Arts

With a strong returning cast, ‘Search Party’ shifts tone while maintaining laughs in season two

"Search Party" season two premiered on Nov. 19, and episodes are released back-to-back each week.

Image By: Image Courtesy of TBS

If you’ve been around me in the past year, I’m sure I’ve brought up “Search Party” at some point during our conversations. It was my favorite show of last year, and arguably one of my favorite shows of all time. Season one was full of mystery and twists with a cast that seemed to be made for one another, and season two is keeping the momentum going.

Though season two only premiered two weeks ago, four episodes have aired to date. TBS is keeping the structure from last season where they release two new episodes back-to-back each week, which means we only have three more weeks left — and the finale conveniently will be aired during finals week, so goodbye productivity.

Last season we were left on a huge cliffhanger that no one saw coming (SPOILER): protagonist Dory and her ex-boyfriend Drew accidentally kill Keith, the private investigator that Dory slept with, who turned out to be insane and only in it for the reward money offered by the parents of Chantal Witherbottom, who went missing. Season two picks up exactly where season one left us. Dory, Drew and their friend Elliot — who happened to walk in on the crime scene — panic as they try to figure out what to do now.

Season two of “Search Party” could very well take the series into the anthology genre. It’s very different in style from the first season. No longer are we trying to piece together the mystery of the crime, but instead, we see all four friends unravel in the aftermath of a crime they covered up together. Guilt is the overarching theme of the season, as well as how it affects everyone differently. This season has allowed each actor to shine in their role, giving us their best performances to date. We watch as Dory spirals out of control with paranoia and guilt as she tries to come to terms with what she did, but her involvement with Keith keeps her tied up in the mess. Drew has isolated himself from the group since he and Dory broke up, and he deals with his guilt in a series of really stupid acts of self-sabotage. Elliot’s plan of pretending it never happened backfires as he falls apart — both emotionally and physically, as his hair is actually falling out. Finally, Portia has, for the most part, kept her unwavering optimism, but as she gets herself involved in a new play surrounding the Manson murders with a really twisted director (played by the great Jay Duplass) that doesn’t seem like it’s going to last.

Though the show has shifted quite a bit stylistically, they’ve managed to keep their tone and dark humor the same. It would be ridiculous not to credit that to John Early, who plays Elliot. His performance as the narcissist and liar of the group — lest we not forget he lied about having cancer for years — continues to bring some of the best lines of the show. As mentioned above, watching him unravel this season has shown us an entirely new and human side to Elliot, but he is still absolutely hilarious. Also, his wardrobe has to be acknowledged, because it is just as extra as he is (Shout out to costume designer Matthew Simonelli).

Fans of the first season — prepare to have yourself taken in an entirely new direction. Some may love it, others may hate it, but we can all breathe a sigh of relief that the core of the show — the cast members — is at its best this season. The first four episodes have set us up for what I can only imagine is going to be an insane ending to the story, and I have trust in them — especially in John Early, you genius — to do it in the same dark, twisted and hilarious way they did it last season.

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