Is The Dead Husband The 'HTGAWM' Killer? It Seems Pretty Obvious, But Shondaland Wouldn't Do That To Us
"I bet you the boyfriend did it." That was the line at the end of the How To Get Away With Murder murder scene, er, pilot that raised a thousand eyebrows. It was the penultimate scene — a charged moment between Annalise Keating and her husband. Every line seemed to have multiple meanings. But the pervading thought is that Sam Keating murdered Lila Stangard and that's why he ends up dead in the woods surrounded by his wife's students. When Viola Davis' character says "the boyfriend," she is referring to the student having had an affair with her husband. But could it really be that simple?
Could Annalise Keating really have all of the answers already? As as fan of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, I don't think so. I would hope a Shonda Rhimes-produced show would have more twists and turns and "OMG moments" in store for us.
But before I really get into why we haven't yet figured out whodunnit, it's important to remember that Rhimes and her business partner Betsy Beers are only executive producing this series. The creator and showrunner is actually Grey's and Scandal writer Peter Nowalk, so it might not fit typical Shonda patterns. Still, he comes from the school of Shondaland and you can't graduate from there by laying everything out in the open. I think there is more to both the murder and the relationships here. Besides, it's more fun to speculate. Don't give up so soon! Here's what we know (and why we haven't solved the mystery just yet):
Spooky — Viola Davis practically breaks the fourth wall. OK. Just the word "boyfriend" can mean so many things because Annalise Keating has an embarrassment of boyfriends! Yes, I agree, that could have been a pointed jab at her husband that called him out on (allegedly) sleeping with Lila. Sure. It could also have referred to Annalise's extramarital boyfriend Detective Nate. The pilot made a point of showing us that Nate was not the most honorable officer of the law. What else is he capable of?
There is also, of course, Lila's frat guy boyfriend Griffin. He's been spotted on the scene with Wes' neighbor Rebecca (played by Katie Findley from The Killing and The Carrie Diaries) and the two of them are mighty suspicious. I'm willing to believe that they hid the body and/or called the maintenance man who ultimately found it, but not that either of them killed this girl just yet. It's a little too easy, even easier than suspecting Sam.
I'm more willing to believe that the previous tenant of Wes' apartment was involved. The camera panned too eerily over those scratches above the bed to make me believe they were purely caused by sexy times. I almost expected to spot a bloody fingernail stuck in the wall à la Silence of the Lambs. Perhaps there is a "boyfriend" who has yet to be revealed. Did you see what I did there? I introduced a new suspect. This show is educational!
"Those poor parents"
This line of Sam's actually stood out to me more in the scene than the "boyfriend" line upon further reflection. We know, from Annalise's possibly exaggerated plea to Wes, that she and Sam are trying to have children and that it's been difficult for them. So on the surface, when Sam tells his wife that he feels for the dead girl's parents, it seems as though he's making a jab at his wife about not having children of their own. Jeepers creepers, I would not want to be involved in a Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf party with these two. According to the reporter (and thanks to Closed Captions), Lila's parents owned "Stangard Industries," a tech company worth billions. So Lila was super rich. That screams conspiracy and dark secrets and shades of Veronica Mars. Something is up.
We know Lila Stangard was in at least one of Sam's psych classes. Here's what I think: I think Sam Keating is Lila's father. One would hope he would be more upset about her disappearance and death if that were the case. Though maybe not if he's also a murderer. To be honest, after three seasons of Scandal, I'll believe anyone is a murderer. Perhaps Lila wanted to out her biological father. Another possible parental suspect is the associate Bonnie. If Bonnie and Sam are involved, or used to be, and Lila could be their love child. Crazier things have happened on Shonda Rhimes productions.
Let's go back in our minds to the first season finale of Grey's Anatomy when Kate Walsh appeared in the final minute and introduced herself as Derek's wife. How fantastic was that? Did anyone see it coming? I don't think so. Trust in Shonda Rhimes and her disciples. How to Get Away With Murder is going to keep us guessing. This is a murder mystery with a flair for misdirection. The Shondaland logo isn't a roller coaster for nothing. As Sam Keating responded to his wife's potential accusation, "I guess we'll see."