So we're kicking off Season 4 of How to Get Away with Murder. Two episodes have aired so far. The writing feels tighter, the pacing less bracing, and I'm genuinely looking forward to what this season will bring. While the loss of Wes Gibbins (Alfred Enoch) is still felt, I hate to admit that killing off his character may very well be an improvement.
Annalise has finally found a wig I can't complain about, actress Viola Davis continues to age like a fine wine, and she's more comfortable than ever in this role. I like that Annalise is in mandated therapy and not drinking anymore; sober Annalise has a new depth, a new gravity, as though Davis has found a new aspect of the Annalise persona to explore.
In the season premiere, we're treated to the glorious presence of Dame Cecily Tyson as Annalise's mother, Ophelia Harkness, and her scenes stay heart-wrenching as she portrays an old woman descending into dementia. I wish Annalise's sister Celestine (Gwendolyn Mulamba) would get more material to work with because she's the least memorable woman in her family thus far, and it's a shame.
In the second episode, Annalise takes on the case of one of her former cellmates, a 60-year-old ex-junkie, ex-prostitute who never had a chance, because back in 1968 when she was trafficked at the tender age of 13, the system treated her like a villain instead of a victim. Her life understandably went downhill from there. In therapy, Annalise realizes that she does identify with this woman, even though their lives appear to have gone in different directions. Both were sexually abused as children, but Annalise had a loving mother and teachers who encouraged her. What Annalise neglects to add however, is that she's emotionally broken, unable to sustain healthy relationships, she's an alcoholic, and - as Ophelia so aptly points out - people keep dying around her.
As a former mental health clinician, I personally love the therapy sessions because I feel like we are finally getting to unwind the enigma that is Annalise. Just as the actress seems to be seeing her in a (somewhat) new light, so is the audience.
The idea that this polished, chic Black Prom Queen/Mean Girl was raised by White people in a bayou trailer is perfect. I mean, it's a story that's true across this country but almost never shown. It helps to explain her drive and her taste in nice things; Michaela is unapologetically bad and bougie, and I love her now more than ever. When she says she's hell bent on being "Michelle...and the White Barack" with Asher, I was done.
Which is another thing...say what you want to about Asher Millstone or the actor Matt McGorry, I'm glad to see a young Black woman on TV in a healthy relationship with someone who clearly adores her and is on her level - educationally and financially.
When the Keating Four go to interview with law firms, Michaela does what ever ambitious sista does - she makes sure she's twice as good as everybody else. She gets the most callbacks, but she and Asher get called back by the same company, the one which pays the most. And when a rival student tries to play the "Asher's dad killed himself card," Michaela steps in and handles it like a G.
These two have the potential to become a powerful (even if slightly quirky) power couple, and I am totally here for it.
So naturally...I fully except the writers to fuck them over somehow.