The Afterparty Season 1 Episode 2 Review: Brett

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Buckle up — it’s going to be a hell of a ride.

On The Afterparty Season 1 Episode 2, Brett tells his side of the story, which clarifies some confusion but stirs up even more questions. 

If there’s anything to take away from this episode, it’s that anyone can be the hero of a story if you know how to frame it.

Brett was not exactly a likable character in The Afterparty Season 1 Episode 1, but that was mainly from Aniq’s point of view. But then, why would Aniq view his romantic interest’s ex-husband favorably?

Even in his own story, Brett struggles with self-awareness and tends towards being immature and irresponsible. However, he sees himself as a badass father who’s just trying to do right by his daughter. That’s his narrative, and he’s sticking to it.

It makes sense that Brett’s story is told as an action movie. They are generally male fantasies, and Brett can justify his actions by painting himself as a sympathetic hero who is also super tough and cool. Ike Barinholtz sinks his teeth into every trope, getting to be cool, funny, despicable, and even slightly sympathetic. 

It’s a typical action movie set up: Brett just wants a relationship with his wife so they can be a family again. He doesn’t want to do the emotional work, though (as Zoe points out to him) — he wants to do cool shit like computer hacking and car chases to save the day and prove himself as a worthy dad and husband.

He’s even got his signature phrase:

You have my word. And my word is my bond. It’s the only thing I’ve got that’s worth a damn.

The way Brett’s flashbacks are shot is typical of the genre as well. He gets a cool intro card, the cuts are quick, and there are SO many orbital shots — even during simple conversations, just to hammer home the point that everything is always moving, the adrenaline is always flowing. This guy never stops. 

There’s even the classic fistfight with a nameless goon to gain access to the building from which our “hero” has been barred. The use of whatever convenient props are lying around and delivering badass one-liners is spot-on.

You got skills, but you ain’t got a skillet.

And of course, he’s doing it for noble reasons — his little girl is the reason behind it all. Never mind that he’s constantly endangering her. It was a relief that Detective Danner didn’t let this go unchecked. Despite Brett’s narrative of the car chase, the real Maggie was probably terrified during this sequence of events. 

It’s worth noting that Everly Carganilla, who plays Maggie, is a delightful little actor and her delivery of some of these comedic lines is spot-on. She’s a treasure, treading the line between precocious and cloying. 

The “koala extraction” is such an innocuous reason for all this mayhem and violence, but again, that’s typical of these types of films. As a parent, though, there are things we do for our children’s happiness that often feel like epic quests with dire consequences upon failure. 

Brett: Where’s the koala?
Aniq: Sorry, bud. I don’t have the “koalafications.”

The whole thing is a clever satire of the genre and a send-up of toxic masculinity. There’s even a LITERAL pissing contest, which sets up Brett’s conflict with Xavier. 

If we didn’t see Brett how he sees himself, we might actually believe that he’s responsible for Xavier’s death.

Throughout the episode, their rivalry grows until, at last, they confront each other in Xavier’s room. The intense whispering of insults feels almost like flirting — guys love feeding off each other. It’s supposed to be about the woman, but as the threats culminate, her presence becomes a moot point.

Those hungry hungry hippos have lost their marbles.

Xavier

When she leaves, Brett finally realizes his folly. He was so blind to Zoe’s needs that he didn’t know Xavier wasn’t the threat. Brett couldn’t even conceive of the fact that a caring, quiet, funny guy could be the one that sparked his ex-wife’s interest. 

Notice that Zoe wears fishnets in Brett’s flashbacks, but none of the other scenes. It reinforces how he sees her — she’s sexy, but he resents her putting that sexuality on display for anyone but him. She’s supposed to be a mom and wife.

What kind of fun are we talking about? A few glasses of wine with the girls fun or like drink hard go hard make mistakes that you regret in the morning kind of fun?

It’s typical of the way male action heroes want their women. It’s an issue that doesn’t go unnoticed. They look for flaws outside themselves, unaware that the problem usually stems from them. 

What becomes clear here is how great this cast is in altering the way they portray themselves — even if it’s ever so slightly — to fit how they are seen from the points of view of the other characters. Everyone’s up for it and clearly having a blast.

It also really hammers home that we are all at the center of our own narratives, but it can be very easy to get so stuck in your story that you can’t see what’s actually happening in reality. (“Koala” vs. “I’ll kill ya!”)

Brett not only realized this, but when Aniq and Yasper overheard, Aniq realized this, too — that Brett never saw him as a threat.

Now, there are a few more clues to the mystery that happened on this episode that we should note:

When Brett is “hacking into the mainframe,” he types his password — “diarrhea.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that Brett is the one who wrote the “revenge” note, but it’s too specific a detail to dismiss. He could potentially be the one who wrote it on Aniq’s face.

When he has to go after Maggie, Brett tells Zoe that he shit his pants. Zoe’s response is, “Again?” — so she knows he has diarrhea issues. Is she somehow setting him up? 

It’s possible, but looking closer at the revenge note, you can see it all rhymes, which suggests it is lyrics. Yasper could have written it, but odds are it was Xavier who wrote it (it IS his bathroom), and Xavier could have easily graffitied Aniq’s face before his death. 

Does Xavier know about Brett shitting his pants? Was that something that happened at that fateful St. Patrick’s Day? Chelsea is working on some plans — revenge — after what happened then, when she had her breakdown, because of something Xavier did.

Until we hear her version of events, Chelsea remains extremely suspicious during these proceedings.

We also get the re-occurring joke of Walt asking people if they know his name. Again, it keeps getting put in there as a joke, but — and bear with me, here — what if his name ISN’T Walt and he’s hiding something huge?

Don’t sleep on Walt. Or whatever his name is. 

Danner and Culp remain an oddball team, with Danner desperate to find the answers and Culp just hoping he doesn’t get in trouble. Their interplay is always comedically on point. Also, Danner’s impatience and contempt for Brett’s BS was the perfect response.

Steve Urkel was someone I had a huge crush on. He was the first black man that I ever heard of that had his own cereal, okay?

Detective Danner

The promise of the ringer detective is being built up now — he’s definitely going to shake things  up when he does arrive. Will he discover the secret camera in Xavier’s room that could solve this entire mystery?

For every little mystery that gets explained, another few pop up to take its place. It’s impossible not to be hooked by this point.

What did you think of this episode, fanatics? Did you notice any more little homages to action movies? What little details or clues popped out at you? Share your theories in the comments!

Mary Littlejohn is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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