Charles’s (Steve Martin) quote from last week’s episode of Only Murders in the Building has been playing on a loop in my mind: “Another female killer? That’s so done.” He’s right! In light of that, while watching the latest Only Murders, I tried to spot any potential male leads. No luck. Perhaps we’re being veered in a bunch of wrong directions, but every single suspect so far has been female yet again. Maybe there’s a big twist pointing to Oliver (Martin Short) or Charles, but I’m not seeing it yet.
In fact, Mabel (Selena Gomez) is the shiftiest of the bunch as we near the halfway point of Season 3. In light of her moving out of the Arconia—she spends the first part of this episode touring new, tinier apartments—she wants to reboot the podcast. But that would require a murder, and lucky for her, there happens to be one in Oliver’s play. Fishy, fishy. Even shadier: Mabel keeps receiving messages from an unknown number.
Another murder podcast hits the restart button at the beginning of this episode. Cinda Canning (Tina Fey) finally rears her head again after having been canceled by the public due to mistreatment of her employee, who then became a murderer after being under so much pressure from her boss. Whoops. One wellness retreat and Cinda is back at the microphone. That unknown number texting Mabel? It was Cinda pestering Mabel to give her a lead on a new murder case.
Everything is a bit more delightful in Charles’ neck of the woods. Kind of. Actually, not really. Charles has just moved in with his makeup artist girlfriend Joy (Andrea Martin), who doesn’t really seem like the right type for him. First, she’s got a lot of fish. Second, she’s kind of mean to him. “Thirty-five years ago,” she tells him, “you sat in my makeup chair and I thought, ‘This man dies alone.’” Ouch.
Oliver, who deems himself “New York’s most unlandable bachelor,” also has an update in his love life. He is secretly dating Loretta (Meryl Streep), the star of his show. Mabel is quick to tell him that this fling is neither secret (he’s telling everyone) nor actually a relationship (Oliver refuses to officially ask her out). That doesn’t stop Oliver from telling the world about his workplace affair.
Streep seems to be participating in every other episode, because she’s absent from this one. Oh, well. The trio have bigger fish to fry, namely Kimber (Ashley Park), who has become the biggest suspect out of the entire cast. Oliver is bereft. She’s one of the only ones who can sing in his troupe. He insists that Charles and Mabel need to find a suspect who won’t cost him the Tony.
Mabel becomes Kimber’s awkward bestie in order to get the scoop on her possible romantic entanglement with the recently deceased Ben (Paul Rudd). Kimber clears her name: She was pissed at Ben because he wouldn’t promote her anti-aging serum on his social media accounts, even after he had agreed to do so. The serum—a mix of Vaseline and club soda in a Le Labo-styled glass bottle—still skyrocketed in popularity after Ben’s “unofficial endorsement” (Kimber says he supports the serum in a video, but he never posts), but Kimber was so mad, she sold Ben’s opening night gift (the hankie) on eBay.
Kimber is exonerated. More importantly, we get to see awkward Mabel trying to interact with her peers more: “Hey mama, yes and work and slay!” she says at one point, trying to be hip while getting Kimber’s attention. This clip has gone viral on social media completely out of context, with some people claiming Gomez is a bad actress—no! The entire point is that Mabel can’t communicate with people her own age, which is why she’s befriended two old fellas.
Speaking of those two old guys, Charles and Oliver reach an impasse when the latter forces the former into a rap sequence in the Death Rattle musical. Charles has extreme anxiety over squeezing all the words in. Every time Charles performs, he blacks out and his mind goes to an empty white room where he is happier. Joy tells him to go to his happy place. So he does—he makes an omelet and can sing all the words.
But Charles can’t mime cracking, whisking, and frying eggs on stage every time he performs this song. The directors decide to figure it out later. Charles has become the black sheep of Death Rattle.
Charles goes home for some alone time. That’s impossible now, too, thanks to Joy living in his space. Charles has had enough. He’s going to tell Joy they’re through and that she needs to move out. Only, when he starts the conversation, he blacks out and goes to the white room, a ball of anxious nerves. While he’s passed out, he accidentally proposes to Joy.
Charles really knows how to pick a woman, seeing as his last partner was the very first murderer in Only Murders. Now, Joy seems like a prime suspect, too—she was the makeup assistant in Ben’s room fixing him up the night he died. But that would mean Only Murders is rehashing the same murderer (it’s Charles’ lover) from Season 1, something we all know would be far too easy of a solution for the trio.
Clues From the Crime Scene
-New motive just dropped: Joy is still infuriated by the way Ben treated Charles. If Ben had been even a little bit meaner, Joy says, she would’ve had to kill him.
-Kimber can’t remember exactly who was in Ben’s dressing room the night he died, but she does remember that he was whining about a red mark on his face. Who left that mark? Was it a wound?
-That red mark ultimately went away. Whoever was in there, Kimber says, knew how to clean up blood.
-After Mabel and Charles interrogate Kimber, they return to their shared dressing room to find “FUCKING PIG” written in lipstick on their mirror. Mabel pockets the tube lipstick. They suspect that the lipstick holder is the murderer, and that they’re onto the trio. When Mabel later pulls out the red shade, Joy spots it and thanks her for returning it. So, Joy wrote “FUCKING PIG” and is the murderer. At least, that’s what everyone seems to think.