John Cho almost single-handedly delivers the best episode of the season thus far.
This recap of The Afterparty Season 2 Episode 7, “Ulysses”, contains spoilers.
“Ulysses” is the best episode of The Afterparty Season 2 thus far because of one reason: John Cho, who has been firing on all cylinders since the beginning but has had disappointingly little to do until now.
Cho’s titular episode predictably delivers on the oddly sophisticated silliness that Ulysses has brought to the season’s mystery until this point, but it also provides a surprisingly human contour that shouldn’t work in context, but that Cho absolutely sells regardless. The man’s a treasure.
The Afterparty Season 2 Episode 7 Recap
Ulysses’s episode takes the form of… well, it’s a little harder to identify this week, to be honest. It’s an unexpected romance story, a self-aggrandizing tale of jet-setting adventure, and a kind of interpretive dance anthology wherein Ulysses uses different jigs as signposts for crucial moments in his story. It’s probably the most formally experimental the season has been, but the episode is good in spite of this rather than because of it.
It’s all building to two obvious questions: Why was Ulysses at the wedding, and what was he doing with that glass?
Who was Ulysses in love with?
In a surprising revelation, Ulysses begins his story in Kuwait. He wasn’t in the army, you understand, but with the army, part of a USO morale-boosting dance troupe until a bomb leaves one of his teammates with a missing foot and sends Ulysses home to sleep-dance his way through PTSD.
As a way to promote healing, Feng encourages Ulysses to team up with Vivian in competitive ballroom dancing. As they sweep the nation, they also sweep each other off their feet – it’s just like Dancing with the Stars – and begin a passionate affair.
Mimicking the trajectory of this season’s other affair, the stress of leading a double life proves too much for Vivian, who calls the whole thing off, so Ulysses dances in the rain to a jazzy version of “Careless Whisper” by George Michael.
Why did Ulysses leave? And why did he come back for the wedding?
Of course, playing the role of “funcle” was a natural fit for Ulysses, but it only became more difficult over time. When Feng eventually puts two and two together about the affair and banishes Ulysses for good, it seems like Ulysses is happy to leave and spare himself the pain.
However, Ulysses is coaxed back to the wedding by Edgar, who mentions something that hadn’t actually occurred to him until that point: That he might be Grace’s biological father, given the time frame of the affair.
So, Ulysses returned for the wedding, a part of him hoping to discover if Grace was really his daughter, lending some emotional new context to that bit depicted in previous episodes where Edgar fled the first dance and Ulysses stepped in to replace him.
What was Ulysses doing with the glass?
This ties into the crucial question of what Ulysses was doing with the glass at the afterparty. As it turns out, he was swabbing Grace’s DNA so that he can conduct his own paternity test, despite Vivian having earlier claimed that she did one years ago and confirmed Feng is her father.
Ulysses hasn’t sent the sample away yet so as not to disrupt the festivities, so we don’t actually know if he’s Grace’s father or not, but I’d suspect the perfectly-choreographed first dance, clearly meant to call back to earlier scenes with Vivian, is intended to imply that he is.
The Afterparty Season 2 Episode 7 Ending Explained
The episode ends with some matters cleared up – we know what the big “secret” Vivian and Edgar were talking about is now, and there’s no reason to doubt what Ulysses was doing with the glass – and some more possibilities being presented.
Of course, Zoe is still very much in denial about her parents’ potential involvement, which is going to become increasingly problematic since Feng is now a likely suspect and is next in line to be interviewed – especially since Vivian and Feng initially refuse to be interviewed, which is, you know, suspicious.
And there’s also the fact that Zoe doesn’t actually know about Ulysses and Vivian’s affair and Grace’s potential parentage, and Aniq now does. Oh, and Zoe and Travis have reached out to the social media intern, Kyler, who Feng had film the entire event, to get access to the raw video footage, so we’ve got that coming as well.
You can stream The Afterparty Season 2 Episode 7, “Ulysses”, exclusively on Apple TV+.