How to Get Away With Murder Recap: How to Survive a Scandal

How to Get Away With Murder

Ask Him About Stella
Season 4 Episode 12
Editor’s Rating 4 stars

How to Get Away With Murder

Ask Him About Stella
Season 4 Episode 12
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC

We’ve got it. We’ve got contact. Olivia Pope has entered the picture! It may have only been for a few seconds, but it’s all coming together. We’re setting up the big crossover event for the TGIT Cinematic Universe. Even though we’re about to witness the alliance between two divas of the small screen, there’s still a lot of Keating-specific drama we have to deal with. Jimmy Smits’s life is falling apart, we’re about to see the class-action suit head to court, and we have to find out just what Asher would look like if he were on The Great British Baking Show.

The episode opens with Jimmy Smits sitting in his car right after Laurel’s custody hearing. He’s banging on the steering wheel and keeps almost calling Jacqueline. Somewhere in there, he decides that his best course of action is to get a cheeseburger with a side of opioids. What kind of casual food-truck hipster opioid business is happening on the streets? Once he gets back to his office, he throws the perfectly good fries away, smashes up the pills, and snorts them. He has flashbacks of his daughter and a flushing toilet and her extremely creepy eye.

Meanwhile, Frank has set up shop in a warehouse to keep tabs on Laurel’s mom and to make sure Bonnie’s brake lines aren’t cut. And the gang is holed up working on Annalise’s opening statement for the class-action suit. Annalise has no time for their phone calls because she’s got to figure out what’s going on with Jimmy Smits.

She shows up at his door again and she promises him that Bonnie is going to make the possible case against him go away. Jimmy Smits admits that he wasn’t at his girlfriend’s house because he doesn’t have a girlfriend. He was doing tragic heroin. He tells her that he’s been sober for 23 years and he threw it all away last night. Annalise offers to take him to a meeting. They have a cute li’l breakfast after the meeting and I really thought they were finally setting us up for the Jimmy Smits–Annalise love story. But we’ll get to that later.

At breakfast, Jimmy Smits tells the story of when he hit rock bottom. He was living in New York in his 20s, attempting to be a rock star or a writer, and ended up practically homeless. He was in a bodega when the woman in front of him turned around and smiled at him. BOOM! Jacqueline. She helped him turn his life around. This is just proof of my mom’s theory that any woman can make any man’s life better. When they met, he was an almost homeless aspiring rock star and he ended up … a relapsed addict. But he’s got a house now!

Bonnie goes to see a prosecutor to ask about Jimmy Smits’s case and OH MY GOD! It’s the guy who played Matt on Nip/Tuck! Where my OG Ryan Murphy heads at? I couldn’t stop looking at those eyebrows. That man has some brows. Bonnie tries to flirt and offers to help with the case in exchange for a drink.

Meanwhile, the Keating Gang are arguing about what the opening statement for the class-action suit should be. Michaela wants to take a more measured, rational approach and Connor wants to go for a more emotional approach. Frank calls Oliver to ask him for help hacking into phone records. I like to think that Frank had tried to set up his own computer and was trying to hack into some phone records, but he only Googled “how to hack a phone.” Laurel doesn’t want Frank to do anything because she’s got a visitation with her son scheduled and nothing can mess that up. Frank thinks that Laurel’s mom is up to something. Maybe she’s working with Laurel’s dad? She definitely knew something about Wes.

Annalise and Li’l Nate head to the prison to check in with Big Nate one more time before the trial. She asks him to tell his story again and she realizes he thought he was only in solitary confinement for a month when he had been there for a year. That’s what caused him to snap on the other prisoner. Annalise reads the gang’s opening statement and decides that it doesn’t sound like her, so he’s going to wing it. WING IT? Sis, that is BOLD. That is a BOLD decision in the case of your life. Unfortunately, we don’t get a moving monologue because the Attorney General’s office wants to turn the case over the State Supreme Court. That means Annalise doesn’t get to call any witnesses and just has to submit a brief. It sounds like it’s a big deal, but Annalise knows that the Attorney General just made it easier for the case to be thrown out.

