The following will contain spoilers for episode 8 of Apple TV’s The Afterparty. For a recap/review of last week’s episode, click here.
After a quick detour detailing the endearing intentions of Detective Danner (Tiffany Haddish), episode 8 is here. The season finale of The Afterparty finally reveals who the killer is. However, before the truth comes to light, Zoë and Brett’s daughter Maggie (Everly Carganilla) gets her moment in the hot seat, recounting the outlandish events of the night from her unaltered point of view. As a child who should not have been there, to begin with, Maggie provides key details omitted from the rest of the partygoers’ stories. Through the lens of an 8-year-old, Maggie’s version of the evening takes the shape of a Sesame Street-like show with the main characters appearing as puppets. Making her way through the party, Maggie is a whimsical shadow interacting with almost everyone, including drawing the cat features that Aniq (Sam Richardson) sports throughout the previous 7 installments of the series.
Notably, Maggie’s unexpected eyewitness testimony gives viewers a quick glance at Xavier’s movie career. This includes a hilarious parody clip of a Hungry Hungry Hippos film co-starring Will Forte. This coincides with the memorable clip from episode one featuring Channing Tatum in which Xavier (Dave Franco) stars in a hilarious Hall & Oates biopic. Thankfully, Danner regains control of the story. She urges Maggie to explain her explorations of the house. Unfortunately, the fun ends when her dad catches her and guides her back to the car to wait.
However, Maggie’s account of the night reveals the fate of Jennifer #2 (Ayden Mayeri). Turns out, she is not a second murder victim like many had suspected. Instead, her water breaks and she rushes to deliver her baby. This begins a running gag with Danner continually slipping in amniotic fluid that highlights the episode throughout. The young Everly Carganilla, who has previously shined in roles in Netflix’s Yes Day and The Chair, displays high levels of charisma and wit in this episode well beyond her years. While the story quickly returns to the murder mystery at hand, the young actress impresses with the screentime she receives early on.
Hellbent on solving the crime correctly before the egotistical Detective Germain arrives to pin it on Aniq, Danner returns to the full group of suspects. What happens next is perhaps one of the most satisfying conclusions to a whodunnit in recent memory. As Danner rewinds the tape a bit and begins to open up about her findings. Following a revolving door of genre and film styles, Danner has actually put the puzzle together.
Tiffany Haddish continues her Emmy Award-worthy string of performances. The actress commands the room, keeping the characters and viewers alike on their toes. However, it’s not just about solving the murder. Danner is desperate to keep Aniq safe from the corrupt system. She does this by seemingly pointing at the hotheaded Brett (Ike Barinholtz) as the killer. However, she does this knowing that Aniq has already come to the same conclusion she has: Brett is innocent.
Written and directed by Christopher Miller, the finale is genuinely surprising with the twist ending that it was actually Yasper (Ben Schwartz) who pushed Xavier from the balcony to his death. The reveal is tense and Schwartz pulls off one of the best performances of his career. While he is mostly known for the quirky comedic characters he’s played in Parks & Rec, Space Force, and Sonic the Hedgehog, Schwartz puts on a clinic with the dramatic tension building. His reasoning is drenched in desperation and despair, causing the viewer to feel for him. This dramatic display really makes the series feel as if it could take place in reality, which only makes the murder mystery genre more emphatic when sticking the landing.
Given the talent both behind and in front of the camera, The Afterparty was bound to be an achievement from the moment the concept was conceived. The 8-episode arc is equal parts tense, shocking, hilarious, and fun. The writing is phenomenal and the finale provides a satisfying conclusion to the hype built over the last few weeks. When looking at the series as a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end, The Afterparty is easily one of the best new shows on TV this year. It will not be a surprise to see hit get praise and notoriety in the upcoming awards season. On that note, it also comes as no surprise that Christopher Miller has already confirmed that a second season is in the works with Tiffany Haddish returning alongside a new story and a new crew of characters. – Christian Hubbard
All episodes of The Afterparty are now available on Apple TV+.
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