Only Murders in the Building: Open and Shut
October 19, 2021 7:28 PM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

In the season finale, the trio races toward a resolution while their own lives are put in danger.

description via imdb because the hulu page won't load for whatever reason.
posted by everybody had matching towels (55 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Now I definitely don't trust Jan.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:30 PM on October 19 [20 favorites]


Evil maniac Jan was fun!

Not clear on the poisoning that allowed Charles to roll around like a lunatic (which had to have required more energy than walking, c'mon) but that whole elevator sequence was entertaining.

Sevelyn! >^..^<
posted by the primroses were over at 7:40 PM on October 19 [9 favorites]


I liked how the plot required Martin Short's character to disable the building sabotage but he just did so by somehow, intuitively sensing that the thing needed to be disconnected from the other thing. They might as well have had him hack into the mainframe.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:41 PM on October 19 [12 favorites]


Who left the note on Jan's door?
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:41 PM on October 19 [7 favorites]


Given how entirely wrong I was about Jan, I will refrain from any further speculation, but that was good fun and I am appropriately intrigued about the next season.
posted by eponym at 7:42 PM on October 19


I just really, really liked this episode. Every single thing about it, but especially the noise Martin Short made after he tried to knock down the door. I can't wait for season two.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:42 PM on October 19 [7 favorites]


Also, what were the things that didn't get resolved? That thing that Mabel said up on the roof -- like "Don't you think there are some loose threads?" or the like. What are the loose threads?
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:43 PM on October 19


I'm wondering how Jan had enough pull with the police to get them not to further investigate Kono's death. Was the implication there that Dimas didn't want Kono's death investigated, even though he and Theo weren't involved? Was the original cop just mistaken?
posted by catabananza at 7:54 PM on October 19 [2 favorites]


The one thing I didn’t like was the whole “Tim Kono from beyond the grave.” Felt like we didn’t need it, and it was a weird fourth-wall break that kinda took me out of the story.

Agree that the whole “higher ups in NYPD tried to bury the case” doesn’t really fit.

Also yeah who left the note on Jan’s door? Unless she just left it earlier for someone else to see who walked by?
posted by radioamy at 8:03 PM on October 19


Possibly Jan left the note on Jan's door? Or maybe it was Bunny?

Quotes I wrote down:
"Thank you, it's the dips."
"Maybe this is why all the adult doctors were so mean to Doogie Howser."
"The killer played bassoon? What are the odds of that? Do you think he's targeting bassoonists?"
"She's a poisoner... Who uses a label maker?"
"The saddest thing is that if Jan weren't a murderous maniac, she'd be perfect for Charles."
"How great is an alibi where the whole building can hear you playing?"
"Even though I did carve a niche IN myself..."
"Playing Fields of Gold by Sting."
LITERALLY NOBODY CARES THAT CHARLES IS LYING ON THE FLOOR IN THE ELEVATOR and "I can't wait until he's gone."
"If that doesn't work, I can urinate on him." "I think that's for jellyfish."
"Good one, Brazzos. Now let's get your stomach pumped."
"I slept with a murderer! That is a GREAT story to tell on a first date!"

NYT article: Amy Ryan on the Surprise Finale of ‘Only Murders in the Building’
"Only Murders in the Building" boss on the killer, who's back next season and a case for rewatching
Those magical "Only Murders in the Building" main titles – including each hidden Easter egg
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:05 PM on October 19 [11 favorites]


NYT article: Amy Ryan on the Surprise Finale of ‘Only Murders in the Building’

Is the surprise that it was Jan? Because if so, they need to raise their surprise game. I thought the resolution was a let-down, but I'm ultimately in it for the writing and acting work, and the second season is well and truly set up to go.

Steve Martin is 76 and is still the finest physical comedy performer going.
posted by tzikeh at 8:25 PM on October 19 [8 favorites]


Also best line was Oliver's line about Paper Moon.
posted by tzikeh at 8:27 PM on October 19 [10 favorites]


Also, what were the things that didn't get resolved? That thing that Mabel said up on the roof -- like "Don't you think there are some loose threads?" or the like. What are the loose threads?

I'm sure there are legitimate contenders, but in the moment I felt it metatextually, since it successfully reminded me of the episode 1 teaser intro that still hadn't been brought to fruition.

