The Afterparty Season 2 Review: It’s About The Journey, Not The Destination

The Apple series continues to be a clever whodunnit that doesn't live or die on who-dun-it.

The following is a review of the first nine episodes of The Afterparty Season 2. 

Over the past few years, the comedic murder mystery has quickly become one of the most prominent genres on television. While there’s no denying these shows have always had an audience, there has been a noticeable increase in popularity ever since Only Murders in the Building came out in 2021. Most of them depend on at least one shocking twist, usually the killer’s reveal, to make all the red herrings and misdirects worth it. When they stick the landing, as Only Murders has done twice, it is one of the most satisfying feelings you can get as a viewer. But, when they end abysmally, you yearn for the time you’ve wasted. 

However, there is so much more than the ending when it comes to The Afterparty. Every element of the show – the harmonious cast, each episode’s unique backdrop, and its sharp writing – is woven together flawlessly to create a murder mystery that doesn’t always depend on the fact that there’s a murder.

The Apple TV+ series created by Phil Lord and Chris Miller – the creative geniuses behind Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, The Lego Movie, and 21 Jump Street – debuted early last year to highly positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. The first season follows a group of eccentric characters trapped at their high school reunion afterparty when someone murders one of their fellow alums. In Season 2, Aniq (Sam Richardson) and Zoe (Zoe Chao) return to attend Zoe’s sister’s (Poppy Liu) wedding. Aniq and Zoe find themselves trapped in another whodunnit when the group discovers the groom (Zach Woods) dead the following morning. 


If you’ve read this and think there’s nothing that differentiates this show from other murder mysteries, think again. It wouldn’t be a Lord Miller production without an unconventional, fresh take on the familiar. Each episode of The Afterparty is centered around a character as they recount the previous night’s events from their perspective to Detective Danner (Tiffany Haddish) in order to clear their name. But wait, there’s more! Each one also cleverly spoofs a different film genre that perfectly captures the lens through which that character views the world. In the first season, for example, the episode told from the perspective of Zoe’s hyper-masculine Neanderthal husband (Ike Barinholtz) is written, directed, and acted as if it’s a Fast & The Furious movie. 

Season 2 ups the ante as Lord and Miller are even more creative and specific with the styles/genres they pay homage to. For example, this season brilliantly showcases auteur director Wes Anderson. In a moment where his directorial style has been diluted by an onslaught of TikToks, Lord and Miller use it exceptionally well to highlight the quirky dysfunction of the wealthy family Zoe’s sister is marrying into. These more distinct film influences may be a turn-off for some, but for cinephiles, it will be one big entertaining game of Scene It?

At times, the story does linger unnecessarily, especially since this season has an extra two episodes. Still, it will be easier to digest and less repetitive considering Apple releases it weekly rather than all at once. Comparatively, many felt Only Murders’ second season slumped in the middle, but people didn’t mind because it nailed the ending. What is so noteworthy about The Afterparty is that it doesn’t have to accomplish that heavy feat for you to feel like it was worth your time. 

What also helps is how undeniably funny the show is outside of the genre-jumping format. This season’s ensemble cast is very charming, even if you miss some of the players from last season. Nonetheless, this season’s cast will win you over fairly quickly and keep you on their side for the whole thing, which is especially true for series newcomers Anna Konkle (Pen15), Paul Walter Hauser (I, Tonya), and stand-out Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds). 


Similarly to Apple TV+’s musical-comedy series, Schmigadoon!, it didn’t feel entirely necessary when Apple announced a second season of The Afterparty. But, as Schmigadoon! did with its second season, The Afterparty‘s newest entry proves that a show has as much creative juice in it as its creators have in them. Lord and Miller have demonstrated time and time again that they aren’t running out of ideas any time soon. Without knowing the conclusion, it’s safe to say that no matter how you feel about The Afterparty‘s ending, you’ll be more than glad you accepted the invitation.

The first two episodes of The Afterparty Season 2 debut Wednesday, July 12 exclusively on Apple TV+. New episodes premiere every following Wednesday.