Why You Should Be Afraid of Dory's Cult Leader Persona on Search Party

Is it all peace and love for Search Party's Dory? See what stars Alia Shawkat, Meredith Hagner, John Early and John Reynolds had to say about the character's new lease on life.

By Alyssa Ray Jan 08, 2022 1:00 AMTags
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Warning: Below features spoilers from the new season of Search Party.

It's the age of Dory, and you better get on board with it or face the consequences.

Over the course of Search Party's run, we've seen Dory, played by the brilliant Alia Shawkat, be an amateur private detective, a political volunteer, a cold-hearted killer and a kidnapping victim. So, for the fifth and final season, Dory is donning a new eccentric personality: A full-blown cult leader.

Following her near-death experience at the end of season four, Dory has awaken in a hospital with a new lease on life. This, of course, inspires good friends Drew (John Reynolds), Elliott (John Early) and Portia (Meredith Hagner) to have Dory institutionalized. Though Dory makes the most of her time inside, spreading her ideologies about life and death with the hospital's staff, she is forced to escape after the doctors refuse to discharge her.

Dory goes on to reunite with her friends, who are initially put off by her peace and love vibe. However, in typical Dory fashion, she is able to persuade the gang to sign onto her new mindset. 

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They aren't the only ones, as she begins to amass a following online thanks to very heady Instagram Lives. In fact, billionaire Tunnel Quinn (Jeff Goldblum) even begins drinking the Dory Kool-Aid, and pitches a business opportunity for the newly enlightened millennial. While we're happy that Dory has finally found some purpose after all these years, we can't help but worry that the show's anti-hero is more dangerous than ever.

And it seems we're not alone in this thought, as, in an exclusive chat with E! News, the show's stars weighed in on Dory's new and troubling cult leader persona.

"I think that in her mind, she's finally at peace," Shawkat shared. "She's finally forgiven herself for everything and the search has landed to her finding her own truth. So in a way, I think it's kind of scary, because it's unsettling to see her be so happy, for someone who has done such horrific things."

And, no, Dory isn't just playing a role, as Shawkwat noted, "she really believes that she's seen the truth, and I think one person's conviction can go a long way."

Expressing a similar sentiment, Reynolds highlighted that, this time around, Dory "ends up getting power in people's ear in a way that she hasn't."

As for Hagner? "I think it's the most terrifying after watching The Vow and that stuff," she relayed, "of the type of person that's, like, 'I'm here to do good.' And then, there's malicious intent or whatever it is."

For those unfamiliar with The Vow, the true crime docu-series takes a closer look at Keith Ranierewho was found guilty in 2019 of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and attempted sex trafficking—his self-help company, NXIVM, and the turmoil those who joined the business faced.

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Even though Drew, Portia and Elliott know what Dory is capable of, they still find themselves drawn to her and her manipulative ways. "Once they bury the body in season two," Early explains of the group's unconventional bond, "it's like, there's kind of no turning back from that as hard as they try. Even though they could be, and they are, like opportunistic about their kind of fame, they're still kind of never going to be really welcomed with warmth back into society. So I think they're just always kind of bonded to her."

Jon Pack/HBO Max

Not to mention, as Early put it best, Dory, Drew, Portia and Elliott "like hanging out," adding, "even if they have to hang out under horrible circumstances, at least they get to be with each other."

For more of Dory and company, watch season five of Search Party, streaming now on HBO Max.

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