(Also, in retrospect, why the writers would give Mabel that not-quite-right line to Bunny outside after Jan was carted away was another metatextual loose end to tie up. "Congrats, you're the most hated person in the building now" would have been fine, but that they bothered having her finish it up with a straight up slur felt a bit...off. And now it's clear they were planting that for season two. Loose end: tied!)
posted by nobody at 8:29 PM on October 19 [4 favorites]


So I guess next season is Who Killed Bunny?

All right, let me go out on a limb here. At some point in the future, we'll find out how close I am.

So obviously Mabel didn't do it. Her description of what happened was a little confusing, but I gather she heard someone at the door, opened it, and an already stabbed Bunny fell in on her with Mabel's own knitting needle sticking out of her chest. Then the cops showed up, like immediately, in great numbers. Someone, presumably the killer, dropped a dime, and someone also tried to warn Charles and Oliver to get away from the scene. They didn't recognize the number the texts came from, and why would Mabel tell them to leave the building? Presumably that was the killer as well. So the killer went to some trouble to frame Mabel, but tried to keep Charles and Oliver from getting caught up in it.

What was the motive? Was the killer out to kill Bunny? Or just out to frame Mabel, with Bunny making a convenient victim? Mabel had just called Bunny the most hated person in the building and a cranky old bitch in front of everyone so she'd be a credible person of interest if Bunny was killed. Maybe it was both. Let's say the main motive was to get Mabel, and getting rid of Bunny in the process was a bonus because she really did annoy pretty much everyone.

Who hates Mabel, but has nothing against Charles and Oliver? They're all equally involved in the podcast, so it's not about that. But there is one thing we know about that only Mabel was involved in. And there is one person with good reason to hate Mabel, and specifically to want to get her out of the picture now (remember, Why Now is an important thing to ask). That person would also have the ability to get into Mabel's apartment to get her knitting needle.

That person, the killer of Bunny, is Oscar's dad, the building super. He hates Mabel for what happened to his son, and now that Oscar is out of jail, his name cleared, ready to start his life over again with a clean slate, he's getting tied up with Mabel again, and she's stirring up trouble all over the place. He has the keys, so it's a simple matter for him to get into her apartment and take the knitting needle. And Bunny is notoriously awful to the building staff. He saw a way to get rid of her and protect his son from what he sees as a woman who's just going to drag him back into trouble. So he took the knitting needle and stabbed Bunny outside Mabel's door. It's possible he didn't know she was inside, but thought she was still on the roof. His original plan was simply to dump Bunny's body in the apartment, but when Mabel started to open the door, he pushed her up against the door and got out of there. Bunny fell onto Mabel - even better, now she's soaked in Bunny's blood. So then he called the cops and texted Charles and Oliver to get them out of the way.

tl;dr - I'm calling it now. Oscar's dad, the building super, killed Bunny so he could frame Mabel and get her out of his son's life. (If I'm wrong, I'm going to use that for something myself.)
posted by Naberius at 8:29 PM on October 19 [18 favorites]


(Oh, and an early misdirection suspect will definitely be an overzealous podcast fan. Bunny was dressed up in one of those sweatshirts, right?)
posted by nobody at 8:41 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


Well at least I was right about the cat.

Plus my wish for Bunny came true.
posted by Marticus at 1:32 AM on October 20 [1 favorite]


I loved the recurring sweatshirt thing :)
posted by h00py at 2:27 AM on October 20 [1 favorite]


Such a good finale! And really recommend the title sequence easter egg article above, fascinating and makes me wish I hadn't impatiently fastforwared!
posted by ellieBOA at 4:14 AM on October 20 [1 favorite]


I liked how the plot required Martin Short's character to disable the building sabotage but he just did so by somehow, intuitively sensing that the thing needed to be disconnected from the other thing. They might as well have had him hack into the mainframe.

You know, I was a little surprised but decided I could believe it! Oliver will never volunteer to be handyman, but he's spent decades on stage and only killed several people once! Maybe he has a good sense of what problems can arise when the wrong thing is connected to the wrong thing. (And as a lifelong New Yorker he didn't have a lot of experience with swimming pools, so.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 5:10 AM on October 20 [1 favorite]


I thought it was a very fun ending. For the loose end, I definitely thought of the police -- which is why it was so satisfying that they burst in a moment later.

Also, was the text ACTUALLY trying to get Charles and Oliver out of the building? Or did they figure the best way to get them on scene was to imply Mabel was in danger?

