Last week, Annalise Keating and the gang returned for the season 5 premiere of ABC’s hit show How to Get Away with Murder. Like a good season opener should, it left us with more questions than answers.
Titled “Your Funeral,” the episode opens in its classic flash-forward fashion with what we presume to be Connor and Oliver’s wedding reception and Annalise shaking what her mama gave her on the dance floor--until she sees a grim-looking Frank. “You look like someone just died,” she says before slapping Frank. Then, we see drops of blood in the snow outside as someone gasps for air and collapses.
Cut to three months earlier and the camera shows Middleton Law’s campus from newcomer Gabriel Maddox (Rome Flynn)’s perspective on his first day as a 2L transfer student. The seamless transition of perspective between the mystery person bleeding out and a smiling Gabriel suggests he’s the one who might bite the bullet at the wedding. But who is he?! This show is known for its twists and turns, so the murder of the scene can’t be this obvious, can it? And Bonnie believes her son is dead, but do Frank and Annalise know something she doesn’t about Gabriel?
Once the cocky new kid beats Asher in a competition for a spot in Annalise’s class, Gabriel tells Annalise he transferred schools just to learn from her. He seems genuine enough, but on this show, we know better than to accept a character at face value. What does he really know about Annalise?
Gabriel’s also the one who utters the eerie words that make up the episode’s title when Frank challenges him to a game of one-on-one basketball after class. Does that mean Gabe is the one bleeding out in the opener? Did Frank kill him? Is he out to get Annalise or will he be the next victim caught up in her web? How many light-skinned men is this show going to sacrifice?!? (RIP, Wes!)
Besides Asher, who is pissed at everybody--Annalise for choosing Gabriel over him, Michaela for cheating on him, and the rest of the gang for moving into a house together without him-- most characters seem to be in a much better place than they were in season 4. Annalise is fresh off of her Supreme Court win, teaching at Middleton again and fielding offers from top law firms to continue her social justice work. Connor is engaged to Oliver and has been re-admitted to Middleton Law and back on schedule as a 3L student; Michaela, though dumped by Asher and curved by her co-cheater Marcus, is taking a celibacy pledge with Laurel and is as focused as ever on kicking ass in class. And Frank is deep in faux-marital bliss, playing househusband with Laurel and her baby.
Other characters seem to be more on edge, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Bonnie is getting close to her co-worker to see how much he knows about the dirt on her, Annalise and the whole gang. Laurel is feeling guilty for taking advantage of Frank when he’s in love with her and she only wants a free manny and a place for her and Baby Wes to crash. As Laurel examines scratches on her arms, she might also be feeling guilty about what happened with her mother. Last season, Laurel swore she didn’t kill her mother but the Keating 6 aren’t known for their honesty. Especially when it comes to murder. So what did Laurel do to her mother?
The best part about this premiere is, of course, Annalise being back in her element. Though the Governor of Pennsylvania is trying to get her blackballed after she took on the American justice system and won last season, Annalise’s quick thinking lands her the job she needs to be financially secure and to secure justice for her clients.
Annalise is, and will always be, THAT girl.
But is this just the first trick the governor has up his sleeve? Who else is coming for Annalise?
Though we don’t have the answers yet, one thing we can definitely count on is a bloody good season.
Season 5 of How To Get Away With Murder airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.