The 'HTGAWM' Mid-Season Premiere "Hello Raskolnikov" Means It's About To Get Russian Literary Up In Here

The Keating Five are finally back, and I cannot wait to see what they do next. The midseason premiere of How To Get Away With Murder is called "Hello Raskolnikov" — what does that mean? The official ABC press release does not give much away:

It’s the day after Sam’s murder and the students are called in to help Annalise find her missing husband, but just how much does Annalise know? And when a surprise visitor shows up in town, getting away with this murder might not be as easy as the students had hoped.

On HTGAWM, the titles are often spoken aloud by the characters, so we know that at some point during the episode, somebody calls somebody else "Raskolnikov." It may not seem like much, but it's a start. As lovers of literature and English majors know while former High School students may remember, Raskolnikov is the protagonist of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel Crime and Punishment. This is not surprising — the show was as dramatic as Russian literature without any outside help.However, (spoiler alert) Raskolnikov ultimately confesses to his murder. Here is a brief description of his character from Sparknotes:

A former student, Raskolnikov is now destitute, living in a cramped garret at the top of an apartment building. The main drama of the novel centers on his interior conflict, first over whether to kill the pawnbroker and later over whether to confess and rejoin humanity. Raskolnikov is ill throughout the novel, overwhelmed by his feelings of alienation and self-loathing.

Now that sounds an awful lot like a certain puppy on How To Get Away With Murder, Wes Gibbons. It definitely sounds like his apartment building. In addition, Raskolnikov has a lover who prostitutes herself for financial security. Remember when everyone kept accusing Rebecca of being a stripper and/or prostitute instead of a bartender and/or drug dealer? Has this series been an adaptation of Crime and Punishment this whole time and we didn't notice?

Raskolnikov is also described as handsome, though disliked by his peers... which frankly could apply to Wes or any one of the Keating Five. The name comes from the Russian "raskolnik," a word referring to a schism or meaning "divided." Is the group about to start breaking apart?

One major difference that I can see between Wes and Raskolnikov is that the Dostoyevsky protagonist believes himself to be above the law and above society, and becomes tormented when he does not live up to his own ideals. This doesn't sound like Wes at all. Could Annalise Keating be Raskolnikov in this scenario? Her class (and the show) is named after being above the law. We still don't know how much she knows about her husband's murder. For all we know, the first half of the series was about her inner conflict over whether or not to have Sam killed. However, she is the opposite of destitute so it seems unlikely that anyone would call her Raskolnikov.

Could the Raskolnikov be the surprise visitor from the episode description? At first, I thought the only visitor that could foil them from out of town was the scales from the lady justice statue. Now I'm thinking about how much Wes resembles not only the Russian literature character, but the tenant who lived in Wes' apartment before him and left those crazy scratches on the wall. Could he be coming back to town? Did he kill Lila Stangard, thus complicating the Keating Five's motive for killing Sam?

Here's the promo for the episode. Is How To Get Away With Murder going to live up to its promise?

TV Promos on YouTube

Image: Mitch Haaseth/ABC; Giphy