I’m not a true crime person the way some people are, which is probably why I didn’t jump into Only Murders in the Building when it first dropped. However, I kept hearing really good things from people whose opinions I trusted, and the combination of Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez as the main cast felt too unexpected to ignore. I was very quickly hooked after watching the first episode, and it was one of the most delightful series my husband and I hadn’t previously been anticipating. We did, however, highly anticipate the sophomore season, especially with the cliffhanger ending season one left us with.
This last week, Hulu delivered a truly killer season finale right down to an unexpected casting. With the season having wrapped up, it’s time for me to look back on the highlights of the season.
WARNING: This article contains spoilers for season two of Only Murders in the Building.
1) The music. I’ve said this to my husband several times, but there is just something absolutely delightful about the score and theme song for the series. It’s intriguing, it’s exciting, it’s sometimes haunting, but there’s also this timeless quality to it as well. Composer Siddhartha Khosla has truly crafted something magical to accent the show. The fact that his work for Only Murders in the Building received 2022 Emmy nominations for both the theme song and the score should be zero surprise.
2) The “oh my god” line in the first episode. Such a simple thing, but in the season opener, as our trio comes out of the police station to a sea of cameras, they utter the same line, “oh my god,” but with the sort of inflections that really define each character. Mable’s is an “ugh, I can’t believe this is happening.” Charles gets the “what is happening here?” variation. Oliver’s is more “yay!” That’s it, that’s the characters explained with one line said three ways. It’s still cracking me up.
3) Bunny Folger’s last day. Many of us were not as fond of Bunny Folger when she first debuted in season one, but the third episode covering her final days is an important reminder that this was a person who was murdered. We see through flashbacks that Bunny was being forced into retirement in ways, and that the Arconia really was her life. The most heartbreaking bit might be when she reached out to connect with our favorite trio only to be brushed off and return to her apartment where she was promptly attacked by the killer.
4) Mable’s tragic past and present. This was a hard season for Mable, and that’s saying a lot considering that her childhood friend group blew up when one turned up dead, another was wrongfully accused of it, and a third was threatened into not revealing what actually happened. The show might be a comedy, but it really highlights how public opinion and armchair sleuths combined with the internet can absolutely tear apart a person when public opinion decides their guilty. I’ve seen this play out to a degree in real life with a local disappearance turned homicide, only this time, we are seeing things from the perspective of the accused. There are some important highlights in this article about how the subjects of true crime media often end up exploited. Mable’s past has always had a foundation of tragedy, and we get a peek into the death of her father who was claimed by cancer even as young Mable was being kept in the dark about it. We do see Mable confront part of her past when Theo Dimas steps in to help her at a low and desperate point. Theo admits he is haunted by never knowing if he actually pushed Zoe off the roof or if Zoe stumbled and fell on her own accord during their fight. Mable forgives him for his role in things, and that chapter may finally be closed for her.
5) Charles’s complicated everything. Charles feels like he should have the least complicated relationships in ways, and yet the reality is something else. His father was not only engaging in two affairs but one affair partner, Rose Cooper, painted a nude but valuable painting of his father which ended up in Bunny Folger’s possession because her mother was the other affair partner. There is a fake copy and a real copy of the painting, and when Charles manages to find Rose she shows him that there was a second painting hidden in the frame of Charles and his father, an artistic revelation of who Charles’s father really wanted to be. Romantically, Jan doesn’t seem to think the part where she tried to kill him last season means that they should break up, and Charles even tries to get his old stunt double, played by a scene-stealing Jane Lynch, to do it for him. A Bravos reboot is in the works, but he is not the real focus of it—plus they decide to give Bravos dementia so the studio can easily phase him out if the murder accusation starts to drag down the show. Extra cheers when solving the murder at the end of the season means Bravos is back as full Bravos and Charles awkwardly tries to ask out a lovely lady from make-up. She’s thrilled and sort of finishes the asking out for him because Charles. The best thing happening to him is the return of Lucy, the almost daughter who still means so much to him. In fact, Lucy is the one that shows the trio about the Arconia’s secret passage system and tells them about her brush with the killer on the night of the murder.
6) Oliver and Will. Oliver is actually stepping in and being the sort of father Will really needs, especially when Will gets over his head directing The Wizard of Oz for his kids’ school. The gut punch to this happy moment comes as a school project leads Will to discover he’s not Irish, but Greek, and we watch as Oliver slowly discovers that Will’s biological father is actually Teddy Dimas. Oliver tries to tell Will that the DNA test says their still related, only to later attack Teddy in the elevator while his dog sits calmly through the whole thing. The true moment of feels comes when Will later admits he knows Oliver’s tells and that he lied, but no matter what the DNA says, Oliver is his father as far as he’s concerned.
