How to Get Away with Murder: Freakin’ Whack-a-Mole Review

The mysterious pasts of certain characters come to the foreground in this week's episode of How to Get Away with Murder...

Episode six of How to Get Away with Murder, “Freakin’ Whack-a-Mole”, takes us inside a wrongful death conviction of David Allen in a case that dates back 21 years to when Asher’s father sat on the bench. We’re introduced to Habeas Corpus, produce the body, but unsure of whose body we are being asked to provide. Perceptions, misrepresentations and loyalties are at play this week.

The whack-a-mole is Asher, who unexpectedly pops up at inconvenient times for his classmates and Rebecca, hiding inside Annalise’s office, and later, in his father’s study at their posh suburban home.

It’d be safe to say this chapter is from Asher’s POV, as we travel along with him in the time leading up the bonfire. He’s awkward in his apartment. He could do with a few friends who’d tell him the truth about how he looks wiggling and jiggling  around, trying to look cool. He settles down long enough to focus on the missing trophy he bartered for five weeks earlier.

Feeling left out from the cool kids yet again, he ends up at Annalise’s house to confront the other four. If he only knew what was happening on the other side of the front door, he’d leave faster than he arrived. No amount of wounded ego over the confiscated trophy is worth Asher’s falling off the cliff with the five hiding inside the darkened house. Judging by his relationship with his father, I don’t think he’d fare well. The father would just as soon distance himself from Asher than to further tarnish his perceived pristine reputation. Run, Asher, run!

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Annalise has a an odd reaction to the trophy reappearing in class, which baffled me because I’m uncertain where it falls on the back-and-forth timeline. Moments later, we’re back inside Annalise’s bedroom with her having had her backbone surgically removed, teary-eyed, while Wes berates and disrespects her. No way Wes ought to be able to speak to Professor Keating in this manner, even if Sam’s been caught with his pants off and possibly implicated in Lila’s death. Annalise needs some Patty Hewes intimidation to keep students and opposing counsel at arm’s length.

Patty usually appeared in control on the outside, even when family, friends and colleagues betrayed or disappointed her. Annalise goes off the rails too easily. When she’s with a client, she’s calm and professional. This needs to bleed over into her personal life when dealing with the puppy, Nate and Sam. Why does Annalise relinquish her power or forget that she has it? I don’t like how she rolls over and becomes a diminished version of lawyer persona.

Why does Annalise visit Wes at home? It doesn’t come from a place of intimidation or power, but insecurity or weakness. I want her to have unscrupulous allies who owe her favors, or who are evil to their core, to do her bidding. Wes would be hanging by his ankles in a dank basement by now, and not making threats. Why is Wes as concerned, if not more so, about Sam than Rebecca? He doesn’t have the skills to play both ends against the middle.

Happily married people are less likely to have extramarital affairs. It is those who are missing something or feel as if they’re lacking something in their marriage who look elsewhere for temporary satisfaction. Whatever Annalise was missing early on in her marriage that began as an affair, she repeated it with Nate, who’s also broken. I hear the familiar voice of Iyanla Vanzant in my head, “Broken fills broken. Empty fills empty.”

I remain confused by the on-screen dynamic between Annalise and Wes. It fluctuates between nurturing mother and recalcitrant son, and a combination of Jocasta and Oedipus. Wes needs a spanking, but I don’t think Annalise has it in her to do it. This would be an ideal job for a yet to materialize henchman. The professor needs a Huck, Charlie or Jake in her life.

The alternative to this discussion would have Michaela in a position of seeming power over Annalise. She’s scripted to have more drive and determination, whereas Wes is lovestruck. I could envision and believe Michaela twisting Annalise’s screws. Wes is more of a spoiled brat rebelling because his parents wouldn’t allow him to date The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

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What was up with the shocked expression on Annalise’s face when Bonnie informed her that a possible witness in David Allen’s case overdosed? There was no relationship and submitted statement into evidence to elicit her reaction. The witness overdosed, and Annalise chastised and motivated herself. Her clear-sighted solution was a scheme to ensure Rebecca’s return and tether Wes in an opposite corner of the room. While not out of character, this level of focus is missing in other aspects of her life. Eyes on the prize. Hold steady and don’t let go.

Why did Annalise bristle up with Sam, and minutes later, say she needs him? Why does she need him? I need to experience why she loves him in spite of herself and their history together. Perhaps their marriage is a love-hate relationship similar to Martha and George’s in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Is Nate a scorned lover or a cop trying to redeem himself as he continues to lurk just out of view investigating Sam? Will we discover in two weeks’ time that Nate killed Sam to reclaim Annalise?

Annalise’s tearful call to Bonnie when she returns home to the scrubbed murder scene says to us: I’d rather he be in bed with you than dead. I think her call is a leap based on what we’ve seen over the last six weeks. There have been no physical threats against Sam, so why go to the something’s wrong place? Maybe this question will be answered in flashbacks in the upcoming episodes? Who benefits from Sam’s death?

“It’s always the one you least suspect.” – Annalise Keating.

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3 out of 5