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How To Get Away With Murder - Don’t Go Dark on Me - Review: "Tighter Focus"

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I very much enjoyed last week's midseason premiere of How To Get Away With Murder, but looking back on the episode a few days later, it didn't really do enough of what a premiere should do which is address the immediate cliffhangers from the midseason finale, and set a direction for the back half of the season. Last night's episode of HTGAWM did very well to redeem that, with a much tighter focus on the midseason finale events, and arranging the playing field for the next five episodes.

"Don’t Go Dark on Me" was written by debutant Sara Rose Feinberg and directed by Cherie Nowlan.

I think many people - myself included - enjoyed this episode more than last week's primarily because it was focused on what they cared about, which was the current events surrounding Miller's disappearance. Accelerated storytelling was used to very good effect here, with much of the initial FBI investigation fast tracked and narrated over because Nate, Bonnie and Frank knew how that process would pan out, along with what to do about combating it. Their more important concern was what Connor, Oliver, Asher, Laurel and Michaela would do, with Asher being the primary focus because he saw things on the night of the wedding that could implicate them all.

An interesting contrast on display here is that Nate, Frank and Bonnie are, in the world of HTGAWM, pros at making things go away. This is an incident they caused, and that they got a head start on resolving, as opposed to playing catchup and damage control on the mistakes the students manage to make. They hid the evidence and also created more. They provided means, motive and opportunity for a third party to the FBI in the form of the prison guards who killed Nate Lahey Sr, and Bonnie and Nate kept their guilt carefully disguised during their interviews.

Somewhat disappointingly, however, is that despite their careful approach, their story may still come undone for something as simple as a phone battery playing up in Miller's phone. Asher was onto this, but it's surprising Bonnie also wasn't aware and could act on it. Adding further weight to the title of pros for Nate, Bonnie and Frank was the other important point that Asher announced to his fellow students under next to no duress that Nate was responsible for Miller's disappearance. The secret that could have and should have stayed between them is already out in the open for all intents and purposes.

If it hadn’t been for Wes we’d all be in jail.
So far, Annalise is very much removed from this storyline, but that likely won't continue for much longer given Nate effectively confessed to her in the hour's dying moments. Until she acts, it's Gabriel that is acting as the crossover between Annalise and everyone else. Gabriel found time to barge in on the other students, announcing that Sam Keating was his father and that he wanted to find out what led to his death. For now, they're sticking to the story that was fabricated to put the blame on Wes after his death. In the meantime, Frank was tasked with finding out more info on Vivian Maddox for potential blackmail usage in the future. Annalise later presented information to him about his mother an an ex-partner using drugs together in a veiled attempt to warn him to back off.

Eve's appearances were rather intriguing, but I can't quite put my finger on it as to why that was. As if out of nowhere, she was staying at Annalise's home, and very early on in the episode she had to explain to Annalise why she kept her knowledge of Gabriel a secret. Her reasons made sense to me, but it's far from the first time that something that's made sense to everyone else doesn't make sense to Annalise. On a more positive note, Eve's life seems to be on the up, with her new partner pregnant, and although Annalise likely won't pay much attention, Eve was spot on with her simple, yet direct statement to Annalise that she needs to get sober if she wants even the slightest chance at a happier life. Like I say, it's not the first time Annalise disagrees with something everyone else agrees with.

Absent last week were Emmett and Tegan, along with Caplan & Gold, but the same couldn't be said this week thanks to what's probably best described as a cameo appearance by the pair in order to ensure we remember they exist. Emmett did meet Eve when he arrived at Annalise's house with news on his legal affairs, though Tegan was more interested to hear that another very good, and also bisexual, lawyer was in town. This was bordering on cringeworthy at times, though thankfully Michaela gave the Lahey Sr wrongful death suit to her as a distraction, along with it also being a way to improve her standing in the firm after the Antares fallout. This will very likely lead to Annalise and Tegan working together because I can't see Annalise being fully supportive of Tegan taking on a case that's so personal to her, on her own. Watch this space.

The hour drew to a close with a couple of interesting cliffhangers. For starters, Gabriel was left a voicemail by the FBI asking for an interview, with an accompanying flashback revealing a phone call he made concerning his cover being blown was made to Miller. Secondly, Bonnie managed to get her hands on the voicemails left on Miller's phone, with one of them appearing to confirm that Miller was on the right side of things when it came to Lahey Sr, therefore making Miller's murder even more unjustified. Of course, Nate confessed to Annalise about the murder and also stated he believed the opposite. We're not certain who is correct yet, but their chief concern is now what the Governor will do. Quite frankly, I haven't missed the Governor at all, so her returning isn't the most exciting prospect in my book, but it's unfortunately inevitable.

That's just about all that there was to discuss about this episode. It was good to see a much tighter focus on the murder storyline, and no further flashbacks involving Sam and Gabriel. Those scenes last week did serve their purpose in better aligning Gabriel within the other characters, but it's important we stay on topic because that's where the most interesting content is.

Five episodes to go! Thanks for reading. Make sure you share your thoughts and theories on this episode in the comments below and I'll see you right back here next week.

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