7) Alice and Mable. Cara Delevingne joins as Alice, a new romantic interest for Mable. The way that the series handles Mable’s coming out has also been praised by some sources. But like many of the other relationships in the series, things are not so simple. A party game hosted by Oliver reveals that Alice is pretty good at deceptive behavior and given the sensational nature of Mable being accused of Bunny’s death and the way Alice sought Mable out, there’s concern about how genuine Alice’s motives are. Things seem to be good for Mable and Alice until Mable is gutted when she discovers Alice using the worst parts of her life as artistic inspiration. Things seem done until Mable reaches out and gets Alice to help with actually revealing the real killer and the season ends with a hint that Mable is renovating her life as well as the apartment at long last. Alice steps in to help, and it finally feels like Alice did see Mable as more than an art subject and is going to help her rebuild her future as something positive.
8) Howard. I may now have an official favorite Arconian resident that is not a member of the trio. Played by Michael Cyril Creighton, Howard has really started stealing scenes left and right, and given the talent of the cast overall, that’s no small feat. My favorite is when he makes a romantic connection with Jonathan during the blackout. Jonathan is a Broadway performer currently performing as a hyena in The Lion King. Howard apparently always wanted to be a performer. Jonathan admits if he wasn’t on Broadway, he’d love to have become a children’s librarian.
“I’m a librarian,” Howard announces.
“That’s our motto.”
That amazing exchange now officially lives rent-free in my head. Just as the new ship launches we worry it hit an iceberg once we discover Jonathan is deadly allergic to cats, but he and Howard are willing to find a way to make it work and Jonathan insists that Howard doesn’t get rid of his cat. These two really need to stay together.
9) The Glitter Bomb. Oliver’s use of weaponizing glitter after the group tries to bait the killer to draw them out is as genius as it is hilarious, and, of course, Oliver would be the one to come up with it. It also works because glitter just does not go away, and the group is alerted that the detective assigned to Bunny’s case, Kreps, is both crooked and clearly involved in things.
10) All Is Not OK in Oklahoma. This is a throwback to the podcast that originally united our trio. Cinda Canning may have originally inspired the trio, but now she’s made them the subject of her newest podcast, and Mable’s reputation is being destroyed by the woman. The more we see of Cinda, the more sympathy we tend to feel for her assistant, Poppy, especially as Cinda steals Poppy’s ideas and refuses to promote her. Poppy drops a few big bombshells, though. One, she IS Becky Butler, the supposed murder victim in the original podcast, and Cinda found Detective Kreps in Oklahoma. In fact, it looks like Kreps set up evidence that got the sleazy mayor arrested for Becky’s murder that never happened, which launched Cinda to higher levels of fame. In fact, Cinda looks like she’s now trying to frame up the trio to take out the competition and give herself more clout.
11) The Killer Reveal Party. A party intended to both reveal the killer and be amazing because of it. When the trio discovers the actual killer, they set up a trap involving residents of the Arconia, Alice, Cinda, and Poppy. It’s set up to look like an attempt to force Cinda Canning to confess with attempts to throw her off her game by exploiting her insecurities on tomato insides and slow motion. Instead, Mable accuses Alice of the crime and Alice moves to fatally stab Charles. It’s not quite over, though. With Alice duct taped to a chair and the police on the way, Cinda Canning praises Mable for her detective work and tells her she should have her own podcast, causing the true murderer, Poppy, to explode in a jealous fury. Charles and Alice had only faked the stabbing, and he pops up and reveals the “blood bag” that let them fake it all. As it turns out, Poppy and Kreps were the ones actually working together, and Poppy was trying to grab the fame she was denied by Cinda. Seeing her and Kreps arrested and led off by Detective Williams is oh-so-very satisfying.
12) The Surprise Guest Star. Our trio gets a year of supposed normalcy. Charles is still dating the make-up artist and is also one of the stars of Oliver’s new Broadway show. The other star, Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd?!), is both a big deal and clearly difficult. There’s some sort of issue between him and Charles over an unnamed “her.” There’s no time to sort it out though as the curtain comes up and Glenroy collapses to his death on the stage, bleeding from his mouth moments after Mable mentioned how nice not having more murders was. Looks like our trio is back in the murder game whether they want to be or not.