FILM reviews

REVIEW: Search Party’s Chaotic Season Four

The mysterious, dark comedy, Search Party, debuted in 2016 as a quirky and reasonably thrilling watch with a basic premise: four 20-something New Yorkers attempt to find a missing person who they barely know. Four seasons later, the premise still holds in some way or another, except this time, the missing person is anew. It’s Dory Seif.

Each season of Search Party has its own specificity. But without a doubt, every season revolves around the same entitled group of friends trying to prove themselves in some way. In the first season, they wanted to prove they could find Chantal. In the second, they needed to prove that they could go on with their lives after Keith’s murder. And in the third, they needed to prove they didn’t kill Keith to America. But this fourth season was a convergence of every secret and trepidation these characters held onto, and how that unraveling almost cost another life.

The beginning scene of season four is nothing but entrancing. Here she is, Dory Seif, fresh off a murder trail she should have been guilty for, with a shaved head being chained up in an unidentifiable basement. The season three finale made it evident that season four would center a new character, Dory’s stalker, but no one could have been prepared for how psychotic and traumatizing this new character turns to be. Chip, an eccentric and universally odd stalker turned kidnapper, has managed to take Dory from New York City all the way to a small town in Massachusetts. After forcing Dory to recite a fake indication that she is happy where she is, Chip tells Dory she can go home. But home doesn’t exactly mean New York.

The psychotic Chip created an exact replica of Dory and Drew’s apartment built out of felt fabric in the basement of his aunt’s home. While the set designer deserves endless awards for the brilliance of this faux apartment, there is only unpleasantness surrounding Dory’s new home. She cannot shower, she is fed the same food every day, and how she was able to use the felt bathroom is still a question that needs to be answered.  

Ultimately this season turns into a quest for Drew, Elliot, and Portia to rescue Dory, just as they are all accepting their post-trial lives. Drew tries to escape his past life by working at an amusement park, Elliot attempts to be a right-wing pundit, and Portia is somehow playing Dory in a movie about their lives. But the most pivotal point in this season is Dory’s transition from pre-trial to life after her almost-conviction. This season begs the momentous question of “how do you live after killing someone?” It’s something all four of these characters face, but the unraveling of Dory’s realisation to this question is gripping. There is so much to expect with each season of Search Party, and this season is nothing short of that. With the pandemic surrounding our everyday lives, watching four 20-somethings struggle to accept their lives as killers is the perfect escape.

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