And wow I have to stop using mobile, I keep accidentally posting two sentences in.
posted by grandiloquiet at 5:12 AM on October 20 [3 favorites]


Although it was only for a second or two, I really enjoyed the Navin Johnson cameo.
posted by detachd at 6:10 AM on October 20 [1 favorite]


I thought it was a great episode but not a great mystery. By setting up Jan's deception at the end of the previous episode, there really were no surprises left in the finale other than "will Jan get away with it". Also, as my wife pointed out, it's a little distasteful that the ultimate story was "merry widow who maniacally kills off ex-boyfriends." Especially after all the interesting stuff about the jewelry and the grave-robbing and Sting's finances and stuff. Just a bit of a let-down.

Maybe it would have been better to have the "first bassoonist" reveal at the end of episode 9 to sow some doubt, but save the "bassoon cleaner / sex toy" reveal for the beginning of the finale.

That said, I enjoyed the episode and laughed out loud many times. I agree that Steve Martin remains one of the funniest people out there.

Still lots of unanswered questions, as Mabel points out (not including the new murder):
- Why did the police not review Tim's cell phone or send in the toxicology report?
- Why was Tim looking for the green ring in the first place?
- Who took the green ring from Zoe before she died?
- What is the deal with Mabel's aunt?
- Who put the note on Jan's door?
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 6:48 AM on October 20 [2 favorites]


Mabel's apartment has a big vent that leads right into Bunny's apartment. It was shown in episode 1, before Charles picked the lock on Bunny's door to get the misdelivered box.

Why is Bunny wearing a t-shirt from the podcast???

I just started a re-for-me watch with my wife. I think she's going to love this show.
posted by Catblack at 7:11 AM on October 20 [1 favorite]


So Liz Lemon *did* say "only murderers in the building" in that earlier episode's flash forward!

Jan was great in her ridiculous role. I'm surprised that first chair bassoonist is still alive, though. I was wrong about Jan but it was fun to watch.

So she killed Tim because she found the ring and assumed it was for another girl. But we know he was investigating the Dimas family (at least). She both poisoned and shot him for reasons that seem to amount to melodrama. Okay.
Why poison the dog?

I'm hoping Bunny was a secret superfan of the podcast and was investigating her own thing related to... Zoe? Mabel's aunt?

I still think the biggest missing piece is the obstruction from higher up in the police force. Unless Jan has secret connections, that makes no sense. And if she does, then she'll probably be loose for season 2!

After all of Steve Martin's excellent physical comedy, I agree that Martin Short hitting that door was the funniest thing.
posted by Acari at 7:13 AM on October 20


tl;dr - I'm calling it now. Oscar's dad, the building super, killed Bunny so he could frame Mabel and get her out of his son's life. (If I'm wrong, I'm going to use that for something myself.)

The only person closer to Mabel/her apartment is Oscar himself. Why isn't it him? He's a beautiful guy and lord knows I'd like Mabel to be happy, but I think someone can't spend 10 years in prison and not come out furious and vengeful.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:30 AM on October 20


I dunno, Oscar's been doing yoga n' shit to chill out....

I love the "Oscar's dad" theory. That sounds legit.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:34 AM on October 20 [1 favorite]


I would love for Liz Lemon to be the killer in season 2 (or a later season). Do like a Murder She Wrote thing, where she's actually been killing just for her podcast.
posted by guiseroom at 8:11 AM on October 20 [10 favorites]


It's nice to see Amy Ryan play more than the goofy love interest, which is what I thought she was just going to be in this show (much like her sting on The Office). Making her the goofy murderer was a lot more interesting.
posted by guiseroom at 9:51 AM on October 20 [4 favorites]


I thought it was a great episode but not a great mystery. By setting up Jan's deception at the end of the previous episode, there really were no surprises left in the finale other than "will Jan get away with it". Also, as my wife pointed out, it's a little distasteful that the ultimate story was "merry widow who maniacally kills off ex-boyfriends." Especially after all the interesting stuff about the jewelry and the grave-robbing and Sting's finances and stuff. Just a bit of a let-down.

I think this is what bugged me a bit here. The previous episode ended on "Jan's lying / bassoon cleaner in Tim Kono's box of sex toys" but none of that was dispositive of anything. Then this one basically starts with the solve and it's the very simple version of events and motive that anyone would have pieced together as a placeholder after a week between episodes. Now, my wife thought that was legitimately laugh-out-loud hilarious - that after a season of red herrings, just as you're expecting a final twist, nope, it's more or less exactly what it looks like now - but to me it was definitely anticlimactic.

