Only Murders in the Building: Grab Your Hankies
August 15, 2023 11:53 AM - Season 3, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Oliver races to bring new life to his show as Mabel's investigation into the actual murder collides with a surprising ally. Charles bonds with the cast and Loretta proves her voice is invaluable.

The LA Times digs into the creation of that Streep song "Look for the Light" here. It will be released to all streaming platforms at 9pm.

Vulture recap
Elle recap (wait, Elle is doing TV recaps now?)
Daily Beast recap
posted by rednikki (25 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Did anyone catch the Easter Egg in the credits? Are they still doing that?

I am delighted by the musical numbers this season. Meryl Streep is not the first person who springs to mind when I think of singers, but she has done a bunch of musicals and boy, was she fantastic in the musical number here. The woman who plays Kimber was great, too.

So many possible murderers this season – but we know it's going to be someone who was in the first episode. My gut says it was the brother...but I'm sure that's what they WANT me to think! It could have been Loretta, but that would be too close to what happened with Charles previously. Does anyone else have a candidate?
posted by rednikki at 11:58 AM on August 15, 2023 [5 favorites]

That song was fantastic.

I agree the brother seems likely, which means it's not him. Maybe the producer?
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 2:28 PM on August 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

I really liked this episode, but I wish it had not been *quite* so obvious at the end that Ben is talking to a cookie.
posted by kyrademon at 2:34 PM on August 15, 2023 [21 favorites]


We'll probably learn that someone found out about the bad review prior to opening night.

The first murder on stage and the second one in the building probably had different perpetrators (so there can be two reveals).

(The first one on stage might even have been unintentional. Maybe they just wanted him to get sick so the show would be canceled that night. Maybe he was just nervous about performing and did it to himself.)

Can they possibly resist giving Meryl Streep a dark I-did-it scene?
posted by nobody at 9:14 PM on August 15, 2023 [3 favorites]

I loved Meryl Streep's character getting excited about landing her role of a lifetime as a mother of a dermatologist on Grey's New Orleans Family Burn Unit.

Favorite lines were probably Charles flailing as he tries to figure out which cast member doesn't have a hankie:

Oh, yeah. Well, that-- that makes sense because losing anybody is hard. Well, not anyone. Not like a Hitler or a Stalin. Though, I would not want to diminish the grief of Mrs. Stalin. And yes, I know she has a name. Uh... Oh, Nadezhda... (mispronunces something).
posted by creepygirl at 9:47 PM on August 15, 2023 [6 favorites]

Definitely a hit internet meme
posted by Crystalinne at 10:48 PM on August 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

“Girls night at the Calorie Pit” oh my god. I died. I love these doofuses so much and all the other doofuses brought into their orbit.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 4:53 PM on August 16, 2023 [10 favorites]

"I haven't eaten in weeks."
"You do know that you're holding a spoonful of cream cheese."
*chucks spoon* "You're right, you're right."

That plus the Tobert and Mabel name insults and the elephant story. Pure script gold.

Charles is soooooooo awkward with the hankies!

Awww, that kiss!!!!

AV Club review.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:35 PM on August 16, 2023 [2 favorites]

1) Mabel imitating Oliver,
2) The description of Debbie from Duluth spendng everything she has to see a Broadway musical,
3) Meryl saying Little Shop in workshop was called "Eat Me Seymour," and still bemoaning the (real) actress who played it on Broadway,
4) The whole bit about the son breastfeeding til he was eight (Dont give up what you love) -

People, I cackled.

Then of course the (not-so) inside jokes of referring to shows people in this cast have done (Gray's, Little Shop).

I hadnt looked up supporting cast bios, so it took the Vulture review to learn the actress playing Kimber was in "Mean Girls, the Musical". (Yes, pretty obvious she does have legit musicals experience.) And that review also states her character did the opening narration, so maybe from Kimber's POV the "great idea" is killing co-stars who take the spotlight away.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:06 PM on August 16, 2023 [4 favorites]

There was a lot to like in this, but nothing made me laugh harder than Howard responding to Oliver's pantry-tantrum by singing the State Farm jingle.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:01 PM on August 16, 2023 [2 favorites]

I really liked this episode, but I wish it had not been *quite* so obvious at the end that Ben is talking to a cookie.

