Only Murders in the Building: The White Room
August 22, 2023 12:59 PM - Season 3, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Charles' stage fright reaches unimaginable heights, involving a break from reality and multiple baby dolls. Mabel is confronted by a mysterious individual from her past with a pivotal proposal.
posted by ellieBOA (26 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Mabel exudes old lady energy. 72, maybe 75 tops.
posted by fiercekitten at 6:55 PM on August 22, 2023 [7 favorites]

I loved how Blonde Cinda now requires a blonde assistant.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:31 PM on August 22, 2023 [8 favorites]

The transition from "cancelled" to blonde "lifestyle influencer" selling bullshit wellness remedies is just... so on point. Holy shit, is it on point.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:32 PM on August 22, 2023 [11 favorites]

Oh, and I'm pretty certain that, just like Ben was 100% talking to a plate of cookies in the previous episode, he wrote the lipstick note on his own mirror after eating them.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:17 PM on August 22, 2023 [26 favorites]

Since I hate Cinda, I could have been happy not seeing her again, but her transformation was definitely on point. I really enjoyed Steve Martin’s face and nonsensical ranting when he was entering the white room. He’s just so good at that stuff.

Poor Mabel. I felt for her so much with the apartment. I can’t imagine the show taking her out of the Arconia for reals, but it’s probably going to be hard for her for a while.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 8:31 PM on August 22, 2023 [4 favorites]

Also also: I wonder how long it's going to take them (by which I mean Mabel) to check into who bought Kimber's hanky, since I think that's going to be our killer in the end.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:21 PM on August 22, 2023 [5 favorites]

On the character front: I had an "oh, noooo, what are you even doing" moment when Charles and Oliver have a discussion about Charles' struggles with the patter song, and then they completely fail to implement obvious solutions, like Charles bowing out because he's really not a Broadway singer. Oliver's supposed to be reducing his stress for his own health, and there's no indication that Charles even needs this Death Rattle role. I mean, a lot of this show is "oh, noooo, what are you even doing" moments, but this one stood out.

On the comedy front: I enjoyed Howard so much in this episode, from his "May I step out to call my therapist?" response to Charles' first white room experience, to the later confession that he doesn't actually have a therapist and was just calling his cousin from State Farm, to the bit about Sevelyn and Chopin's play date.

Also laughed at Oliver's attempts to steer Mabel to on the more-replaceable crew as suspects rather than a cast member like Kimber, who can actually sing.
posted by creepygirl at 11:13 PM on August 22, 2023 [2 favorites]

My wife and I have caught up with the show. We’re absolutely loving this series of OMITB. I thought that the second series lacked the lightning-in-a-bottle quality of the first, but I’ll be damned if they haven’t managed to figure out how to recapture that spark. How the show manages to switch between high farce and emotional depths at the flip of a switch is remarkable.
posted by Kattullus at 1:12 AM on August 23, 2023 [4 favorites]

I was just thinking today (while watching some other show) that I dislike pretty much all dream/fantasy sequences. But the Whites Room were just long enough and let Steve Martin do just enough physical comedy work that I was okay with them.
posted by Etrigan at 6:16 AM on August 23, 2023 [3 favorites]

I kind of feel bad for the writer(s) that had to find a way to get the State Farm product placement into each of these shows. I would have cast Kevin Miles ("Jake" from the commercials) as one of the Death Rattle actors or something.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:54 AM on August 23, 2023 [4 favorites]

As an occasional White Room tenant, I'm really enjoying this more than the second season, especially the way the three leads play off each other now.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:03 AM on August 23, 2023

For no concrete reason, I am now convinced that Howard did at least the first stage of the murder.

I think that the lipstick message was from Joy, who fixed Ben's red spot and then wrote "pig" to help Ben avoid the cookies. Like as a weird favour to him.

More incorrect opinions and conjectures available on request.
posted by Acari at 7:22 AM on August 23, 2023 [2 favorites]

I think I've learned from the past two seasons that every episode is a red herring. I like Navelgazer's hypothesis because it can be saved until the very last show to point to the killer. I'm just going to enjoy the ride, I love watching Martin and Short work together.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:27 AM on August 23, 2023 [3 favorites]

I wanted to hug Mabel (and her beautiful ivory coat that she put an unsecured lipstick in! Girl, no!!!!). I'm so glad she refused to abandon her boys even though they don't have time for her!

I loved her inability to do "girl" talk with Kimber because Mabel is such a weirdo. And that's why this show works. It makes sense this 30-year-old woman feels more comfortable hanging out with these old men.

