Shonda Rhimes’s How To Get Away With Murder is back and ready to kill the second half of what has been a very intense season. Laurel is pregnant, Annalise is in jail, Wes is dead, and we still have half a season to look forward to, or suffer through.
3X10 – “We’re Bad People” – Alternate World by Son Lux starts playing in the background, and straight away we see happy, emotional flashbacks of Wes and Annalise from the beginning of season 3, before their lives went downhill… or ended. When the flashbacks are over, a much darker parallel sequence comes on screen. Annalise being transferred into prison, then Wes’s corpse at the morgue. Annalise being examined, checked and cleared of all her possessions before entering the prison, then back to Wes’s body being examined during the autopsy. Annalise being locked in a cell, then Wes’s body going back to the refrigeration unit. Alternate World is a song about escapism, it’s a prayer, almost. It’s about someone begging to escape the situation they find themselves in. Which, could be what Annalise is hoping for: an alternate world where Wes isn’t dead, where her entire life hasn’t fallen apart.
The second track from this episode is Easier by Mansionair. Another prayer, a chorus that says the phrase “tell me it gets easier” repeatedly. The song plays during different scenes with a common theme: confrontation. Bonnie confronting Nate, Bonnie confronting Frank, Annalise confronting Bonnie, and finally, Michaela, Connor and Asher paying a visit to Laurel at the hospital. Mansionair’s song perfectly summarizes what these characters might be feeling and thinking about. They’re all, in a way, stuck. Stuck in a situation they never wanted in the beginning, a situation they can’t escape. They can only deal with it and hope that, eventually, it gets easier.
The final song from 3×10 is Black Swan by Taylor & I. A mostly instrumental piece that added the perfect feeling of unsettlement to the final scenes of the episode. Firstly, the expected yet still shocking moment when Frank turned himself in, saying he was guilty for Wes’s murder. And finally, another happy flashback, another tribute to Wes Gibbins, one last goodbye.
3×11 – “Not Everything’s About Annalise” – This episode starts just like the previous one ended, with a brilliant, perfectly selected instrumental. Going Upstate by Ritual Howls sets the mood for Frank’s confession scene, which will change his, and probably everyone’s lives.
The second and final song from episode 11, Until We Go Down by Ritual Howls, played through one of the most powerful scenes of the season, and maybe even the entire show. We saw Annalise Keating, the icon, the unbreakable, the invincible, we saw her, once and for all, defeated. In an act of what could be desperation, purging, or just hopelessness, cuts her weave off with a blade her cellmate offered her. And that was it, that was the death of Professor Keating. Everything that defined her, everything she was is now gone, even her hair, and Annalise is left to pick up the pieces.
Both episodes are yet another job excellently done by Chop Chop Music Supervision. There really is no questioning why Shonda Rhimes continues to trust Alexandra Patsava’s company to do supervision for all of her shows.