Warning: This post contains spoilers from the Search Party season 2 finale, which aired Sunday on TBS. Read at your own risk!
The second season of TBS’ Search Party ended with a double whammy.
As Elliot (John Early), Portia (Meredith Hagner), and Drew (John Reynolds) tied up loose ends because they assumed they’d be arrested soon, Dory (Alia Shawkat) made a last-ditch effort to save her friends by meeting with April (Phoebe Tyers), who was blackmailing them with evidence of the murder they committed in season 1. Unfortunately, April made it clear she had no intention of ever letting this entitled squad ever forget what they did and would continue to terrorize them (Watch their intense confrontation in the exclusive clip above). Seeing no other option, Dory pushed April over the edge of the Staten Island Ferry.
Yes, Dory purposefully committed murder, unlike in the season 1 finale when Keith (Ron Livingston) died on accident. Unfortunately, it’s all for naught, because the episode ends with the police interrupting Mary’s (J. Smith Cameron) election victory party and arresting Dory for Keith’s murder. Thus, as the season closes, we’re left wondering which one of her friends cracked under the pressure and turned her in: Was it Elliott, Portia, or Drew?
EW hopped on the phone with co-creators Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers to discuss this shocking finale.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you know from the beginning of the season that it would end with Dory getting arrested?
SARAH-VIOLET BLISS: No, it took a long time to figure out the season. We didn’t know immediately how we wanted to end it, but when we came to the conclusion, it felt good and right.
CHARLES ROGERS: But it’s weirdly something we kept coming back to over and over. I guess it did feel right to us because it was one of our first ideas. So coming back to it was like, “Oh right, we kept trying to do this over and over.”
When you settled on it, why did you think it was necessary for Dory to be arrested for the story to work?
BLISS: We needed her to have some consequences and also open the idea of who turned her in and having this now very intentional murder have also been for nothing, because one of her main motivations for that was to protect herself, but moreover her friends. Now someone has put in an anonymous tip, and she’s getting in trouble despite the fact that she got rid of and took care of what she thought was her greatest threat.
What went into the decision to have Dory kill April in the finale?
ROGERS: It was a few things. Because the first season ends in a murder and the second season also ends in a murder, we didn’t want it to feel like we were retreading territory. We felt like we had to do that or something. It was important to us that this murder felt very different from the first one for a number of reasons. One, this is impulse, but it’s also a decision, whereas the first murder wasn’t. If Dory had wanted there to be a mystery or fantasy in the first season and she found out that wasn’t the case, I think this season kind of evolved into a little bit of like a genre departure at times because now they’re living in a thriller, because of the consequences of the first season. This murder is a little bit more fantastical or more cinematic than the first one because now she is leaning into this sort of post-trauma world, which is like a thriller world. She’s protecting herself and her friends and her future by killing April. So it’s both a decision that’s a little bit carnal, but it’s also out of necessity to some justified extent.
April’s main gripe with the group is their entitlement. How did you land on giving April that motivation?
ROGERS: It was very important that April be like a foil to Dory and the friends, and that her gripe with them be very personal and that it be a reflection of her own frustration with the world. Even though these characters are grounded — and hopefully people can relate to the way in which they’re suffering and the denial and avoidance and all the stuff that comes with killing someone — they’re also still archetypically and symbolically representative of frivolous people today, and this show always continues to be a satire of that subculture.
BLISS: April [can] see what they can’t see about themselves, and she’s cathartically illustrating it for Dory right in that moment.
Season 2 was written earlier this year. How weird was it when Julian’s sexual harassment storyline suddenly became very timely?
BLISS: I’m glad that this is happening right now, and not just because of our show. It’s not as much of a joke as it could feel now, and I think that that’s good and that it’s really resonating with people and the fact that she’s — we never say this, but you [could] assume — a white woman feminist and she does understand the racial implications or she doesn’t. A lot is going on, and the world is now recognizing that and that’s good.
ROGERS: Yeah, the point of it for us months ago before any of this happened was really just, Julian is somebody who thinks he really owns right and wrong, and is like a do-gooder at heart, and he’s put his faith in somebody who doesn’t respect him back. That was the most interesting thing about it, for us. It’s weird how much it’s resonating right now, but there was this alt-right website that posted a review of this episode. I did it on Insta story today, and it’s really funny how they don’t really know what to make of it. They’re like, “It’s definitely like the liberal candidate, and Dory and Julian are liberal-leaning people, and Dory once accused the police of only shooting black teens. It’s interesting. I don’t know?” That’s like their comments on it.
Which website was this?
ROGERS: It’s called MRC NewsBusters: “Exposing and combatting liberal media bias.”
Given what’s happened in Hollywood, would you have approached this storyline any differently if you were writing right now?
BLISS: Weirdly, no. I think it worked out.
ROGERS: Yeah, I’m glad we didn’t have to spend more hours over-thinking it.
As you mentioned, season 2 was a departure from season 1 in that the show became this thriller. If you return for season 3, can we expect another genre change? If so, what might the genre be?
ROGERS: We’re still working through that because for one, it’s kind of fun to announce. This last season, when we announced that this was going to be more of a thriller with Hitchcock in mind and the posters came out, it was a fun symbolic moment for us to reveal that. For sure the show will continue to follow in the path of what it’s set up. In terms of genre, the stakes are so high now, so that’s going to really factor into the way we portray the story next season.