Somehow I knew a guy with a too-loud speaker setup would be at the heart of humanity’s downfall. There is no need for music to be that loud! It distorts the audio profile, and now it has deafened Dory to her friends’ begging her not to start the zombocalypse. Dag.
Let’s look at the players in the world’s end: We’ve got a true-crime-it girl (Dory), a tech-guru false prophet (Tunnel), a “scientist” more interested in clicks than in scientific rigor (Ritchie), and a self-centered Big City Gay who changes morals at the drop of a hat (Elliott). If even one of them were even a slightly better person, this wouldn’t be happening. If Tunnel didn’t try to exploit Dory, if he hadn’t equipped his lab for bullshit with real dangerous compounds, if Dory had ever listened to one person in her entire life who told her to stop, if Ritchie wasn’t so eager to please, if he read one (1) book about the scientific method, and if Elliott chose honesty literally once … there wouldn’t be a show. Okay never mind.
We begin the episode where the last left off, with Winnie chowing down on Yoga Jones. Her husband tries to save her, but he gets a neck chomp for his trouble. They always go for the neck, don’t they? A full tackle, then a big snack of neck meat. Before things can go full zombie outbreak, the FBI comes to arrest everyone. Rather than put Winnie down, they just tie her up in the back of the Tunnel Industries self-driving police car.
Meanwhile, Dory and Drew have stolen the late hippie’s van and are planning to unleash enlightenment on all of NYC. They sing along to “Age of Aquarius,” either as a campy acknowledgment of how crunchy they’ve become or because they’re that deep in the patchouli at this point. Side note: Which is the most offensive lyric in that song, and why is it “mystic crystal revelations”? Disgusting.
The captured cultists are worried about the legal consequences of their actions, but they shouldn’t be because more existential consequences are riding the roof of the FBI van. Something is shaking the van, and the FBI guys investigate it, only to get pulled up top and eaten by zombie Constance Shulman. P.S. How did the self-driving car not notice an older lady zombie surfing on the van, Teen Wolf style? This is a tiny quibble compared to my biggest plotting question, but more on that later.
Meanwhile, there’s trouble in paradise for newlyweds Chantal and Liquorice. Liquorice takes it as evidence of Chantal’s eventual coupling with the little boy that a 93-year-old man with the same last name is in the paper. She predicts “Cannibals, flames, total annihilation,” and it will all be Chantal’s fault. The way Kathy Griffin says Chantal, like Squirtle, is killing me. Apparently, it’s also killing Liquorice, as she collapses at the end of the scene, seeming to have a heart attack.
Dory and Drew stop for breakfast at a diner, where Drew describes his grilled cheese as “Scrum-diddly-dum-dumcious,” a term Winnie now saves for neck meat and neck meat alone. “No thoughts, head empty” follower Drew is so funny — his chipper demeanor is such a departure from his usual aura of extreme stress and self-doubt.
The cultists flee to a mafia-run laser-tag establishment. Elliott explains that only Winnie got a real enlightenment jelly bean, and that means she’s probably a zombie, “unless she has a crazy period or something, I don’t know.” Probably for the best that they decide to use the Z-word. Pretending zombie movies don’t exist is always an immersion-breaker in later zombie movies. Just admit you’re following some tropes; it’s okay. We won’t get mad.
That being said, I did find this little dérive into survival horror a little underwhelming. Search Party so often finds a way to inject more humor into its current genre. But I was just stressed out for these idiots. The horror was effective in the laser tag emporium, which meant I didn’t get to laugh as much as I’d like in one of the last episodes of Search Party ever. But I suppose we must honor stakes.
Back in New York, Chantal is at the ER awaiting news on Liquorice. Shoutout to Abby Elliott as Dr. Amanda Baby, the woman who breaks to Chantal that her wife is dead. The soothing bedside manner combined with complete condescension is incredible. Right before she died, Liquorice gave Dr. Baby a letter from the future. We don’t see the letter, but we do see a big old-fashioned key. Oh God, Liquorice had a crazy armory, didn’t she?
At the laser tag, the gang splits up. Ritchie and the cosplayer go with Elliott and Portia, while rollergirl and the Duchess have an Alien moment in the playplace. The zombies have a little echolocation-y clicking sound, which is fun. As is the impromptu stuffed animal armor Ritchie, Elliott, and Portia don to make their escape. El and Portia decide they have to stop Dory and Drew from handing out more pills and potentially ending the world. That makes sense. Their plan to do so is … to drive to New York? Even though Dory and Drew have a several-hour head start and all Portia and Drew can muster for their drive is a go-kart?
Why, I am begging you, do they not just call Dory or Drew? Maybe they don’t have Dory’s new, stolen-from-her-orderly phone number saved, but Drew definitely has his phone. He uses it to show Dory that people are massed at the old Lyte HQ mourning her. Maybe the FBI took their phones. Wait, no, they use a phone for GPS to get to New York. For a show that’s been pretty tech-heavy (Keith’s cell, Chip faking Dory’s Instagram, Dory going messianic on Live), this feels weird. But I suppose we have to get to the moment where Dory and Drew pass out the pills while Coachella music obliterates Elliott and Portia’s screams. It looks like Dory’s vision from the season premiere is coming true, and once again, it’s all her fault.
• RIP to the influencers. You were a hoot; thank you for your service.
• The shots inside the playplace are exquisite. There have been other zombie scenes in family fun centers (see Anna and the Apocalypse), but this was way cuter. It was, dare I say it, an Instagrammable way to go out.
• Elliott says he knows the basic layout for any laser tag place because he camped out in one after coming out.
• What do y’all think is going to happen? I envision Chantal “incredible cluster pattern at the gun range” Witherbottom being the savior of Brooklyn, with all the firepower left to her by her late wife.
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