'Search Party' Season 3 Review: Dory is a despised murderer in show's hilariously satisfying return
The show creators know that their strengths lie in the eccentricities of the characters, not just the four protagonists but also the supporting cast
Spoilers for 'Search Party' Season 3
Season 3 of 'Search Party' is a long time coming. Ever since the second season ended in 2017, the limited but loyal fanbase of the show has been adamant that it return. Their demands were fulfilled when HBO announced that the show would move from TBS, its original home, to the new streaming service HBO Max. And it is safe to say that the years-long wait has been worth it as creators Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers and Michael Showalter offer the audiences what is perhaps the most hilarious, suspenseful instalment of the underrated show.
Following the bizarre, nail-biting adventures of Dory Sief (Alia Shawkat) and her best friends Drew Gardner (John Reynolds), Portia Davenport (Meredith Hagner) and Elliott Goss (John Early) that usually end on surprising notes, Season 3 stays true to its characteristics keeping intact the mystery at its course till the very end.
After Dory enlists the help of her friends for looking into the disappearance of Chantal Witherbottom (Clare McNulty) in Season 1, she sets on a determined path to find the truth. By the end of it, she finds herself and also her then-boyfriend Drew in the bloody mess that is the murder of Keith Powell (Ron Livingston). In Season 2, the gang spends most of their time trying to hide their crimes. But it doesn't take long for someone to discover the truth and then blackmail them. Drew and Dory's neighbour April has in her possession a cassette tape that contains a confession of sorts that incriminates the gang. This leads to the second crime in the series — April's murder at the hands of Dory. Only this time, it wasn't an accident. It was fully intended.
'Search Party' is a keen exploration into remorse and indifference as Drew and Dory get ready for their trial. It takes no time for them to become a national favorite as the sensational nature of the murder leaves the media in a frenzy.
As Drew (rightly) struggles with guilt and remorse, Dory, on the other hand, strongly believes that she is not a murderer. She doesn't want you telling her otherwise. In fact, on one occasion, a desperate Drew wants her to accept at least once that they did commit a crime regardless of what the courts say. But Dory completely rejects anything and anyone who confronts her with the truth.
Our favourite running gag this season is how they showed the difference between the media's portrayal of a male murderer and a female killer. While Drew gets pasta, coy smiles, support and even sex from women who believe in his innocence, Dory is hassled, harassed, abused, called names and even spat on for killing Keith. The most enjoyable episode in the season was 'Rogue Witness' Episode 7 when Elliott takes the stand for the defence. In doing so, he completely unravels his life as the prosecution is keen on playing on this life as a liar. If you thought Elliott is a shameless, opportunistic liar, you don't know him at all. Yes, no one really knows who he is!
Meanwhile, Portia tries to grapple with losing all sense of control. Hence turning to religion for solace. It helps until it doesn't. In the last season, the very impressionable Portia spends an increasing amount of time with her director Elijah (Jay Duplass), but with him gone now, is very much lost for direction.
Season 3 of 'Search Party' is undoubtedly hilarious. The creators know that their strengths lie in the eccentricities of the characters on the show, not just the four protagonists (who shine throughout the season) but also the supporting cast.
New additions to the season also deserve praise namely Shalita Grant's Cassidy Diamonds, Dory's lawyer, and Michaela Watkins as Polly, the prosecutor. Both actresses add immense value to the courtroom drama that ensues in Season 3.
Why we consider the show underrated is because it deserves far more recognition than it gets. Strong characters ground in hilarious backstories, a tight narrative and a suspenseful story with twists and turns make Season 3 a very satisfying watch. Three long years of patience is rewarded with an instalment that will leave you in splits throughout and still have you wanting more.
All episodes of 'Search Party' are currently streaming on HBO Max.