Friday, February 25, 2022

REVIEW: 'The Afterparty' - Danner Has a Realization About the Case After Looking Into Her Own Past for Clues in 'Danner'

AppleTV+'s The Afterparty - Episode 1.07 "Danner"

As her unconventional methods land her in hot water, Detective Danner looks to her own past to explain why she needs to crack this case.

"Danner" was written by Christopher Miller & Anthony King and directed by Christopher Miller

In stepping away from the case, Danner solves it. She declares that she knows who killed Xavier. Of course, she also notes that loose ends still exist. She can prove her theory in talking with one final person. It's the kind of declaration one would expect at the end of the penultimate episode. Danner has been carefully observing all of the main characters. She treats all of them as suspects in Xavier's death. She has analyzed their potential motives going all the way back to high school. And now, this revelation dawns on her once she's put on the same narrative footing as the rest of the ensemble. No, she isn't somehow involved in the case. She is still the one investigating Xavier's death. However, Culp has come in aghast at how off the rails the investigation has gotten through her leadership. She required those around her to be comfortable with her lying. She has refused to accept the easy answer. Aniq did it. It all makes sense. Every action he has taken has only made him seem more suspicious. But in revisiting the past and exploring how Danner ended up in this moment, she is reminded of the instincts that made a positive impact on lives within the criminal justice system. That remains her north star. She can return to that even when the male-dominated culture of policing would punish her for refusing to abide by their rules. She stands out. That's what makes her special. That's true even if she isn't always offered clear and concise conclusions to the cases she works. She is still aware enough to know that she made a difference. Sure, she was unaware that Aniq has been listening in on each interview. Culp sees that as a way for the prime suspect to align his telling of events with everyone else at the party. That's not even factoring in that Aniq was the first person to sit down with Danner. She knew what she was doing from the first moment she took over this crime scene. It's been a dangerous move that could ultimately cost her the career she has fought to pursue. She knows when to follow her instincts though. That inspires her final revelation. The audience just has to wait another week to see if the show will actually follow through on naming the killer and how Xavier's murder happened. Theories are rampant. It now all seemingly pivots around a door and the timing having to be just right in order for all of this to make sense. It does for Danner even as it leaves everyone in the dark for now.

That can be a little frustrating. The mystery is advanced but answers are still delayed. That's part of the format. This show aspires to break down and play within genres that are often depicted in television and film. It's all part of perspective and how people view the same events wildly differently. This episode gains its power from showcasing how important it is to be a police officer for Danner without fetishizing the profession itself. It's easy to tell the story of a cop motivated by how the profession is seen on TV. It's all a bunch of rule breakers who get the job done through their eccentric and domineering ways. It's all about the male-driven ego. Danner is suppose to be the supporting character who passes along a vital clue. In reality, she is the one willing to look at all the details that make up this case. She is actually the detective doing the job to ensure the right criminal is brought to justice. It can be a little forced and obvious at times. The TV writer whose wife has just been murdered doesn't handle it well when Danner suggests the investigation is looking at other suspects. It doesn't take a genius for Danner to assume what possibly motivated this crime. At the end of the day though, it goes unsolved. She ensures that Willow isn't convicted for a murder she didn't commit. She does so at the expense of her career within Los Angeles. She has to transfer just in order to be given the opportunity to work as a detective. Before, she was simply a beat cop who pushed beyond her boundaries to prove herself. She had to go above and beyond while expressing compassion for everyone in order to be taken seriously. Even then, she is punished because she simply doesn't allow Germain to be the star. It's all about clearance rates for him. He solved the case. He can be done with it. He can be celebrated for it. He hardly does any of the work. Even in trying to pass wisdom to Danner to help her become a detective, he is incredibly dismissive of her instincts. Sure, she doesn't know about what's happening in her community for much longer than the detectives. She is capable of putting the pieces together. This case means something to her. It's an example of her making a difference by refusing to jump to the same conclusions as everyone else. She is applying the same tactics with Aniq. That may make it even more devastating if he's revealed to be the killer. But it will also highlight her prowess if she solves this when no one else was willing to dig deeper for the truth.