Okay, I’ve been holding out hope that April is still alive, but after June stopped by Dory’s to ask questions about her, I’m pretty convinced she’s dead. Search Party’s second season used Officer Joy’s shooting as a deus ex machina, and April’s disappearance seemed like a similar setup — I figured April would pop back up alive and tell everyone what happened. While Dory wouldn’t face another murder charge, she’d lose Drew, Dory, and Portia for good. If April is really gone, though, it’s unlikely her large-hearted sister will give up her search. It’s another loose end that proves things are way beyond Dory’s control.
There are a lot of things Dory hasn’t considered as she basks in the glow of her newfound fame. There’s Julian and his missing phone, which Dory stole. Mary Ferguson is now threatening Julian if he doesn’t give her the phone — the phone that’s probably now on the body of a dead girl. Julian and Dory have always had a tense relationship; his constant search for the truth obviously clashes with her. If Julian is implicated in April’s murder, would Dory let him take the fall? I wondered if this season would have the space to bring Julian back, but setting Julian up as a potential victim in Dory’s ever-spiraling web could be an interesting way to show us how far she’s fallen.
Because, wow, Dory just really sucks now, right? Like, on top of being a murderer, she doesn’t realize most of the world thinks it’s obvious she killed someone. It’s naïve for Dory to think she can just go to the gym, but her playful talk with the paparazzi and red lipstick proves she doesn’t think she should face any consequences for her actions. She feels no remorse. Maybe she doesn’t want to look guilty so she thinks she should go about her normal routine, but things aren’t normal anymore. A stalker is stealing her shoes and people hate her now. The paparazzi harassing her may have been the wake-up call she needs to realize most people aren’t charmed by her act.
In fact, no one is charmed by Dory’s defense. Cassidy holds a focus group to test one of their limited alibis and it does not go well. Elliott is a notorious liar, Portia is with the prosecution, and the hot French guy died climbing a tower. That leaves Chantal as the only witness who can help their case. Search Party leaning into Chantal’s inherent awfulness is always great, but a group of strangers so quickly picking up on it makes the moment even better. “I wish her the worst and I hope it comes true ASAP,” says one man as Cassidy looks on in horror. “Shame on you,” says another. “We hate her. Get another witness, it’s obvious.”
Drew, perhaps sensing that Dory is completely out of touch with reality, has set off to fix the dangling strings in his past. He decides to fly home to Chicago to destroy a DVD of him beating a swan to death. With so much media attention, he isn’t necessarily overreacting. It is the type of thing that would make the rounds on cable news. Conner O’Malley’s Chris also seems like the type of guy who’d quickly sell the DVD once he connected the dots. The video is graphic and sad. It turns out Drew has always been bullied into doing things he doesn’t want to do. Dory is just another Chris in Drew’s life.
Elliott, meanwhile, is doing exactly what he wants to do. Perhaps going bald and developing a rash last season taught him he can’t control things when it comes to Dory and murder. Even though Portia is right, he did help his friends bury a body, Elliott doesn’t have a problem following Dory’s lead for the sake of his reputation. Elliott’s parents are rich and love the beautiful blond family they’re developing. He has the attention of a right-wing cable news pundit who’s desperate to give him a platform. As long as Elliott still has something to lie for, he has no problem doing so.
Perhaps that’s why Portia ends up in church. She doesn’t have family, fame, or a reputation to fight for anymore. She can’t even keep her phone charged. Portia’s dependent personality is what got her mixed up with Elijah in the first place, so it’s not surprising that she turns to organized religion. It’s inevitable that Portia will absorb the church’s culture and manifesto, but it’s unclear whether that will be for the better or worse. It could be interesting to set Portia up as a morally righteous foe in the face of Dory’s lies, but this could also be another creepy religious cult. I’m tired of seeing Portia suffer more than Dory, so I hope it’s the former.
• As a Black woman who thinks John Reynolds is incredibly attractive, I appreciate the talk show host in the episode’s opening montage. Representation for Black women who are attracted to John Reynolds is important to me, personally.
• The woman spitting on Dory is exactly why Dory clings to this lie that she’s innocent. Even if she admits to self-defense, she knows what she’d be seen as as a woman.
• I wonder if the stalker is a character we’ve met before or if they’re someone totally new. Dory ran into a lot of interesting characters during her search for Chantal.
• Conner O’Malley is so good at playing that exact kind of guy.
• John Early does some great reaction work in the lunch scene with his parents.