How to Get Away With Murder recap: 'Ask Him About Stella'
Go ask Isaac (about Stella) when he's 10 feet tall...
This week saw Bonnie and Isaac hit new heights of desperation, Annalise facing the demise of her class action lawsuit, and Laurel finally getting to meet her baby. While it felt like the juiciest stuff all happened in the last 10 minutes, most of it was so explosive it ended up being worth the wait. Four seasons in, the show can’t quite capture the urgency it once had, which often makes episodes drag — but they sure can still nail cliffhangers and bombshell endings.
We go backwards in time from the end of last week’s episode to see Isaac in his car having a breakdown after the trial. He goes to a food truck to buy
a hamburger pills, which he promptly crushes and snorts once home. When Annalise came to check on him, he was high — busy flashing back to the night Stella died.
Frank is continuing to dig into Laurel’s mom, while also watching out for Bonnie by giving her something to test her brakes each time she turns on her car.
Back at Chez Asher and Michaela, the Keating Four are working hard to prep the class action for court. Well, three of them are working hard — Asher is just baking 24/7, which really just serves to make the viewing audience crave brownies, croissants, and more. Michaela wants to know if they’re getting paid, but Annalise says it’s just whoever is willing and grateful to be a part of it.
Annalise goes back to Isaac’s to reassure him the investigation means nothing until he’s charged. He is suspicious that she has Bonnie on the case, but she assures him they have worked out their issues. This leads him to confess that he was high the night before, ending his 23-year stint of sobriety. Annalise wells up with emotion at this and offers to go to a meeting with Isaac and be there to help him.
They do go to meetings together and enjoy breakfast at a pancake joint afterwards. They talk about how their addictions started, and Isaac explains that he began doing heroin as a young writer/musician in New York. One night, while he was high and basically homeless, he met his ex-wife Jacqueline in a bodega (we never find out if there was also a cute bodega cat — bummer). He realized then that he wanted to get clean and build a life.
Back at the DA’s office, Bonnie is trying to help Isaac without signaling Annalise’s involvement. She goes to the lawyer assigned to the case and offers to help him figure out how to charge the guy, while also flirting with him and offering to go out for drinks.
Connor and Michaela are battling over who can write a better opening statement for Annalise. Connor wants to lean into Nate’s father as the face case, while Michaela pushes for a more objective approach. Oliver gets a call from Frank asking for help hacking phone records (Laurel’s mother’s phone), but Laurel overhears and assumes he’s still trying to investigate Dominic. She begs him to stop so her father won’t have a reason to block her from seeing her son. He says he will, but it’s Frank so we know he won’t.
Annalise is back at the jail prepping Nate Sr. for his trial by going over his story again. He explains how he came home from jail to a hefty bill from the court that he couldn’t pay, which automatically put him in a place of desperation where he would be forced to break parole. Worse — as a former boxer, he had a target on his back in prison as everyone wanted to see if they could take him. The man he murdered swung at him first and he snapped. This was after he’d been in solitary confinement for 12 months (which he thought had only been a month, he was so out of sorts).
In the end, Annalise rejects both opening statements and decides to wing it. There’s no need though, because moments into her opening remarks she’s informed that the attorney general has pushed the case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. There will be no court trial — instead, she has to write a brief to the Supreme Court judges and see what happens. Annalise argues that this once again denies her clients the right to a fair trial, which is the point of the class action in the first place. The judge agrees, but he can’t overrule the state Supreme Court.
Annalise tells Isaac the bad news back at their diner, but as they’re paying, Jacqueline calls. It’s the three-year anniversary of Stella’s death. Annalise urges him to call her back, saying that even though she doesn’t miss Sam, when she thinks about their baby, he’s the only one she wants to talk to.
Back at the jail, Nate breaks the news about the case to his father, who is angry they could just change the rules like this. He rants about being played by Annalise and Nate to begin with and fears that they’re just dropping him from the case and lying to him. Nate assures him he has his father’s back, but Nate Sr. calls for the guard and tells Nate not to come back.
Now, Connor and Michaela are helping Annalise write her brief, and once again they’re arguing. Connor accuses Michaela of only being interested because she wants her name in the brief if it goes to the Supreme Court, when he’s the one who’s been doing the work from the beginning. She comes right back at him wondering why he doesn’t re-enroll in law school since it’s clear he wants to be a lawyer. This is all interrupted by the news that Laurel finally gets to meet her baby.
