After hitting the reset button with last week’s season premiere, How to Get Away with Murder continued to rewrite the series’ mythology for the better. While “I’m Not Her” was not a total homerun, it’s great to have the Keating 5/4 back on television without the burden of unnecessary plot twists and double-crosses.
Following their family-focused opening, this week’s episode brought the action back to the courtroom, as Annalise took her first case since learning she would not lose her license. But, more importantly, the Keating 4 tried to find new firms to intern at after unceremoniously being fired by Annalise last week. And while Michaela and Asher were both excited and determined to make names for themselves independent of Annalise, Connor and Laurel seem less interested in continuing their legal career – for very different reasons.
For the first time since, maybe, the first season, this week’s episode focused more on the Keating 4 than Annalise, a decision that made for a burst of creative energy. While it’s always a joy to have Viola Davis act her heart out, her co-stars are also strong actors and “I’m Not Her” gave them all a chance to show off their skills. The clear MVP of the hour was Aja Naomi King, who brought a necessary sense of humor to Michaela’s intense determination, while also delivering one of the series’ all-time best threats in a more serious moment.
Elsewhere, Jack Falahee and Conrad Ricamora were appropriately adorable as Connor and Oliver, and Liza Weil delivered a first-rate drunken monologue. The only weak link (and I use that term lightly) was Karla Souza, who seemed to sleepwalk through her dialogue this week, only showing signs of life in the episode’s final moments. Regardless, it was nice to spend a majority of the week’s runtime with these characters.
Unfortunately, the first case of the week was a bit lackluster, and reminded viewers of one of the series’ biggest problems. The subplot found Annalise defending a friend who was serving time for solicitation, a legal battle that brings up issues of sex trafficking and child abuse. While the storyline was entertaining on the surface, the episode became incredibly preachy and cheesy.
Ever since the show’s second season, How to Get Away with Murder has used their platform to occasionally spread progressive messages, an admirable feat no doubt. But these episodes tend to fall flat, as they waste too much energy on fitting pages of facts and statistics into the dialogue, instead of worrying about how the story flows. The writing managed to shine, however, in the last two minutes, as they intelligently tied a seemingly random standalone episode into the season’s main narrative,
How to Get Away with Murder is back, and while it’s not quite better than ever, it’s nice to know that it is, in fact, better. “I’m Not Her” was a solid, well-acted episode that reminded viewers that there is more to this series than Viola Davis. Hopefully they’ll take the opportunity to remind viewers of this from here on out.