How To Get Away With Murder, “Smile, Or Go To Jail” (1.3) - TV Review



How To Get Away With Murder, Season 1, Episode 3, “Smile, Or Go To Jail”

Oct 9, 2014, 10:00p.m. (EST), ABC

This is the best episode thus far.

The main character everyone should have their close eye on in the episode is Michaela Pratt. What this show does phenomenally well is constantly make me wonder why I should care so much about her wedding. As the episode unfolds I slowly got the answer. The writing involved in this episode is masterly. Everything is wrapped around the same thing: do you really know who you are married to, or going to be married to? Each character circles around this question leaving me in awe of the structuring of this show.

The care that is taken in constructing this episode solely around a wedding, and wedding ring, is skillfully executed that it makes me think about how many awards this show is going to end up nominated for. Each character seems to be in a relationship of some kind, whether it’s a marriage, an affair, a longing for someone, or even if they are just using them to get what they want. Every character adds to the end scene where everything ties cleverly together. In one of the flash-forward scenes that close the episode it seems that the one thing might be the cause of the students not getting away with murder is Michaela’s wedding ring; it has somehow fallen off her finger while they were getting rid of the body.

In having such a masterly structure for this episode I am sad to say that one thing fell short. That one thing is how far Wes is going to defend Rebecca, and why he even believes she is innocent. The writers are not giving the audience a reason for him going overboard in order to protect her. He hardly knows her and from what he knows she doesn’t look that innocent. I mean, come on, she planted the cell phone of the murder victim inside his bathroom! So what could possibly be his reasoning behind wanting to protect her and believing so wholly that she is innocent? I’m not getting it. And I’m not sure why we are getting this weak storyline from a show that is extremely strong in every other aspect.

I am extremely happy though that the students each got their individual time to shine in this episode. I still love Annalise, and I will never get enough of Viola Davis, but I think it was a good time to really leave her in the supporting role for this episode. We all needed to see the students and what their drive is in this show, what do they want to achieve. They are all very competitive, and aren’t we all? One aspect of this show that I believe everyone is able to hook into is humanity’s competitive nature. We want to be the best at what we do, and I believe that’s how we are going to resonate with the students. That is why they are so compelling to me.

I did miss Annalise though. I find that the best camera work happens when Annalise is on screen. The scene with her asking Nate, her manstress, if her husband’s alibi checked out and he lies and tells her it did; there is an extreme high angle shot looking down on the car as Nate leaves Annalise, which gives the feel like God was looking down and judging her. It was a great touch and extended what I was thinking about Nate. I was judging him for not being honest with her, and the shot let me know that the filmmakers were judging him as well.

How To Get Away With Murder is getting better each episode and I can’t wait to see what happens next.


The structure of the episode is brilliant and executed through an amazing pace that will have audiences hooked from beginning to end.

  • GREAT 8.2

About Author

I am a second year Journalism student at Ryerson University with a passion for all things TV and Film. I can never decide what my favourite TV show and films are so I will end up making a list if you ask. I also have a passion for writing and hope to one day put pen to paper and write an amazing script that people will love!