Only Murders in the Building: Hello, Darkness
August 9, 2022 12:03 PM - Season 2, Episode 8 - Subscribe

The trio tries to save a loved one from the killer during a blackout, while the other Arconia residents explore unexpected connections.

Knowing that Lucy is all alone in Charles' apartment, the trio races back to the Arconia to save her from the killer. Meanwhile, the blackout forces the Arconia's residents to make new connections. Howard hangs out with one of his neighbours, whom he has a crush on, and eventually asks him out, despite the man's lethal allergy to cats. Concurrently, Lester, the doorman, helps Nina assemble a baby swing, during which Nina learns to evaluate Lester's work and gives him a promotion. The trio discover that someone broke into Charles' apartment and chased Lucy through the secret tunnels. The person later turns out to be Marv, who claims that he wanted to ensure Lucy's safety when he heard about her situation, while also hoping this would help him to be in the podcast. Oliver agrees to record Marv for an episode while Lucy finally tells Charles what she saw on the night of Bunny's murder. After the power returns, the trio meets Detecive Kreps in the building. Mabel discovers some glitter on his neck, realizing he was her former assailant and possibly the killer himself.
posted by BlahLaLa (14 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Well, I just don't know what to think about this! I've been puzzling and puzzling over what/why/how Kreps would be involved in this. (Although, since I loathe Michael Rappaport with a white-hot fury, the one thing I do know is that this means more of him, which is bad.)
posted by kitten kaboodle at 6:12 PM on August 9, 2022 [7 favorites]

There just seems to be so much misdirection in this season and I haven't loved that, despite still loving our core three. I dislike mysteries where there's a sudden "twist" so I worry they're still going to do that here, but I'm still liking the show. It's not really about the overall mystery for me.

This had some lovely moments but I'm always a sucker for an unexpected musical number.
posted by edencosmic at 6:24 PM on August 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

I've seen this happen with really good shows before. The writers/creators spend two or three years thinking up the perfect plot, and have great success with their first season. Then they get renewed, and don't have anything on the back burner for a second year. Maybe the writing team changes, or maybe they don't work well under pressure. But they flail a bit as a result: the plot sprawls, the execution is rougher, there are more filler episodes. Unfortunately, this is that season for Only Murders in the Building.

I love the tone and the building-based cosiness of this show so much, I'm willing to give the show lots and lots of leeway. I still like all of the protagonists, some of the lesser characters have been quite interesting. The black-out was an inspiration, and I love the New Yorkiness of it all: the doorman, the diner. But it's a little disappointing to watch them underperform.

In Season 1, the show's greatest strengths, apart from the tone, were the episodes completely given over to the perspectives of other people intimately involved in the murder mystery. But this season, they're breaking their own rules by entering the consciousness of bit players like Poppy and Marv. They're also leaving countless story lines dangling: What about the painting? What happened to Charles' father's paramour? They're indulging in easy psychology that explain characters too neatly: In the cases of Charles and Mabel, it's all about their daddies. They're stressing the wrong things: Who cares if Oliver isn't his son's biological father? And the protagonists are sometimes unconvincingly illogical: They missed seeing glitter guy? Why doesn't anyone close the doorway behind them when sneaking into the interior of the building? Finally, they keep introducing new characters, only to drop them for multiple episodes, if they're ever to revisit them at all: What happened to Shirley? And now we know about Poppy, where has she gone?

I presume they're going to try to wrap a lot of this up in a blow-out finale, but the finale was the one thing I didn't like much in Season 1. That said, I've certainly also noticed lots of shows that ended up being stellar that didn't really find their footing for the first few years, and this one may simply be undergoing growing pains.

Anyway, I was frustrated by this episode. A lot of it felt like filler to me. Although it was nice getting to know Howard better, it felt like a cheap ploy for introducing him to a possibly suspiciously sneezy guy. I didn't buy the Marv story and I did not like the sudden deus ex machina appearance of the bad cop.
posted by Violet Blue at 7:09 PM on August 9, 2022 [15 favorites]

Agreed with basically all of that, yeah.

Also -- so much of this episode felt like a bad Slasher flick -- people scrabbling around in darkened rooms / crawlspaces while a Bad Scary Guy with a Knife slowly fails to catch them, shining lots of flashlights directly into the lens, setting up then subverting obvious jumpscare cues (the step daughter in the darkened kitchen opening the fridge door, priming the audience for someone to be there suddenly when she closes it as one example) and all of that shit is to tedious and annoying to me.

I don't watch slasher films. I fell in love with this show for the meta-humor and the writing. I do not need to watch them Scooby Doo their way around while some knockoff Scary Movie villain gives me a lensflare migraine.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:05 AM on August 10, 2022 [2 favorites]

I do not think this season is going to be satisfactory on a whodunnit level, but that wasn't last season's strength either. The boyfriend is rooting for Cinda Canning as the murderer; I think it's Jonathan, solely on account of the sneeze. Not a fan of either of our theories, so I hope to be wrong.

