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How To Get Away With Murder - I'm the Murderer - Review: "Cracks Appearing"

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A few of the smaller storylines we've seen covered in the last few weeks were put on the backburner in last night's episode of How To Get Away With Murder, with a more conventional episode taking place instead. The classroom was back in play, and cracks are starting to appear. "I’m the Murderer" was written by Laurence Andries and directed by Lily Mariye.

A month's time jump took place in this hour, which was actually quite refreshing in some ways. Some subplots felt a little underdone, but that was a reasonable tradeoff in my book. In between Annalise guiding her students through a restorative justice case, she and Robert met up for the second time with dinner at his place, after having apparently talked several times on the phone since they first met a couple of episodes ago. Their phone conversation early in this episode was interrupted by a woman banging on Annalise's door claiming to be looking for a penthouse on Airbnb. The creative team couldn't have telegraphed any more clearly that this woman was definitely going to return in a nefarious capacity, which is exactly what happened when we later saw Xavier Castillo checking she was still keeping an eye on Annalise.

As for their date, I can't say I see any chemistry between Annalise and Robert. With the series having only eight episodes remaining, I don't want this relationship to gain any real importance beyond something casual. It will only cause drag on the other storylines, and that's where the showrunners' efforts need to be focused on.

This episode's case of the week was a nice change in tack from the usual courtroom action. It focused on the restorative justice theme, with the case concerning a teacher who shot and killed a student who he suspected would cause harm to others. In another change in tack rarely seen, the teacher was more than willing to receive a lengthy sentence and pay for his actions. Gabriel assumed first chair, though the usual squabble depicting how that came about was skipped this time. It was his job, aided by Annalise and Asher, to convince the dead student's guardian grandparents to opt for a restorative justice hearing instead of going to trial.

Take this tragedy and make it mean something.
Eventually, after the restorative justice hearing, everyone got what they wanted. The teacher got the lengthy sentence he desired, and the grandparents got the lengthy sentence they desired, along with a heartfelt apology that they may not have otherwise got if the case had gone to a standard trial.

With the case being reasonably compact, there was more time for the usual drama between the characters, the most prominent of which was between Asher and Gabriel as they fought for Michaela's heart. The four week time jump ran interference here somewhat, with Michaela's one night stand with Asher taking place a long time ago essentially, along with Michaela formally breaking up with Gabriel.

Present day still provided some decent entertainment, with Asher and Gabriel being very competitive from the get-go. It all came to blows in the hallways of the courthouse when Michaela admitted to Gabriel that she cheated on him, only for Gabriel to turn around and say it didn't matter and that they could move on from it.

What I think was most interesting about this saga was we saw the more vulnerable side of Gabriel that we haven't seen before. He later admitted his loneliness essentially, saying he was unable to talk to his mother about his issues and now had no one at all, and Annalise exposed him a bit more when she casually mentioned she knew Gabriel had killed his mother's ex. It's over to Gabriel now with how he chooses to move forward, but this episode has definitely opened up a few cracks.
What's the point of fighting to hard to stay alive if we're just gonna die alone?
Of more interest for the most part from my perspective in this episode is what went on between Nate, Tegan and Annalise, with cameos from Bonnie and Frank. Last week's episode revealed that Tegan would pursue a wrongful death suit on Nate's behalf, however that would be against the interests of everyone else because their pasts would be examined with a fine toothed comb. Annalise ordered Frank to scare Tegan off the case, and he did that by taking covert photos of her ex, Cora, making Tegan think the Castillos were back on her case.

That was enough to make Tegan back down, however Nate wasn't stopping at anything, so Bonnie became his lawyer instead. It's difficult to tell whether Bonnie intends to use her new position to genuinely help Nate, or to protect everyone else by interfering here and there instead. As much as I'm tired of the Lahey Sr storyline, I want Bonnie to do the former, and she started off well by naming the Governor in the lawsuit. That prompted a brief scene which saw the Governor order Xavier to do some digging on her new opponent, confirming for sure what many have long suspected, which is that the Governor and the Castillos are working together. This will test the relationship (read: friendship) that Frank and Bonnie have, because Frank doesn't want the Governor discovering the many skeletons in his closet.

This episode's flash forward was the most unexpected so far this season. It showed a shellshocked Oliver standing in the police station when Frank entered to get him to leave. Just as he reached the door, Oliver abruptly ran to the counter and demanded he be arrested, even saying that he did it and was the murderer. We know both Michaela and Connor are being questioned by police, but there's obviously not enough detail in the flash forward to surmise why Oliver has acted like this.

A couple of odds and ends to tidy up, with the first being that it looks like Connor finally told Oliver some of what happened on the night the Keating 5 killed Sam. Connor admitted he dismembered Sam's body, but ti remains to be seen whether he admitted any more of what happened, including what the others did on that fateful night. Secondly, at the start of the episode, we saw Oliver had got a CCTV camera system up and running. If that combined with Annalise's new neighbor isn't foreshadowing for at least one home invasion, I don't know what is.

In all, this episode didn't do anything wrong, but didn't set the world on fire either. The restorative justice case was a nice change, and the month time jump gave legitimacy to the absence of Solomon Vick for example, but played against some of the storylines featured. Gabriel's vulnerabilities being explored was an interesting change, but there has to be a winner between him and Asher, but I have a feeling that conflict will be dragged out for a while yet. With just one more episode left before the winter finale, I do hope things pick up next week. The promo looks promising, but the episode really does have to deliver on the back of a rather flat last few weeks.

Thanks as always 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 penultimate episode of the year.

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