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How To Get Away With Murder - Winter Finale Review + POLL - "Boring"

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So, that was the final episode of How To Get Away With Murder for 2018. It was titled "I Want to Love You Until the Day I Die", it was written by Joe Fazzio and directed by Stephen Cragg, but was it any good? I don't really think so.

Let's address the wedding first because in the grand scheme of things it was largely a formality. Perhaps the most important thing to take away from the wedding itself - and the buildup to it - is the commitment and responsibility Connor feels for Oliver. That really came through strongly, and was probably the most important aspect of the relationship that the creative team wanted to convey in all of this. Oliver has always been more outwardly affectionate, and while this won't likely change, nor will Connor's more inwardly affectionate nature, but the important thing to note is that they care deeply for each other as seen by their unusual vows (if you can call them that) which is reassuring to see.

The pair's parents were somewhat of an anticlimax. A couple of weeks ago we saw their mothers produce a fair bit of friction and potential animosity, but aside from Connor's fathers making an appearance and having the occasional word here and there, if neither of them were present I can't say I'd have noticed their absence. Also, given what transpired concerning Miller's death, it's likely they won't be involved in that storyline further down the track.

It's at the reception that the real action happened, and honestly, what did happen wasn't anything to phone home about. The lacklustre flash forwards left a lot of ground to be made up compared to the buildup previous seasons have received, and what eventually transpired in this winter finale fell well short of those benchmarks. Previous seasons have left some questions unanswered, and this season did the same, but this time round they also fell a bit flat.

In short, Nate is the killer, and Miller is the victim. Despite the wedding, Nate Jr. continued his investigation, and after last week's quality moment between the pair, Michaela got Oliver to retrieve the phone records of the prison guards in charge of Nate Sr. that night. Nate Jr. had a contact who ran a questionable number which came back to a payphone. Lo and behold, Miller was the one using the payphone at that time, so Nate - with no other evidence or investigation whatsoever - assumed Miller had ordered a hit on his father, and after confronting him by chance outside the reception tent he used his considerable size and strength advantage to pummel Miller to the edge of death.

When the season began, the first flash forward was shot in first person, which turned out to be from Miller's perspective. Last week, we got another first person perspective which turned out to be from Nate's eyes. I had hoped there would be an accomplice or someone who discovered Miller's body, a killer, the victim, and Bonnie, however it's just Nate, Bonnie and Miller which is a bit of a shame because a fourth person would have made things more interesting. Baby Christopher surely won't be of any use to any investigation at his current age unless he ends up with physical evidence on him somehow. As we also saw, it's Nate who ends up carting Miller's body away.

I'll come back to this series of events shortly because Gabriel is the next topic that needs discussion.

After all this time we finally found out what the big concern that Frank had about Gabriel was. In short, he was Annalise's dead husband, Sam Keating's son to another mother. The strange thing about this announcement was it lacked impact. Annalise was shown Gabriel's birth certificate by Frank while dancing at the wedding. We didn't see it at that moment because that reveal was withheld until Annalise made it back to her house and broke down in tears. Most would have thought this (at the time) flash forward followed news of a death, but in fact that news that Gabriel was Sam's son hit her awfully hard, and I can't really work out why.

This virtually guarantees there's more to the story, and that makes it very likely that Sam will return in flashbacks going forward. However Sam's been dead for so long that I would really have liked something more innovative, but bringing someone back can have value for the sole fact that they're already a known quantity for the most part. The question as to what Gabriel's motive is remains unanswered, and his decision to sneak into Annalise's house after lifting her keys is dodgy to say the least. His interaction with her in the empty church earlier was also very unsettling viewing.

Back to the wedding reception and the flash forwards now. We still can't accurately place a couple of the ones we've seen during the season because they are yet to happen We've seen Bonnie tell Nate to take Miller's body away, but we haven't seen definitively what happens when Michaela and Laurel later interact with Bonnie. I really hope there's more to come here because otherwise those flash forwards in the bathroom were essentially red herrings with no relevance at all to the sequence of events other than to take up time and declare those three characters safe. I think it's likely we'll get something more there, but it's hard to know what that will consist of.

The same can be said of Oliver's disappearance. That was also a decoy because he was fine and was instead preparing for his solo rendition of "All Of Me" which was rather surprising. We also saw no further development on Asher and Connor's mom, other than to confirm that he helped her look for a different pair of shoes in her car.

Sadly, that's pretty much it. When you go back and look at what happened in this winter finale, it makes for very light reading indeed. Not only were the flash forwards largely decoys, what we saw in this episode in addition to them was minimal to say the least. Keeping things short and sweet works well if the content is exciting and has a clear direction, but that's not the case in this episode. The flash forwards are a major part of this series, but the continued deterioration of their effectiveness is rather inexplicable. I'm not surprised nor shocked that Nate is now a killer, and in the end I really couldn't care all that much because the buildup to that moment has been well below the level needed to get me to mull over and analyze things like I did in seasons 1 and 2.

The same goes for the actual wedding. We knew it was coming, it finally arrived, but I wasn't excited for it because although Connor and Oliver are in love, I don't really feel the chemistry between them. For same sex couples on television this is a big ask to pull off so I'm not too worried about that specifically, but I'm not invested in their relationship, and I have no real interest in watching it grow. To that end, Michaela and Gabriel looked very promising last week, but that was only briefly mentioned in this hour.

So we're left with Gabriel, which, really, is the only part of the finale that I'm somewhat looking forward to developing further in 2019. We finally know why Frank was concerned - although there's likely a couple more reasons other than who his father is. I don't believe Annalise is in any real danger because of how television works, but one issue likely to pass over many viewers' heads is why Gabriel wanted to get close to Laurel and then Michaela. If he wanted access to Annalise's house then they were not going to be able to help him with that, nor could they answer any questions about Sam's past except for his death. If a good bit of storytelling clears that up, the subplot will be exponentially better for it. Other than that, this finale was rather boring.

So, enough from me, over to you. What did you think of this How To Get Away With Murder winter finale? What did you think of the wedding, of the killing, and of Gabriel's actions? Did you miss Tegan and Emmett? Be sure to make yourselves heard in the comments below. The episode poll is also below for your voting pleasure. One final note - as I received a screener for this episode I couldn't in good conscience put together a flash forward compilation video for you to dissect and discuss because I already knew what would happen. Maybe next season for that one. See you back here for the final seven episodes of the season next year.

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