"How do you smoothly conclude a show that so often went off the rails?" asks Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya. "That so often was fueled by leaving viewers jaw-dropped with its ridiculous twists? How To Get Away With Murder doesn’t have a real answer. It doesn’t have a whole lot of answers period. And yet, Annalise Keating indeed is its greatest accomplishment." In the series finale, Upadhyaya says, "Annalise’s is really one of the only arcs that gets closed out in a satisfying way. The rest is bulldoze, bulldoze, bulldoze" Upadhyaya adds: "The central themes on this show have always been immensely compelling, even when the writing sometimes loses grasp of its characters. Trauma and its long-term psychological effects, systemic racism and sexism, and paranoia and privacy have been some of the most consistent themes that the show keeps returning to. And it does so with depth and style, unfurling legal cases that always have more to them than meets the eye. There is always, always more beneath the surface of How To Get Away With Murder’s drama. The show doesn’t always excavate those underpinnings seamlessly, but when it does manage to tell a deeper story, some of the chaos and narrative whiplash comes into clearer focus. That’s not entirely missing from the finale. It touches, at times, on ideas about justice, trauma, sacrifice, identity. But these touches are just grazes. Outside of Annalise’s courtroom monologue, very little about this finale is firmly held in place. No series finale needs to be completely satisfying in the sense that it feels complete or cathartic, but this one struggles to find a whole lot of meaning in the way it closes its characters’ arcs. What does it mean that Annalise survives and lives a long life even after so many around her were lost or otherwise permanently altered? The show doesn’t have time to address any of the meaning of this, favoring the fanservicey time-jump epilogue instead. Instead of meaningful narrative conclusions, we get more deaths, more chaos."
Was there anything HTGAWM creator Pete Nowalk didn't get to explore in the final season?: "I’m gonna say no," he says with a laugh. "So much of making a network TV show is really messy, and from the mess comes the greatest moments, because they’re instinctual. The finale ends up that way, too. Obviously, I had to cut some scenes, some lines, some storylines that I never got to write because I knew they wouldn’t fit in. But within that, I think we would have been trying to explain everything, and I actually don’t think that’s entertaining — to watch everything be explained, every little detail. There’s some questions I could probably answer, plot-wise....There’s definitely hints, just in case people are very worried about it. But in the mess comes the magic."
An ode to Annalise Keating: "Annalise is not always likable and is rarely concerned with being likable, but she is also loyal to a fault and fiercely protective of those around her," says Justice Namaste. "She is confident in her legal prowess but much less assured when it comes to her relationships. The show revels in her moments of strength and triumph but also leaves space for her failures—without punishing her for them. She can be furious in one moment and tender in the next. (Side note: Viola Davis really acted her a** off in this role.) It doesn’t really matter whether you love Annalise or hate her. Really, I couldn’t tell you how I feel about her. Regardless of the show’s numerous attempts to grapple with her morality, it’s clear that central to the genius of Annalise Keating is her refusal to fit into any one particular box. In creating Annalise, Shonda Rhimes gave us the gift of a nuanced black female character—a true rarity."