That said, the episode was still tons of fun, with Steve Martin's physical comedy doing most of the heavy lifting there, and waiting to see what dead body Mabel would be found with. I enjoyed it and eagerly await season two. But yeah, having the "mystery" in this episode be "LOL no mystery" was off-putting to me.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:51 AM on October 20 [1 favorite]


Why was Liz Lemon there anyway? Was she already in the building? Or talking with the fans outside? I can’t think of why she would be there at the moment someone is murdered.

Also do expect/hope the show title itself shifts over to Only Murderers for S2.
posted by hijinx at 10:57 AM on October 20 [2 favorites]


I just rewatched the trailer and who is that silhouetted couple kissing at 1:03?!? Is that Jan and Tim Kono?? Was a clue there all along for us??
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:57 AM on October 20


I think that's Jan, but not Tim
The hair is too fluffy - maybe Oscar?
posted by Acari at 11:09 AM on October 20


I think BlahLaLa that that's actually Zoe and Oscar. They have flashlights when I paused it.
posted by Carillon at 11:13 AM on October 20 [2 favorites]


One small thing: I liked that they showed the detective telling the three not to say a word as they were led out in handcuffs. She's still on their side and hopefully will have a big role to play next season.
posted by lunasol at 11:20 AM on October 20 [17 favorites]


I don't know if I love Jan being the killer because it sort of came out of nowhere (or felt like a late plot addition) but it was mostly all fun that I didn't care. Steve Martin's physical comedy made no sense in reality but was such a delight I do not care one bit.

But yeah, the police not reviewing Tim's phone or toxicology report are mysteries, as are what Tim was really trying to do with all that jewelry (just find the emerald ring?). It's possible Nathan Lane's character will show up again in season 2 -- after all, he seems to have too much money to just go away quietly.

I know some haven't liked Gomez's acting here, but I think that kind of flat affect she has worked for Mabel. She's guarded and wry. I think she genuinely likes the two of them but also knows how weird it is. There's a definite sweetness to the way she plays Mabel and I would like to see her do more. She's already had a long career but I think she's at the point where she can pick what she wants to do (like this show!) and be interesting.

I'm sad this show is done for the season because it was funny and strangely cozy. I loved its twists and its oddball kindness. I will miss it. I may have to watch this season again.
posted by edencosmic at 2:11 PM on October 20 [9 favorites]


It's possible Nathan Lane's character will show up again in season 2 -- after all, he seems to have too much money to just go away quietly.

Also our heroes could easily (by plot logic, anyway) find themselves in the same lockup as the Dimases.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:14 PM on October 20 [3 favorites]


I know some haven't liked Gomez's acting here, but I think that kind of flat affect she has worked for Mabel. She's guarded and wry. I think she genuinely likes the two of them but also knows how weird it is. There's a definite sweetness to the way she plays Mabel and I would like to see her do more.

I loved her performance for all these reasons. It's actually very complex and layered. Playing deadpan AND sweet is a really tall order. She's also a great foil for Steven Martin and Martin Short who are so much bigger and wackier. She's not exactly the straight man but she grounds them.

I also really like that they never once objectified her. There was no male gaze in the cinematography and she wasn't really sexualized at all (but not de-sexualized either). She's stylish but in a way that feels authentic for an artist/designer - clothes that she likes, not for the male gaze. She also has a producer credit.
posted by lunasol at 2:22 PM on October 20 [27 favorites]


Wait did some people not like Selena Gomez in this? I thought she was the standout.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:24 PM on October 20 [5 favorites]


Agree, I also loved Selena Gomez. She was a really great balance to Martin & Short.
posted by radioamy at 3:18 PM on October 20 [2 favorites]


I also want to know what the deal is with Mabel's aunt!
posted by radioamy at 3:18 PM on October 20 [2 favorites]


I wonder how Mabel's aunt is going to feel when she comes back to her apartment and finds...a giant mural of the building on one wall.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:20 PM on October 20


Wait did some people not like Selena Gomez in this? I thought she was the standout.

Especially early on, I think a lot of people read her deadpan affect as wooden. I saw someone call her a "black hole of charisma" and I could not disagree more but there were definitely people who felt that way.
posted by lunasol at 3:37 PM on October 20 [5 favorites]


Wait did some people not like Selena Gomez in this? I thought she was the standout.

You can look through earlier episode discussions for at least one MeFite referring to her as a "slab of meat" in a comment I really wish I had flagged. So yeah, some people don't like her performance, and some of those people seem to have a problem with young women in general.
posted by tzikeh at 4:59 PM on October 20 [5 favorites]


Fun post-finale Amy Ryan interview in Vanity Fair (archive link).

