The sophomore season of Apple TV’s hilarious murder mystery series, The Afterparty, has finally arrived, albeit with decidedly less bite. Prepare to shift from a high school reunion afterparty to a wedding afterparty—would the presence of another dead body really surprise anyone at this point? Returning from season 1 are a handful of familiar faces, including poorly-attended escape room designer Aniq (Sam Richardson) and his crush-turned-girlfriend, Zoe (Zoe Chao), as well as Germaine (Tiffany Haddish), no longer a detective but hard at work writing an “X Marks the Murder Spot” book, based on the events of season one. Apart from this core three, season 2 of The Afterparty is still mostly written by creator Christopher Miller, and features a brand-new cast of varied suspects. Season 1 cleverly mixed things up by having each episode recount the night of the murder from a different perspective; this one continues the trend, but its tales too often retread already-covered ground. Simply filling in tiny blanks rather than delivering anything substantial is rather frustrating, especially in a mystery show.

A similarly-stylized opening credits greet us for all episodes of The Afterparty, tied into recurring, creative imagery such as safes, cakes, and hallucinogens. As our season begins, Aniq and Zoe find themself at the scene of another crime. Zoe’s sister, Grace (Poppy Liu), has just wed the bizarre and very quiet Edgar (Zach Woods). Somehow, the unthinkable has happened on the morning of their wedding night. Grace has awoken to discover Edgar’s dead body! Aniq calls up Germaine to help him solve the murder without yet involving the actual cops. Who has killed Edgar, and why? Finding out will be no easy matter, obviously again requiring us to go down the rabbit hole of every major character’s individual perspective.

Even more than season 1, this second helping of murder gives us episodes so specific that they exist in the fantasyland of each person’s mind. Last time around, the most high-concept of the bunch had elaborate musical numbers, and another was fully animated. Now, things are even more weirdly specific. The more outrageous ones land pretty well—Paul Walter Hauser’s Travis, an ex of Grace’s that has shown up to her wedding for some reason, gets a clever black-and-white noir episode, and another led by Edgar’s sister, Hannah (Anna Konkle), seems a tribute to Wes Anderson. Scene-stealer Elizabeth Perkins plays Edgar’s cold mother, Isabel, leading to an eventual epic reading of Hanson’s “MMMBop” in her episode.

The broader ones are less successful. The worst follows Zoe’s father, Feng (Ken Jeong), in a found footage format, fully adorned with an annoying TikTok voice to narrate. Ironically enough, my favorite episode this season is the only one that doesn’t forward the plot at all; rather, it turns back the clock to examine why Germaine really left the force. This Michael Ealy guest-starring diversion has the single funniest sequence of the entire season—a sex scene featuring spaghetti, meatballs, condiments, and bagels. Embracing the absurdity really works, proving the mystery of it all has never been the point. What other show has a tiny lizard coughing after eating Taiwanese shaved ice?

Season 1 lasted a tight eight episodes, and in comparison, season 2’s ten-episode run seems a little overstuffed and undercooked. Still, The Afterparty is not without its charms. Rarely is the show ever bad, and at least the eye candy of Dave Franco has been replaced with the eye candy of adorkable Brit, Jack Whitehall. As his character Sebastian claims in his episode, he becomes the veritable “face, ass, and abs” of the season. Critics were given all but the finale, calling into question whether this season will manage to stick the landing, or end up a frustrating afterthought. If renewed, The Afterparty has a long way to go to make it back towards the brilliance of its unforgettable darkly comedic debut.

Turn in your wedding invitation when the second season of The Afterparty debuts its first two episodes on Wednesday, July 12th.

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