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How To Get Away With Murder - Ask Him About Stella - Review: "The Crossover Is Coming"


The final episode of How To Get Away With Murder before a three week hiatus thanks to the Winter Olympics has got me the most excited about this series since the mid-season premiere a few weeks ago, but those precious few glorious seconds that closed out the hour were weighed down significantly by the filler Roa subplot. "Ask Him About Stella" was scripted by debut writer Tess Leibowitz, and directed by Stephen Cragg.

When I talk about filler, I'm talking about the Isaac Roa storyline, which garnered the most screen time since the sixth episode of the season. In a nutshell, following his thrashing in court, Roa relapsed, restarting his drug addiction. Annalise had good intentions and went to see Roa to help him understand what happened, but Roa confessed he had taken drugs, causing the whole subplot to spiral downwards at a high rate of knots.

In a rather tragic series of events, the conversation turned to Stella, Roa's deceased daughter. Roa revealed that she had taken his drugs, overdosing and dying shortly after despite his attempts at CPR. The story falls apart when he told Annalise that Stella's phone was still open and unlocked, which allowed him to send a text to her mother, Jacqueline, to frame her death as a suicide.

Did you give Stells those drugs?

Weaved in among all this were the multiple cringeworthy dates between Annalise and Roa. The pair have less chemistry than a pair of rocks in a river. These dates nearly evolved to physical affection as well, but Annalise called that off when she sensed Roa was high again. Thank god for that.

The issue I have here is that storyline dragged on for far too long, and the compromise was a heavily compressed class action case, which should have been prioritized over this Roa stuff. To be fair, however, Jimmy Smits stole the hour with his performance as Roa, but the otherwise quality subplot should not have been portrayed ahead of Annalise's class action case, and could have taken place during another episode when the other content being covered wasn't so important.



The class action case itself was essentially a dud, which was very disappointing. The students were held up writing an opening statement, but the Attorney General stopped the court hearing in its tracks, saying they received a petition from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court so they could hear the case themselves. The student's work was blown, as was some of the preparation work for the case, and Nate had to break the news to his father that the trial wasn't proceeding, and then break even more bad news to him that the seven supreme court judges threw the class action out. The father and son relationship is hanging on by a thread.

The students had some good news come their way, however. Laurel got to meet her baby for the very first time. Her mother and Frank were present, too, and the scene was very well done. It wasn't as emotionally moving, however, because there's a lot of water to go under the bridge just yet before those scenes can become more regular, but for an initial effort this was pretty darn good. Unsurprisingly, Laurel named her baby Christopher.



In other news, Oliver and Connor's wedding is now back on, and Asher seems to be pretty handy in the kitchen. Connor also agreed to re-enroll in law school, and will do some catchup classes to get back on the same terms with his peers. His dedication to the class action case has been surprising, and it was good for the others to notice this in this episode.

That leaves Frank and Bonnie to cap off. I thought both were the strongest they've been in this half of the season. Bonnie, for some ridiculous reason, decided that offering to look over the case the DA's office had against Roa was a good idea, when her colleague in charge of the case read her intentions like a book, and disregarded her recommendations not to proceed with the case because of a lack of evidence, among other reasons. This meant Bonnie had to play her last card. She marched into Denver's office and ordered that he drop the case on Roa because she would leak her conversations with him if he did, as well as if anything happened to her. Denver has complied, but Bonnie is essentially out of options should Denver proceed with actions to silence her anyway.

End the witch-hunt, or lose your election from jail.

This made Bonnie rightfully scared, and she called Frank asking for him to stay at her place. Frank had already set his sights on Laurel, however, offering to accompany her to the visit with her baby should trouble brew between her and her parents. He had earlier checked her mother's phone records, confirming that her and ex-husband Jorge had talked many times in the preceding days This backfired, however, with her mother revealing she had convinced Jorge to let them visit the baby unaccompanied by him. There is almost certainly more to the story though, and Frank's street-side confrontation with Laurel's mom near the end of the hour concerning how she knew Wes was a bold move which will yield an interesting answer for sure.

How did you know Christophe?

The How To Get Away With Murder/Scandal crossover has been teased for a wee while now, but it is now imminent, and its positioning on the TGIT post-Winter Olympics return definitely wasn't unplanned. It was cleverly teased in this episode thanks to Michaela refusing to give up on the class action case, and convincing Annalise to bring Olivia Pope in on the case. She looks set to deliver her first lecture among the now once in a blue moon classroom sessions on March 1.



This tease was excellent, and it looks like this will be a much tighter crossover than I had previously assumed. I am now much more excited about the prospect. It sweetened the hour significantly on the back of the Roa filler and class action fail. Overall this hour was an improvement on last week, but the series needed to go into the three week break in a stronger position than it currently is, and some proper courtroom action would have been a great way to assist with that.

Thanks as always for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below about your thoughts and theories. See you right back here on March 1 with a review of the crossover!

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