I do suspect everything we're given is red herring and we won't know the murderer until the end. But as always, I don't really care about who did it. I just enjoy this show. I would watch it even if there was no murder mystery.
posted by edencosmic at 6:39 PM on August 23, 2023 [13 favorites]

Since they're lampshading the "only murders IN THE BUILDING" joke/concept at this point, I wonder if Mabel will move out if only so they can expand the applicable murder footprint?

Charles deserved the white room experience at the end. Did they say Charles and Joy only lived with each other for two days before he decided it wasn't working? I wouldn't say he owes Joy the rest of their lives, but, assuming her last apartment is already gone, he owes her a few weeks to troubleshoot the arrangement before ending it. Two days! I would kill him.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:54 AM on August 24, 2023 [4 favorites]

and her beautiful ivory coat that she put an unsecured lipstick in! Girl, no!!!!

She put the lid on, the tissue was to protect the fingerprints!
posted by ellieBOA at 10:36 AM on August 24, 2023 [3 favorites]

I 100% think Mabel will move out for exactly that reason, grandiloquiet.

I kinda want Joy to be guilty of something, but I also can't really believe the writers would do that to us after the first season; it would be too samey.

And I also LOVE love love Mabel's total awkwardness. Like, I think she probably could have had a surface-level normal girl conversation with Kimber, until she was put on the spot to prove that she could, at which point she absolutely couldn't. So. Freaking. Relatable. Mabel is the best weirdo I've seen on tv in a long time.
posted by Night_owl at 11:04 AM on August 24, 2023 [3 favorites]

I doubt that we'll be leaving the Arconia.
It's not "only murders in a building where at least one of our podcasters pays rent".

The building is the building. There are a million shows set in New York, but only one set here. Think of all we've seen and learned about it so far - and the worries about characters having to leave that we've already witnessed. And then think about various absurdities we already accept.

Lots of people left un-murdered in there.
posted by Acari at 11:33 AM on August 24, 2023 [3 favorites]

Oh my goodness. I laughed so hard at the second white room scene that I could not catch my breath. My stomach muscles were in agony and I couldn't stop. I was genuinely worried I would lose consciousness from not being able to breathe. I'm giggling right now. I don't know why that PARTICULAR bit struck me so funny, but wow.
posted by rednikki at 1:19 PM on August 24, 2023 [1 favorite]

Came in just to mention the Ebay thing that Navelgazer already covered, but I like Acari's lipstick theory, too, for keeping explanation of the first onstage collapse still in the air.

As for Night_owl's wish for Joy to be guilty of something (presuming it's too early in the season for her wish to sabotage the show for Charles' sake -- directly telegraphed this episode -- to be the answer), an askance choice might be if she'd recognized Charles had blacked out and so went and made up the whole marriage proposal herself?

I mean, if there is a fourth season, they can't be living together still by then, and it is easier to write her out of the show if she's done something explicitly wrong.

I'm also -- from its first appearance -- preemptively worried about all that water in the fish tank. (Would their coop board really approve that much water weight just waiting to collapse into the floorboards and mold up the woodwork?) The way I see it, the only thing possibly keeping that huge tank intact is that the show might not be up for cavalierly killing all those pretty fish.
posted by nobody at 3:03 PM on August 24, 2023 [1 favorite]

"What are you going to do when people stop keeling over at the Arconia?" is a legit point, I must admit. Followed by, "it's like these murders just fall into your lap!"
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:39 PM on August 24, 2023

Jenfullmoon: I particularly liked that in light of how 1.) Tim Kono was her childhood friend, 2.) Bunny was murdered specifically to frame Mabel, for Cinda’s podcast, and 3.) Ben was Mabel’s celebrity crush. And of course Cinda can only see the upside.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:30 PM on August 26, 2023 [3 favorites]

There was a Statue of Liberty souvenir that appeared in one of Charles' White Room sequences (and again in the closing credits). We've seen that before -- maybe in one of the dressing rooms? Does anyone else remember?

Is Charles' unconscious trying to solve the case and pointing him at clues he may have missed? What is that souvenir significant?
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 6:08 AM on August 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

OK, Googling tells me that the Statue of Liberty is in the fish tank. So it's probably more about Charles' subconscious telling him that his real issue is with Joy. Carry on.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 6:16 AM on August 28, 2023 [2 favorites]

It’s obviously Andrea Martin, so it can’t be her.
posted by Naberius at 8:27 PM on September 5, 2023

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