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Everyone Hates Each Other in HOW TO GET AWAY’S … “She Hates Us”

By on February 19, 2016

(ABC/Michael Desmond) VIOLA DAVIS

By Chelsea A. Hensley

After finishing “She Hates Us” I was surprised by how satisfied I felt with the episode.

HTGAWM isn’t a bad show by any means, but it has its stops and starts. Its ending points, its twists and turns, usually add up to something more satisfying than a slow moving and muddled middle. But “She Hates Us” is a sound episode from beginning to end, catching Annalise and Wes at times when both are depressed and disinterested in the world around them. Back on opposite ends of the episode, Wes finds himself in the psych ward, and Annalise is more interested in naps than anything else. Even a new case barely interests her, and she’s unexcited about reuniting with her students—especially Wes.

Both Annalise and Wes are suffering from earlier events and unable to talk to anyone about it. Bound by their shared secrets, they can’t confide in anyone without risking their security, and the only people they have who know enough details to relate and not be a threat are each other. Wes won’t take Annalise down if she still has information he needs, and she won’t tell anyone she convinced him to shoot her by telling him the truth about his dead girlfriend. But they’re both angry with each other, and themselves, and at a loss of what to do about it.

Everybody Hates Annalise … Again

The friendship angle was a nice one to be explored in last week’s episode, but tinted with the more practical concern that Wes may say something he shouldn’t, it’s difficult to find it here. Laurel leans annoyingly toward not caring much about Wes besides the possibility of him leaking some sensitive information to his doctor. Considering her concern in the previous episode, her lack of it here is jarring, especially when his doctor tells her that Wes is making comments about killing himself. It’s not ridiculous to think the students would be worried about one of their own spilling the beans, but HTGAWM has yet to figure out a way to balance the selfishness required in their situation with their growing friendships.

Their super friendly car chat makes me almost as uncomfortable as it does Michaela, but it’s an important scene to see them deciding to ally with one another above all. Their continued, and tepid, revolts against Annalise still don’t work (especially when they can never stick), but the lies and secrets are incredibly isolating. Wes and Annalise are both collapsing under the details of the story only they know, and the rest of the group remains almost completely uninformed about what’s really going on. They’re never entirely sure what Annalise’s motives are, and convinced she hates them, the divide is only widened. But the further the group grows from Annalise (they all up and quit this week), the closer they get to one another. Sure Asher is still annoying everyone, but now he’s in the Murder Club, and that’s pretty much a lifetime membership. Annalise, in contrast, is pretty set on being alone. She’s been brushing off everyone’s concern, and while there’s no sign of her imaginary baby, she’s clearly unwell. Though she approaches her case with the same nerve as she normally would. She has what it takes, but it’s not as fun to use it as it used to be.

For the first time in a long while, the case of the week actually feels important (if not entirely cohesive), and its link to Annalise’s current state manages to work in the episode’s favor. It’s carried far by guest star Paula Newsome who imbues her character with the emotional heft required to sell such a story-line. Its message of forgiveness over perpetual anger and hatred is a bit heavy-handed, but I didn’t mind so much. Annalise’s client ends up going to prison for life to pay for his crime, willing to do so despite Annalise’s arguments to the contrary. There’s something that could be said for Annalise herself. While doing everything in her power to protect herself and her students, she drops the ball in a major way this week. With Wes in the psych ward, she doesn’t even attempt to get him out. Perhaps she just doesn’t care and wants to remain as distanced from Wes as possible or maybe there’s a part of her that hopes Wes will tell the truth. Maybe that’s why she somewhat bridges the distance between them by offering him the file she once showed his mother.

NEXT: 10 Years Ago

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