The Afterparty: Maggie: Season Finale
March 4, 2022 8:42 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

An unexpected eyewitness emerges to help Detective Danner piece together the true story behind Xavier's demise.

Walt still needs a ride home.
posted by Stanczyk (19 comments total)
Speaking of Walt, if you found him funny in this series, check out his British series Stath Lets Flats (HBO Max). It is hilarious. It also includes his real life sister, Natasia Demetriou, who you may have seen as Nadja in What We Do in the Shadows.
posted by Stanczyk at 8:50 AM on March 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

I thought the ending was anticlimactic but I'm not sure what I expected. I think maybe I was expecting some sort of twist like at the end of The Usual Suspects, especially given the reveal of all the easter eggs throughout the episodes. I figured they'd go back and we'd see all these obvious things that we hadn't seen before and the real killer would be revealed to be... I don't know. Not Yasper.

I really expected it to be Zoe, mostly because they were constantly lingering on her face and she always sort of had this sad, worried expression, like she was deep in thought.

It was a good series and I'm glad I watched it. With a show like this it's almost like the ending can't be anything but disappointing.
posted by bondcliff at 10:22 AM on March 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

I was satisfied by this ending. I'm quite glad they didn't try to pull off an unexpected twist - it turned out the whole thing was a regular murder mystery where one of the suspects did it and you had all of the clues you needed to figure it out.
posted by simonw at 11:40 AM on March 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

I also really enjoyed that the detective summoned everyone to the living room to tell them who did it... in a way that made it abundantly clear that this is an absurd trope that no detective would ever do in real life.
posted by simonw at 11:41 AM on March 4, 2022 [4 favorites]

I really thought this stuck the landing! They kind of hung a hat on the absurdity of the “I summon you all here to reveal the killer” trope, but I loved the way that they just straightforwardly showed their work and demonstrated that it was an honest murder mystery with clues for the audience to notice.

Apparently they have renewed it for a second season, so it looks a lot like Tiff Haddish here is going to be solving more mysteries. Hopefully this doesn’t turn out to be a one-off lightning-in-a-bottle thing, but I’ve got faith in the writing team. I’ll miss Ben Schwartz’s goofy energy, but, well
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:15 PM on March 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

Vanity Fair's wrap-up article on the season has a lot of good tidbits:

Walt had an Android phone to play on the well-known trope that Apple doesn't let villains use iPhones.

The picture of Zoe in the wig that was immediately deleted after it was posted was a fake leak/red herring.

Oh and:
By the way: beyond the "not the" clues, there's an overarching puzzle hidden with one piece in each episode, spelling out a message that you need to watch the full season to catch. Oh, and the "not the" for the finale, even though the killer is revealed, is a real doozy. Even Miller laughingly admits that the split-second clue, which requires some very specific knowledge to decode as well as recall of another very brief moment earlier in the series to understand, minutes before the mystery is solved, may have been gilding the lily a bit.
posted by bcwinters at 7:35 PM on March 4, 2022

I loved the earlier episodes’ editing and differing shots of Yasper walking up to Aniq. (That was the only clue I figured out.) The way they showed it here all from the same shot was… demystifying. The point I guess!
posted by brendano at 8:34 PM on March 4, 2022

I enjoyed the whole show, including the ending. Maggie's part was fun, and I'm glad the wig didn't really matter. I caught about 2% of the clues, but that's fine. The sprint at the end was perfect.

I think somebody could program a murder mystery solving tool where you draw a floorplan and can enter time stamped locations of people with some kind of 'certainty'marker (like 100% if they're on camera, 67% if 2/3 witnesses place them there) and then you can just play through the night and watch for someone who teleports or something.

Not me, though. I will just do some guessing.

It's wild to think that Walt's sister is on the Vampiric Council!
posted by Acari at 8:10 AM on March 5, 2022 [2 favorites]

I thought this really stuck the landing, and am planning a rewatch now that all is revealed. With a bit of internet help we figured out it was Yasper a couple of episodes ago, but it was no less enjoyable even so. (We weren't sure in our house, though, if it would turn out that Yasper killed Xavier accidentally or on purpose, but following his episode it was pretty clear that he was the one with real motive, and probably found something in the studio that had really upset him.)