Also...uh, I figured Mabel's aunt knew what Mabel's style was before accepting her offer to spruce up the place? But yeah, for all that I loved the main trio, I'm excited to see more of the minor characters in season two: the Dimas patriarch, the detective, Cinda Canning, even the two podcaster-gardeners. I'm also hoping we get to meet Mabel's aunt and Charles's stepdaughter -- maybe they'll be running the investigation?

I appreciated that, when Charles (I think) commented on the Jan/Tim Kono age difference, Oliver (I think) pointed out the Jan/Brazzos age difference.
posted by grandiloquiet at 6:50 PM on October 20 [2 favorites]


Is Bunny the building owner or does she just head the Board and manage the building? If she owns the Arconia, it's possible she might have amassed enough money/influence to have initially rushed the Kono investigation and have it be ruled a suicide, possibly connecting her to one of the loose ends.

Another loose end - is anyone in the police department looking into how the phone got out of their possession?
posted by mikepop at 8:17 AM on October 21 [1 favorite]


I believe the building is a co op and she is just the co op board president. Having lived in a co op as a (barely tolerated) renter, she tracks.
posted by lunasol at 3:41 PM on October 21 [5 favorites]


As a side note, apparently apartments in the real Arconia (it’s called the Belnord) go for $4-11 million dollars so Oliver really should sell.
posted by lunasol at 3:42 PM on October 21 [2 favorites]


Plenty of availability right now -- each with a floor plan ready to ogle.
posted by chortly at 11:34 PM on October 21 [6 favorites]


apartments in the real Arconia... go for $4-11 million dollars so Oliver really should sell

And buy what in Manhattan in this housing market?
posted by tzikeh at 10:58 PM on October 22


The thing here about apartment prices in the real building reminds me of a question that bothered me a few episodes ago...if people own their apartments, how can they be evicted? Being the opposite of a New Yorker, I don't understand how this all works.
posted by lhauser at 12:40 PM on October 24 [1 favorite]


So in co-op buildings, you also have to pay common charges/maintenance fees and follow the building's code of conduct. Here's a bit about how that works.

I think Oliver was in trouble for getting too far behind on his common charges, which can be thousands of dollars per month and pay for the common areas, the doormen, security, elevators and maintenance, structural repairs, etc. The Estimated CC column at the Belnord gives a range for that building, with charges that are literally higher than any amount I've ever paid for rent.

And then they were all in trouble, according to Bunny, for violating the code of conduct, at least until Bunny decided to take up knitting in a serious way.
posted by mochapickle at 4:10 PM on October 24 [2 favorites]




Who took the green ring from Zoe before she died?

Zoe pushed the ring into Theo Dimas’ hands, which started the deadly shoving. Some time later the Dimases must have fenced it, before Tim Kono bought it.

Cinda Canning is having a lot of fun being bad. “You’ll be stocking the NPR fridge with LaCroix til you’re 50!”

I’m a little disappointed that Bunny’s dead. I didn’t buy her heel turn because I read her character as a garden variety lovable curmudgeon. It seems like the writers reduced her to a single character trait. Then again she’ll probably get humanized in flashbacks, just like Tim Kono.

I wonder if the affluent, absent aunt will be a Deus Ex Machina next season. A woman wealthy enough to abandon her multimillion dollar apartment could spring for bail money, or use her wealth for nefarious ends.
posted by Monochrome at 10:16 AM on October 28 [2 favorites]


My half-baked theory is that Bunny’s killer texted Cinda Canning to expect our heroes to be perp-walked out of the Arconia. Then Poppy the assistant felt bad for the trio and texted them “Get out of the building now!!!” but it was too late.
posted by Monochrome at 5:47 PM on October 28 [1 favorite]


If you don’t mind one last bit of fan fiction...

Mabel says she won’t talk without a lawyer. After some quick thinking she calls Oscar who puts her in touch with his innocence project lawyer. Oscar has already called Mabel’s mother.

Charles Haden Savage produces a worn business card of a lawyer: the crimlaw consultant he knew from Brazzos. Unfortunately that lawyer has retired.

Oliver doesn’t ask for a lawyer. He’s convinced he needs to sell his innocence like it’s a pitch meeting. Misunderstanding, Not Murder: A Comedy Of Errors! 🎭
posted by Monochrome at 9:23 PM on October 28 [2 favorites]


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