Only Murders in the Building: The Boy From 6B
September 28, 2021 2:57 PM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

With the investigation scratching at a web of old crimes originating inside the building, a mysterious young man turns the tables to spy on Charles, Oliver and Mabel.

description via hulu
posted by everybody had matching towels (37 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't think I've ever seen an episode of television like this one!
posted by everybody had matching towels at 2:59 PM on September 28 [10 favorites]


This episode really made it hard to only half-watch since it was all subtitles and silent action.

The tension really escalated from quirky podcasting by the end, it seemed like Teddy would be a harmless co-investigator, not a kidnapper.
posted by Marticus at 3:20 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


This was great! I loved that until the end, all the dialogue was subtitled (whether spoken or signed) and that when Theo wasn't the one we were following, there was no spoken dialogue. It was so cool! (The actor playing Theo, James Caverly, is Deaf is real life too.) I was not expecting this episode.

It reminded me of Buffy's Hush, except if Hush had actually been good. (I know people like Hush, but I always felt it was too obvious and gimmicky to really work.)

(There was a mostly-signed episode of Switched at Birth, but this felt different than that.)

I still think there has to be more twists coming because we have three episodes left and it seems too easy that we already know who did it. (Or parts of it.)
posted by edencosmic at 3:38 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


I just ADORED this episode. Feels absolutely revolutionary to have an entire episode, with so much plot and multiple characters, with no spoken dialogue. Also, I DO NOT TRUST AMY RYAN.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:30 PM on September 28 [6 favorites]


edencosmic is of course dead-wrong about "Hush," one of the best episodes of Buffy or any tv series, but this was an incredible, very worthy successor to it.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:49 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


I also agree that there's gotta be a lot more twists coming before we're done. We know that Zoe's death was an accident, suspicious-looking though it was, and we know that Teddy used this incident to get to Tim Kono, though we don't know the full implication of that (I think it's a red-herring to assume that this means Teddy killed Tim or had Tim killed or whatever. Narratively it's just too early for this plus DON'T TRUST AMY RYAN, but also I think this mostly means that Tim was in Teddy's pocket and running shady jewels for him. I could be wrong about that though.)
posted by Navelgazer at 5:03 PM on September 28


(I should also say that it looked to us like Zoe lost her balance as she was shoving Theo, which led to her fall, while every review I'm reading says that Theo pushed her back. Obviously Theo is more culpable in the latter version of events but I would classify her death as an "accident" in any case.)
posted by Navelgazer at 5:34 PM on September 28 [2 favorites]


I also read it as Zoe lost her balance as she was shoving Theo.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:38 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


Really good! But my willingness to assume Theo was just in over his head is severely hampered by Mabel and Oliver being tied up in the back of his van. And I would absolutely believe Nathan Lane's loving, menacing father would have Tim Kono killed. Especially if his family moved to a different country and he didn't have any friends -- why not try to investigate and ruin the family who ruined his and his friends' lives?

I hope it's not Amy Ryan. I mean, given where all the characters are, it FEELS like she should be involved. But I hope not! Let Brazzos have a nice win in his personal life!
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:38 PM on September 28 [4 favorites]


I definitely read it as she fell backwards as she tried to push him.

I also thought the signing was cool, although the way they made the “quiet” was kinda disconcerting. Maybe that was the point. Loved that they used a Deaf actor. Anybody know how accurate the signing was? And is it standard to also speak (or mouth?) the words in English while you are signing ASL?
posted by radioamy at 8:40 PM on September 28


I loved this episode! And such twists!
posted by ellieBOA at 12:10 AM on September 29


Hmm. It definitely felt like he pushed her to me. Not that he was trying to push her off the roof, but just as a reaction to her pushing him, and then she lost her balance and fell. I think that makes him slightly more culpable, but still not a murderer.

A couple of questions:
1) Were there any clues about the funeral home graverobbing ("Gray Robert") business before this episode? It felt like it came out of nowhere, but maybe I missed something.
2) Was there more of a relationship between Theo and Zoe than we saw on-screen? I think it was hinting that they were seeing each other on the down low, but it wasn't clear.
3) Is the title of the show some sort of play on words? In the previous (?) episode where Cinda Canning goes on the Tonight Show she really plays it for laughs, but I'm not familiar with whatever the joke might be.

It's kind of amazing the way this show manages to be both a silly little comedy, an intriguing mystery, and a touching human drama (the stuff between the police detective and her wife, for example, was just so deft and genuine) all at the same time.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:10 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


1) Were there any clues about the funeral home graverobbing ("Gray Robert") business before this episode? It felt like it came out of nowhere, but maybe I missed something.

Teddy's family history hinted at organized crime, and the jewels have been a thread for a while, but I don't remember anything about a funeral home before this episode.

2) Was there more of a relationship between Theo and Zoe than we saw on-screen? I think it was hinting that they were seeing each other on the down low, but it wasn't clear.