A cookie that ultimately poisoned him and was put there by someone who knows Ben can't resist their siren call. *suspiciously eyes everyone who was at that first table read*

I was cautious-yet-excited about the third season because I'm emotionally bonded to the trio, but how could they reasonably have yet another murder in the building? But I love it, everyone is wonderful, Meryl Streep is proving why she's Meryl Streep, and I never thought I would be this excited about the original soundtrack to a streaming murder mystery dramedy.

PS here is the full version (without dialogue or the Mabel and Tobert scenes intercut) of "Look for the Light."
posted by paisley sheep at 11:42 PM on August 16, 2023 [6 favorites]

One thing that probably won't matter in the end that I was a bit confused about: Had Ben taken Amy Schumer's My Sting's Apartment? Was that the Penthouse this whole time? I haven't rewatched any of this season's episodes yet, but in watching through the previous two seasons in the last few days, I didn't get the sense that Sting/Amy were in the Penthouse.

(Brought up because Mabel mentions how its her "third time" in that apartment, which I took to imply that the two previous times were in seasons one and two, but hell, maybe she was just referring to when she used to break into places with the Hardy Boys?)
posted by Navelgazer at 11:55 AM on August 17, 2023

During the readthrough in the first episode, Ben says:

"I wanna read! Oh, hey, by the way. Thanks for the tip on Amy Schumer's place. Just moved in."
posted by creepygirl at 1:16 PM on August 17, 2023 [4 favorites]

I was cautious-yet-excited about the third season because I'm emotionally bonded to the trio, but how could they reasonably have yet another murder in the building?

That's the ridiculous conceit of every cozy murder series. "Murder She Wrote" has a writer running constantly into murders in her day-to-day life, and British shows like "Midsomer Murders" take it to a whole new level with dozens of murders happening in quiet villages that have approximately zero crime in real life. Heck, "Death in Paradise" has had 98 episodes with at least one murder each taking place on an island with a population of about 10,000, which would mean over one percent of the population has been murdered in nefarious schemes and about 1 in 100 residents or visitors to the island are murderers.

Did anyone catch the Easter Egg in the credits? Are they still doing that?

I haven't caught any but I love that they have replaced the generic woman walking a dog (Season 1) with Bunny walking a parrot (Season 2) and now Howard walking a cat.

I hate musicals but I have to admit that song was great.

"We are all out of Champagne."
posted by mmoncur at 10:06 PM on August 18, 2023 [3 favorites]

Did anyone catch the Easter Egg in the credits? Are they still doing that?

Apparently they've been adding elements to the rooftop in the credits sequence (footlights, then a blowtorch flame off of the ESB, then a lighthouse.) This imgur has been keeping track of them.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:25 PM on August 18, 2023 [4 favorites]

That's the ridiculous conceit of every cozy murder series.

I totally get that (especially because cozy mysteries are my comfort watch/read -- Murder She Wrote is my bedtime lullaby). I didn't question Ben dying at the end of season 2 (and enjoyed a laugh from the ridiculous death of a big name guest star). But the Arconia is just as much a character in the series as the trio are, and the idea of the trio focusing on "only murders in a different building" just felt... wrong.

But I guess I shouldn't have doubted the writers. Turns out, making Ben's death even more ridiculous was a great way to solve that conundrum and bring it back home to the Arconia!
posted by paisley sheep at 2:04 PM on August 19, 2023 [2 favorites]

Was surprised not to see mention of Candle on the Water, another lullaby sung by a woman in a lighthouse, from the 1977 (movie) musical Pete’s Dragon. Not a lot of murders in that one though.
posted by mikepop at 8:20 PM on August 19, 2023 [3 favorites]

The LA Times digs into the creation of that Streep song "Look for the Light" here.

