Listen, Whatever That Series Finale Was, I Ain’t Do Anything To Deserve it
I’m going to tell y’all straight, I’m going to try my best to be spoiler free. I’m not sure if I’m going to be successful but these writers done broke my heart for no reason. How To Get Away with Murder created a beautiful time in television. We saw a wondrous black woman, Viola Davis, as a dynamic protagonist. It was easy to admire Annalise Keating; her imperfections made her more daunting. We saw her relationship to grief, love, protection, motherhood; How To Get Away with Murder gave me dreams about writing a character with layers like that… and yet.
Why they do the finale like that?
I’m trying not to make this a rant, I really am. But we need to talk about how I was with the whole series until the last 12 minutes. The last two episodes needed to be stretched out, rewritten, just lord…
Okay so we know that everybody from the main group (Oliver, Laurel, Frank, Bonnie etc.) got some form of guilt. Whether it is murder, hacking, or trying to break into somebody’s house, all of them need to go to jail. So this is why we are here on this trial. Except the problem is, this trial pushes Annalise to take the blame for everything. In these final episodes I was grateful to see how each character maneuvered through their grief. Death has never been an easy burden to hold. Each death within the series came with bitterness pushed to the side in order to avoid legal repercussions. Now we see the remains rising to the surface.
When I look at Michaela, Connor, Oliver and Laurel – the final four from the original six – viewers would be able to notice how grief has manifested in each of them differently. Laurel, fled; Connor wants self-retribution; Michaela wants survival and Oliver requests love and stability. When Laurel popped up again after disappearing so suddenly it made me think about how some folks run away in order to protect themselves and those they love. It goes without saying that Laurel’s privilege granted her the deal she initially received. One that does not place her immediately in harms way and allows her to be a key witness with nothing that causes detrimental issues. The two (outside of Asher) that struggled the most with guilt, (Connor and Michaela) had to fight for the deals they got initially and even those were placed on shaky grounds. And yet, when it came to morality, Laurel was the one that came to the plate. Which made me think about, in a world of fear and risk, who had the most to lose?
We all felt the claws, the scar unravels differently
In no way is this a call for oppression wars and victim fights but I felt like this was a perfect time for the writers to reflect beyond what was presented before them in a small scene. When Michaela spoke about the deal she took, she reflected on how she was raised and how her fear is not necessarily jail but the repercussions of the future after jail when the world is not kind to black women.
Granted, we get bits and pieces of her struggle throughout the series, but this felt like the moment to expand upon the internal struggles beyond what we have been presented. What is going on with Michaela beyond the deals with her lawyers? We all know survival, but what does that look like beyond running to the lawyer and her father when it gets tougher? How To Get Away With Murder could have shown Michaela outside of the facade of strength because strength does not only come from recognizing you are in trouble, it takes internal monologue, alone time, self reflection and I did not get that from Michaela. We got, oh shoot it’s about to get rough, I know my skills and I know the skills of those backing me and use that to serve as a platform.
Next, that whole Bonnie and Frank situation. Sigh. You ever rooted for a couple and then knew something was going to tear them apart but you didn’t know what it would be? That’s all I can say without giving spoilers. This was an uncomfortable yet slow reveal that I wish I didn’t have to experience. It felt like it was used as a crutch to carry out the final bits of the series.
A Beautiful Thing, Avoided
What could have been a great deep dive into the difficulties of dealing with internal brokenness, ended up feeling lazy and falling flat because it made the aftermath the ending result, instead of a journey. How To Get Away With Murder needed two more episodes to break down exactly what was happening outside of the courtroom. The only characters I felt were well-developed this season were Nate, Annalise, Connor and Tegan (until the last episode) .
I loved every season of How To Get Away With Murder. How they invite characters to explore their rage, grief and love. Each episode since the return felt like it was trying to get to a clear point, one I was excited to reach but sadly did not. The series finale managed to pull off the biggest bamboozle (in the worst way), and it can leave a sour taste in viewers’ mouths. Some characters, like Annalise Keating got what she deserved, and it was a beautiful end for a dynamic character that consistently searched for peace. (How they went about this said peace, is my problem) In all, that is the only satisfaction from this series finale in spite of a jarring, exciting and exploratory series.
Want to find other How To Get Away With Murder roundups? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.