Review: How to Get Away with Murder – Night, Mother

One thing How to Get Away with Murder gets right is the casting. We all know that the brilliant Viola Davis anchors this melodrama, but non-viewers might be unaware of how stellar the casting of the guest stars is. Last week, Marcia Gay Harden’s Hannah was a sneaky force to be reckoned with, but Cicely Tyson enters the fray as Annalise’s mother. Stand back everyone. The hurricane just hit.

The Second Coming of Annalise?
Since her life has gone down the crapper, Annalise spends most of this episode lounging in her silk robe chugging vodka. Keating and Associates’ new client is a nurse named Jolene who is accused with raping a studly patient named Chad. The hospital wants to settle, but it appears that Bonnie (taking over for Annalise) won’t go down without a fight even after she embarrassingly tells the jury that they should find Jolene guilty. Oh…she means not guilty.

Another setback comes when an anonymous, Whisper-like confession is discovered online detailing how a nurse proudly straddled a patient in his bed. Jolene admits that she was wrong in lying to Bonnie, but she insists that the sex between her and Chad was consensual. Chad’s Humpr profile is then found (gay sex apps save the day again!), but the judge throws out the argument that Chad is gay and could be looking for a payout due to its borderline discriminatory nature. Bonnie comes back guns blazing and links Chad to that eager hospital worker. Not only are they a couple, but they had an offshore account that they planned on stuffing their stolen money in. Don’t mess with Keating and Associates. They’re gladiators—oh, wait. Wrong show.

Mama Knows Best
The relationship between Davis’ Annalise and Tyson’s Mama Kay is explosive in this episode. When she first arrives, Mama Kay insults and criticizes a depressed Annalise. They later get into arguments about how Annalise was raised and how she changed her name from Anna May. Mama Kay feels almost betrayed and is clearly not a woman you want to mess with. Tyson may come across as a fragile presence off screen, but she’s terrifyingly strong as Mama Kay. The dynamic between her and Davis is simply hypnotizing, and it’s borderline indescribable. It’s the kind of acting that makes you stop doing everything . These two women need to star in a production of ‘night, Mother together. Stat.

The best scene of the episode comes towards the end when Mama Kay combs her daughter’s hair. Earlier, we learned that Annalise’s father molested her, and Mama Kay didn’t do anything about it. As she brushes, she tells the story about owning her first house, and how she was always proud of it. One evening, she woke up for no reason and at all and saw her brother leaving Annalise’s bedroom, and she knew what her brother had done. Even though Mama Kay loved that house so much, she was willing to turn a blind eye when her brother fell asleep with a lit cigarette in his mouth. In one of the most powerful moments of the season, we learn the full ferocity of a mother’s love.

To be totally honest, everything involving Cicely Tyson was great. Give her an Emmy now just for that VIP joke.

Oliver & Company
Could the students be, dare I say it, bonding? Gulp. Oliver complains to Connor that he hasn’t met Annalise or any of his fellow students, and Connor obliges to set up a meeting at a bar. Watching Michaela, Laurel, Wes meet Oliver was actually rather sweet, and it appeared (even if for a flicker) that these crazy murderers could just be old pals. Well, probably not. Crazy kids!

Rudy, Interrupted
Wes is having trouble trusting Rebecca. Really, Wes? I told you weeks ago not to come crying to me when you realized your sociopathic girlfriend was batshit. An assistant DA spills to a flirtatious Michaela that Rebecca told the cops that Nate threatened to hurt her if she didn’t plant evidence on Sam. Wes reads the details of Rudy’s arrest report and finds out that he’s in a remote psychiatric hospital. When he and Laurel manage to meet Rudy, the same scratch marks are on the wall above his bed, but he seems timid and afraid. Wes asks Rudy if he remembers any connection with him and Rebecca, and all he can barely mutter is “…wet…wet…”

You know, wet like the water tank where he and Rebecca probably shoved Lila’s body! But we can’t just leave at that twist, right? Rebecca’s growing paranoia over Wes’ paranoia forces her to track his phone online, and she knows that he was at the mental hospital.

Get ready for more twists and turns, kiddos, because next week is a 2 hour season finale! Will there be more amazing wigs? More Marcia Gay Harden? When is that production of ‘night, Mother starting rehearsals?!


  1. Avatar
    Absurdist 7 years ago

    I realize that sometimes “we do what we gotta do,” but Mama Kay is not so much. She does have a first name, though. It’s Ophelia.

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