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HTGAWM Review: Annalise represents her Most Innocent Client Yet in “Two Birds, One Millstone”

By on October 30, 2015

(ABC/Richard Cartwright) VIOLA DAVIS

By Chelsea A. Hensley

Across the TGIT lineup, there’s no shortage of super talented characters (mostly female), who can pretty much do anything whenever they want. The challenges lobbed at them are only temporary, to be quickly vanquished by episode’s (or season’s end). Annalise Keating is no different. Her law career is secondary to her unerring will, and her gutsy nature has been knocking obstacles out of her way for plenty of time now. When Annalise is on your side, you’re at a distinct advantage, and there’s no one better to have around when you’re in a bind. So naturally Annalise is most helpful to people who are usually at a disadvantage, or who would otherwise be defenseless against a more powerful system. People like Jill (Alex S. Billings) a trans woman who kills her husband in self-defense and turns to Annalise for help.

But in a show about avoiding the consequences of murder, there’s only so much good Annalise can do. The murder hole’s been dug so deep, whatever good deeds Annalise accomplishes are going to be heavily outweighed by her efforts to cover up her own bad ones.

“Two Birds, One Millstone” has Annalise working for one of her loveliest clients yet, one who is undoubtedly innocent.

Wonder Woman Annalise….

Annalise should be on everyone’s speed dial. She gets more done in a matter of minutes than the rest of her buddies get done in a few hours. It’s no wonder she’s the first person Jill calls after killing her husband. A trans woman, Jill’s well aware of the outcome should she be convicted of her husband’s murder, and she goes to great lengths to bolster her case. Calling on Annalise is undoubtedly one of her measures, but despite this, there’s little to indicate she’s lying, Jill’s story being one of the easiest to believe in all of Annalise’s shady client roster. Going up against a transphobic detective and eager DA, it’s easier to see Annalise as a knight in shining armor when you put her up against individuals who would clearly use their power to reach their less than ethical aims.

The case of the week is even better integrated into the episode with Annalise’s push to have the charges dropped. As a transphobic detective and ambitious DA look to rope Annalise into the charges, Annalise decides to kill two birds with one Millstone. She gets the charges against Jill dropped and even gets Sinclair off her back by handing over proof of Judge Millstone’s corruption. The quick resolution of the Sinclair/Asher issue is almost annoying in its simplicity. We’ve gone through more than one episode following Sinclair’s blackmail, but Annalise’s intervention requires mere sentences before it’s no longer an issue. Annalise’s quickness to resolve issues that had other people stumped can speak to her superiority in this regard, but it also feels a bit cheap. To be fair, Annalise does tell Asher that she’ll “fix it”, and though her idea of fixing it means breaking her promise to hide his father’s corruption and getting Asher disowned, she follows through.

And she kept Asher from testifying against Bonnie, and finally takes a break from her constant ridicule of Bonnie to praise her for convincing Asher not to testify and admits that Bonnie’s lack of confidence is rooted in her own routine dismissals of the other woman. It’s a sweet moment, though tainted with how self-serving it is for Annalise. That’s why it’s so difficult to trace Annalise’s motives. The good she does for others is usually entwined with whatever good she can do for herself. She has few qualms about doing bad things if it means helping herself. Though Asher tells her what happened at Trotter Lake, it makes Annalise no less eager to help him. And it’s not looking very good either. Trotter Lake had to be bad, if Asher worried he’d be facing prison time for it, and Sinclair gives a file to Bonnie with all the details and one harrowing hint: that Tiffany was gang-raped. It’s probably too early to definitely say that Asher’s a rapist, but the mere idea of his involvement is bad enough. I’m not sure what we expected from a show about murder, but I’ve gotta say, this wasn’t it.

NEXT: …. And Her Crappy Sidekicks

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