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How To Get Away With Murder - I Want to Be Free - Review: "A Bit Of A Dud"

Last night's penultimate 2019 episode of How To Get Away With Murder was a bit of a grind to get through and didn't flow particularly well, but we now have a decent foundation for next week's winter finale, which is probably the most important overall outcome from this hour. Alrick Riley directed "I Want to Be Free", which was written by Hadi Nicholas Deeb.

This episode was constructed to open up a game-changing ending, and it certainly delivered that. But getting to that point was a bit of a slog at times because of the jumps between when the classroom session was taking place, and the few days to a week prior, which was when the Lahey Sr trial was occurring

The trial felt particularly rushed, and a lot was crammed into a short space of time. On the back of Bonnie announcing she would be Nate's lawyer going forward, the first thing that needed to happen was the court determining whether she had a conflict of interest given her former boyfriend was tied up in the case against Governor Birkhead. The judge agreed with the Attorney General, so Tegan suddenly offered to take Bonnie's place, with a far from convincing story that Cora was no longer in danger because she was posted overseas with a security detail.

The case was a bit of a flop for Tegan, with the AG having answers to every piece of evidence she had, along with the Governor not taking any bait while she was on the stand. Bonnie herself was forced to testify, but sensing they were all backed into a corner against a very well prepared opponent, Annalise, Tegan and Bonnie agreed their only option to get a win was to force the prison guard who was involved in the murder to tell the truth on the stand. Bonnie was in hospital by this time after her car was tampered with by the Castillo's on the Governor's behalf, so the news that Miller was in fact innocent in the Lahey Sr murder hit her like a ton of bricks.

Meanwhile, with an admission that the state had a role in Lahey Sr's murder, damages were on the table. Nate was offered $10 million, but despite Tegan's attempts to get him to accept the money, Nate wasn't going to stop at anything, which now exposes him and his friends to having their secrets exposed as the FBI and others will likely seek to turn them against each other.

At least, that's how I understood everything that happened in this part of the episode. There were other finer details that I've passed over because they're not significant overall, but I think most would agree that things were very rushed, and I felt as if I was never really allowed to process what was happening. We now know that everyone knows that Miller was innocent, and that the prison guards killed Lahey Sr, but the biggest scalp of all remains elusive, and the Governor will use the Castillo's as much as she needs to in order to maintain her freedom.

The second element of this hour was slightly more interesting, though it had a few flaws within it as well. It was one of the final classes before Annalise's students graduate, so she gave her students the almost laughable task of defending Snow White against a conspiracy to murder charge. With just 10 minutes to go over the case file, the students had to present their defense strategy for critique, with the winner taking away the $64k C&G bonus.

Connor, Asher, Michaela and Gabriel each presented their approaches, with some interesting variety among them. However what annoyed me was that we didn't hear from any of the other students in the class - particularly Peyton, Gabriel's new rebound, who is really intelligent according to him. By the time all the students had finished presenting, Annalise was still missing the $64k answer, but Asher managed to hit the jackpot with a suggestion that the Queen faked her death.

That put things right where they needed to be for the final flash forward before the winter finale next week. Following on from the flash forward shown a couple of weeks ago, Annalise was calling VIP Results, a firm recommended by Michaela's father if my memory serves me correctly. She appears to have framed a crime scene in her apartment, and the voice on the phone directs her to leave her apartment in a waiting vehicle. She's carrying with her some clothes, her forged passports, money, and a gun.

So, what's the state of play heading into next week's winter finale? Well, it's actually rather difficult to tell because no one is in any real danger at present, especially because the scenes inside the classroom took place after the Governor's trial was completed, and no one was in any danger - well not the students or Annalise anyway. For Nate, Tegan, Frank and Bonnie things are likely to be similar. There's no real hint at the moment which could explain why Annalise decides to fake her own death. That decision seems to have been made quite hastily, and then likely spawns the chain of events which results in the flash forwards we've seen so far this season. Next week's episode promo suggests a murder conspiracy erupts, with Annalise at the center of it, so how we get from now to then is the $64k question.

All up, I wasn't particularly impressed with this penultimate 2019 episode of How To Get Away With Murder. As I've already mentioned, the Governor's trial felt very rushed, with a result essentially forced on us. Hopefully that means that the result isn't that important in the grand scheme of things. The classroom stuff also felt underdone, and the frills around the edges such as Michaela's spat with Gabriel, Connor and Oliver's troubles, the puppies, and Robert's return just didn't seem worthy of concerning myself with either. The only new piece of info that intrigued me somewhat was Tegan mentioning that Jorge Castillo helped her out in the aftermath of her entire family being killed in a plane crash, but how that fits in with everything else we know about Tegan and the Castillo's remains to be seen.

For the second to last episode before a hiatus it was a bit of a dud, and it's leaving a lot for the winter finale to do.

Lastly, keep an eye out on the site in the next few days for a compilation of the flash forwards we've seen so far this season. The video will be short, but I'm sure there will be some robust theory spinning as always. In the meantime, thanks for reading. Make sure you share your thoughts and theories in the comments below, and I'll see you back here next week for the final episode of the year.

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