Over the course of The Afterparty so far, the series has put their own slant on rom-coms, musicals, thrillers, and more all while trying to solve the murder of international superstar, Xavier. In the latest episode, it takes on the teen party flick while revisiting the events that occurred during the infamous Saint Patrick’s Day fifteen years ago.
“High School” places the invisible man, Walt, into the spotlight. It’s comical that even within his own story, he’s merely a side character. However, this is to the viewer’s advantage since it grants him access to key scenes and conversations from the past that fill in blanks in the present. The often-referenced party was a turning point for so many.
With the flashbacks, The Afterparty provides insight in how the events shaped the show’s characters. It was the start of Eugene’s evolution into his douchey and skeevy Xavier persona. That coincides with the tarnishing of Chelsea’s reputation due to a lie leading to her breakdown. More importantly, Aniq is the person who lost the most that day and should have one of the biggest grudges against the pop singer.
Learning what happened to these two only makes them more likeable. How they’ve reached good stages in their mental health despite what they’ve endured is commendable. Even if it happens a little late for Chelsea and for Aniq, he could have achieved more than someone who designs escape rooms. Speaking of which, seeing his playfulness and flirtations with his crush as a teen makes you want to ship Aniq and Zoë even more. Then again, how successful would their relationship be if they got together then? The distance of college would have made it difficult so maybe it’s better timing they reconnect now.
For the most part, it’s been fun and games so far on the series but this episode goes into some uncomfortable places. It never goes all in but even skimming the surface alters the tone with themes of consent and white privilege. The more serious shift emphasizes how life-changing the party was. As significant for some is finally learning the truth all this time later, which could lead to interesting possibilities moving forward.
With the latest revelations, The Afterparty is stacking the deck against our dear Aniq especially with a clearer picture of what happened that Saint Patrick’s Day. The added adversity will only make him clearing his name more meaningful. In addition, you can’t sleep on Walt. Jamie Demetriou’s performance gradually builds tension within the character each time he’s forgotten or dismissed. At some point he’s going to blow and killing one of the world’s biggest celebrities will make sure no one will forget your name.
“High School” is the least genre-esque episode so far. The lack of adolescent craziness is noticeable along with no chic, cinematic party shots. As a teen story, the episode is rather straight forward and generic. There are familiar conversations high school seniors have such as the reflection on the next stage in life and last chances at love. Throw in a magical moment to seal a romance as well. Although, it is amusing to see the attempts to make the cast look younger and it does hit some nostalgia notes with the fashion, soundtrack and mix CDs.
The reveals and character development from the notorious Saint Patrick’s Day party didn’t disappoint but the execution of the genre underwhelms.
New episodes of The Afterparty are released Fridays on Apple TV+.
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