Thanks for this article! I love this passage in particular:
Co-written by Sara Bareilles, the piano-driven ballad balances a declaration of love with an underpinning of melancholy, reminiscent of “Sonya Alone,” from “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812,” or “She Used to Be Mine,” from Bareilles’ own “Waitress” And if the opening chords sound familiar to “Only Murders” viewers, it’s because they allude to Siddhartha Khosla’s Emmy-nominated score.
Sara Bareilles, of course! And I'm kicking myself for not catching the reference to the theme song.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:57 AM on August 21, 2023 [1 favorite]

It will be remembered 5eva.
posted by kyrademon at 9:19 AM on August 21, 2023 [5 favorites]

I know someone who does the même pronunciation, I'm trying so hard not to make them watch this episode.
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:14 PM on August 23, 2023 [3 favorites]

My household sadly concluded that the café was way too roomy and upscale (e.g. the surely very breakable chair hanging from the ceiling) to actually be in Jackson Heights.
posted by brainwane at 2:41 PM on August 25, 2023 [1 favorite]

Okay, okay, so I had to resubscribe to Hulu and I'm almost caught up!

Predictions! I totally agree there were TWO different murderers. Here are my guesses so far:

1. For the onstage murder: Donna Demeo. Donna Demeo had gotten wind of Maxine's upcoming terrible review. Knowing the doomed show would instantly sink her beloved son's producing career, she left irresistible poisoned cookies in Ben's dressing room with the intention of knocking out Ben, stopping the show, and saving her son's professional trajectory. Did she intend to actually kill Ben? Who knows!

2. For the elevator murder: It was an accident. And it has to be Loretta, because there's no way this should could resist a confession scene for Meryl Streep!

See, Loretta was this lifelong struggling actress whose shot at stardom was always just out of reach. As a young woman she found herself pregnant and secretly gave the baby -- a boy! -- up for adoption. Years passed and she found herself cast in her first big role, and against all odds she's suddenly in the room with her own son. Ben? No, of course not. Dickie.

Furious with Ben's continued abuse of Dickie and his insistence on keeping Dickie under his thumb, a protective Loretta leaves Oliver's opening night party and follows Ben to the penthouse to confront him once and for all. They argue in front of the elevators, Ben steps backward but the only thing he can reach is Loretta's hankie, and he falls.

The actor playing Dickie looks so much like Meryl Streep -- the cheekbones, the eyes, the complexion. Uncanny. And there's something that keeps happening with the angle of her gaze whenever Dickie's around. At the table read, she looks adoringly in Ben's direction, but who is sitting right behind him? Dickie. Singing the lullaby in Oliver's apartment, she smiles toward Oliver, but who is there in the back, just behind Oliver's shoulder? Dickie.

So we have two cases of women who are supporting and protecting their sons through extraordinary measures. Streep's gorgeous monologue at the beginning of episode one set the theme: Whether she's considered a mother or not, she would do absolutely anything to protect the child she loves. And turns out she's right about Dickie: No longer in Ben's shadow, he's finding success.

Red herrings: Kimber, of course. And Howard, probably something about him sabotaging Ben to let the understudy take over.

Donna's bit about Debbie in Duluth was amazing. Everything Donna is amazing. I will never say the word CHARDONNAY the same way again.

I liked Steve Martin's throwaway line about the stalker -- that this time the killer has to be a man because it's already been a woman twice. That feels like a setup from the writers.

Also, does mentioning Grey's Anatomy, which for a while starred Jesse Williams, send the whole show into some weird paradox?

I'm still puffy and red-eyed from that lullaby. That was so pretty. This season is so good.
posted by mochapickle at 3:17 PM on August 28, 2023 [14 favorites]

Also, does mentioning Grey's Anatomy, which for a while starred Jesse Williams, send the whole show into some weird paradox?

Not any moreso than mentioning Little Shop in the same scene, in a show starring and created by Steve Martin.

I love your theories, btw. Those sound incredibly plausible to me.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:55 PM on August 29, 2023 [1 favorite]

Oh, of course! Orin Scrivello himself! That's hilarious. This whole thing is a paradox.

I suppose I was distracted by Loretta's weird line about Eat Me, Seymour, which together with her line to Oliver asking if the thing was in the thing might very well be the most charmingly daft version of subconscious flirting ever scripted.
posted by mochapickle at 10:22 AM on August 30, 2023

It’s obviously Kimber, so it can’t be her.
posted by Naberius at 8:23 PM on September 5, 2023 [1 favorite]

« Older Special Event: 2023 FIFA Women...   |  Movie: Babylon 5: The Road Hom... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments