Something LGBT happened to me! It’s beautiful that Dory, as a girlboss cult leader, is fucking all her acolytes just as if she were a man. No matter how a cult starts, the middle stage is always weird sex stuff. And the end is often death. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. “Kings” moved most of the currently separate threads forward in this final season of Search Party. The creepy kid got creepier, Dory met the technobillionaire, and we finally met Kathy Griffin. Let’s get into it.
Chantal is back! We open on her therapy session, and Jackie Hoffman plays her therapist. She is always a welcome presence, and I’d love to see something where she plays Alanna Ubach’s mom. Yes, I know they’re not very far apart in age. It could be an adult Gilmore Girls–type thing. Get on it, Hollywood!
An aside: Hoffman also appears on Only Murders in the Building, the other big mystery comedy of our era. The show almost felt like what the initial marketing for Search Party made it out to be: plucky city kids solving a big ol’ mystery. And people ate it the fuck up. But Search Party has always been more interested in using the trappings of genre to make broader statements about self-delusion, former-gifted-kid angst, and the Über-wealthy. Search Party would never make any of the residents of the Arconia sympathetic.
Speaking of comforting stories people want to hear to make themselves feel important, Chantal believes that her lack of success is someone else’s fault, that many big and important someones are targeting her and holding her back. “Otherwise, it would mean that things are my fault,” she says, “and that just can’t be true.” After a less than productive therapy session, Chantal orders a hot dog “no bun, just relish, cup style,” and while she eats it, we get our first glimpse of Kathy Griffin. She’s playing a Q-esque conspiracy theorist, and, of course, Chantal is the one to get wrapped up in it. First MLMs, then Q. It’s the classic essential-oil–to–Facebook radicalization pipeline.
Dory comes by Drew’s sketchy job because she can sense there’s still bitterness in him. But yesterday, she said she would accept it if he rejected her apology. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, so what is the truth? Dory insists Drew’s bitterness stems from the fact that he still has feelings for her, which may be true. But some of that bitterness probably also comes from her being awful and would still be held on to by someone who’d gotten “closure” after dating her. Drew tells Dory to leave before he calls security, but before she’s even three feet out of his office, he’s pulling her into a supply closet to bang. Drew! Love yourself more, honey.
Meanwhile, Tunnel Quinn is hunting himself on the Holodeck. Concerning! Season five is leaning into the sci-fi energy, and it’s bringing new gifts to the show. For example, this scene reveals itself beautifully. At first, you’re like, Oh no, is he Most Dangerous Game–ing? Then you realize he’s hunting himself, and you go, Oh, it’s a dream. Then his dream gets interference from his cell phone, and you realize we’re in a Holodeck situation. And then you realize he made people program a simulator where he hunts himself for sport, and you go, Oh, big yikes.
Dory and Drew arrive at Tunnel’s campus (tech office buildings are called campuses, right? Why is that?) all postcoital. Elliott can immediately sense the vibe, which is rich given his complete cluelessness regarding Drew and Portia. The four are met by Tunnel, who’s only a little miffed about not getting to kill his hologram self. He takes the gang into a weird elevator thing, which, only after they’re strapped in and it’s moving, he reveals will take them close to the center of the earth.
While Elliott is plunging into the earth’s core, Marc is going for a run. He leaves little Aspen in the care of pool boy Quique (Julio Torres). Quique seems fun, treating the pool with lavender oil because it’s less drying for the skin than chlorine. But when he denies Aspen the Demon Child an ice cream, we know his ticket is stamped. Man, it seems like it would be a hoot and a half to play a creepy demon child in a movie or TV show. You just get to freak out adults all day, the dream! Aspen may or may not have drowned Quique in order to get ice cream, but he definitely steals the late pool boy’s puka shells as a token.
The elevator to the center of the earth appears to be malfunctioning. Scream-crying ensues. John Reynolds gets some truly incredible yell-acting out. Only Dory seems calmish — holding hands with Drew, which Portia clocks. But it was all a prank! The elevator actually just took them down two floors to an extremely mood-lighting-intensive dining room. Dory’s like, “You did this for what?” And Tunnel, in essence, replies, “Why not?” The group brainstorms how to make enlightenment into a product, preferably a pill. “I would love to take something that would, like, fix me,” Portia says. Sweet Portia, you are so easily swayed to a cause. Dory is wary of Tunnel and his whole John Galt shtick. She believes that if Tunnel actually received her message, he would want to abandon all his earthly trappings. Tunnel does not seem like the type to abandon his earthly trappings.
The girls discuss their opposing views on Tunnel. Portia is all in, and Dory has misgivings. Talking it over gets very heavy with eye contact, very vibey, and once again very oath swearing. It culminates in a big ol’ kiss. Combined with the triple kiss from season four, the main quartet of Search Party has paired off in almost every permutation. All that’s left is Dory and Elliott. Once he takes the enlightenment pill, who knows?
Stray Pages From the Book of Dory
• If you want a similar experience to dining at the center of the earth but in reverse, Walt Disney World has this restaurant called Space 220. You allegedly take a space elevator to 220 miles above the earth, where you can eat a $79 prix fixe dinner and watch shuttles in orbit. I think it would drive me insane, but people seem to like it.
• For a second, I thought the elevator was really going to go to the center of the earth and it would be hollow. If Search Party embraced hollow-earth theory, I’d join Dory’s cult.
• Marc and Elliott are in a stable place with little Aspen, apparently. Elliott hadn’t come home the night before as part of their deal to hurt Marc at intermittent periods. Marc is thriving?
• Relish may be the weirdest condiment to have a cup-style hot dog with. You can’t really scoop any relish onto the dog, so you’re just getting vinegar water on it. It’s stomach-churning to think about for too long.