitely has her problems, Annalise can teach us all a bit about resilience. All in all, the Annalise Keating of this season struggles more than in the past. Although she may seem like the heavy-handed woman that always gets the job done, we also see that she has moments of weakness and is infallible.
In the past, the whole team has gotten wrapped up in being, or not being,
“good people”. Although this struggle continues, it is thankfully subsiding. In all honesty, they are getting used to getting their hands dirty, and it’s about time! Rather than questioning their character, the group exudes more self-assurance and acceptance this season. Michaela continues to be her uptight, impatient self. Asher is similarly consistent; he has been a constant figure of humor throughout the show (minus his altercations with Bonnie and that one murder cover up). Connor is depressed and cynical. He and Oliver are wrapped up in their relationship struggle. Wes has a new lady friend named Meggy. Laurel is in purgatory: is she into Wes or is she involved with Frank? The courtroom setting contrasts with the past seasons. No longer does the substance of a case make up a bulk of the plot. Rather, the cases are only used to reflect back to the main characters.
There always has to be a common enemy for Annalise and her students. Frank is the figure of evil in this season. He indirectly killed Annalise’s baby in the finale of season 2, and was therefore banished. This triggers him going off as a lone-wolf and taking on this conflicted, bad-boy persona. Yet, this is not the bad-boy Frank from previous seasons. No longer does he have the support system of the firm, nor the on-point wardrobe and chiseled look. He is on his own and is accordingly having an emotional breakdown while taking the role of the criminal on the run.
Season 3 continues to shock with a new and improved crew of students and the protagonist, Annalise, in a new position of weakness. This perfect balance of mystery, drama, and romance needs to be on your weekly watch list.