Only Murders in the Building: Ah, Love!
August 29, 2023 7:04 PM - Season 3, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Date night! New York proves itself both a jewel box and a fish tank of romance as Charles, Mable & Oliver take their relationships to the next stage. And dating can reveal many hidden secrets, too...
posted by Navelgazer (19 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I know we're supposed to be sus on Loretta at the end of this but honestly Tobert gives me such utter constant douche-chills that every other character seems blameless by comparison.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:05 PM on August 29, 2023 [13 favorites]

So is Loretta stalking Ben, or is she his biological mother? Some third option?
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:13 PM on August 29, 2023 [6 favorites]

My thought on the book was that we don't know it was Loretta's yet. She could have lifted it from Ben's dressing room at any point, or found it somewhere after the real killer dropped it...
posted by Etrigan at 4:56 AM on August 30, 2023 [2 favorites]

I assumed the stalking is a misdirect for "Loretta as bio-mom" -- which is the only thing that can really "excuse" his accusation that she's obsessed with him -- and I don't know how I feel about it, especially if we're already calling it, but Loretta is so obviously the murderer that she can't be the murderer. And it would be weird for her to just be obsessed with the Cobra comic book movie guy, right?

Alas, I was actually really into Tobert's whole douchey vibe until Mabel showed him the murder wall, which made me immediately suspect him. (Mabel was into Tobert's whole douchey vibe, too! I don't care if someone tells you that you're dressing up for a stakeout; you don't wear a neckline that plunges that much unless you want someone to see it.)

I'm so glad Sazz dropped by. They're probably doing it right by using Jane Lynch sparingly, but it must take a lot of discipline because her scenes with Steve Martin are so fun.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:15 AM on August 30, 2023 [12 favorites]

Tobert is super hot, so I get Mabel (and viewers) being into it. The whole thing of "I'm gonna lure you out based on your interests, and then every time you start to bring up your interests I'm gonna instead try to shift the conversation to gettin' on this" just set my teeth on edge. My guess is that we actually don't have any idea who the guy in the cap that Jonathan was talking to was - Tobert was just making something up in the moment. He's absolutely at the top of my list of suspects now.

Sazz was great as always. The biggest laugh of the night for me was the casual revelation that she's been seeing Jan ever since she went to the prison to break up with her for Charles.

The big Loretta reveal, IMO, wasn't the Ben book but rather her devotion to Dickie.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:48 AM on August 30, 2023 [4 favorites]

Also, for those who haven't seen it, mochapickle laid out a pretty great and plausible unified theory of what's going on this season a couple episode threads back, which I believe this episode supports (though it makes no mention of how goddamn shady Tobert is) and is very much worth a look. In short, Loretta isn't Ben's bio-mom, but Dickie's. Which would explain why she has a book of Ben's press-clippings - with Dickie as Ben's manager, it's essentially as close to a book of Dickie's press clippings as she can get.

I'm not sure how I feel about Joy after this episode. I don't think she's one of the killers, but just as a person/partner for Charles, I'd have hoped that she would have had at least a bit more respect for his trauma vis-à-vis Jan. I definitely get her being pissed at the end, though again, some sympathy for where he's at feels warranted (not that it's her duty to give him that, obviously, but if you're going to marry someone, it seems worthwhile to try to be open to their breakthroughs regarding that marriage? I guess that just rubbed me the wrong way.)

I'm curious if we're due for another Jan cameo this season now that we know about her and Sazz. But I'm not gonna look up Amy Ryan's imdb page to find out.

No Howard this episode, unless I missed something, though the Jonathan cabaret story affects him, so he was there in spirit. Also, the tooth thing was viscerally upsetting. I'm guessing that in addition to the pork-chop not being cooked properly, that Oliver's all-dip diet has severely weakened his dental strength? In any case I want that dealt with by the next episode, please.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:42 AM on August 30, 2023 [6 favorites]

Oh my god, I found the tooth thing so upsetting too—I was squirming at how it was almost instantly forgotten and played for laughs. Dental fears are real, man, and I refuse to believe there was no pain involved.

I guess I’m too blinded by Jesse Williams’s hotness to not like Tobert; I’m actually enjoying his and Mabel’s interactions. Not so much Joy and Charles—Joy is kind of the female archetype in certain types of relationships that I don’t enjoy so I’m not sure what I want to happen there.

