Only Murders in the Building: I Know Who Did It
August 24, 2022 1:34 AM - Season 2, Episode 10 - Subscribe

One question remains: Who did it??? Oh, who are we kidding -- there's a few more questions raised, too. [Season Finale]
posted by lazaruslong (45 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Overall I found this to be a pretty satisfying conclusion to the s2 plot, though there are a fair number of threads that didn't get tied up imo.

I was surprised to see Paul Rudd show up, and I really hope that we are going to get more of him in s3!!
posted by lazaruslong at 1:35 AM on August 24 [7 favorites]


I enjoyed the season—the characters are likeable and the sets and clothes are beautiful—but I felt the mystery was less satisfying compared to the first season. Their solving felt far too coincidental and I didn't think it proceeded logically from all of the episodes that came before.

I was also surprised and excited to see Paul Rudd show up, especially as it seems he might be playing against his usual type.
posted by synecdoche at 4:23 AM on August 24 [7 favorites]


Feel very much the same with the notable exception of episode 8, personally.

I really wish I could find the clip of Martin and Short talking about (i think) the Iran Contra Affair (like Watergate! Only somehow more boring!) and going through all the players and stuff. I found that to be so funny (even though being born in 1983 means I don't actually know many of those names) and relevant to our time. I really want to send that clip to my dad.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:57 AM on August 24 [3 favorites]


“Slo-mo Killer Reveal Party” sounds like a game my college improv group would have played once, never to be repeated.
posted by Ishbadiddle at 5:13 AM on August 24 [10 favorites]


I enjoyed the season—the characters are likeable and the sets and clothes are beautiful—but I felt the mystery was less satisfying compared to the first season. Their solving felt far too coincidental and I didn't think it proceeded logically from all of the episodes that came before.

Funny - I had the exact opposite reaction. While I loved the first season, I found the ultimate solution disappointing (lol Jan is crazy). I thought this season's solution totally works.

Plus, while the finale of the first season was "let's run away from Jan," this one had a great Agatha Christie-style climax with two (!) misdirections - first Cinda, then Cara Delavigne. It was funny and suspenseful and I loved it.

The setup for season 3 is bizarre! I love Paul Rudd and I hope they can stick the landing. :)
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 6:24 AM on August 24 [15 favorites]


Did anyone besides me totally think the show at the end was going to be a Brazzos musical?
posted by dlugoczaj at 6:30 AM on August 24 [20 favorites]


I think this season has awkwardly juggled the extent to which this is a murder mystery, and the extent to which it plays with the form of a murder mystery in order to be a series of character studies.

But that hasn't stopped me from enjoying it.
posted by entropone at 6:37 AM on August 24 [4 favorites]


> "Did anyone besides me totally think the show at the end was going to be a Brazzos musical?"

That would send the cast in a whole new direction!
posted by kyrademon at 7:21 AM on August 24 [33 favorites]


Question: do we think the cast was singing the yodelshop at the end? YouTube clip here. Towards the end I think the high voice sounds a bit like Selena Gomez, and then the very end definitely sounds like Howard.
posted by damayanti at 8:07 AM on August 24 [6 favorites]


Question: do we think the cast was singing the yodelshop at the end?

My wife and I thought so, yes.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:17 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


I found the ultimate solution disappointing (lol Jan is crazy). I thought this season's solution totally works.

I don't disagree—I thought the solution last year was a bit disappointing, but at least there were clues. I don't know—maybe I missed a lot? I might have to re-watch now—but I don't think we learned about the allergy, or how she knew about the secret passages, or of her interest in art until the last episode. So it felt like very clue was a red herring until the end, when it started to come together (culminating in the weird sandwich). The conclusion was satisfying, but I don't think how we got there was as satisfying.
posted by synecdoche at 8:20 AM on August 24 [3 favorites]


I understand what you mean - a lot of the final clues weren't revealed until the last episode, and I thought the DNA evidence was a bit of a cop-out. But it tracks Poppy's characterization (even going back to last season) of being the underappreciated assistant who would do anything for attention from Cinda. And the clues we learned from Kreps could have (and ultimately did) point to Poppy instead of Cinda. (In retrospect, of course Cinda wouldn't fall for a doofus like Kreps.)

