The court case we’ve been waiting for is finally here. The trial’s nickname, “Gory Dory,” is fitting, since her actions are at the center of the proceedings. Drew is just a “submissive” or “understanding” boyfriend. All he has to offer is vomit. Dory is the one who figures out a way to completely discredit and embarrass Portia, the prosecution’s best witness, by insulting her intelligence on the stand. Dory’s actions have gotten gorier, and that’s reflected in her anonymous stalker who is now physically harming her online haters. I’m not entirely sold on the stalker angle yet, but I like that it’s an unseen consequence that grows as Dory clings to her lie.
Dory and Portia are forced to interact with each other, and their differences couldn’t be more clear now. Jordan Firstman’s script puts Dory and Portia in similar situations as they both prepare for the trial, and their reactions show us who’s grown from this experience and who’s still scheming to save their own life. Portia isn’t interested in using the trial for her own fame, she just wants to do the right thing. She rehearses because she knows it needs to be perfect. She memorizes the prosecutor’s words like the actress she is.
When she’s on the stand, though, she has an honest breakthrough: She doesn’t think Dory ever actually cared about her. Portia only got involved with Chantal because she was worried about Dory, but Dory has never once stopped to consider what her lie is doing to Portia. Portia’s summation isn’t just correct, it’s a long time coming. She doesn’t hold back, and if Dory were still capable of genuine human emotion, she might be moved by Portia’s outburst. Instead, she looks for a sign of weakness and finds it by pointing out how Portia is an idiot who couldn’t define “vitriol.” Portia is right, it is really mean. Maybe she borrowed some of the prosecution’s language, but Dory knows a lot of what Portia said came from her heart. It’s also the truth.
Not that Dory cares. She still thinks she knows better than everyone else. Instead of listening to Cassidy’s advice, she pushes Cassidy to practice her opening statement in front of them. It’s condescending. Even though Cassidy doesn’t have a lot of experience, she’s focused on the right things. Maybe it makes sense to discredit Bob, but I can’t understand why Dory is more concerned with Cassidy. It’s Dory’s fault Cassidy doesn’t have much to work with. Even after Cassidy’s opening line is coincidentally used by the prosecution, she does fine improvising. It’s hard for Cassidy to say Dory was a victim of Keith’s stalking if Dory had nothing to do with Keith’s death.
With so much evidence on her side, Polly has made the mistake of making Dory and Drew’s case about an entire generation. She suggests what they did isn’t just about their own entitlement, it’s about all millennials who are out looking for a “thrill kill.” If not for Michaela Watkins’s handle on the material, this would have fallen flat — it was fitting when Polly’s partner said in episode two no one cares about millennials anymore. Pushing the narrative that Search Party is concerned with putting a generation on trial feels like a remnant of season one that isn’t particularly relevant anymore. Polly doesn’t spend much time getting into the evidence and her hyperbolic millennial vitriol might not be convincing to a jury. That worries me, because I really want Dory to go to jail.
Even Drew doesn’t seem comfortable with the sudden attack on Portia. I hope Polly unravels Dory’s lies with each snack that’s introduced on the judge’s bench. There’s nothing likable about Dory anymore and her attempts to rehab her image didn’t seem to work. Outside the courtroom, people hold signs that say “Send Dory to jail but not Drew,” which is a sentiment I share. I just don’t see why Drew hasn’t been pushed to his limit with Dory yet. His attorney can’t even remember his name and his fate rests entirely with Dory’s lie. Last season showed us Drew has a dark side. Even if he was bad at stealing his co-worker’s promotion, it’s surprising he doesn’t have an alternative plan in the works.
It’s scary to say this, but with Drew paralyzed by fear, Dory going full evil, and Portia isolated, Elliott has become Search Party’s most stable character. He hasn’t had to face any consequences for any of his actions involving Keith’s murder. His main concern is his reputation, something a giant wedding can certainly fix. He’s still the same Elliott who took a book deal he knew he couldn’t fulfill, the same Elliott who continues to think he can lie his way through anything. Elliott’s misguided attempts at fame could start to feel repetitive or tiring, but John Early is game for whatever new low Search Party prepares for Elliott.
Elliott tells Chloe Fineman’s Charlie Reeny he doesn’t want to talk about his failed book deal. He’s still naïve enough to believe this woman (or anyone) could want to help him. Elliott’s Gay Ass Life is one of Search Party’s best reveals. It actually manages to upset Elliott, and you almost think he’s going to face another public humiliation, maybe his last one — but he pivots and tells everyone Reeny farted. Fineman is great in the role, you almost believe she never farts the way she pleads with her producers. Not that it matters: Reeny isn’t mad, she respects the move. Conservative cable television may be a new low for Elliott, but he’s just found more scum he can relate to. Reeny is only interested in ratings, and the two of them make great television.
• I would’ve called this section The Judge’s Snack Bench if I’d known we’d get this delightful sight gag each episode.
• Cassidy had me convinced she could handle her opening statement when she realistically pantomimed swinging on that swing.
• Louie Anderson is so casually chewing the scenery as Bob Lunch. He’s almost too surreal at times, but his genuine confusion over Polly’s opening remarks and “What was she even saying?” pairs well with Cassidy’s choreographed delivery. It’s a great twist on the hapless, bumbling lawyer trope.
• Drew’s family is there at the start of the trial, but Dory’s isn’t in the crowd. Their support truly was just for the cameras.