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How To Get Away With Murder - She Keeps Secrets - Review: "A Solid Follow-Up"


Following on from a midseason premiere as spectacular as last week's was always going to be a tough task for the team behind How To Get Away With Murder, but last night's episode - the tenth of the season - did a pretty good job overall. Character interaction was at the forefront, and moved the story forward in some interesting ways. "She Keeps Secrets" was written by Matthew Cruz and directed by Jonathan Brown, who were both in their debuts outings in their respective roles on this series.

The thing that stood out for me the most in this hour was that each character had their own agenda. Firstly, Annalise was trying to repair some of the damage she had done to her relationships with Nate and Bonnie - two very important people within her circle who have capabilities she needs. She had to do some grafting here, and her conversation with Bonnie wasn't convincing by any means, but it was a start towards a more normal working relationship. Bonnie, meanwhile, had other more pressing priorities, choosing to destroy evidence of her boss, Tom Denver's involvement with Antares and campaign contributions. Whether she is trying to look good in Denver's eyes to benefit Annalise remains to be seen, but it made for good viewing in this hour.

It's amazing how Frank is suddenly Annalise's right hand man once more, after being banished for a good portion of the past two seasons. I'm really enjoying his resurgence, and last night we saw him dispose of Dominic's body in the trunk of a crushed car. Dominic's cellphone is the gift that keeps on giving, however. More on that later.



The interactions between the students and Oliver were well constructed also. Laurel remained the center of attention, with Michaela staying close. The boys, meanwhile, pressed on with the class action lawsuit, which was rather surprising to see given I'd all but forgotten about this over the winter break, and in lieu of last week's blockbuster return. Annalise was probably more interested in keeping the boys occupied so they didn't expose themselves to further risks, but Oliver couldn't resist poking around the hospital's server, monitoring Simon's condition, who remains in a coma.

Let me be the hero, for once.

Oliver then visited Simon, bluffing his way into the ward, and spending a good while unloading his thoughts to the unconscious Simon. The others visited once they worked out where Oliver was, and it was up to Asher to talk Oliver down from his infatuation with Simon, referring to the tragedies he was a part of in the second season.

In the episode's biggest moment, the boys were continuing their search for a case that would suit as a front for the class action lawsuit, and stumbled upon an imprisoned man named Nate Lahey. I was really pleased with this because it finally indicates Nate will undergo some additional character development. He's been present since the early days, but never has his past been put on a pedestal, and a prisoner who shares the same name is very much unlikely to be just a coincidence. I'm looking forward to seeing this develop, and also seeing whether Annalise was aware of this anomaly.

Back to Michaela, briefly. Her scene with Tegan was especially telling. She was obsessing for most of the episode about whether Tegan was ok, but after meeting her in person in a parking lot, it was clear Tegan wanted nothing to do with what happened to Simon, and told a probing Nate earlier on that her dealings with Antares - whose IPO was a success - were subject to attorney/client privilege. It was a clear contrast between how Annalise would approach things, despite both characters being of very similar capabilities. Annalise is right at home with a head-on confrontation, but Tegan prefers to keep a ring of protection around her. It will likely be a while until she allows Michaela back in unless something drastic happens. Tegan's parting gift was not revealing to the police that she thought something more sinister than a suicide attempt happened at her firm, which indicates there's still some loyalty for Michaela there, so the bridge hasn't been destroyed yet.



Laurel comes last, because of all the students, her character development was rightly the most significant. At the end of the episode she was released from hospital, but a lot of work went into getting that to happen, with Annalise arranging Isaac Roa to assess her mental state. We learned through that assessment that Laurel's upbringing was hardy perfect. Her mother was a heavily medicated bipolar sufferer, and, in her own words, for her whole life she has had thoughts about hurting her father. Regaining custody of her baby looks to be some way off for sure, given her father's newfound wealth thanks to Antares' IPO and the connections he has, with a new development in this episode seeing Jorge meet with Denver.

Mom?

Another twist this episode offered up was the phone number that was responsible for the repeated calls to the now deceased Dominic's phone. In the hour's final scene, Laurel heard the phone going on Frank's person, and recognized the ringtone. In addition to listening to the concerning voicemail from Wes that was one of last week's bombshells, she recognized the number that was calling to be that of her mother's. The hour closed with Laurel answering the call, the outcome of which will be seen next week.

A couple of final points worth mentioning include Annalise exploring Wes's apartment and finding the onesie. That pulled at the heartstrings. Laurel's announcement to Michaela and then Frank that it was his contact which caused the baby to arrive prematurely was also tough to watch. Flashbacks concerning Wes were well used, too.

All up, this episode was pretty solid all round, and served as a more than adequate followup to last week's midseason premiere. There's still five more episodes of How To Get Away With Murder to come, which means plenty of storytelling to come. Hopefully they're stronger than some of the pretty average episodes in the first part of the season. As always, let me know what you thought of this episode, along with any theories in the comments below. See you all right back here next week!


 
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