HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: How to Get Away with Murder: Season 2
HTS Overall Score:73
How time flies. I know it was only a few months ago that I was reviewing season 1 of “How to Get Away with Murder”, but then again, the older I get the more I turn into Walt from “Gran Torino”. Grumbling about kids on my lawn and how time passes us by. The last time we left off from the disturbing crime thriller, we had some pretty changes to the Keating 5 on the table. Some people had died, some more people got away with killing them, and I pretty much came to the conclusion that if I watch this show anymore I will forever view lawyers as pure maniacal evil sociopaths. Season 2 picks up RIGHT where season one leaves off, and adds quite a few more layers to the already pretty intense series. At times it can get TOO layered, making the backstabbing, lying and twisting of the truth to get away with murder more complicated than it really has to, but overall it’s still a disturbingly addictive show that forces you to binge watch way more than you think you should.
SPOILERS AHEAD! If you have haven’t finished season one than you MIGHT want to skip down a couple paragraphs to the audio/video portions and the wrap-up.
When we left off last time, Rebecca (Katie Findlay) had just been murdered and Annalisa (Viola Davis) and Frank (Charlie Weber) had disposed of the body, but the killer was still at large. It doesn’t take more than one episode or so before we find out that Killer is actually Bonnie (Liza Weil), but no one else (including Annalisa) knows that it was her. Wes (Alfred Enoch) is desperately searching for Rebecca, hoping to find out what happened to her, while the rest of the Keating 5 think that she’s just run off and abandoned them. Annalisa is running frazzled and the more she tightens her grasp on the situation, the more she starts to feel out of control, and actually BE out of control. Her relationship with police officer Nate Lahey (Billy Brown) is at an all-time low, considering she DID kind of frame her ex-lover, and Wes is getting closer and closer to discovering that she knows more about Rebecca’s disappearance than she lets on.
Still, the Keating 5 has to do their normal duties, and that includes solving cases with Annalisa. This time they’re stuck with a pair of adopted heirs that are charged with murdering their own adopted parents. No one knows if they’re innocent or guilty, but the things that the Keating 5 dig up along the way proves once and for all that humans are some of the most despicable things on earth when left to their own depraved devices. Asher is still out of the loop when it comes to Sam’s death last season, and that leaves him ripe for manipulation as his relationship with Bonnie continues, and the rest of the team dallies around with their own sexual distractions. Laurel still is messing around with Annalisa’s assistant, Frank, and Connor (Jack Falahee) continues falling for his computer whiz boyfriend, Oliver (Conrad Ricamora), who actually ends up helping them more times than naught with a little bit of a light touch of the keyboard.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=73537[/img]“How to Get Away with Murder” is still one of the most fascinating, yet flawed shows I’ve seen in the criminal justice thriller category. On one hand you absolutely hate every character on the show, but on the other hand you just don’t care. Rooting for the bad guy is less of an option this season, as EVERYONE becomes the bad guy. Just when you think that someone is going to be sympathetic, their sleazy, lying, backstabbing nature comes out and you’re like “nope, nope, not liking anyone today either”. Annalisa has lost any sympathy that the audience had for in season 1, as she continues spiraling downward in a pathetic pack of lies and despair. Her love life is a complete wreck, she’s barely hanging on to the façade that is her career as a lawyer and teacher, and everything she does to protect herself and her firm looks more and more futile. It’s the old adage of juggling too many things at once. What seemed like an easy lie at the beginning of Season 1 turns into a huge snowball that gets bigger and bigger the further downhill you go.
While I really do love the show, there are some rather severe flaws that show up throughout the 15 episode season. For one, there is still the cheesy “scandalous” love triangles and liaisons that happen. Following in the same footsteps as the previous season be prepared for groan inducing pawing and making out in every…single…episode. Almost like clockwork, if we’re in the second half of an episode be prepared for at least one couple to be pawing at each other and stripping clothes off as fast as humanely possible (while the camera jitters around to keep it as broadcast friendly as possible). I know, if someone turned the sexual encounters into a drinking game there would be liver failure by the end of the night. It’s groan inducing, buy hysterically comical at the same time.
