It’s no question that we live in a heternormative society, therefore, when Jack Falahee’s Connor Walsh came to fruition on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder, reactions were more than mixed. Straight sex on TV shows has always been the norm but some fans were less than happy with the inclusion of Connor’s same-sex scenes. Connor brings inclusion and visibility to same-sex relationships and intimacy that audiences don’t see often and this is one of the many reasons why Connor Walsh matters on TV. It’s important that gay characters don’t get stripped away from sexual expression, especially because contrary to popular belief (unfortunately), it is very much the norm as well. The normalization of gay sex and gay relationships is an important issue to address and How to Get Away with Murder has not missed a mark.
Connor’s sexuality, however, is only one of many facets that make him so interesting. Connor is one of the few characters on How to Get Away with Murder that has taken evolution to a whole other level, leveling up in many aspects of himself. When we are first introduced to Connor, we soon came to realize that he was very emotionally detached, using sex to get his way at absolutely any cost. Fast-forward to the introduction of Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) and we slowly see Connor’s sexually deviant façade start to fizzle away. There are many instances when Connor makes references to not wanting an exclusive relationship with Oliver and the defining moment of Connor’s defiance to settle down happened when Oliver learns that Connor had cheated on him to get information for a case that Annalise had been working on at the time. It takes losing Oliver to make Connor realize how much Oliver actually meant to him. After a rough journey with many mishaps, 2×05 has Connor finally saying the L word to Oliver. Let’s remember that this is the same guy throwing around the word “like” to dance around the heavy subject all while implicating that he did not want something exclusive. Let’s also not forget the big step taken just a few episodes prior when Connor is finally dead set on being domestic and decides to move in with Oliver.
I can sit here all day and analyze how multi-faceted a character Connor Walsh is but in the interest of time, let’s deviate to one of the most interesting evolutions that the show is capturing at the moment: The Connor/Annalise dynamic. Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) is by far one of the strongest women written for TV ever; her mere presence commands respect. We have seen her assert herself countless times in a single episode even but has Connor finally had enough? In 2×04, Connor’s rising moral compass hits full throttle when Connor takes it upon himself to send evidence to the prosecution. Throughout the episode, we see Connor’s respect for Annalise dwindle, as he becomes one of the very few people to stand up to her. What can this mean for Connor’s future? Well, Annalise being the boss that she is makes sure that she always has the upper hand and lets Connor know that Frank in fact did not get rid of Connor’s car, the very same car covered in Sam Keating’s blood. Whether this is a bluff or not, Connor’s gusto has come with a price. Connor’s newfound fiery feud with Annalise makes him a standout of the Keating Five, but at what cost? Tune into How to Get Away with Murder on Thursdays at 10:00 PM to see how it all comes to the surface.