I was also curious about this. It felt like maybe she'd been seeing Theo on the sly, but also maybe like she was just toying with him and he was drastically misinterpreting things. Certainly Teddy didn't believe that she knew ASL because of a "deaf cousin" and maybe we shouldn't either, in which case the implication is that they were close enough for her to become fluent in his language.

3) Is the title of the show some sort of play on words? In the previous (?) episode where Cinda Canning goes on the Tonight Show she really plays it for laughs, but I'm not familiar with whatever the joke might be.

Please someone answer this. It's one of the weirdest things about this show that they seem to think the title is an obvious reference.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:23 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


This may be a strange thing to say in an episode with (almost) no spoken dialogue, but I thought the sound design was really spectacular. There was an indistinct sort of underwater hum during the scenes from Theo's point of view. And what really impressed me is that, during the scene right after Zoe's death, when Theo is freaking out with Teddy, you can just barely sense the police sirens as a subtle change to that underlying hum, a little before Teddy reacts to the sound that only he can hear. Brilliant.

3) Is the title of the show some sort of play on words? In the previous (?) episode where Cinda Canning goes on the Tonight Show she really plays it for laughs, but I'm not familiar with whatever the joke might be.

I think the joke is that the title of the show is overlong and awkward to say. It barely makes sense out of context. Before we started watching the show, I thought it meant that the only thing that ever happens in this particular building is murder. So I'm guessing it is an in-joke at the show that the title is terrible, and they made it an overt joke in the Cynda Canning Tonight Show appearance.

What I don't get (although I trust the show and expect it will come clear) is why Teddy supports the podcast at all, given his involvement. He must have known that any investigation into Tim Kono would possibly turn up Teddy's grave-robbing business or Theo's involvement in Zoe's death. Even if it's just for the publicity (or "keeping your enemies closer," as Teddy says to Theo), it seems awfully risky.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 5:39 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Please someone answer this. It's one of the weirdest things about this show that they seem to think the title is an obvious reference.

Glad it's not just me. I Asked MetaFilter.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:01 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


According to this article, it's just Steve bein' Steve:
“That choice was firmly in the mind of Steve Martin from the very beginning,” Hoffman told us. “He presented it to me and said, ‘I feel this has to be the title. I don’t know why, (but) this has to be the title.'”
posted by Rock Steady at 6:16 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


I heart this show forever for the silent horny scrabble game.
posted by arha at 6:22 AM on September 29 [24 favorites]


Anybody know how accurate the signing was? And is it standard to also speak (or mouth?) the words in English while you are signing ASL?

I'm not fluent, but it looked more like Pidgin Signed English to me (using English grammar instead of ASL grammar), which is not unusual for conversations with hearing people (and far more than the vast majority of hearing parents will learn). And yes, totally normal for hearing people to speak or mouth the words while signing PSE. Doing that while actually using ASL would be really hard, because the syntax is completely different.
posted by amarynth at 7:04 AM on September 29 [5 favorites]


I probably watch too much TV but I'm just bored of episodes that feel like stunts.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:28 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


I heart this show forever for the silent horny scrabble game.

I really wanted Charles to have his last word be like "JAWBONE" or something, because sexy is fine, but a bingo is a bingo.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:14 AM on September 29 [9 favorites]


"He must have known that any investigation into Tim Kono would possibly turn up Teddy's grave-robbing business or Theo's involvement in Zoe's death."

Yeah, I was wondering about that too - they went to him when Sting was their biggest suspect and they had like a dozen listeners though, right? So maybe he thought they were just bumbling idiots and he could control them, and then it was too late to pull out without it seeming suspicious so he just doubled down?
posted by everybody had matching towels at 8:20 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


In the first or second episode, Mabel mentions something about a murder in the park and suggests that they could look into that murder next. Charles shoots her down and say that the podcast will cover "only murders in the building."
posted by guiseroom at 10:37 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Pretty sure that Zoe and Theo were having sex - at least I assumed that's what she meant when she said she enjoyed both the quiet times and the loud times with him.
posted by minsies at 11:34 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that was my takeaway too, plus the mention of a real ring - he wanted to be her boyfriend, she laughed at that idea.

I am wondering, given that Theo was spying on the trio across the courtyard, if Amy Ryan has also been spying, perhaps on Theo and Teddy? Perhaps that is wishful thinking, as I assume she'll have some involvement in the main plot.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 1:10 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


I think the humor in the name is just the absurdity of it. A normal name for the podcast might be “Kono’s Killer” or something. But no, they simultaneously make it more grandiose by opening it up to cover other murders, while dialing back the scope to almost nothing by limiting it to the building. It’s open ended and a dead end at the same time.
posted by snofoam at 4:53 PM on September 29


From this:

As Martin recalled: “The idea came almost immediately, that they lived in a building and they all were interested in crime. But they didn’t have the energy to go downtown, so they would only do murders in the building.”
posted by acrasis at 4:55 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


OMG THIS EPISODE SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

I think Zoe's death was pretty accidental--they got into a shove fight, she shoved him, he pushed back, things went awry.

