How to Get Away with Murder Season 1 Episode 1 Review: A Learning Opportunity

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I don't know about anyone else, but I feel like there is nothing better than a twisty, nighttime drama. And give me a drama ripe with murder, tears, affairs, shady characters AND Viola Davis?

Well, my friends, you have yourself one hell of new series, along with what is sure to be one of the biggest breakout hits of the season. 

Everything about this pilot is just flat out intriguing. While Davis may be the hot name that hooks people in (and deservedly so), she is flanked by an outstanding supporting cast that shines. Overall,  How To Get Away With Murder Season 1 Episode 1 was an intense ride that hooks you in from the start. 

We immediately jump into an argument between four twenty-somethings out in the woods somewhere, as they bicker over whether to move a dead body or leave it wherever it is. I guess, given the title, I should have expected the show to begin with a murder - but I was still surprised we got there so quickly.

Unfortunately, we get no resolution to their dilemma as their stalemate causes them to flip a coin and with the flip of said coin we are taken back in time. 

We are taken three months back to be precise and introduced to one-quarter of our murdering crew, Wes. (Sidenote: are there any hardcore Harry Potter fans, like myself, just thrilled to see Dean Thomas on American TV? He kills it in the pilot as the naive, last minute addition to Professor Annalise Keating's Criminal Law 100 class. Or shall we call it, dramatic pause, How To Get Away With Murder.)

In the first very first class, we get to meet the rest of the students and the fabulous Annalise. Had we not already met them in their most vulnerable state, I would have had a completely different first impression of the students. In the classroom, Michaela is that girl you can't stand who thinks she knows everything and Connor is her male counterpart. But out in the woods, those two were the ones the most unraveled.

Laurel is the last member of the crew and she doesn't make the greatest first impression on the Professor. When answering a question that wasn't asked of her, Professor Keating strikes back with this scathing comment. 

Never take a learning opportunity away from another student. No matter how smart you need everyone to think you are.

Annalise Keating

I know nothing about law school, but I would think that Annalise Keating is the kind of teacher that is more the rule than the exception. She is powerful, intelligent and trying to get the most out of her students so they can be the best damn lawyers they can be. But underneath the hard facade she shows the world and most of her students, there is a vulnerability that comes through in some of her softer scenes.

The only time we actually see Annalise looking slightly happy is when she's getting busy with an insanely attractive man in her office. She's is interrupted by Wes, which is unfortunate because I would have liked to have seen more of Mr. 12 Pack in his boxer briefs. 

Wes is frazzled by the encounter but even more so after he meets Annalise's husband, Sam. In an oddly sad, yet creepy scene, Annalise confronts Wes in the bathroom and tells her of the infertility struggles she and Sam have faced while the tears stream down her face. Davis slays the scene but I immediately wrote down, she is playing you Dean Thomas, er Wes!

Aside from checking in every now and then on the kids future murder cover up, which includes transporting the body from Annalise's office (!), we also have a case of the week involving a mistress attempting to murder her lover with aspirin. The case is okay in it's interest level, but it really just serves as a way to show how these kids get themselves truly connected to Annalise. 

Obviously, Annalise picks the crew and another character who pops up every now and then, to work at her law firm. We also see Connor bestowed with the Lady Justice statue we know from earlier will be the murder weapon used on the mystery body.

So, as if all this wasn't enough information to absorb, we have another mystery surrounding us. All throughout the show, we hear about the mysterious disappearance of Lila Stangard. We don't know much about her, except she dated the captain of the football team and she was Sam Keating's student. 

Doesn't seem all that interesting, huh. Well, it get's interesting when you see Lila's boyfriend arguing with Wes's not so friendly neighbor and when you see the creepy way Annalise and Sam take to the news of her body being found, you're curiosity will definitely be piqued. 

Well that's got to be the end of the episode, right? I mean, whew, there was so much to take in. It's like....wait a minute, they showed us the dead body! And it's Sam Keating!!! I was blown away. Now, everything about Sam in this pilot screamed shady mcshady but here was yet another thing I did not see coming.

What an episode. I didn't even get to touch on Annalise's associates, who were vying with Sam for most side eye glances or the mysterious markings Wes was finding in the walls and bed of his new apartment, which used to house a law school student as well. But I think we will have plenty of time to delve into these more in future episodes.  

I can't quite remember another pilot that left me with so many questions, but not in a frustrating kind of way. Instead, I am 100% on board with this show and so excited to see how we get to dead Sam being burned in the woods. 

Alright, now that you've finally seen what all the hype was about, what did you think? Who do you think killed Sam? Who do you think killed Lila? What is really going on with Annalise and her soon to be dead hubby? What role will Wes's neighbor play in all of this? And will we get to see more of Annalise's cute detective boyfriend?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments and watch How to Get away with Murder online now:

GRADE THE HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER PREMIERE:

Pilot Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (109 Votes)

Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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