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'How To Get Away With Murder' Review: Season 1, Episode 9

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By Mark Wilson, Esq. on November 21, 2014 9:54 AM

After months of flashbacks and teasing, we've finally arrived at the "Winter Finale" of "HTGAWM," where the question #WhoKilledSam gets #answered. The next question is what tantalizing event they're going to dangle in front of us for the next half of the season. This week's episode had nothing to talk about in the realm of "Monster of the Week" or law school, outside of a nod to final exams. Then came the murderousness. Big spoilers ahead. Big.

That's Detective Goth Girl

At the behest of Detective Lahey, Goth Girl is armed with a USB flash drive, determined to find some dirt about Dead Girl's murder on Sam's computer. When Goth arrives at the Law Office House, Michaela is already there, on an innocent-ish mission to return the justice statute that she just pilfered from "OITNB" Guy (OK, fine, he has a name; his character's name is "Asher," but that's my sister's cat's name, so we'll just stick with "OITNB" Guy.)

Unbeknownst to Michaela or Goth Girl, but knownst to us, Professor Keating and Sam have just had a thrilling argument in which he confesses (or maybe just says angrily) that he doesn't care about her, it's all about the sex, and then he sorts of puts his hands around her throat -- playfully? Those crazy Keatings.

Those Crazy Kids (minus "OITNB" Guy, whom no one wants to hang out with) end up at the Law Office House, trying to wrestle the USB drive away from Sam, who's trying to wrestle it away from Goth Girl, when -- whoops! -- he has a moment straight out of a Lifetime movie and falls over the banister, hitting the ground.

But he fell, right? It was an accident, so we'll just -- Oh my God he's alive again and trying to strangle Goth Girl! Sam pulls a Jason and comes back from being Mostly Dead -- until Wait-List Wes clobbers him with the justice statue. So if you were celebrating because you picked "accident" for your #WhoKilledSam pool, time to sit down. It was the person everyone thought it was (who didn't think it was Goth Girl).

How to Get Away With Editing

Now that Sam is Definitely Dead, we're led through the rest of the events of that night that we've seen only in flashbacks throughout the season: The Keating Five Minus "OITNB" Guy going to the woods to destroy the statue, then going back to the house to roll Sam's body up in a carpet, then taking the corpse back to the woods to be burned. Originally, they were going to leave him there and blame someone else (their alibi? "I was at the bonfire," complete with selfies). Then Wes had to go and remove the statue from the house and now Connor is chopping up the burnt body "Shallow Grave" style.

But you can't always trust the narrator, and Shonda Rhimes proved she was as unreliable as anyone could be. Which brings us to --

Just One Superlative

Best Quote: "I need you all to be as honest with the police as possible. Can you promise that you'll do that for me?" says Prof. Keating, appearing the next morning at her most vulnerable: In a robe, wigless, crying, distraught -- and in front of others, not just Sam.

But Shonda isn't done with you yet. Flashback to when Wes returns to retrieve the statue, and who's in the shadows? It's Prof. Keating! That's right: That long, blustery voicemail about how she loves Sam so much was all a cover. Thanks to some clever editing, Shonda saved the dessert for last.

What really happened?

After Keating returned from Detective Lahey's (where she was one of two couples to Get It On in this episode), she must have seen Sam. She called Bonnie to cover her ass. She left a voicemail to cover her ass. And was it Professor Keating's idea to burn Sam's body and hack it to pieces?

Well, I guess we have work to do when the show returns next year.

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