Li’l Nate heads to the prison to tell his father that the case won’t go to trial. Big Nate thinks that it’s because they don’t trust him. Li’l Nate says that he’s still got his dad’s back, but Big Nate is over it all.

The Keating Gang is arguing about the brief (again) and Connor accuses Michaela of only being interested in the class-action suit to get her name on something that goes to the State Supreme Court. She calls Connor a secretary and I’m over their squabbling. The class-action suit is one of the few things on this show I’ve cared about in a while and I will not have Michaela ruin this for me. In the middle of their fight, Laurel heads home to get ready to see her baby … and Frank is waiting for her. He’s got to tell her that he’s the reason the baby came so early. NOT NOW, FRANK. He wants to protect her from her parents’ scheming and goes with her to the hospital.

Bonnie visits Annalise and tells her there isn’t enough evidence to charge Jimmy Smits with anything, and that the bruises on his daughter prove he did CPR on her. But then Annalise sees the drugs that were in her system. K-Pex sounds suspiciously like K-Pax, but it’s actually Jimmy Smits’s drug of choice. Annalise storms over there and demands the truth. Jimmy Smits tells her everything. He found Stella at home and she had taken almost every pill he had. He flushed the pills and sent the good-bye text from his daughter’s phone so his wife wouldn’t be crushed. Annalise is very moved because Jimmy Smits is perfection and Annalise asks Bonnie to help her make the case go away.

Also, Laurel gets to meet her li’l black baby and decides to name him Christopher because Wes’s real name was Kristoff.

Bonnie gives her report to Matt from Nip/Tuck and he realizes that even though there isn’t enough evidence, Bonnie’s sudden friendliness must mean she wants something. And the only person she’s willing to work the system for is Annalise. THE DEAL IS OFF, BONNIE! NO MORE FLIRTY DRINKS! Matt from Nip/Tuck realizes that Stella died of an overdose from the same opioids as her father, so maybe now it’s a charge for murder in the second degree? Death by delivery?

Annalise waits for the panel after submitting her very profound and passionate brief. Meanwhile, Bonnie is freaking out but realizes she’s got one more ace up her sleeve: She charges into the DA’s office and plays him the recording where they both admit to Antares’s campaign contributions. Bonnie says, “If you fuck with me or any of my weird friends, I’m leaking this tape and everything else I have.” Okay, she doesn’t say that, but the spirit is there. He agrees to back off.

Annalise visits Nate and tells him that the court threw out her case. It’s over. Then she goes to visit Jimmy Smits to tell him that the DA is dropping the case and Jimmy Smits goes in for a smooch! YES!

Annalise says he’s high!


She calls him a liar and he just says that he’s broken. The anniversary of Stella’s death and all those traumatic memories caused him to run back to his best friend, K-Pex. Annalise tells him he needs to own his mistakes and that they’re not good for each other. Jimmy Smits’s response?


He flips out on Annalise and says that everything is her fault. She made him blur the lines of their relationship and she’s only happy if no one tells her no, but that’s what she needs. He calls her narcissistic and says she should have seen all this coming. If you saw any of this coming, you’re a fucking psychic. Annalise says she didn’t ruin him because you can’t make someone be anything other than who they are. He has a terrible angry-laugh moment. Annalise calls Jacqueline and tells him that Jimmy Smits has relapsed.

As Annalise is packing up all the photos from the class-action suit and sees Jasmine’s face one last time, the rest of the Keating Gang is trying to figure out what snack they’re going to force-feed their sorrows with. Michaela is sick of all the wallowing and Connor figures out that he’s just a few credits shy of catching up with the rest of the gang, so he reproposes to Oliver.

Frank visits Laurel’s mom and shows off the picture of her and Wes, finally asking, “How did you know Kristoff?” Is there anyone in Laurel’s life not actively trying to sabotage it?

Michaela storms into Annalise’s house and tells her that the class-action case should be seen in front of the United States Supreme Court. Partially because it’s the right thing to do, and partially because Michaela wants the glory. But they need connections. They need help. They need …

Olivia Friggin’ Pope.

She’s doing a lecture called “How to Survive a Scandal.” A little on the nose, don’t you think?

HTGAWM Recap: How to Survive a Scandal