When you think about it, it really wasn’t that great of a party. No one was having much fun at it, and that was before someone got murdered and they all had to pull an all-nighter to figure out who it was.
But we have our answer now, some 47 twists later. As mysteries go, it can be nice to have them be at least a tiny bit more solvable than this one was—what fraction of the audience noticed that Yasper came into the room from the other side in his version of the story? On the other hand, if you wanted to be the Danner of this scenario, you probably could have made a list of all the matched elements of each narrative to catch that type of inconsistency in between the musical sequences and fight scenes. But the finale is also just a fun, suspenseful run-through of what Danner has been pulling together all this time, a fast-moving, coherent conclusion that works well dramatically and emotionally.
And thankfully, Danner is a lot closer to the reality in her own narrative than she is to the bumbler suggested by the woman who couldn’t solve an escape room. Instead, she’s actually been using all of those cockeyed narratives to build together a clear picture of the night, and also gambling on their assumption of her incompetence to encourage them to reveal more than they should. She’s been way more observant than any of them noticed, even Aniq, who has been doing his best to follow everything along.
Does Yasper make sense as a killer? Sure, why not. He certainly makes more sense than the bizarre effort to make it seem like Zoe might be the killer, after it becomes clear that it isn’t Walt, who has indeed been a season-long red herring, we know it’s not Aniq, and Brett is simply too obvious. Is there a reason for this last minute feint that suggests a far bleaker show than this one is? Why does Zoe look so nervous during the finale denouement before the big reveal? Sure, it makes sense that she would be unsettled that the final two candidates are either her ex or the guy she likes, but the show really goes all in on it, almost making it seem like she’s about to leap in with a confession or something. It’s ultimately pretty silly, especially since it makes her something like the fourth red herring in this episode. Misdirection is one thing; throwing in extra misdirection at this point is just stalling for time.
Given the other candidates, Yasper is probably the most emotionally satisfying result here. We know it isn’t Aniq, and the conclusion that either of Maggie’s parents is a murderer would be really depressing. And while Walt certainly would make some dramatic sense, there wouldn’t be much emotional payoff to the guy no one paid attention to that whole time. Yasper being the culprit means that this all still has emotional weight for Aniq—the concept that Yasper was trying to help him this whole time while being fully capable of instantly clearing his name is a really low blow. And as entertaining as it might have been fun for one of the Jens to have done it, there would have been absolutely zero emotional payoff to that conclusion.
Plus, Aniq and Chelsea are the only ones whose grudges against Xavier would have given them equivalently strong reasons to hate him, and neither of them has ever seemed like the villain. Brett is a ragey jerk, but he never really seems that invested in a feud with Xavier. And to be blunt, nothing about any incarnation of Brett suggested someone clever enough to pull this off.
The Afterparty could be really hit or miss, with far too few moments that really made it appointment viewing. It never quite pulled together to be more than the sum of its parts. But even at its lower moments, a cast this impressive always made it worth following.
- I’m not sure we exactly needed Maggie’s story, but I did like that puppets kept popping up in hers.
- Poor Danner is going to need to buy new shoes after tonight. There’s no coming back from stepping in amniotic fluid that many times.
- Speaking of, a little bit of a letdown on the Jen 2 front? Kind of a boring reason to eliminate one of the characters for most of the season.
- So Fred Savage really got away with murdering his wife on this show, I guess.
- Brett is a terrible parent, and should not be allowed to be alone with a child until he’s taken some parenting classes.
- I hope another season happens following the construction of Aniq’s new escape room, Spooky Dookies, which remains the funniest joke of the entire season.
- Bless Ben Schwartz for fully committing each time he had to yell “How great is this party??” For his sake, I hope people do not choose to yell this catchphrase at him for the foreseeable future, especially since the whole point of it is that it’s a terrible catchphrase.