So I acknowledge your points, but I didn't feel like this came out of nowhere like the Jan reveal did. I imagine it's difficult as a mystery writer to strike that balance between dropping enough crumbs to make a solution appear reasonable in retrospect, but not dropping so many hints as to make it obvious.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:35 AM on August 24 [4 favorites]


I might have to re-watch now—but I don't think we learned about the allergy, or how she knew about the secret passages, or of her interest in art until the last episode. So it felt like very clue was a red herring until the end, when it started to come together (culminating in the weird sandwich). The conclusion was satisfying, but I don't think how we got there was as satisfying.

The allergy and the interest and Rose Cooper and her knowing about the secret passages didn't come up until this episode, no, but things were pointing more and more at Poppy as the season progressed, I'd say, while using Cinda Canning as the focus for those suspicions. I might be off about that, though - a friend is a production designer on the show and sent out a call for somebody who could get her a bunch of newspapers from Oklahoma a while back, which my parents ended up providing for her. I guess they were used as set-dressing for the scenes with Poppy and her Dad, but from that I guessed that Oklahoma (and "All Is Not OK") were going to come into play at some point, though I had no idea how or what that would imply.

Steve Martin's physical comedy in the S1 finale was amazing, but I really enjoyed the "Killer Reveal Party," particularly Howard and Lester. The set-up for S3 looks super fun. Also I just want to note that Poppy/Becky vanished from Chickasha without a trace, showed up in Cinda's editing bay to pitch her on the story, then went back to Chickasha to investigate the story of her own disappearance and presumed murder armed with a haircut and NPR voice. That's some chutzpah. And my wife pointed out that the time we see her in bed with Kreps is the only time we ever see Poppy truly looking happy and at ease with herself. While they made Jan initially likable and then turned her effervescence on its head by not changing her demeanor at all while we learned how crazy she was, with Poppy the reveal didn't really make her less sympathetic, which was a neat trick.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:37 AM on August 24 [19 favorites]


And my wife pointed out that the time we see her in bed with Kreps is the only time we ever see Poppy truly looking happy and at ease with herself. While they made Jan initially likable and then turned her effervescence on its head by not changing her demeanor at all while we learned how crazy she was, with Poppy the reveal didn't really make her less sympathetic, which was a neat trick.

I noticed that too, and it was a nice touch. Is Poppy an act? Was Becky an act? Was she really in love with Kreps or is that an act?

I also really liked the touch of giving her a slight Oklahoman accent at the beginning of the episode, which crept back in during the reveal party when she knew she'd been found out. Subtle, but clever.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:25 AM on August 24 [9 favorites]


I noticed that too, and it was a nice touch. Is Poppy an act? Was Becky an act? Was she really in love with Kreps or is that an act?

That's the thing is that I don't think any of them are much of an act. Poppy is who she wants to be and she's good at it. Becky is who she had to be and reverts to in the end, but that doesn't mean that Poppy wasn't "real." Kreps was a means to an end but also a savior and they seemed super into each other.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:41 AM on August 24 [5 favorites]


I couldn't put together the thing about the diner and the sandwich. Bunny hated the liverwurst and marmalade sandwich, but it was the favorite of the owner's sister? We don't know who that is, but Poppy orders the sandwich and that means ... ?

And the money Bunny gave the waiter didn't end up going anywhere? (Yet?)

Left for later, I guess: the fate of the Arconia with the new board president.
posted by minsies at 10:09 AM on August 24 [4 favorites]


I couldn't put together the thing about the diner and the sandwich. Bunny hated the liverwurst and marmalade sandwich, but it was the favorite of the owner's sister? We don't know who that is, but Poppy orders the sandwich and that means ... ?

The three followed the matchbook clue back to the diner and learned that the killer was at the diner when Bunny was there.