Frank calls Bonnie to tell her that Laurel’s mom has been on the phone with Jorge every day this week. She wants to tell Laurel, but instead Frank goes to Laurel’s house to request to go with her to the visitation. He feels responsible for the premature labor since he elbowed her and wants to be there for her…but really he just wants to keep an eye on Jorge and her mother. (Recap continues on page 2)
Bonnie comes to Annalise with good news. There was bruising on Stella’s body, which proved Isaac did CPR and can explain his delay in calling 911. She wants to tell the office to close the case. But one detail stands out to Annalise: the drug in Stella’s system. It’s the same opioid Isaac admitted to take the night of his relapse after the trial. She goes to him and confronts him. When he got home, he saw his foil wrapper on the ground and realized that his daughter knew something. He lied about being sober for 23 years — he’d been using these pills. Stella was already dead, having taken nearly every pill in his bag. He didn’t know if it was an accident or suicide, but he couldn’t face Jacqueline finding out their daughter’s death was his fault when he’d been claiming to be sober. He texted Jacqueline the suicide note from Stella’s phone, cleaned up the evidence, and made it look like she took her own life purposefully. Despite all of this, Annalise still wants Bonnie to help Isaac and guilts her into it because he helped them. Bonnie has to convince the ADA to close the investigation.
Annalise writing her brief is intercut with Laurel meeting her baby for the first time. Frank does come along, but he realizes he maybe jumped to conclusions when Ms. Castillo reveals she called Jorge every day during the week to allow Laurel to meet the baby on her own. Laurel finally gets to meet her baby, which is a heartbreaking, beautiful scene as Laurel’s own emotions are juxtaposed with Annalise’s words about the institutional disruption of families. Laurel decides to name the baby Christopher in honor of Wes’ real given name. She texts Annalise a picture of her with the baby and makes a tearful goodbye.
Isaac is texting Annalise thirsty (or is it hungry, in this case?) photos of pancakes from the diner, which naturally makes her turn around and call her No. 1 thirst trap Nate Lahey. She’s waiting anxiously at the court in Harrisburg for the justices to make a ruling, but Nate reassures her.
Back at the courthouse, the lawyer on Isaac’s case taunts Bonnie, revealing that her interest in the case made him realize she’s still working for Annalise. So, despite there not being enough evidence to charge Isaac, he’s advised the DA to bring him in for “death by delivery” anyway. Bonnie has a mild breakdown in her office, but then she recovers and storms into Denver’s office, making one last desperate stand. She plays the recording of their conversation about Antares off her phone and threatens to leak all of their conversations to the press if anything happens to her. Her terms: He must drop the investigation into Isaac. Or else she’ll turn him in.
Nate is walking through the courthouse, and Annalise arrives to tell him the bad news: They lost the case and the class action suit is over. Then Bonnie tells Annalise they’ve dropped Isaac’s case, and Annalise goes straight to Isaac to tell him the good news. Things get really awkward when he starts caressing her hand and goes in for a kiss, which is when Annalise realizes he’s high (oh, really, not just a dude who read too much into a woman being his friend? Okay, good to know). They have a massive fight where they both scream, “We’re no good for each other,” and ultimately, Isaac blames Annalise for his relapse. He calls her a narcissist and says she’s made him worse off than when he was addicted to heroin. She retorts back that he taught her she can’t make anyone be other than what they are. Finally, when he threatens physical violence, she calls Jacqueline and tells her Isaac has relapsed. Oh, and to ask him about Stella. Ouch.
Nate goes to see his father and tells him they lost the case but he’s not going to lose him. He’s going to keep coming back to visit. Nate Sr. is still a bit incredulous that his son doesn’t hate him. Meanwhile, Annalise is sadly packing away all the evidence and records for her class action suit, looking at the photos of the people she’s let down.
Back at the Keating Four apartment (for real, do Connor and Oliver just live there now?), Michaela storms out refusing to give up. Connor admits she was right and announces that he’s going back to law school and that it will be tough to balance class with planning a wedding. That’s right — he’s calling his marriage to Oliver back on. And for once, the Keating Four get to experience a real moment of pure joy untainted by murder or death.
Bonnie is spiraling back at her own house, moving her gun around in fear that she’s going to be attacked. She calls Frank and asks him to move back in with her because she’s so afraid. He promises to be there soon, but first he confronts Laurel’s mom on the street and straight-up asks her how she knew Christophe/Wes. Dun-dun-dun.
And if that weren’t enough, Michaela goes to Annalise to push her to appeal to the Supreme Court. But if they’re going to do this, they need help — they need someone with power. Enter Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) in preparation for the HTGAWM/Scandal crossover episode. Annalise goes to a university in D.C. to watch Olivia deliver a lecture titled “How to Survive a Scandal.” Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and Annalise is apparently a narcissist, she’s obviously already a big fan of Olivia’s from the course title alone.
What did you all think? Is Laurel’s mom more innocent than Frank thinks? How long do Isaac and Bonnie have left to live — one of them has to die before the season’s out, right? We need another murder to make this title keep working. And are you excited for the epic #TGIT crossover event?