Only Murders in the Building: The Tell
July 20, 2022 12:41 PM - Season 2, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Mabel hosts a party for an eclectic art crowd which also serves a double purpose for smoking out a liar in the trio's midst.
posted by kitten kaboodle (23 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Hope I'm not stepping on any toes, I was just really dying to see what folks thought of this one.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 12:41 PM on July 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

It's kinda nice to see Oliver being good at something, even if not quite as good as he thinks he is.

(and boy, I hope they do an entire half-hour about what bullshit those DNA tests are)
posted by Etrigan at 12:55 PM on July 20, 2022 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I'm pretty apprehensive about this DNA thing--as an adoptee, I've so rarely seen this type of "your bio-parent(s) isn't who you thought" stories go well or realistically, and it kind of fills me with dread. I also have a lifetime of people behind me mocking or scorning the idea of adoption/someone raising a kid that isn't their biological child, and it makes me flinch. So this is adding a stomach-churning level of unpleasantness I wasn't expecting from the show, but the rest of the episode was fun and interesting. I don't want this to turn out badly for Oliver's son, I like him so much. Also, I'm a bit scared for Charles.

Selena looked smokin' in that fabulous disco silver dress.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 1:38 PM on July 20, 2022 [10 favorites]

My instinct is that Oliver will react badly and go all imposter syndrome, but Will will be "Of course you're my real father, who the hell is Teddy Dimas anyway?", but not without some shenanigans on the way. Which I'm not looking forward to as they're not the kind of shenanigans I enjoy, but still. The show itself seems dedicated enough to the idea of the found family - note Charles' relationship with Lucy, for example - and the importance of people's commitment to each other that I don't worry genetic primacy will win.
posted by Grangousier at 3:27 PM on July 20, 2022 [8 favorites]

This is the first episode I didn't like.

Why the DNA thing? If Nathan Lane's character is the biological father and knew it, then it would presumably have already come up in previous altercations. If he didn't know it, why the smug "reveal"? And seconding kitten kaboodle that if they're going to turn the plot around a "real father," that's just gross.

Mabel has an entire open vent in her closet floor and she never noticed it before finding the secret tunnel?

Alice actually had the Son of Sam card so she's a liar AND she's also a liar, and that's supposed to be a twist (?)

The chorus-commentary from the fans in the diner was gratuitous, but also their being there at all was gratuitous - if they can hear the team's conversation, then why is the team still talking in front of them about things that need to stay secret if they have any hope of solving anything?

Also I know we're supposed to like Jan but I just don't, and I don't buy that Charles would.

There are just too many dangling threads right now - it doesn't feel like like a multi-suspect whodunnit. It just feels like throwing a ton of stuff against the wall and hoping we'll think that complexity = plotting.

I liked the 70s outfits though. Overall the wardrobe throughout this series has been killing it.
posted by Mchelly at 3:31 PM on July 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

Although I am still enjoying it a lot - there is no other show with quite this tone, the driving force of this season seems to be relying on previously unknown histories of these characters, especially in relation to the Arconia. Oliver had obviously lived there a long time, but now Charles has family history linked to the building, too? And now we're re-writing Oliver's son's history? Seems a shame. Right now, we don't even have a list of suspects that might have killed Bunny, so it feels less like a mystery we as viewers can solve.

I kinda like Jan as a Hannibal Lecter type character. One of the things I like about this show is Oliver and Charles reckoning with their ages and what they have done with their lives. Charles, especially, feels like his greatest achievements were long ago. And Jan was going to be that great new chapter until she turned out to be a murderer. The fact he's still drawn to her is really interesting, even though in the end it can't work out.

The period detail in all the flashbacks this season have been great but I don't really want to spend so much time in the past.
posted by crossoverman at 4:44 PM on July 20, 2022 [4 favorites]

Pretty sure those drugs were just Christmas M&Ms
posted by thecaddy at 7:05 PM on July 20, 2022 [8 favorites]

This is not a show I watch for plausibility, so I don't mind things like the Arconiacs sitting one table over while our leads discuss their theories. Also, I liked the implication that maybe the "secret" tunnels aren't that secret since the one Arconiac knows about them from mold remediation work.

Count me in as another who is not excited about the paternity angle. Also, what kind of elementary school has families take a DNA test as part of a family tree project, wtf. (I know I just said implausibility doesn't bother me with this show; I contain multitudes. It is not so much the implausibility that bothers me though, as the "nope, that's a bad lesson plan." Maybe Will is just that parent - we do see him taking over the project gluing so maybe the DNA test was his overachieving idea.)

Still feeling suspicious about Alice, but having the new romantic partner be the murderer two seasons in a row seems questionable, right? Don't break Mabel's heart, Alice.
posted by the primroses were over at 3:57 AM on July 21, 2022 [10 favorites]

I don't think Alice is this season's Jan, I think she's this season's Teddy.

While I do actually think that, I mostly wanted to see what that sentence looked like written out.