Great casting, performances, clever writing, and the tone shift at the reveal was deftly managed. Looking forward to season 2.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:24 AM on March 5, 2022

In general, I'd like it if there were a subtle way for a murder-mystery to tell me what sort of murder-mystery it is up front.

If it's the sort where you can solve it yourself, and there's no “cheating” — like The Afterparty — then that's great, but it's also the sort where I maybe shouldn't be reading any of this stuff or sharing theories with you fine folks until the end. Because if people can solve morse code and semaphore puzzles within an hour of an episode's release, then they're damn sure gonna figure out the culprit before I do, and it'll just have the dynamic of an ARG, where the most devoted people make the most progress and you're mainly just watching other people have fun.

All told, I probably prefer that kind to the kind with “cheating” — like a Murder, She Wrote episode where you can't have solved the case before Jessica does, because the crucial fact doesn't emerge until the very instant of Jessica's insight, or in extreme cases isn't actually divulged until Jessica is explaining to the murderer why they're the murderer. Or if you did solve it, it's because you guessed correctly, or used extra-textual methods like “who’s the most famous guest star?” or “which narrative thread felt most extraneous, and thus must be the key to solving the crime?”

But the latter kind scratch a different kind of itch. If Murder, She Wrote played it straight, we could probably solve them in the first 20 minutes or so, but then we’d be bored for the rest of the episode while we waited for Jessica to come around to our way of thinking. The puzzle gets in the way of the narrative.

Viewed this way, I think The Afterparty did really well to keep all these plates spinning at once — to be funny, to be a satisfying puzzle, and to be narratively resonant. (Oh, and to do all that within the conceit of everyone's Rashomon story taking the form of a different genre/trope, though that got weaker as the season progressed.) Before this episode, I would've placed my money on Yasper, but I hadn't rewatched any episodes or drawn maps or anything; it just felt like they had tried to throw head-fakes in every direction except toward him.

Now to watch it again and convince myself that it was bleeding obvious the entire time.
posted by savetheclocktower at 10:38 PM on March 5, 2022

bleeding obvious the entire time.

The big tip-off in our house was the change in Yasper's phone, which my wife happened to notice in a scene about halfway through the show: 'wait, isn't his phone bright green? He was just using a different phone.' Once we noticed that, it was pretty clear.
posted by LooseFilter at 7:32 AM on March 6, 2022 [1 favorite]

I didn't catch any of the embedded clues. I thought the series was fun to watch and entertaining, but I feel like it works better as a puzzle than as a narrative. It felt like it immediately got to a plateau that it maintained right until the end - there didn't seem to be any dramatic shape to the series as a whole, although each episode arguably had a dramatic shape.

I enjoyed the performances and the episodic writing, and the ending was as good as I think it could have been, which is to say somewhat of an anti-climax. My reaction was "So what?" It would have been exactly the same for me emotionally if it had been anyone with a similar amount of screen time as Yasper.

I guess my overall feeling is "fun journey, forgettable destination."
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:10 PM on March 6, 2022 [1 favorite]

I recently got Apple streaming and I’m viewing a bunch of their shows in rapid succession and I noticed that Xavier’s house is also used as Maximo’s house in Acapulco. I wonder if Apple owns it outright and use it for whenever they need to portray a lavish Malibu lifestyle.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:38 AM on March 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

It's hard to put my finger on what went wrong in this episode. The conclusion was tidy and could be figured out by the viewer, so it played by the rules right through to the end. And often the killer is in just Yasper's position -- near the top of the list of secondary characters. And yet, somehow finding out it was him, and that the answer consisted in piecing together tiny details where his story contradicted the others in tiny respects, was a disappointment -- even though in form, that's basically how almost every real mystery concludes. So what was missing? Partly it's Yasper himself -- less obnoxious than his character in Parks and Recreation, yet not likable or substantial or pathetic enough to feel either a real hatred behind the murder or pathos for his total destruction at the end. The sort of emotions that even third-rate episodes of Columbo manage to conjure for each murderer. But why wasn't that there? Aniq and Zoe had actual pathos, so the writers can do it. I'm afraid it's something about the genre itself, a genre I've always wanted more of -- the comedic murder mystery. I can't really take murder mysteries seriously because they rarely make any realistic sense and are self-importantly about victims and villains and punishment in ways I personally dislike, but comedy mysteries are always a lot of fun when they don't take the murder thing too seriously. Which this one didn't. And yet it's good enough that you notice that absence, the missing fear and risk, horror and hatred, vengeance and the cold cruelty of the detective. All those things are gone and without them it's just a lot harder to make characters you care about. It can be done, and has been done, but Yasper wasn't it.
posted by chortly at 10:36 PM on March 7, 2022

