We will never forget How to Get Away with Murder. First of all, it gave us one of the best serial characters ever written, namely Annalize Keating, who established Viola Davis as one of the most talented and impressive actresses in the entertainment industry. Her brilliant interpretation of a character as powerful and complex as Annalize is the heart of the TV series available on Netflix, what really makes it work and has sustained her throughout all of her seasons. But there’s one more thing we’ll remember this show for. In fact, it has also thrived on a structure that creates and fuels mystery and suspense in every season. The episodes, which often focus on very important issues in the real world, are full of twists and turns and the peak is reached especially in the season finales, with those shocking cliffhangers that always leave us speechless.
So, we decided to rank the six season finales of How to Get Away with Murder, based on how exhilarating, shocking, satisfying and well-made they were. So let’s go and see this shocking ranking together.
6) Season 4 – No One Else Will Die!
In our review of the episode we wrote that this is an almost perfect ending. So why is it in last place in the ranking? Simple: unlike the others, it doesn’t do justice to the death of one of its key characters, namely Wes.
How to Get Away with Murder shocked us again by revealing that it was Denver who died, not Bonnie. After all, the latter’s death was too much of a call. Annalize wins at the Supreme Court, Michaela has Simon extradited, Connor confesses to having failed, Laurel manages to get custody of her son, Jorge is arrested thanks to Tegan and Nate finds the Denver files in which it turns out that Bonnie’s son maybe he’s alive. AND at the end of the episode, Gabriel Maddox appears and, according to Frank, is someone’s son. Bonnie’s? Of Annalize and miraculously survived? Is he Wes’ brother? The theories followed one another and only in the following season did we discover that his father is Sam. Obviously.
Despite there being this sense of closure, the episode didn’t stand out compared to the others (it’s the one with the lowest IMDb score among the finales). The reason is precisely this uncertainty about the instigator of Wes’ murder. It was Jorge, we knew it for a long time, but why? When confronted with Annalize in prison, he remains silent and makes her understand that he doesn’t know what she was talking about. And he insinuates doubts about Laurel and her guilt. We definitely expected more from that unsatisfactory comparison, which left us with too many unanswered questions.
5) Season 3 – Wes
The third season had already been shocking for having eliminated one of the protagonists, who until then seemed untouchable, namely Wes. The discovery of who his killer is – or rather, the instigator – is partially shocking, because we all expected him to be one of the Keating 5 (especially Connor). In reality, although the reasons are not yet clear, it was Laurel’s father who ordered it.
It was a surprise yes, but there is a but. On the one hand we expected a more devastating name, such as that of a Keating 5; on the other, was perhaps excessive, because there was almost no connection throughout the entire season that would make us understand that it was him, nor even the motivations. Of course, the inclusion of Jorge means that in the following season the series leaves its small universe made up of Annalize and the university, to expand and enter a larger one: that of the business world. So, Jorge’s involvement in Wes’ murder was supposed to be a great storyline for Season 4 that, we hoped, answered our questions.
This ending of How to Get Away with Murder, while fulfilling its task, seemed to lack the type of closure and finality of the previous ones. Definitely paying the price of the comparison with the much more shocking mid-season finale.
4) Season 5 – Tell me no one else is dead
We know, to keep audiences interested and keep them coming back next season, a show needs plenty of cliffhangers. AND How to Get Away With Murder has always been a master at this. The season five finale proved to be no exception, providing a series of jaw-dropping cliffhangers that made season six pivotal.
Laurel and her son Christopher disappeared after she and Annalize confronted Xavier Castillo. Emmett Crawford was fatally poisoned. Gabriel revealed that Annalize knew Michaela’s biological father. It is confirmed that Ronald Miller is innocent in Nate Sr.’s murder, but Annalize and Frank are sworn to secrecy, not telling Nate and Bonnie. There is so much, so much to acceptbut that’s what we expect a final episode of this show to be like.
Not to mention the huge reconstruction of the facts, focused on the nature of the protagonists. The TV series on Netflix very carefully selects scenes and moments that bring to light their true essence, their hidden emotions, the values and beliefs that govern their lives and what they are willing to do to achieve their goals. Turning it into one of the best episodes of a memorable season.
3) Season 2 – Anna Mae
This could be a questionable choice, given that many fans did not like the slowness of the first part, which according to them blocked the narrative. We don’t agree. It was a positive slow pace, where we got to know a lot more about Annalize and her family as loud as she is opposed to her, especially her gorgeous mother Ophelia. The scenes between Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson were simply emotional, especially when Ophelia helped her overcome the pain of losing her son.
The episode never loses track of the plot, even with so many twists and turns, and it’s impressive how the writers made it so intense and never confusing, leading us in one direction when we thought How to Get Away with Murder was heading towards something completely different.
It promised us answers and, unlike many other endings, it gave them to us. And they were simply shocking. Caleb went from being a police spy to being exposed as a murderous sociopath. We finally found out why Frank owed Sam: Tragically, he was implicated in the accident that killed Annalise’s baby. And Sam, knowing this, used it to blackmail him. Wes discovers that his real father is Wallace Mahoney and, when he meets him, he is killed by a sniper. The last minutes, then, were so intense that they left us speechless. Literally and completely.
2) Season 1 – It’s all my fault
It’s my fault finally answered the question we’ve been asking ourselves throughout the first season: who killed Lila Stangard? Theories poured in, we desperately wanted to know and, at the same time, it seemed unlikely How to Get Away with Murder could answer the long-running mystery in a way that was shocking, satisfying, and made sense with all the other twists and turns. Well, in the end, we were satisfied, with a shocking, unexpected revelation that made us reconsider what we knew up until that momentas the show moved into its second act.
Revealing that Frank had done it at Sam’s behest was a shocking plot twist, made even more disturbing by the disturbing sight of Annalise’s co-worker choking a defenseless Lila to death. While we found out who, we still had to figure out why Frank did it, specifically what Sam meant when he said he owed him (and we had to wait an entire season to find out). Rebecca’s interrogation and death then made the ending even more intense and tragic, especially once it became clear that Rebecca wasn’t responsible for Lila’s death. Making us even more anxious and impatient for season two.
1) Season 6 – Stay
If the first finale ever took the second step of the podium, the episode that closes How to Get Away with Murder won the gold medal.
The entire season was built on the flash-forwards of the funeral of Annalise, the undisputed protagonist, and the disbelief was such that it gave rise to countless theories on how she could have died and, above all, at the hands of whom, including government conspiracies and old enemies . But the shock was total when we discovered that it wasn’t her who died on the steps of the courthouse, as we slowly began to suspect. Now in a downward emotional spiral after discovering who his parents were, Frank shoots Governor Birkhead and is then killed by security. But that’s not even the most shocking part. Bonnie is seriously injured in the crossfire, dying in the arms of a distraught Annalize and among our inconsolable tears.
That tragic and heartbreaking incident happens soon after one of the most beautiful monologues ever in serials, made even more intense and powerful by Viola Davis’ incredible performance. There his mask falls, he regains possession of that Anna Mae Harkness that he had buried to achieve success. She admits to doing some questionable things, but she’s not a killer. She is simply an angry, tired woman. And she simply dies of old age, after having lived a full life in which she was Christopher’s mentor (so she wasn’t a resurrected Wes who was present at Keating’s funeral), which she picks up where Annalize left off.