(IMO she was definitely after the painting for some, as yet unidentified, reason beyond its monetary value, possibly feloniously, but she's not the murderer.)
posted by Grangousier at 8:49 AM on July 21, 2022 [6 favorites]

A couple of weeks ago, Mrs. nushustu lamented that once again, Gen X gets skipped in the setup of this show, with two boomers and one millennial leading it. But this week she pointed out that in fact Gen X is in the perfect position to get all of the jokes, including the completely-unnecessary-but-totally-hilarious Boomer sidebar about the Iran-Contra scandal, as well as the Millennial commentary including terms like "hot gos" and basically all of the texting jokes. So I guess that counts for something.
posted by nushustu at 8:51 AM on July 21, 2022 [18 favorites]

Also, Jan is totally Gen X.
posted by Kattullus at 9:39 AM on July 21, 2022 [8 favorites]

I deeply enjoyed the moment where the party at Mabel's leapt into the 70s, and the jarring way it jumped back to reality when Oliver accused Alice. I want more excuses to wear sequins in casual settings. There's no way Alice's event space actually flooded, it's much too convenient. I don't think Alice is the murderer, simply because having a new love interest be the actual murderer was the thing last season, but I think Cara Delavingne is super fun in this.

There was yet another deliberate Alice in Wonderland reference with the "pills" Oliver handed out, which maps directly to the eat me/drink me parts of the book. Last episode had very much a feeling of going through the looking glass, as the secret passageways allowed glimpses into other apartments, other worlds. The storyteller theme is getting pushed really strongly. Will's directing Wizard of Oz, which has a lot in common with Alice in Wonderland: A young girl falls into a strange, dangerous, and compelling world.

I'm probably fully alone in this but I just want a random web series where Jan The Murderer says true but upsetting things in a sweetly unhinged kind of way.
posted by mochapickle at 4:35 PM on July 21, 2022 [12 favorites]

In a thread about Carnival Row I said that casting directors were doing Cara Delavingne no favors by putting her in roles that require her to have on-screen romantic chemistry with men but it turns out I was misguided and she doesn't have on-screen chemistry with anyone.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:24 PM on July 21, 2022 [11 favorites]

Oooh, another Wonderland connection: Alice claims a connection to Oxford, the Liddell family lived in Oxford (when they met Charles Dodgson). Gonna go find my Annotated Alice and see what else I can find.

It's a stretch but the event space flooding, could that be a reference to the pool of tears? Maybe?
posted by mochapickle at 8:04 AM on July 22, 2022

Okay, and there were playing cards handed out for the murderer game. And Alice's line about Oliver's waistcoat seemed strangely deliberate -- the white rabbit wears a waistcoat.
posted by mochapickle at 8:38 AM on July 22, 2022 [6 favorites]

I enjoyed the 70's party thing. That was quite fun.

I did not like the obviously set up DNA thing. Ridiculous bad, right there, very conspicuous. Likewise, Alice is kinda suspiciously divey in general, even if she has reasons for faking rich and whatever.

Oh, Charles, I know you're lonely, but....OY.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:55 AM on July 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Though technically we're not represented, as an elder Millennial with several elder Gen X guy friends, I was dying during the Iran-Contra scene. I may have had that conversation word for word before.
posted by lampoil at 10:46 AM on July 24, 2022 [12 favorites]

My theory on the DNA is that Dimas knows somebody in the testing lab and had those results sent back as part of his revenge plot.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:27 AM on July 27, 2022 [9 favorites]

Alternatively, Oliver is the father but his ethnic background is different than he thought.
posted by drezdn at 7:55 PM on August 14, 2022 [5 favorites]

Finally an explanation for why Teddy kept giving Oliver money. A guilty co science plus providing for his biological child!
posted by bq at 9:52 AM on August 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

I wondered if there was a suggestion that Oliver cheats the Son of Sam game? He's the one who hands out the cards, he could easily plant the "killer" card on a pre chosen person.

Seems like a big coincidence that Alice ended up with the guilt card otherwise, and the same with Dimas.
posted by Zumbador at 10:02 PM on September 9, 2022 [3 favorites]

Very belatedly making my way through this season and my only contribution to this episode is that I would absolutely listen to a podcast of Charles and Oliver fighting each other to explain the historical events of the 1980s to Mabel against her will.
posted by eponym at 7:29 PM on December 11, 2022 [8 favorites]

I wondered if there was a suggestion that Oliver cheats the Son of Sam game? He's the one who hands out the cards, he could easily plant the "killer" card on a pre chosen person.

Seems like a big coincidence that Alice ended up with the guilt card otherwise, and the same with Dimas.

Yeah, I didn't really get that part. Oliver, Mabel and Alice all know that ONE of them is SoS. Alice shows a card demonstrating her innocence. Neither Mabel nor Oliver reacts in any way to realizing the other is the real SoS, which would have caused them to show their cards and then realize no one has the SoS card anymore. You'd think Mabel would be pissed at Oliver "it was you the whole time!" after he badgered Alice like that. So I found it weird that her lie was not discovered.

Dimas being SoS seemed less suspect to me - if they are all friends and have played many times, at some point or another he would have got the card.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:52 PM on February 7, 2023 [3 favorites]

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