And one thing that really didn't help was the structure of the reveal. "Ah ha, the murderer was... Brett!" Brett? That's lame. "Ah, that was just a ruse -- the real murderer is... Yasper!" Yasper? That's lame -- c'mon, who is it really? "Er, well, no, it really is Yasper." Oh.
posted by chortly at 10:47 PM on March 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

"Like the reveal of the devious mastermind in Knives Out, the discovery here that Yasper killed Xavier works as well as it does because of the actor inhabiting the role. While Schwartz doesn’t carry the burden of perceived goodness after a decade of playing Captain America as Chris Evans did, he is perhaps best known for playing goofy, scene-stealing sidekicks and scheming, but ultimately harmless fools no one takes seriously. He’s also voiced multiple characters who conjure positive imagery and feelings. Yasper initially appears to be yet another one of these characters. He’s not The Star, he’s kind of dorky, and he’s a little over the top (though not in an offensive way). As a viewer, you’re charmed by his enthusiasm, his support of Aniq, and because “Yeah Sure Whatever” is a great song. But it’s also possible that we like the character—and thus are unwilling to believe he’s capable of murder—because we like Schwartz and think we know who he is."
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:30 PM on March 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

Yeah, the sidekick might be the modern-day butler. Which makes sense when you consider that the person filling the best-friend role in a story is so often just there to give the main character someone to talk to.

That’s the main reason why I didn’t think Walt would end up as the killer. His episode, the high-school party flashback thing, had to establish backstory for all the main characters at once; but an omniscient narrator would've clashed with the Rashomon trope. So they had to have a guy who was somehow around to witness all those plot threads — including, most improbably, what actually happened between Xavier Eugene and Chelsea in the bedroom — without standing out in any way. Once I realized Walt’s purpose in the narrative, I started to regard him more as a load-bearing structure than as a suspect.

Of course, by that same logic, they could've made Walt the killer without my suspecting it, but that would’ve been lame for a completely different reason.
posted by savetheclocktower at 11:35 AM on March 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I just watched all of this over the past few days. Having gone back through these threads, I'm so glad I did it this way because I did NOT see the final reveal coming at all. And yet it made perfect sense in retrospect, which I think is the hallmark of a great mystery.

It's actually weird how much I didn't see it coming. I cycled through thinking it was all the suspects they wanted you to think - Walt, Brett, even brief moments of Aniq, Chelsea, and Zoe, even though the last three didn't really make narrative sense - and had started thinking it was an accident because no one made sense. I never even considered Yasper. Now I want to re-watch to see what kind of misdirection they did so that I didn't see it. I guess the biggest piece of misdirection was making us think Xavier and Yasper were going to record together.

I also love even more now that his episode was a musical - he literally gave us the razzle-dazzle!

I think that for a viewer like me, watching it without access to crowdsourced puzzle-cracking is the way to go. I do enjoy spotting easter eggs and such, but I'm just not a very keen observer of those kinds of things, which is fine because I love the thrill of a good twist like this. I definitely don't think I'd have enjoyed it as much if I'd been reading those reddit threads or that Pajiba post.

Excited for the next season! I'd take 11 seasons and a movie franchise of Tiffany Haddish's version of Benoit Blanc.
posted by lunasol at 10:34 AM on March 18, 2022 [5 favorites]

Excited for the next season! I'd take 11 seasons and a movie franchise of Tiffany Haddish's version of Benoit Blanc.

posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 9:30 PM on April 7, 2022

« Older Podcast: The Besties: We'll Be...   |  Movie: The Batman... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments