Only Murders in the Building returned for its third season—and it’s clear that the third time may just be the charm.
*** WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Only Murders in the Building Season 3 Episode 1 and 2 ***
OMITB Season 1 and 2 were fantastic, and just when you thought they reached a wall in terms of murders at the Arconia, the creative forces have managed to recreate the third season by infusing it with some of the best of the best of a successful whodunit.
The theater setting was a wonderful pivot as it naturally embodies a mysterious vibe—not to mention the play, Death Rattle, was about a murder mystery. And then there’s the new crop of suspects that not only look suspicious but come with motives as well that the season will get to explore on a deeper level as the core trio—Mabel (Selena Gomez), Charles (Steve Martin), and Oliver (Martin Short)—follow the breadcrumbs.
All the suspects are very intriguing in their own right but particularly Meryl Streep’s Loretta. Watching Streep in her element is a breathtaking experience—from her initial audition for Oliver’s show to her “trying things” and accents in the first table read to her eventual romantic play at the showrunner himself. Streep’s breadth of skills proves that she was made not only for this genre but this series and character, specifically. I’m excited to see what’s to come from Loretta as we pull back the curtains on her complex character, as I’m certain the clues will eventually lead the trio to her door at some point.
It would’ve been fully understandable (and even expected) for a third season of yet another murder mystery set in the same setting to come off as stale, but the core three always keeps us on our toes. They haven’t exactly made too many strides when it comes to character development as they still largely feel like the same people we first met when the show premiered in 2021, however, they are in different places in their lives, which offers new perspective. This also isn’t their first rodeo as they are no longer “amateur sleuths” but seasoned podcasters. Murder is kind of their thing, and they’ve solved two separate homicides in the past, even if they were plenty of hiccups along the way. No one else in the Arconia is more equipped to investigate yet another murder.
At one point, Mabel questions, “Who are we without a homicide,” and she’s right. They may not always get it right—she and Charles did allow themselves to get lured by a stalker and kidnapped right off the bat—but they know that they have what it takes to solve a case that the police think is already put to rest.
We, the audience, also know these characters so well, so we know that even if they get into some hairy situations, we’ll follow them wherever they go. Plus, the banter between the core three is top-notch this season, as are Oliver and Charles’ antics—it never gets old, and it’s one of the reasons we love the show and the chemistry between the trio works so well.
Mabel has relegated herself to the background as she’s not a main presence in the play, taking it all in and observing and sleuthing to pick up on any and all possible clues. If she was around Ben, the victim, more often, she may have been able to sniff out that Gregg was not, in fact, his security guard, but she was so determined to crack the case, she threw caution to the wind. It’s an important reminder that when it comes to murders, you cannot just follow anyone claiming to have information to their house. Lesson learned.
One thing that’s been done differently this season is the red herring of bringing Ben back to the land of the living—his death on stage was a “false alarm” of sorts—only for him to actually die a mere few hours later. Paul Rudd is magnificent… an actual treasure that we need to protect at all costs.
Digging into his character is going to be interesting as he’s made an enemy of just about everyone amid his prolific career. He’s rubbed people the wrong way, so everyone had a motive to kill him, and it’s possible that the person who initially attempted it and the person who actually succeeded are two different people—thus giving us two murder mysteries for the price of one.
We know and love Charles, so there’s no way he’s the murderer, though his connection to Ben, and how getting him fired from Brazzos, shaped his life and self-esteem, is definitely a game-changer and will likely come into play again in the future.
Could it be Loretta, who thinks Ben is an asshole and seemed all too disappointed when he walked into the room alive and well? During his apology tour, he didn’t extend one to her, hissing at her instead, so in a way, he kind of provoked her. I’d be surprised if she didn’t act on her feelings of hatred.
Could it be Donna and her son Cliff as there’s something off and wrong about their incestual vibe? Maybe they wanted to sabotage the play so it never saw the light of day.
Is it Kimber, who seemingly had a romantic fling with Ben as he apologizes for making “everything messy between us,” or is it Ty, who apparently got onto Ben’s bad side for wanting to use his trainer?
Other potential suspects include Jonathan, his understudy, Bobo, who was always told no, or KT, whose revenge would’ve been all about mangoes.
The list is long—and also includes Ben’s brother who seemed to despise working for him and Tobert the documentarian, who maybe got some footage that could help them figure it out—but the coming episodes will hopefully allow Oliver, Charles, and Mabel to whittle it down without accusing too many innocent people (though that seems to be their M.O).
And finally, there’s Oliver’s heart attack, brought on by the stress of everything, including the reviewer telling him that the Broadway show, his comeback of sorts following the failed “Sing,” did not, in fact, sing. He’s told to take it easy and chill out, but anyone who knows Oliver knows that he’s incapable of just sitting back—in a whimsical and dizzying dream that finds Mabel, Charles, and Oliver’s son Will putting on a cabaret (I need more of this!)—he dreams up the idea to give Death Rattle some Putnam-dazzle… all before his arrhythmia gives him a slight poke reminding him of its existence just when Mabel proposes a new season of the podcast. Maybe Oliver will take a step back and let his son in on the investigation. I’d like to see Will play a bigger role!
Another season, another twisted murder mystery at the Arconia (maybe Mabel’s decision to move is a good idea)—and I’m strapping in for the ride for as long as they can milk it.
Only Murders in the Building Season Finale Recap – The Arconia’s Next Victim Revealed (310)
Which one of the Pickwick triplets did it? That was essentially the question haunting the final episode of Only Murders in the Building Season 3, except swap Pickwick triplets for someone from the production of Death Razzle Dazzle.
Mabel, Oliver, and Charles’ investigation coincided with the opening night of Oliver’s Broadway musical, which was fitting since the plot of the musical paralleled this season’s murder mystery, specifically, how far would a mother go for her child?
The trio confirmed—with ease— that Donna did, in fact, poison Ben Glenroy with a cookie right before the first opening night, in an attempt to protect her baby boy, Cliff, from the worst review about his first production ever. She didn’t intend on killing Ben, she simply wanted to knock him out for a bit. The trio was quite surprised by her straightforward confession, but honestly, there was no need for her to drag it on any further or try to weasel her way out of it… the facts were right there staring her in the face, and with supposed stage 4 lung cancer, she didn’t have much to lose.
But there was still the question of Ben’s actual murder as we know the rat poison didn’t actually kill him. Donna confessed to pushing him down the elevator shaft after Mabel showed her the handkerchief with her lipstick on it, and while everyone was happy that they got the confession on tape and could move on to focus on the show, Mabel wasn’t convinced. Something just didn’t sit right with her about the whole situation, and it wasn’t until she witnessed Loretta’s confession to Dickie about being his mother—and he already knew, he always knew—that she realized it wasn’t just a mother protecting her son but a son protecting his mother.
The real killer was Cliff, who had a run-in with Ben right after he got his lab results and learned of the poisoning. Since he was fasting that day, he was easily able to connect it back to Donna, and when he promised that she’d go to jail for a really long time, Cliff kind of just lost it. It was definitely accidental, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s lied about it this whole time.
And thus, Death Razzle Dazzle was the death of the mommy-son duo that was a little too close for comfort since the beginning anyway.
The celebrations were underway shortly after as Oliver not only produced the show and received rave reviews this time around, but he also served as the stand-in when Jonathan took too many pills and found himself out of commission.
There was so much anticipation building up to this Broadway spectacular, that admittedly, I was slightly more excited about seeing it all come to life than I was about cracking the murder.
And, as usual, the final moments of the episode set the stage for yet another murder. One might wonder how in the world are they going to pull off another murder in the Arconia, but they somehow did it in a way that not only made sense but built intrigue, not just about the killer but why the intended target was Charles!
In his dark apartment, a bullet pierced through the window hitting someone in the chest and knocking them to the ground. Initially, it seemed like Charles, but it was revealed to be Sazz, who was dressed just like him.
It’s unclear who might have a vendetta against Charles but there won’t be a shortage of suspects, including Matthew Broderick (mhhm!). My immediate go-to thought was that Jan got out of prison early and wanted revenge, but that’s too easy, right?
Sazz did want to talk to Charles about something, and if they don’t find her before she bleeds out on his kitchen floor, we’ll never know what it is that she wanted to get off of her chest. But it’s possible it was somehow related to the shooting.
At this point, they don’t have to look far for their next murder as it hits way too close to home. This time, it’s personal.
And while that’s good for the podcast because there’s no shortage of material, I swear, I would be high-heaving it out of the Arconia the moment a fourth murder occurred. Maybe it would just be better for the trio to take a break in Los Angeles, a sunny place free from the dangers lurking in NYC… one would hope.
LA became a topic of conversation as Loretta and Oliver discussed the next phase of their relationship, which means Meryl Streep may stick around for the foreseeable future, though she’ll likely be busy pursuing her blossoming acting career and establishing a relationship with Dickie.
As for Mabel, she offered to visit Tobert in Los Angeles, so he might also be around next season. You don’t even understand the sigh of relief I let out when it was revealed that Tobert had absolutely nothing to do with Ben’s murder. Mabel finding a good guy who wants to pursue things further? All I have to say is, hold onto that, girl!
So, that’s where we leave off this season—Ben’s murder solved, everyone’s relationships thriving, and a new murder plaguing the lives of the core three?
What did you think of this season of Only Murders in the Building? Are you still enjoying the concept?
Will There Be a Season 4 of ‘Only Murders in the Building’?
Only Murders in the Building concluded its third season on Oct. 2, 2023, leaving fans wondering if we’ve reached the end of the road with Mabel (Selena Gomez), Charles (Steve Martin) and Oliver (Martin Short), the dynamic murder-mystery-solving-podcasting trio.
It would be a shame to wrap up a series with a cast that has such a genuine bond and chemistry, and the good news is that the murderous fun is over just yet.
On Oct. 3, 2023, the official social media pages for the show announced that the series will be coming back for a season 4. “Let the investigating begin,” the caption read alongside a photo of the iconic trio laughing and celebrating.
No release date has been announced just yet, but we’re hoping that a summer 2024 release isn’t out of the picture. After all, it was the perfect summer show to get invested in this year.
The third season ended on a major cliffhanger by introducing a new murder victim—who fans initially thought was Charles, though it turned out to be his lookalike stand-in Sazz (Jane Lynch). Sazz was hit with a bullet (and it’s unclear if it was rogue or intended for her or Charles) in Charles’ kitchen before collapsing to the ground and whimpering as she bled out.
There were also some development in terms of the trio’s personal romantic relationships, with both Oliver and Mabel establishing that they want to continue seeing love interests Loretta and Tobert, respectively, meaning that Meryl Streep and Jesse Williams may appear in the future season in guest spots as the trio potentially ventures outside of NYC to visit LA, a sunny place they can only handle in “small doses.”
All in all, there’s plenty of fan interest in the show along with fresh mysteries to keep it going—and we’re absolutely thrilled about it.
Who Is Ben’s Killer on ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Season 3?
Only Murders in the Building returned for its third season on August 8 on Hulu and wrapped up its run on October 2 by finally bringing to light Ben Glenroy’s (Paul Rudd) killer.
It’s not the most riveting twist we’ve seen—that honor goes to the second season finale—however, the musical theater backdrop was a fun new setting to explore to prevent the season from becoming stale, and it delivered a cliffhanger that was nothing short of jaw-dropping.
After hitting some rough patches, Mabel (Selena Gomez) Charles (Steve Martin), and Oliver (Martin Short) finally got their podcast back on track, thankfully, and their episode revealing the murderer was timed perfectly to opening night of the Broadway show.
And fittingly, life imitated art, with the love of a mother willing to do anything, anything to protect her boy.
When the trio confronted Donna, she confessed fully to poisoning Ben with a cookie doused with rat poison, though she made it clear that she wasn’t trying to kill him but it was hard to figure out how “many rats make up Ben.” Truly an iconic line.
Of course, there was Ben’s actual death at the Arconia later that night, mere hours after coming back to life. When presented with the evidence—a handkerchief with a lipstick stain matching Donna’s that Ben was found holding when he plunged to his death—she also confessed to pushing him down the elevator shaft because she couldn’t “risk him performing the next night and ruining the show.”
It was almost too easy, and Mabel knew it; she was not convinced. She spent the rest of the play keeping her eyes open watching Donna, who they allowed to finish out the show as she had “stage 4 lung cancer and wasn’t a flight risk,” and eventually seeing an intense moment between Donna and her boy, Cliff.
Mabel followed Cliff up to the little room above the stage where she finally pieced it all together, with Cliff owning up to his part in Ben’s death.
Turns out, Ben got a call with his lab results after coming back to life during which he was informed that he ingested rat poison.
Since he was fasting the night of the play, he didn’t think it was possible until he realized that Donna gave him a cookie right before the show knowing he couldn’t refuse it and basically encouraged him to eat it.
As Ben solves his own attempted murder, Cliff panics because he doesn’t want to see his mom go to jail.
Things get heated between Ben and Cliff, the latter of whom pushes the former in a moment of anger.
As for the handkerchief, Donna would always kiss her son Cliff on the “lips” and on “the heart” before every show, meaning she’d kiss a handkerchief and tuck it into his chest pocket. And it’s how Ben ended up clutching one with her lipstick print.
Cliff panics as the realization that he murdered Ben sets in, so he threatens to jump to his death. No one is able to stop him until Donna arrives, placing her hand in her baby boy’s to tell him everything’s going to be just fine. If they go down, they go down together—the mother-son duo is arrested for their respective roles in the death of Ben Glenroy, bringing to end another season of Only Murders in the Building.
At the celebratory party shortly after, everyone is chatting about what’s next for them, with all three planning to make a trip out to Los Angeles.
Charles announces that he’s going to grab a 1966 Malbec so that they can all drink in celebration of opening night getting such rave reviews.
But once he enters his apartment, a gunshot flies through the window and hits him… or what looks to be him. It’s soon revealed that the victim is Sazz, Charles’ double who was dressed just like him. She lays bleeding out on his kitchen floor, whimpering in pain.
Charles was likely the intended target… and it looks like this core trio won’t have to look too far to find their next case. The series always finds a way to keep it interesting.
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