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How To Get Away With Murder - It Was the Worst Day of My Life - Review: "Not A Lot Happened"


A third of this fifth season of How To Get Away With Murder has passed us by as of last night. The fifth episode, titled "It Was the Worst Day of My Life" served the sole objective of locking away a big win in court for Annalise and the Laheys, but left other story arcs feeling a little stagnant and unfinished. The episode was written by Michael Russo and directed by Laura Innes.

Just like last week, no flash forward opened the episode - instead we were taken right into the classroom where Annalise asked her class to critique her performance in the Lahey Sr. court case. I have to admit I was confused for a fair while - even thinking at one stage that there was something wrong with the episode order because "we hadn't had the Lahey court case yet so why has she suddenly lost it?"

Eventually the pieces came together. The classroom scenes took place just before closing arguments when Annalise believed her case was all but lost. The state had torn both Lahey Jr. and Sr. to shreds on the stand, and Annalise was looking at where she went wrong and trying to determine her next move. It was a decent play at past and present tense but lacked clarity to signal where the time jumps were.



Once I got my head around this the rest of the episode began making more sense. After getting booted off second chair last week, Connor was still instrumental throughout this phase. He openly dissected the mistakes he believed had been made, and managed to keep his cool while doing so. Late in the piece he provided replacement second chair Gabriel with evidence to allow Annalise to go for a mistrial. She didn't end up going down that route after a genius closing argument which saw her stand in silence in an attempt to get the jury to understand what Nate Lahey Sr. was going through while in solitary confinement, and Gabriel drawing the outline of a cell on the floor using tape.

With so much of the hour devoted to the Lahey case, the other subplots received the bare minimum attention. For starters, Bonnie had suddenly ended up in a depressed state over the news of her son. She stayed inside for a while, then ventured out to meet Miller. She revealed her dark and traumatic childhood with him, and near the end of the episode she knocked on her sister Julie's door.



This all felt rushed and underdone, as did what went down between Michaela and Asher, who are suddenly back together not just on speaking terms, but on sexual terms too. This felt awkward as well. I'm actually glad there wasn't a sex scene starring them in this episode because it would have made things even worse. To the creative team's credit, Michaela's initial interactions with Asher were decent - she needed information on the state's star psychologist witness to discredit him, and Asher was the best source for that. It was the stuff that came after that didn't quite sit right. What may have helped here is something between the pair after the info had been gathered but before Asher took it directly to Annalise.

Getting a similar amount of screen time as Asher and Michaela was Gabriel and Laurel. The pair have been steadily building their interactions with each other, with last night's episode culminating in Laurel going to Gabriel's apartment with the baby to help Gabriel prepare for the case and do the research Annalise ordered. Because we've seen them get to know each other over the past few weeks, their interactions didn't feel unnatural or rushed at all despite being on the short side in this episode. Laurel and Gabriel are an intriguing pairing to say the least. Both tread with caution in regard to volunteering personal details about themselves, and more importantly I'm pleased Laurel called Frank out on his excuse for looking into Gabriel being standard practice for all of Annalise's students.

Devoid of any development whatsoever was anything Caplan & Gold related. Emmett and Tegan were left out entirely from this hour, and Oliver saw no development at all aside from revealing he had arranged for his and Connor's moms to come to town in a few days - the same day that Michaela and Asher supposedly arranged a bachelor party for the soon-to-be-married couple.

I'll recount some other important details we found out in this episode from Nate Jr. Firstly, his downfall when he testified at his father's trial was largely due to a letter he wrote to the parole board when he was 14. He didn't want his father to get parole after the things he had done during his young life. Seeing the police taking his father away so frequently led him to believe they were the good guys, and this was what led to him becoming a cop. This was quite well put together, I thought.



That leaves the solitary flash forward right at the end of the hour to cap off. Like the others have been this season, this episode's flash forward followed on sequentially from the events we've seen previously. It was brief but certainly explicit. While looking for Oliver, he comes across his mom in the carpark being given oral by... Asher. Aside from being rather gross, we can confirm Asher isn't the victim, and that he likely didn't know that Connor's mom was Connor's mom. All I can say is that it looked far too cold in that carpark for hanky panky of any kind, and that - jarring mental image aside - this flash forward was far too short. I really hope we get something of more substance next week.

That's about all I have to say on this episode because not a lot really happened. Was it a good episode? I'd say so, but the episode's centerpiece - the Lahey court case - was essentially a foregone conclusion and I didn't really invest any emotion into it as a viewer. That being said, it was pretty well done, but there's been better cases for sure. Other than the case, disappointingly little else happened. The highlight of the episode for me would be the scenes between Gabriel and Laurel.

Thanks as always for reading. Did you find this episode lacked content thanks to the case? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, and any other thoughts and theories you might have on the episode in the comments below. See you right back here next week.

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