I know I’m a little late for the TGIT roundup, but I have a perfectly good excuse.

So what’s new in Shondaland?

First, our favorite guide to getting away with murder:

htgawmIn Season 1, I thought the format that HTOGAWM followed was interesting. It’s not novel, of course; plenty of times (indeed, in every single crime show there is) we’ve seen the crime itself before allowing the story to slowly introduce us to the main characters, the victim and the culprit, the way the situation escalated to bring about a violent death as its resolution.

So when HTGAWM premiered, watching Annalise’s husband Sam get murdered and then slowly unfurling the story of how and why he ended up dead in his own home was interesting.

This time around, it feels largely as a gimmick, and it’s already gotten old. Seeing Annalise about to die in a mansion owned by her new clients serves no real purpose to the story. Neither do the constant flashbacks and flash-forwards in the storyline, each one unraveling the yarn just a little bit, except maybe to confuse us (and then irritate us, but certainly not tease us, as I assume was the original intention).

I am not exactly shocked that someone wanted to kill Annalise, nor am I surprised her posse of students/interns were involved. I’m probably more interested to see if the truth about Rebecca’s disappearance will be revealed to the rest of the protagonists, if Frank’s secret about Lila’s murder will be confessed, hell, I’d like to know what the hell happened with these two new clients of hers and the murders they’re accused of.

Knowing beforehand the big mystery the season is slowly building toward does nothing to peak my interest. Even though Shonda has a knack for writing strange-yet-lovable characters, this group of people falls a little short. And if I don’t really care what happens to them, I want at least a good mystery to keep me going until the season finale. Last year’s did-she-or-didn’t-she mystery involving Rebecca was pretty great. The main arc of this season’s storyline doesn’t look like the show has found its rhythm just yet. The side plots, however, were perfectly promising in this week’s episode.

In the beginning of episode 3, Annalise seems to be unraveling. Drinking heavily, barely able to record her thoughts on the case while wishing for more unhealthy snacks in her refrigerator, getting spooked by a trapped mouse in her basement, she’s a far cry from the strong, confident, composed attorney we got to know last season. This also makes her old lover Eve’s infuatuation with her all the more unbelievable, but we’ve already discussed this recurring issue in Shonda’s universe.

Meanwhile, we let go of the main case for a while, although new information does come to light: the two adopted siblings accused of their parents’ murder are likely lovers. This might be the season’s new version of did-they-or-didn’t-they, so we’ll see how that plays out.

Annalise uses her new case to teach her class about the importance of sex in criminal law. Her client is a dominant, accused of killing one of her (submissive) clients. Is this an attempt to boost ratings by adding a touch of 50 Shades to the plot? Perhaps, but it made for a fun episode – although when the most entertaining thing about it were Asher’s constant references to pop music and movies, it’s obvious that the bar is set pretty low. Okay, maybe not the most entertaining: Frank’s exchange with Laurel was cool. Handsome bearded men oozing over-confidence with a dash of danger are hot. Even hotter when it’s plain as day that they are hiding genuine feelings underneath the swagger. Hot enough to make me forget the small detail that he’s an actual murderer.

What else did we learn in this episode? Oh yes, Michaela has never had an orgasm. Well duh, she was engaged to a gay man. So if a gay man sleeps with you, an orgasm is out of the question? In Shondaland, yes. I learn something new every day. What’s more interesting than her pathetic sex life, is that Michaela’s new squeeze is Rebecca’s foster brother. Wes now knows, and pretty much teams up with him to find out what happened to her.

Asher is playing for both teams. Not sexually, legally. The prosecutor has him doing her dirty work, he caves because she holds something over his head, but now he’s had enough. Of course now he’s in deep water with Bonnie, and we all know you don’t want to cross her. Uh-oh.

Annalise is increasingly grumpy. She forges a document to blackmail the police chief to hire Nate (the hot cop lover she framed and then had Eve represent in court) back on the force. She kicks her client out because she’s too selfish. She doesn’t care that her client killed the man she claimed to love; she gives the rest of us normal, sex-loving people a bad name, so she doesn’t deserve the high and mighty Annalise Keating’s sympathy. If I had a hard time sympathizing with her before, she’s now elevated herself to new heights of unlikability.

No wait, nevermind. She defended her client the only way she knows how: by framing someone else for the murder, the victim’s wife. Who cares if she destroyed her, she did her job and got the not guilty verdict. She got her groove back! And she grew a pair over the course of the episode, enough to go talk to poor Nate in person. The humble side scores some points, but she has a long way to go before she can be likable again. Nate seems to feel the same way… or does he? During Annalise’s heartfelt apology, Wes was in Nate’s apartment, looking to strike some sort of deal. Nate says he’s in. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what that’s all about – it does have something to do with Annalise’s attempted murder we keep flash-forwarding to, that much is clear.

What else? Oh yeah, more sex. Connor and Oliver can finally do it. Michaela finally sleeps with her new beau. Laurel invites Bonnie out for drinks and tries to glean some info on Frank. Bonnie won’t have it – she and Frank have Fight Club rules (uh, whatever.) Apparently Asher is dynamite in bed – who’d have thought? He’s also in trouble, and goes to daddy for help. Hopefully we’ll find out what the story is with that blonde the prosecutor keeps threatening him with. More importantly, we need to find out if Annalise’s client are actually guilty and what sort of deal Wes and Nate agreed to.

Till next time!

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