Life Sentence Season 1 Episode 4 Review: How Stella Got Her Groove On

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Stella's idealization of how and what the real world should be continues to get in the way Life Sentence Season 1 Episode 4.

There are moments in this series which, granted, is only four episodes deep so far, where it's hard not to wonder just how it plans on sustaining itself further than a season. And that's at the most. 

How Stella Got Her Grove On is not a substantial episode by any means even though a lot seemingly happened. It was charming, as it always is, and the performances were altogether fine, but we're already at the place where the show is treading water, unsure on what its next big step should be. 

This is demonstrated through every character who are shown to have wants and needs that are separated from Stella's recovery and, ideally, this would present a further amount of individual character growth. 

Coming To Terms With the Past - Life Sentence

We see this with Paul who continues to move on from Ida and the life that he had before by dating another woman but his plot is still at its brightest when he gets Stella's much-desired diploma so she can begin applying to jobs that require one.

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His speech about her always being his little girl and he always being her father was one of his best moments to date but it disallows him from having his own path. Ida, on the other hand, is kept on the periphery and she too is saddled with Paul for her biggest scene as they wonder if they'll ever stop feeling like parents. 

"Honey, I'm sorry we lied to you - let's just apply that across the board."


The bulk of the episode lay with Wes and Stella as the former goes back to work at a job he doesn't love in order to support him and Stella while the latter tries to figure out what she wants in life, all the while learning that she never actually graduated from high school which derails her progress a tad. 

Stella's continued naivety when it comes to the real world continues to be both an asset and detriment to the series as a whole.

On the one hand, of course, she'd be behaving this way if she's only ever been used to a worldview where everything, but her own illness, is picturesque, lovely and set to the score of a movie. It also remains a negative since we see through the ideas of her supporting players. 

"Look at me. I'm such a confident little genius."

When she gets annoyed with Wes over his want to go back to work, no matter if his passion lies with it, it's frustrating because it's hard to not see her as being ignorant to how the world works. It makes her coming around at the end all the more satisfying, certainly, but his decision still, in her mind, needed a justification.

People can't simply work jobs for the sake of their livelihood -- it needs to be their passion too. 

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Wes on his own this week is a mixed bag as we learn with the kickball scene that Life Sentence isn't a show that operates well in the broad humor scale. He isn't so much Stella's foil as he is her perfectly matched soulmate -- for good and for bad when it comes to an audience member feeling relatable to the series.

If he had more faults or called out more of hers, it would instantaneously be a more interesting duo. 

"I'm trying to live in the real world but it's a little hard when you're trying to protect me from it."

Still rooting for them mind you, but it's a fix that would seem obvious. 

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Aiden gets the other half of the major storyline once he agrees to move in with the mother of his supposed child, Marlene. It's not long before he's proposing to her when he hears the baby's heartbeat for the first time and soon after they're announcing this to his entire family.

"I'm trying to live in the real world but it's a little hard when you're trying to protect me from it."

Of course, Ida soon realizes the baby is too far along for it to be Aiden's, and the storyline chugs along and places are set. 

It not being Aiden's baby was a good enough of a twist even if -- like the rest of his and every other characters storyline -- it felt largely rushed. But there was no right direction for it to head when he decided to move in with Marlene. Less so even when he decided to propose to her.

At the very least, by dropping this ball we're speeding through some heartache and into a territory that may mine more interesting content from Aiden's character. 

"I don't want you to struggle because of my mistakes."


Half the time it's as if the show wants to center even more time with Aiden even if already it feels like he and Stella and are splitting the difference in terms of storylines.

Both Aiden and Stella are the most richly depicted characters so far, and if they're going to go the route of the two sharing anchoring responsibilities, then it might work in their favor to slow the roll on how quickly Aiden's storyline is burning fuel. 

It was a place-setting episode, and that's fine. It's an easy-to-root-for series with charismatic characters; it just has some obvious faults that could use a fine-tuning.

Remember that you can watch Life Sentence online at any point and make sure to let us know what you're thinking of the show so far in the comments.

How Stella Got Her Groove On Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (1 Vote)

Allyson Johnson was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in May 2018. Follow her on Twitter.

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Life Sentence Season 1 Episode 4 Quotes

"Want to get married?"


"Honey, I'm sorry we lied to you - let's just apply that across the board."