I am baffled Shirley MacLaine has not been back since the first episode. There are a whole lot of uninteresting plot lines floating around in her stead.

I did enjoy the scene with Nina and Lester, and I hope he does get his Director of Resident Support title.
posted by the primroses were over at 7:33 PM on August 10, 2022 [3 favorites]

I don't have any real predictions here, but I mean something has to bring the painting back into focus (which will conveniently let Amy Schumer reappear, and hopefully Shirley MacLaine, too), right? Unless, I guess, the painting/MacLaine is just seeded as the setup for season three?

I sure hope the mean, boring detective man just got glitter on his neck when the real murderer brushed past him somewhere. I guess to make him work as the culprit, he'd have to have been working with someone else (like Cinda Canning?) But easier would be if he got glitter on his neck after, say, arresting Mabel's artist friend on not-yet-related charges, or after visiting Jan in jail. He's just too mean/boring!

And Jonathan's just so random! Despite the (too?) obvious sneeze. To make him work as the culprit that's either a whole lot of backstory to fill in, plus some lampshading of the killer being someone's new love-interest for two seasons in a row, and/or maybe he's working with two other already-established characters, to make him feel well-enough incorporated into the fabric of things? Maybe it was his sneeze Lucy heard, but he's somehow nonetheless not the killer.

Okay, I'm obviously just throwing a ton of things at the wall to see what might stick. Did I mention every single character? It'll probably be whoever I forgot to mention.
posted by nobody at 7:54 PM on August 10, 2022 [5 favorites]


Howard, of all people, suddenly finding his perfect soulmate? Who is lethally allergic to cats? And yet the ending! Awww!

The building singalong! "Shhhh, there's a killer!"

"Is there nothing dips can't do?"

"We're low on quality content this season. I'll take Marv."
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:57 PM on August 10, 2022 [17 favorites]

hahaha the LotM speech also got an audible HAH from me.

i know this show is like, Chekhov's Everything Museum but surely the dips will play a critical role at some point? xD
posted by lazaruslong at 12:23 AM on August 11, 2022 [5 favorites]

I am baffled Shirley MacLaine has not been back since the first episode. There are a whole lot of uninteresting plot lines floating around in her stead.

During MacLaine's episode, I commented that I would happily watch an entire episode of her just stabbing cheese. I stand by that. And with how random this season has been, maybe that would have been a fun direction to explore?

I care nothing for Rappaport and I'm so annoyed by Lucy. But the yodeling? The yodeling I liked.

And I still think there's a Wonderland thing happening, or was. Mabel wore a skirt like a chessboard pattern in one of the Alice episodes. And the repeated image of her in her white sweater with Bunny's blood spreading across it absolutely registers as a white rose being painted red, which fits Mabel's theme this season: She's innocent but being painted as a bloody murderer.

Also, whither Ivan from the Pickle Diner? Bunny had some kind of a plan and that fat envelope of bills wasn't a tip -- it was a payment.
posted by mochapickle at 7:49 AM on August 11, 2022 [7 favorites]

Oh, thank you for reminding me about the Last of the Mohicans line--I rarely laugh out loud, but I definitely did at that. I'm laughing again just thinking of it.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:32 AM on August 11, 2022 [3 favorites]

Friends who worked with Rapaport told me that he was about the nicest guy they could have ever hoped to meet, so I like seeing him working. I don’t like him for the killer here because it doesn’t add up for me, and we’re at least an episode shy of the true reveal, but Kreps sucks regardless, so hoping for some karma there.

I’m likewise finding Lucy to be a very fun include this season. I think Jonathan is another red herring (the sneeze was a great jump-scare but you don’t introduce your killer in episode 8, come on) and the amount of time spent with Nina tells me that her story has more to do with this than we may have first assumed.

Also, the “Sound of Silence” blackout singalong was an incredible sequence.

I don’t trust Jan.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:35 PM on August 11, 2022 [4 favorites]

My theory regarding Rapaport's character is that despite telling the gang to stay out of it, he's been trying to use them to solve his case.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 7:46 AM on August 12, 2022 [5 favorites]

I don't watch slasher films. I fell in love with this show for the meta-humor and the writing. I do not need to watch them Scooby Doo their way around while some knockoff Scary Movie villain gives me a lensflare migraine.

Yes! I hated all of that!!

My theory is that it is Nina's husband, but she doesn't know. No supporting evidence, I just don't know where they're going with any of these stories.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:17 PM on February 11, 2023

Actually I have a better theory. It IS the cop, but he is not the Slasher, but he is somehow connected to the Slasher.

I loved the singalong.
posted by Emmy Rae at 10:43 AM on February 12, 2023

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