I think Yasper did it. Let’s get that out of the way first, if we’re going to discuss The Afterparty with the finale, and presumably the big reveal to the whodunnit, coming this week. I think that for a bunch of reasons. He had motive (jealousy over Xavier’s success after their high school ska band, Skarpe Diem, broke up), he had opportunity (his whereabouts have always been a little murky), and he always seems a little too interested in helping Aniq — the prime suspect so far, who is perilously close to being railroaded into an arrest — snoop around the investigation in ways that could get him in trouble if he got caught (the earbud thing to listen in on interrogations, the lingering in rooms a beat too long, all of it a little weird unless there’s another reason). Plus, I just think the show would want the killer to be a recognizable face that has appeared in most of the episodes for a significant chunk of time, and Ben Schwartz checks both of those boxes. So there’s that.
But also, like, who cares?
I should clarify that. I don’t mean it dismissively, like that I’m not invested in the mystery at the core of the show, or in the show itself as a whole. Very much the opposite, actually. The Afterparty has been a ton of fun. I’ve been looking forward to the new episodes each week and clearing my schedule so I can watch them without interruption, and just generally basking in the relentless silliness of it all. It’s still early in the year and things can go sideways in any number of ways between now and December but, if I were a betting man, I’d put a fiver on this making my own personal Best of 2022 list. The point I’m making is that it’s all been so fun — the journey of it all — that focusing too much on the resolution seems like missing the point.
Think about what we’ve had here. We’ve had a series loaded with your favorite stars from your favorite comedies. We’ve had a cool premise executed well, with each episode focusing on a different character and presented in a different format, from rom-com to action movie to animation to a borderline police procedure. We’ve had a slew of perfectly stupid throwaway gags, from Channing Tatum showing up in a scene from a fake Hall & Oates biopic to posters lining the house for movies with titles like Legal Beagle. We had both a urination-based showdown…
… and one of my beloved “not so different” scenes, albeit slightly modified.
And again, it’s just been a lot of fun, every week. There’s a fair amount of hand-wringing among television critics and viewers — most of it justified — about what the deluge of content over the last few years has done to the medium. There are ten-episode shows that should have been eight-episode shows and eight-episode shows that should have probably been movies, if we’re being honest. There is a bottomless pit to fill with all the various streaming services and cable channels and it can really just get to be a lot. But it also creates opportunity. There’s room to do cool stuff. Cool stuff, for example, like this.
Try to remember that this week, if you can, as you smash play on the finale. The journey here has been such a refreshing ride. It almost makes the destination secondary, which is a weird thing to say about a show that opens with a murder that it promises to pay off by the end. I still think Yasper did it, but I have a decent amount of confidence that the show could hang a hard left 15 minutes into the finale and still pull it off.
Brett did it? Sure, why not?
Walt did it? I never trusted him.
One or both of the Jennifers did it? They seem like the type.
A stiff breeze or passing seagull brushed Xavier off the balcony and he fell to his death as a result of some sort of nature/karma combination initiated by a higher power who we meet in person when Xavier ascends or descends to the afterlife? I would laugh.
The thing to remember is that it’s a good show. And it’s cool it’s existed. And that we should say those things a lot out loud so the people who greenlight and finance these things go ahead and greenlight and finance more fun offbeat stuff like this going forward. Let’s get weird and stay weird. And cast Sam Richardson in more things. I still think someone should let or make him star in a modern-day reboot of Columbo, maybe one where Jake Johnson from New Girl plays a billionaire tech CEO who murders his co-founder and tries to cover it up with… oh, let’s say “holograms.”That would be fun. And that’s the kind of thing that could exist if we keep pushing boundaries with cool stuff like The Afterparty. There’s a multi-step process here and, as a wise man once said, it’s always good to trust the process.