If you think you’re ready for Thursday night’s Season 1 finale of How to Get Away With Murder(or HTGAWM as us Junkiesmuch prefer to type), you’d better think again. Because from the sounds of things, this show is about to reach a whole new level of epic.
When we last left the Keating 5, Wes (Alfred Enoch) and Laurel (Karla Souza) were hot on Rebecca’s (Katie Findlay) trail, Annalise (Viola Davis) had called in her mother for emotional help and things looked dire for Nate (Billy Brown), who was still behind bars for Sam’s (Tom Verica) murder.
In Thursday night’s two-hour finale, “The Night Lila Died” and “It’s All My Fault,” viewers will hopefully get some resolutions to all the outstanding questions, without raising too many new ones (even though we’re pretty confident the show will be renewed for a second season, at time of press ABC had yet to make that news official).
In order to emotionally prepare, we caught up with Rebecca portrayer Findlay, who explained her ongoing relationship with Wes, the portrayal of women on television, and what to expect in Thursday night’s big finish.
The TV Junkies: What can you say about this attraction between Wes and Rebecca? They are so different.
Katie Findlay: Wes’ interest seemed so irrational and unnecessary and I think it took Rebecca a while to realize that the reason he was coming back is because he sees her. And nobody else does. And so she cranked it up and did everything she normally does to be left alone because being seen is terrifying. When you’re seen people can harm you, people can predict your behaviour, people know how to get to your heart. I also think that his attraction to her is based on a lot of compulsions on his part and some darkness in his character as well. So I think that once she realized, everything sort of came tumbling down and he’s her kryptonite in a way.
TTVJ: What’s keeping her around now?
KF: She never had a chance to try on a nurturing persona before, or to be a nurturing person. I think that this is her trying to see what that would look like and I don’t think she’s ever had somebody to love this way before. So she very much wants to be someone that he can rely on, I think that she sees this as her wheelhouse, this panic or this harm. Watching Wes suffer breaks her heart and they’re both in a very sensitive spot with one another. Because he’s never that I know of gone through this kind of trauma before and she’s never been so emptionally open to someone. She knows she can get out of it but she doesn’t know if he can or how it will affect him.
TTVJ: Will we see a little more of her history in the finale?
KF: The next couple of episodes are very much plot based but we’re still flashing back and you do sort of get to see a little bit of … I wouldn’t say her history, but you do get to see a little bit more about who she may have been shortly before we found her blasting her music in Wes’ apartment while he was trying to study.
TTVJ: Do you see Rebecca softening a bit in her look as she becomes closer to Wes? Could court Rebecca resurface?
KF: We have talked about this a lot with hair and makeup and stuff. I think that’s honestly who she is. I don’t think the piercings are a function of her being unhappy, I think that’s how she thinks she looks cool. If she wants to look hot she throws on her skinny jeans with the holes in the knees. You see her getting out of the shower and she keeps all of the piercings in–when she looks in the mirror, that’s what makes her look like herself. I don’t know that she’s necessarily softening, and here she’s found someone who likes it and thinks its sexy and kind of cool bceause he’s a puppy dog and that probably makes her happy too. I love court Rebecca because I couldn’t possibly imagine a more uncomfortable person. Pantyhose? Why? I keep imagining Bonnie (Liza Weil) trying to dress her, saying, ‘Shut up, just put it on.’ And Wes walking around all day saying, ‘You look nice!’
TTVJ: Speaking of makeup, what was your reaction to Viola Davis’ now infamous getting ready for bed scene?
KF: I’m proud to be on this show for a hundred different reasons but that’s definitely one of them. I think part of the damage TV is capable of doing is never showing people who look like people, or never showing how much makeup somebody’s actually wearing, and what goes into presenting a person in a way that we will understand them and accept them. What I love about that scene is twofold. One, it brings that to light and we see the face of this person sort of unadorned and unguarded in a way that we’re not used to. Two is that it’s Annalise disarming. Completely. And you see the war paint and the armour she puts on just to be a woman in the world, and it broke my heart. I mean I cried when I watched it. I thought it was incredible. I still watch it from time to time and it gets to me every single time. I cannot possibly applaud Viola enough because it was her idea. I just think it speaks to the incredible human and actress that she is.
TTVJ: You’ve been on TV for a while now, what do you think about the way women are portrayed today, even compared to five years ago?
KF: Do you have like six hours?! I think that there are upsides and downsides. I personally get tired of being hurt in order for a plot to move forward. And I don’t mean like, in terms of Lila Stangard. That’s a plot point, it is in fact something that’s going on. But I find that sometimes when people need to move a story forward they do harm to a woman in order to spur more characters to do other things. So instead of it being about characters, it’s, ‘Look what happened to this poor woman or girl, whatever.’ And something I really really like about our show is that it’s character based, it’s about people. So in my relationship with Wes, harm that comes to me affects him, and then harm that comes to him affects me. Because I’m playing a well-rounded human being instead of the girlfriend.
I think women in TV have a long way to go, but I mean especially in Shondaland, it’s taken huge steps. I loved on Grey’s Anatomy that here were Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Cristina (Sandra Oh) being grown up, professional, working women who had relationships and fallouts and all of this stuff, but they weren’t frenemies. There wasn’t this weird, insidious lack of support between them as female friends. And sometimes they had their shit together and sometimes they didn’t and that was fine. They could still be attractive or not. Or likeable or not. Because I think that likability is such an issue for women on TV. That if you don’t want to date me, why do I get to be on TV? Like Cristina Yang! She doesn’t care if you want to date her, she’s a surgeon. Go out, grab her a coffee, she’s got stuff to do. And I love that. I love that.
TTVJ: In your ideal, hypothetical world, would the second season of Murder have some sort of bonus girl time? Maybe a girls’ night on the town?
KF: We joke about that all the time! I have like a secret desire for there to be a spinoff where like Laurel and Michaela (Aja Naomi King) and Rebecca have to move in together for some reason. It’s selfish because I love Aja and Karla and we hang out all the time. Aja and I talk all the time about how funny it would be if Michaela and Rebecca ever had to do anything together, like get something done together. Or like, ride on the plane … anything where they were stuck in the same room for more than two hours at a time. I mean I don’t know if they would have a girls’ night but I think that they’re all really smart women. They would probably manage to find common ground somewhere; it would be kind of fun.
TTVJ: Last question–what can you tease about Thursday’s finale?
KF: The finale just blows everything up. You think … it’s huge. It is crazy. We lost our minds at the table read and the script was treated on the set like we were spies. We had to turn in every draft back to the A.D.s. You had to be home if they were going to deliver you new pages or revisions, and you had to physically sign for it at the door. It’s huge. Everything changes, everything spirals out of control. I mean it’s … bananas. I really hope that everyone will love it because we had an absolute blast shooting it. We couldn’t believe it.
HTGAWM wraps Thursday, Feb. 26 beginning at 9 p.m. ET on ABC & CTV. What do you think will happen? Sound off below!
Amber Dowling is a bonafide TV Junkie, critic and freelance writer who watches countless shows and lives for dramatic (fictional!) twists. She currently serves as the vice-president of the Television Critics Association and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows across North America. An advocate for Canadian Television and a lover of the medium in general, Amber founded TheTVJunkies.com as a spot for fellow enthusiasts to connect and collaborate. She previously spent almost eight years as the EIC for TV Guide Canada.