The second flaw comes from the way the plot moves forward in the show. There is always a series of flash-forwards that happen early on in the first episode that show off just WHO is going to be the next victim. This time we see that Annalise is going to end up injured and there are a few more bodies scattered around the area. Now each episode will show another flash-forward that opens up a little bit more of the future plot and slowly fills the audience in. Technically this is a brilliant way to get the audience engaged and it really works to keep the addiction level binge watching high on the priority list. HOWEVER, this seasons just feels a bit too packed with these intertwining plots. It’s like they thought that Sam’s flash forward death wasn’t enough, so they added in THREE different deaths and start intertwining different characters to the point where everyone is at odds with each other and the complex sub plots start to feel too much like a soap opera (or like “Scandal”, another soap operish show from the same creators).
1 - It's Time to Move On
2 - She's Dying
3 - It's Called the Octopus
4 - Skanks Get Shanked
5 - Meet Bonnie
6 - Two Birds, One Millstone
7 - I Want You To Die
8 - Hi, I'm Phillips
9 - What Did We Do
10 - What Happened to You Annalise
11 - She Hates Us
12 - It's a Trap
13 - Something Bad Happened
14 - There's My Baby
15 - Anna Mae
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=73545[/img]“How to Get Away with Murder: Season 2” Sadly has not been deemed worth of a Blu-ray release for home video, but thankfully the 1.78:1 framed 4 disc DVD set looks about as good as it's going to get. The dark and brooding show comes to DVD with a fantastically detailed show that shines even though the series is bathed in darkness for a majority of the run time, giving it a very morose and dark tone. Colors are strong and shadow detail and delineation are very impressive. Sometimes detail gets sacrificed due to the constant darkness, but that’s a mild compromise to be made for keeping the mood of the show. facial skin tones are natural and there IS a bit of stylistic color grading that gives a blue or gold tinge to the scene depending on the mood of the sequence (I've noticed that outdoor night shots look heavily teal, while indoor day scenes tend to have the most gold applied).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=73553[/img]The series is definitely a drama, and as such a rather front heavy mix is to be expected. The 5.1 Dolby Digital track does an admirable job at keeping with the broadcast quality of the show and sounds very impressive. The dialog is crisp and clear, locked up front in the center channel. There is a mild amount of dynamic range moments, like the flashback sequences that show some of the more violent moments, or a yelling match between Nate and Annalise. LFE is strong and powerful, accentuating the somber mood with wave after wave of low end to up the sensation of dread. The surrounds are used a good bit, but as I said, a front heavy mix. Ambient noises are sifted through those side channels adding in some nice directionality to the mix. The show is only slightly hampered by the 384 kbps Dolby Digital encode (rather than the standard 448 kbps), and I did notice the highs tend to feel a bit thing, but overall it's a nice audio track that really just works.
• Blooper Reel
• Delete Scenes
“How to Get Away with Murder: Season 2” is a worth follow up to an impressive 1st season that made me wonder HOW it would continue on. This seasons is certainly more complex, but overly complex breeds convoluted and that can hamper the show a bit as the plots get too twisted and windy. I, for one, have no desire to meet these people and the show certainly puts a seedy glow around the lawyer class of people (who already have a stigma against them as it is) and while I certainly enjoyed this season almost as much as the 1st, I notice it turning a bit more into “Scandal” than the intense murder mystery that is the supposed main focus. Audio and video are on par with the 1st release, but sadly the extras got sliced in half for some reason. Still a fun watch, especially if you have seen last season and want to find out about Rebecca’s death. Recommended.
Starring: Viola Davis, Billy Brown, Alfred Enoch
Created by: Peter Nowalk
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Rated: Rated TV-14
Runtime: 630 Minutes
DVD Release Date: August 21st, 2015
Buy How to Get Away with Murder: Season 2 On DVD at Amazon
Recommendation: Solid Watch
More about Mike