I dunno if she learned the language from Theo or not--that was pretty sophisticated conversation going on there. Maybe she DID know ASL/PSE(?) ahead of time before meeting him.

This whole thing was fascinating.

I sort of wonder if it's a cheat to have the whole episode silent-ish (except for music) even when Theo's not there. Also, from what I have read about lip reading, it probably would have been pretty hard for him to pick up say, lips talking from the side rather than full on.

Anyone have a screenshot of the dirty Scrabble?

I have massive love for dirty ASL/sign (see the discussion of Coda) and this made me happy.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:24 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


I probably watch too much TV but I'm just bored of episodes that feel like stunts.

Casting a Deaf actor to play a Deaf character and telling one episode from his POV (mostly) and filling the rest with silent comedy that reflects on the non-verbal ways we communicate isn't a "stunt", it's diversity and inclusion.

There is so much Voice Over in the show, which is fitting for a noir/detective comedy and the fact it's a show about a podcast, that it's very fitting that the non-verbal character gets an episode that's not dialogue driven.

I'm so used to watching these kind of shows where characters whisper to each other while hiding from someone else - which can be a real suspension of disbelief moment - that I really appreciated that the writing was clever enough to side-step this by using text messages and body language.

The viewing audience is so used to everything being fed to us in dialogue and laboured visual clues that the fact this episode required my full attention was pretty thrilling. We're so used to just listening to shows these days, always distracted by a second screen or something else going on in the room/house. Deaf people have to rely on visual clues all the time; perfect reason to do this episode the way it was done.
posted by crossoverman at 8:25 PM on September 29 [44 favorites]


Zoe mentions that her cousin is Deaf when Teddy asks her how she learned to sign / when he sees her wearing the ring (after they're all in the elevator).
posted by minsies at 3:46 AM on September 30


Zoe mentions that her cousin is Deaf when Teddy asks her how she learned to sign / when he sees her wearing the ring (after they're all in the elevator).

Yeah but I wasn't at all sure that we were supposed to take her at her word there, seeing as it was Teddy that she was responding to. That definitely could have been "learned to sign from Theo and making up something for his dad."
posted by Navelgazer at 5:47 AM on September 30


What made this not feel stunty to me, besides the obvious inclusion aspect:

1. It enhanced the viewing experience. I was forced to put my damn phone down and actually watch the episode, and the lack of spoken-out-loud dialogue really ramped up the tension. I almost couldn't bear it during the rooftop scene.

2. This wasn't just a diversion episode, they really drove the plot forward this episode. We learned so much!

The other no-spoken-dialogue episode I saw this year (though it's from 2019) was Mr Robot's. That was very different but also very effective. In the case of that one, I didn't even realize there was no dialogue until close to the end!
posted by lunasol at 11:17 AM on September 30 [8 favorites]


Agreed that the lack of dialogue really worked for me and caused me to focus in a way I sometimes don't on tv shows - same reason I like to watch the subtitled versions of non-English language media instead of the dub.

But, characterization wise, it is difficult for me to believe Oliver actually refrained from talking in some of those scenes.

It seems too early for the Dimas family to be Tim's killers, so I hope Theo gets to play a role in solving the crime.

Wow, Teddy Dimas is a shitty father, although he clearly loves Theo. That opening scene with the headphones was so hard to watch.
posted by the primroses were over at 7:09 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]




It seems too early for the Dimas family to be Tim's killers

Don’t forget that there’s a dog poisoner on the loose, too
posted by Monochrome at 6:10 AM on October 2 [3 favorites]


Weird thing that I can't remember if anyone has mentioned yet, and probably just the sort of thing one has to not question for the mystery to work, but...

Zoe and Theo argue, Zoe falls off the roof to her death, Theo sees that Tim witnessed this, Theo gets downstairs to tell Teddy what happened, Teddy gets to Tim and buys/threatens Tim into silence about what he saw.

There's a good chunk of time in there where Zoe is on the pavement and everyone is presumably panicking and asking what happened and during that time, I guess Tim never told anyone what he had just witnessed?
posted by Navelgazer at 7:54 AM on October 4


Tim told Mabel and didn’t tell the police. I don’t know how we would determine if he told anyone else.
posted by Monochrome at 10:05 AM on October 4


3) Is the title of the show some sort of play on words? In the previous (?) episode where Cinda Canning goes on the Tonight Show she really plays it for laughs, but I'm not familiar with whatever the joke might be

The Tonight Show audience laughs because she says the whole title of the podcast, "Dimas Chicken Wraps Presents. Colon. Only Murders in the Building."
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:30 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]


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