When Poppy ordered the sandwich, it drew their attention to it on the menu, and shed light on Bunny's last words - 14 sandwich - indicating that Bunny recognized the killer from the dinner.
posted by entropone at 10:22 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


I thought her last words were 14 Savage? The 14 million for the Rose Cooper painting?
posted by minsies at 10:34 AM on August 24


Oh, I totally missed that Mabel misunderstood what Bunny had said. I probably need to rewatch!
posted by minsies at 10:37 AM on August 24 [2 favorites]


I couldn't put together the thing about the diner and the sandwich. Bunny hated the liverwurst and marmalade sandwich, but it was the favorite of the owner's sister? We don't know who that is, but Poppy orders the sandwich and that means ... ?

Here's how I understood it:
- The disgusting sandwich is the owner's sister's favorite, which is why it is on the menu in the first place (as #14).
- Bunny thinks the sandwich is disgusting.
- When Poppy has lunch with Bunny to try to get information about the Rose Cooper painting, she orders #14, which stuck in Bunny's head because she thought the sandwich was gross.
- When Bunny recognized Poppy in Mabel's apartment, the sandwich was the first thing she remembered, which is why she says "14 sandwich" (misheard as "14 Savage") to Mabel.

I initially thought they were saying that Poppy was the diner owner's sister, but I think that line was in there just to explain why such a disgusting sandwich is on the menu as a special.

Also, the "$14 million for the Rose Cooper painting" thing was a misdirection to make Poppy think Mabel had misidentified Alice as the killer.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:12 AM on August 24 [12 favorites]


I confess I really, really wanted it to be Cinda, even though I knew the likelihood of her being identified in the penultimate episode meant that it wouldn't stay true in the finale. But I loathe Cinda and would love her gone; she's entirely too much like a psychopathic boss I had who destroyed my life and it took me years and years to overcome. Tina Fey seems to love playing that character type, but I just...really Do Not Want.

It felt like there were some loose ends left floating around. I would have so loved to see Rose Cooper, though, at the Killer Reveal Party (I enjoyed everyone's confusion about that--it's exactly the kind of thing I have to query authors on all the time in my copyediting work). And I was sort of bummed about Mabel getting back together with Alice, I'm just not sure I'd want to get back with someone who used my suffering for their phony art, but I was very distressed by them painting over the mural.

Still, glad to see that the gang is still together for the premiere of the play, though...god, poor Oliver! He finally gets work again and now his lead is murdered. He'll never work in this town again!
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:26 AM on August 24 [4 favorites]


I might have missed something that made this obvious, but I thought in the end that Mabel and Alice were amicable, but not back together (like, Alice kinda pushed for that and Mabel shut her down, no?)
posted by Navelgazer at 12:14 PM on August 24 [4 favorites]


My main gripe about this show has been that its comedic sensibilities are at odds with its goals as a murder mystery. Every once in a while, the narrative stops so that something funny can happen, either in the micro (Oliver wastes 30 seconds delivering a reluctant farewell speech to his bag of dips) or in the macro (Jane Lynch shows up and chews scenery for two episodes for no particular reason). If those parts were missing, the show wouldn't be as entertaining, but the actual mystery part never feels like it has enough room to unfold.

But that's OK. I am fine with a show being a half-mystery, half-comedy, so I don't need everything to fit together elegantly like it's a Christopher Nolan film. But I need a bit more effort than this:
  • Why would Poppy just tell Mabel that she's Becky Butler? How is that revelation not more incriminating for Poppy than for Cinda herself? By confessing her secret identity, isn't she implicitly admitting that she's taken a graduate-level class in framing people?
  • Detective Williams has had the knife for a while; why didn’t NYPD test it for DNA already? They were able to ascertain that it belonged to someone who was presumed dead halfway across the country, but they held off on doing so until they were specifically asked whether Cinda's DNA was on the knife?
  • The diversion of the Alice accusation, the fake Charles death, and whatnot: its only purpose was to cause Cinda to pretend to offer Mabel her own podcast so that Poppy would get jealous — and, in her jealous rage, accidentally implicate herself?
  • I know I'm late to the party on this one, but are bangs and glasses and a bland accent so powerful that they'd empower you to revisit the hometown you escaped without constant fear that someone would recognize you? Did she steal Clark Kent's glasses?
  • Regardless of what she knew and when she knew it, is Cinda not just completely discredited as a journalist at this point? Shouldn't the post-arrest montage include a shot of her getting her karmic comeuppance, instead of one where she narrates the end of her “Only Murderers in the Building” podcast with a self-satisfied smile?
  • What was the point of Amy Schumer's presence? That was on my mental loose-threads list for weeks, and I just assumed it'd be wrapped up in the finale, even just as an acknowledgment of a red herring. At least with Sting last season they got a few scenes out of suspecting him to be the killer.
  • Has any modern show ever explained to our satisfaction how someone can change their identity in the year 2022? I get how Don Draper could've pulled it off in the era before digitization and DNA, but surely NPR isn't paying Poppy in cash under the table, right?
The result is a mystery that isn't actually a mystery. It's the opposite of a “true crime” podcast: instead of something that, theoretically, anyone could solve, we get something that only the writers could've solved, because they held back the necessary clues until they were most narratively resonant. This isn't necessarily bad; it just means that the writers want me to appreciate the narrative more than the mystery. Lots of serial “mystery” shows are like this: they don't want you getting to the answer before the end, so you're just along for the ride.

A victim's mumbled dying words serve as a narrative device; we know we'll understand their significance later. (Hell, you've got to hide the ball, or else a subreddit will solve it in ten minutes, just like The Afterparty's easter eggs.) But that means that they ought to be significant. When the significance of it is “I have identified the killer by her disgusting lunch order,” and the existence of that disgusting lunch order was not made clear to the audience until the instant that the storytellers needed it… then it's just a MacGuffin of a phrase, a mere tag to identify the killer. It's no more impactful than if Bunny had recited Poppy's Social Security number just before dying. I'm not demanding “Rosebud” here — just something that doesn't seem like it was marked “PLACEHOLDER — THINK OF SOMETHING BETTER” on a whiteboard in the writers' room.

I will keep watching this show because — let's face it — I would watch Steve Martin and Martin Short recite a list of obscure fasteners from the pages of a McMaster-Carr catalog. (Can't be worse than Clifford.) But I will not speculate on the identity of the next murderer; I'll just treat it as hidden knowledge that can't be known for sure until the writers decide to reveal it. Like Pat's gender, or whether Deckard is a replicant.
posted by savetheclocktower at 2:52 PM on August 24 [7 favorites]


I didn't love the actual solution, but I did love the silly killer reveal party.

I think it's a little implausible Poppy would reveal her real identity when she did, but I guess I can accept it as a panicked attempt to throw Cinda Canning under the bus.

I do not get why Poppy risked planting the painting and the knife. If the plan was to have Kreps find these incriminating things in their apartments, shouldn't Kreps have turned up immediately after they were planted? Maybe he did and I just don't remember the timing?

Anyway I liked the teaser for next season and hope we get plenty of flashbacks of surly Paul Rudd squabbling with Steve Martin.
posted by the primroses were over at 4:01 PM on August 24 [5 favorites]


I still like this show and I thought they sold the ending, even if it didn't really work. I do feel like this season was weaker and more all over the place than season one, but at the same time, I'd watch Selena Gomez, Steve Martin and Martin Short just sit around and talk to each other. I actually don't need too much more than that.

I will still watch season 3.
posted by edencosmic at 6:32 PM on August 24 [4 favorites]


Certainly the opportunity to watch Steve and Martin do redonks slo-mo stuff for ten seconds was worth the whole season by itself.

Plus the yodeling theme over the final credits. [chef’s kiss]
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:23 PM on August 24 [18 favorites]


And the money Bunny gave the waiter didn't end up going anywhere?

Maybe it'll come up again, but I'd bet this was simply legitimately about Bunny doing a nice thing for her favorite waiter, who's been serving her food every day for years now, with her mind on her potential retirement and her potential move to Florida. (Even if it didn't turn out to be a clue, it was always a humanizing device for the previously-hated Bunny).

What was the point of Amy Schumer's presence?

I think this was (in the end) just about the writers looking at the elements of season one and wanting to reproduce what they could for season two. The question for season three is whether Paul Rudd satisfies the mega-celebrity cameo requirement on his own (even though he's not playing himself), or if there will be yet another celebrity in the penthouse. (If there's no celebrity-playing-themselves in the penthouse, I'd guess we'll learn Paul Rudd's character was subletting that precise apartment for the run of their show.)

Wait, hold on. Assuming the new board president's massive renovation plans didn't include ripping out the whole first floor and replacing it with a wholly improbable theater, does there need to be a separate murder in the building to satisfy the eponymous requirement? (Maybe it was slow-acting poison, and he was poisoned earlier that night in the penthouse.)
posted by nobody at 11:07 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


It’s really the characters who are keeping me hooked on this show—so much good characterization and acting, even if the mystery wasn’t totally solvable on its own (I know a lot were speculating it was Poppy after the previous ep).

But the icing on the cake was the stealth Father of the Bride reference, where Martin Short called Steve Martin a party pooper. That made me so happy.
posted by sleeping bear at 11:39 PM on August 24 [3 favorites]


i thought Schumer was only there for that extremely meta bit -- the idea that in-show celebrity wants to option the rights to make a TV show out of the podcast was very funny to me. But then I love the meta humor of this show so damn much -- a show with a podcast that is about another podcast that has people who are in shows and also someone jokes about wanting to make a show out of the show with a podcast that is about another podcast which has people in it who are in shows etc
posted by lazaruslong at 1:15 AM on August 25 [2 favorites]


Regardless of what she knew and when she knew it, is Cinda not just completely discredited as a journalist at this point? Shouldn't the post-arrest montage include a shot of her getting her karmic comeuppance, instead of one where she narrates the end of her “Only Murderers in the Building” podcast with a self-satisfied smile?

hah, discredited as a journalist? come now, there's no such thing! in the real world, and also in the logic of the show, there's no discrediting just....making it up as you go along and hoping it all turns out okay.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:17 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


I feel like letting Cinda wrap up her podcast in such a smug, self-satisfied way was a perfect little button. For her, she gets the ultimate twist: not just one that recontextualizes this entire podcast, but radically transforms her famous one—and now you'd better go listen to the original before you listen to this one! It's like the finale to The Jinx, only she records her own assistant confessing to a murder, live!

It's also a much darker ending than having Cinda herself be the killer. Poppy was driven into this out of a desperate need to escape her life, hitched herself to a deeply abusive woman, and wound up pushing further and further in her attempt to get ahead in her career. (Hell, she was prepared to kill a young girl to keep her secret!) Cinda, who drove her to this, not only gets away scot-free but turns her abuse of her assistant into career-making fodder.

(I've been rewatching 30 Rock for the last couple of weeks, and getting this much Fey was a blessing. God, I miss having her on TV.)
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 6:25 AM on August 25 [8 favorites]


Mochapickle called it a month back. I thought Cinda being the murderer was too easy.
posted by hijinx at 7:12 AM on August 25 [4 favorites]


hah Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted, my spouse and I just finished a full re-watch of 30 rock (the sheer density of jokes in those scripts is unrivaled save for maybe Frasier?) and yeah, it is great to see her again in this show. And totally agree with your description of how her story plays into making the ending darker.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:24 AM on August 25 [2 favorites]


The quick ad for Gut Milk Lite (now without that unexplained crunch) was very 30 Rock.
posted by Servo5678 at 8:01 AM on August 25 [10 favorites]


Mochapickle called it a month back.

Well, maaaaaybe, but remember I was also heckbent all season on the Alice in Wonderland theme that went nowhere so I'll just chalk this one up to luck.
posted by mochapickle at 8:16 AM on August 25 [8 favorites]


I also felt that as a murder mystery, season 2 was unsatisfying. They were throwing a lot of spaghetti at the wall that they knew wouldn't stick (eg, why did they bother having Marv climbing around in the secret passages? There was no payoff there), and the final reveal felt mostly unearned.

But there's still so much to enjoy about the show even acknowledging that. And I think I caught a fleeting Jiminy Glick reference in ep 8 (?).
posted by adamrice at 8:21 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Is next season going to be "Only Murders In The Theater," because I'd be down for that title. I love the setup for season 3 with Paul Rudd as a dead dick. Love it.

I did enjoy the Poppy-is-Becky twist. I'm guessing since they didn't show a confession, that Cinda didn't know Becky was Poppy and B/P didn't tell her.

I do think it's some chutzpah to go BACK to the town that you supposedly disappeared from and not get caught...Honestly, I'm not sure if you COULD get away with it or not. On the one hand, nerdy girl, everyone ignores you. On the other hand, I've known a few people in theater that if you put a drastically different wig on them, don't get recognized. * And yet, if I put on a drastically different wig, everyone can still spot me and I'm a nerd, dammit. So I don't know on the plausibility of that plotline.

* One of them has a black pixie cut and wore a long blonde wig in a show. She took it off afterwards and went into the audience and someone asked what she was doing there. "I was in the play?" I also note that the Silly Girls in the production of Beauty and the Beast I'm in all have HUGE giant wigs, some of which do not go with their skin tones, and that's making them hard to spot under all that hair.

I better not see Alice around for season 3. Yes, I know everyone's all "hot bi chicks" or whatever, but seriously, I would not be letting her into my apartment and palling around after what she did. Ew.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:41 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


I would definitely eat a marmalade and liverwurst sandwich. I may have to make one for myself!
posted by Valancy Rachel at 10:06 PM on September 6


Reviews of the sandwich.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:10 PM on September 7


Love that Salon was too chicken to include a photo! So the secret seems to be (only if you’re not immediately disgusted by both ingredients as I am) not piling the liverwurst high.
posted by ellieBOA at 3:54 AM on September 8


A couple of days ago my wife and I finally got around to watching the last three episodes, after having been knocked off track by moving between countries.

On balance, I liked this series a lot. I’d go so far to say that I loved it, and that’s because the writers are still really focused on the basic humanity of all the characters.

I think there are a lot more bits that don’t make sense than in the first series (Poppy spontaneously revealing that she’s Becky Butler being the biggest headscratcher) and there was a plotline or two too many, but they never distracted from the enjoyment it brought to me and my wife.

And I just love these characters and I can’t wait to spend another series in their world.
posted by Kattullus at 6:00 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Becky’s/Poppy’s accent was just straight up garbage. The character is from Oklahoma—not from some poorly realized production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Christ.

Sorry, sorry. I enjoyed the show. I did, I did. There were just so many choices made with this season that were bad or lazy or simply confounding. Like, did Oliver need to be cucked? Did Charles need a ex stepdaughter reunion or a Brazzos reboot? Why was the creepy podcast fan at the reveal? Oh, now Mabel is cool with what’s her name? Hunh?

Bah.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 2:24 PM on September 11


I was a little disappointed that Poppy was the killer. Since season 1, I was pretty invested in the idea of her switching sides, ditching Cinda, and joining the Only Murders podcast team.
posted by Zumbador at 9:45 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Well, I expected my pre-season prediction to be wrong. But this was like the platonic ideal of wrong, being built around characters who literally ceased to exist this season.

I guess there was a line in an early episode lampshading that Oscar wasn’t around anymore. But basically he and his dad the super (who had every reason to hate Mabel) were like Richie Cunningham’s brother Chuck, who went upstairs in the last episode of the first season of Happy Days, and just never came down again.
posted by Naberius at 7:56 PM on September 22 [2 favorites]


> And the money Bunny gave the waiter didn't end up going anywhere?

I am assuming it's just a dangling thread and would be pleased to even just get a callback to it a la Amy Schumer saying "Who poisoned the dog?"
posted by MiraK at 2:36 PM on October 16


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