The Afterparty recap: Apple TV+ 'comedy' season finale is lame as ever

The Afterparty peters out in lame season finale [Apple TV+ recap]


The Afterparty season finale recap: It's Maggie's turn to talk in the season finale.
It's Maggie's turn to talk in the season one finale.
Photo: Apple TV+

The first season of Apple TV+ “comedy” The Afterparty draws to a merciful close with its final piece of evidence this week. The show, about the half-dozen witness statements relevant to solving the mysterious death of a pop star, has one more story to tell. This time, the last suspect is no suspect at all, but rather a little girl who happened to see the whole thing.

The Afterparty consistently dragged its feet on the way to this magnificently inessential and perfunctory wrap-up of season one. (Yes, shockingly, Apple TV+ recently renewed this “global hit” for a second season.)

The series’ first season never generated any interest or momentum over the course of eight episodes, so why change now? Let’s put this body in the ground.

The Afterparty recap: ‘Maggie’

In the Afterparty season one finale, titled “Maggie,”  pop star Xavier (Dave Franco) is still dead. And detectives Danner (Tiffany Haddish) and Culp (John Early) have only a few minutes before detective Germain (Reid Scott) arrives from the airport and takes over their case.

Danner has one last Hail Mary to attempt before she gives her case to the sexist Germain, the man who stymied her career ambitions and told her she’d never be a real cop. She’s going to interview Zoë (Zoe Chao) and Brett’s (Ike Barinholtz) daughter, Maggie (Everly Carganilla).

Maggie’s story borrows a few elements from kids shows, like video game sound effects and one of the guests turning into a muppet. But this episode, like everything else on the genre-jumping show, comes off as half-assed. It’s only Maggie’s energy that keeps the episode feeling even remotely like something a child would recognize as storytelling meant for kids.

Again, if there’s no clear item of media being pastiched, you aren’t parodying it, you’re just gesturing at it. And not particularly well.

Someone was hiding in the closet

Amidst the chaos of trying to outrun her dad and stay at the party while keeping out of sight, Maggie does reveal two things that help the assembled group. Jennifer 2 (Ayden Mayeri), who’s been missing for the last hour, isn’t dead. She went into labor and left to go have her baby.

Maggie also heard Brett say he was going to go “take care of something” after hearing that Zoë had been canoodling with another man. Zoë thinks this means they’re arresting Brett. Aniq (Sam Richardson) tries to comfort her, but she doesn’t let him.

Danner assembles everyone and shares her findings in front of Aniq, Brett, Zoë, Yasper (Ben Schwartz), Chelsea (Ilana Glazer), Ned (Kelvin Yu), Walt (Jamie Demetriou), Indigo (Genevieve Angelson) and Jennifer 1 (Tiya Sircar). Danner accuses Walt, who has a weird alibi, then Brett, who freaks out, thus proving his guilt to everyone else.

Aniq steps up at the last minute and admits that he saw Brett during the murder, proving his innocence. Turns out Danner was baiting him. The real killer?

I will never bless any track of yours

Not to brag (there couldn’t be anything less worth bragging about), but I kind of suspected Yasper all along. His attitude the entire time was weirdly noncommittal toward anything but Aniq’s guilt. He never worried about his own guilt. He was mostly concerned about Aniq getting everyone to think Brett did it instead.

So, when it finally dawns on everyone that Yasper did it, it’s not much of a reveal. The Afterparty’s writers have basically been counting on Ben Schwartz’s comedy persona as enough of a smokescreen to make him seem accusation-proof. That guy? Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Recreation? No way!

That’s about as clever as this show gets. The slow-motion ending where Danner and Aniq reveal Yasper’s motives and the holes in his shifty alibi is not remotely satisfying. Schwartz, to his credit, does a good job with the reveal. He infrequently gets chances to do real dramatic work, and it was good to see that he was up to the challenge.

A dull ending to a lackluster season

It is, of course, just a whiff of an ending. What does it mean that Yasper did it? What have we learned about film genre, or the human condition, or these writers and performers?

After they arrest Yasper, Danner tells Aniq he’d make a great cop. And while he doesn’t take her up on that, he does offer to help her solve more cases in the future. And then Danner gloats to Germain that she solved the case before he had a chance to get to work. Which, combined, is maybe the most awful way they could have closed this chapter of The Afterparty.

The real winner? Law enforcement.

Everyone has an individualized moment of success except Yasper. Zoë and Aniq go out for breakfast. Maggie hugs Brett. Chelsea tells off Ned and Jennifer 1, then tells Walt she remembers his name. It’s all … hugely boring. This might be the most anonymous, impersonal TV series I’ve ever seen start to finish. Do better, everyone. Do much better.

Watch The Afterparty on Apple TV+

New episodes of The Afterparty arrive on Fridays.

Rated: TV-MA

Watch on: Apple TV+

Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at