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How to Get Away With Murder - I'm Not Her - Review: "This Should Have Been The Premiere"

Week two of the new fall television season brought with it a hugely improved episode of How to Get Away With Murder on ABC. "I'm Not Her", written by Maya Goldsmith and directed by Paris Barclay, was masterfully compiled, with a much more entertaining narrative told in a unique way.

After being introduced to him in last week's premiere, the therapist Annalise had been ordered to see was given a name in this episode - Isaac Roa. Using their second therapy session to effectively get to know each other better, Annalise recounted her first case since regaining her license - that of one of her former cellmates whom she met while in jail in Season 3. In the season's first courtroom encounters, long story short, Annalise managed to get her released by digging far deeper than any public defender would have, and unveiling evidence of racially biased handling of prostitution cases while her cellmate was just 13 years old. It was game, set, match for the prosecution, even if Annalise had to do more of the ground work herself because she had no interns or employees at her disposal.

The dialog between Roa and Annalise was solid throughout. It also revealed a new piece of information that, while fascinating, made me cringe a little. Years earlier, Annalise had been seeing another therapist, and the two became more than doctor-patient - in fact they became husband and wife. While it wasn't spoken directly, that therapist could well have been Sam Keating.

I touched on this sort of thing briefly in last week's season premiere review. The storylines involving Sam Keating have run their course and need to be put to bed for good. What gives me some hope is that that backstory may tie in to Isaac's involvement in the flash forward storyline which was developed further. More on that later.

The former interns managed to keep their lives completely separated from Annalise in this episode, which I freely admit to being surprised by. Asher, Connor, Michaela and Laurel were all obsessed with landing their first jobs as lawyers, and each was asked a variety of questions by a variety of panelists, with a variety of answers coming from everyone as well. The editing and cinematography for these scenes was superb, as was the acting by the cast.

Despite hailing from Annalise's former firm, jobs didn't come easy for anyone thanks to the drop in grades and bizarre answers to some of the interview questions. Eventually Michaela and Asher landed roles at Caplan & Gold, while Connor and Laurel weren't so lucky. Laurel was thrilled for Michaela in particular because it gives her an insider into the company that is employed by her father's telecommunications company, Antares Technologies. Connor showed very limited commitment to becoming a lawyer, and he unloaded to Laurel about the guilt he feels over his actions (or lack thereof) last season which had some bearing on the death of Wes and the injuries Laurel suffered in the explosion and fire at Annalise's house. This was fascinating to watch.

I learned so much from Professor Keating, but the most important thing she taught me is exactly the kind of lawyer I don't want to be.

Meanwhile, Oliver opted to open his own IT company, so he won't be far from the action, one would think. Simon Drake returned for a brief and highly effective cameo, also landing a role at Caplan & Gold. The friction between him and Asher will likely return further down the line.

In other news, Bonnie appears to be settling in at the DA's office. Her and Annalise inevitably bumped into each other, but ensuing conversations Nate had with Annalise and Bonnie separately, Bonnie appears to be standing on her own two feet quite comfortably for now, though down-low mentions of Bonnie somewhat blackmailing Denver for the job were inevitable.

I was a tad disappointed by Frank's appearance in this hour. We saw him and Bonnie on the phone, and they seem to be getting along just like old times, which I found rather strange because no context was given as to why this could be the case - especially given Frank's troubles last season. Bonnie blabbered to Frank that she denied assistance to Annalise with the court case she won, so Frank went behind her back to get the same information, and dropped it to Annalise at her motel room.

I'm always gonna take care of you, Annalise.

For now, Frank has no clear purpose within any of the narratives, but I hope we don't have to wait too long for that to change, especially given that he has a role to play in the season's flash forward events.

Let's address the flash forwards now. Interestingly, there was no flash forward scene at the start of the episode, but there's definitely no coincidence about the fact that Isaac was in a heated conversation with someone on the phone, undoubtedly concerning something wrong, and something about Annalise. That's a deviation away from previous seasons, and could provide a nice change-up to the flash forward format. At the end of the episode, we saw much of last week's flash forward replayed, followed by Roa leaving Laurel's room and making a call to Annalise, which goes straight to voicemail. The words he says next are scarily ominous:

Where the hell are you? She's awake. Answer the damn phone.

Then we see Bonnie, in her capacity as an ADA, arrive at the hotel room Annalise is living in for the time being. Police radio chatter confirms the room belongs to Annalise, but she can't be located at present. Bonnie moves toward the elevator, which depicts a markedly different scene to the tidy hotel room. A large pool of blood can be seen on the elevator floor, and one wall of the elevator is also covered in blood, with hand prints on it as well.

Now the speculation can begin. The blood in the elevator is pooled, and it does not appear to have been smeared, indicating something such as body likely hasn't been dragged through it. The blood also stops at the elevator door, indicating that whatever happened was localized to only the elevator, or there is another location of interest somewhere else in the building. The hand prints on the wall are the most chilling. There's a multitude of circumstances that could have led to them getting there. A punt I'm taking right now is that there is more blood on the elevator controls, which would help further narrow down what happened.

I think that's a good place to wrap up this review. In short, this episode should have been the season premiere. It was far less bloated with unnecessary storytelling, and this series is better off without Annalise's family being involved and taking up time for what are essentially dead end storylines. Seeing the former interns go about their interviews was really good, and very well put together. Annalise becoming acquainted with her therapist while simultaneously portraying a case of the week was really clever as well. If you asked me, this is one of How to Get Away With Murder's best episodes to date.

Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear what you thought of this episode, along with your thoughts and theories on the juicy new information we received in the flash forwards, so head down to the comments section below! See you back here next week!

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