Friday, February 18, 2022

REVIEW: 'The Afterparty' - Zoe Discovers Self Love Over the Course of the Night While Keeping Danner Distracted in 'Zoe'

AppleTV+'s The Afterparty - Episode 1.06 "Zoe"

Zoe confesses she came to the reunion for a wild night out - a break from her divorced, single-mom life. Things get animated in her retelling.

"Zoe" was written by Phil Lord & Rachel Smith and directed by Christopher Miller

Detective Danner doesn't believe that Zoe killed Xavier. And yet, she is willing to listen to her confession. She claims that she had a motive for doing so. It's all mostly just a way to buy Aniq some time to further flesh out his defense. He doesn't make good use of that time. Danner is running out of it as well. She has taken a lot of latitude in order to conduct this investigation. She believes she can solve it. She knows she needs to hear the events of the night from every different perspective. It's vital to solving the case. However, she has also gotten wrapped up in the personal lives of these people. She knows how Aniq feels about Zoe. The entire night was a romanticized notion of finally getting together after hopelessly pining after her since high school. She wants to know Zoe's side of that story. Does she feel the same way? That has nothing to do with the murder investigation. It's important for the character development though. Of course, this episode is mostly about Zoe finding self love. She has to embrace every part of herself instead of boxing off the various aspects of her personality. Her telling of events is done through animation. That's not because she perceives her world in that format. It's simply done for the effect of better drawing out the internal conflict that drove her all night. Many of these events have been seen from the other characters' perspectives already. Zoe doesn't have much new to offer in that regard. Sure, she further enhances just how silly Xavier was as a person. His apology to Chelsea wasn't that genuine either because he was quick to create an excuse to try to sleep with Zoe. That's new and pivotal. But again, it's about Zoe deciphering the difference between living for herself and living for other people. That's a valuable lesson. One that tugs at the heartstrings of both herself and everyone listening to this tale. It's distracting for Aniq because he cares about what Zoe is saying. He and Yasper discover a panic room in the house. And yet, that is written off as not a big deal whatsoever. That's strange and may further indicate the show losing the thread of the murder investigation a little bit.

Zoe is the one to remind Danner of what she said at the start of her investigation. Anyone could be capable of murder. They are all one reason away from breaking. Danner hopes to use her skills to get to the truth. Zoe posits that none of them could have been capable of murder as well. That's a fascinating idea. One that should be expanded upon further. The suspects have all been people who attended the high school reunion and its afterparty. It's all there in the title and basic premise of the show. However, that shouldn't necessarily rule out other characters. If they have been involved in the story since the premiere, then they should be seen as a viable suspect. Danner is breaking the rules and Culp has been going along with that. Culp may be suspicious because he is the one in charge of the security footage when it was deleted. And now, he too slips into the panic room which is also fitted with feeds to the security cameras. Yasper didn't even know about all the mysteries in this house. He's just charmed by the relics from Xavier's career. He is such a fan. He is supportive of Aniq as well. People want to prove his innocence. They want to believe that Danner is questioning the damning evidence against him. They may just be projecting in that regard. They don't want him to be punished like the last time a night with Xavier went awry and the police got involved. That doesn't guarantee Danner will behave differently though. Her investigation is done. She has to present her case. Culp has told the captain about what's been going on. The ringer will arrive to handle this moving forward. Danner won't accept that. She also didn't realize Aniq was finding ways to listen in on each interview. Again, everything is chaotic and uncertain. Each character focus strives to offer introspection amongst the people who attended the reunion and afterparty. Others are simply always going to remain extremes. Jennifer 1 and 2 aren't good friends. That doesn't mean Aniq, Brett, Chelsea, Yasper and Zoe should necessarily be liked either. They aren't easily forgotten like Walt is. Zoe's world is colorful. She is triumphant at the end of the night. She is still indecisive about Aniq though. That appears to be just as deserving of resolution at the end of this season as the reveal of Xavier's killer. It places agency elsewhere in the ensemble as well which certainly helps spread the love around this talented and funny cast.