I wonder if we’ll get to see Lucy this season. I miss her.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 10:35 AM on August 30, 2023 [7 favorites]

Is a rolled joint still potent after 40 years?
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:45 AM on August 30, 2023 [7 favorites]

Yeah I'm missing Lucy too. (I think I liked Season 2 of this show a lot more than the general consensus, and Lucy was a big part of that.) What we saw of Joy in Season 2 was great - she was adorable and fun and had her shit together and seemed like a great match for Charles (at least in filling Charles' needs, anyway, since it's unclear what Charles can bring to a relationship when he's so filled with narcissistic self-loathing, but that's what Sazz was kind of getting at in this episode.) This season they seem to have intentionally ramped all of her fun quirkiness up to sinister levels, which makes her seem like a viable suspect, sure, but of course makes her less likable, and makes me want Charles to get out of his own head long enough to ask her how the adjustment to living together is working for her. Because while she's obviously being a lot right now, that might just be how her own nerves and insecurities manifest, you know? She's used to being self-assured and independent and this has to be a change in her life in addition to his.

Basically, let's have Joy meet Lucy and get Lucy's read on the situation, which could be great tv as well as a good perspective on things.

Are they even producing a podcast this season, btw? It doesn't seem like it.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:47 AM on August 30, 2023 [5 favorites]

I just loved Andrea Martin's scene with the cake, that whole speech. Joy (big L!) is exhausting but she's such a joy (little l!) to watch and this was such a great scene for her. Also, there are so many Martins! Steve Martin! Martin Short! Andrea Martin! If they bring in Martin Mull I'm going to call it full bingo and drink an entire bottle of scotch.

Of COURSE Sazz is dating Jan! Only Jane Lynch could make that as adorable as it is disturbing.

Also, whoever dresses Selena Gomez for date/party scenes deserves some kind of Emmy for good taste. I didn't think they'd ever be able to top that breathtaking sequinned dress from the party episode last season but that red velvet cocktail dress was an absolute knockout.

Agatha Christie once said that the key to writing good mystery characters is to make sure everyone has a secret, and everyone lies, and it doesn't even have to be about the murder. And I bet Tobert has a secret, but I don't think it's about committing the murder. I do think he lied to Mabel about the baby elephant -- I think he told a lie to look heroic, but I think that second story about the mother elephant coming along might have been another lie to make himself seem more humble and honest and relatable, someone Mabel could trust. I hate to think it but I'm certain that baby elephant is long gone and he watched it happen.

Dickie shows up in some of those photos in the clippings, right behind Ben, so I'm 100% in on the Dickie theory. And listening to that lighthouse song again, it's all about setting a child off to their adventures but waiting and watching them from the shore. All of that fits. Loretta's confession that she's been watching Oliver for years helps confirm that, too -- she quietly watches and waits with incredible patience.

As much as I want to watch Meryl Streep do a confession scene, I really don't want Loretta to be a Murderer (big M). It'd be really sad.

Is it weird that I want that huge glittery cobra in the penthouse elevator bay to be involved in Ben's demise somehow?

Is there even an OMITB podcast being produced this season? Have they dropped the whole podcast framing?
posted by mochapickle at 11:00 AM on August 30, 2023 [8 favorites]

Oh, hahaha, we asked the same question about the podcast, Navelgazer!
posted by mochapickle at 11:01 AM on August 30, 2023 [1 favorite]

Also, whoever dresses Selena Gomez for date/party scenes deserves some kind of Emmy for good taste. I didn't think they'd ever be able to top that breathtaking sequinned dress from the party episode last season but that red velvet cocktail dress was an absolute knockout.

Damn straight. The costuming in this show is incredible (Oliver's clothes too, though those are less stunningly-attractive than just perfectly fitting for his character) and Mabel's wardrobe is the apex of that. My wife was a little startled to see Mabel in that dress just because it seemed to her like Gomez must have dropped a significant amount of weight for the episode. She then did a quick googling and discovered that Selena Gomez has Lupus and has been pretty public about that and the fact that the medication she takes for it causes a lot of fluctuations in water-weight. I feel kinda weird even bringing it up because even commenting on her weight at all feels uncomfortably tied to objectification, plus her health is none of my business, but knowing that now, it further cements what a great job the art/costume department does with her wardrobe (enough where the show itself had to comment on the awesomeness of her sweaters a couple of episodes ago.)

(Full disclosure: I know someone in the art department for this show, and she is awesome, but she doesn't have anything to do with costumes as far as I know.)
posted by Navelgazer at 11:27 AM on August 30, 2023 [8 favorites]

Sazz was actually really great in "we've known her for decades, dude" truth pilling of Charles. Too bad Charles was....Charles. Blow a good thing, why don'tcha.

I couldn't deal with the tooth thing.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:57 PM on August 30, 2023 [3 favorites]

As much as I like serious Oliver, I also miss goofball Oliver. This episode felt like a bit of turn into drama and away from slapstick comedy. Which can be good I suppose as long as they don't forget the latter.

Tina Fey showing up again sort of ensures that the podcast frame will show up again. That appearance was a setup for something upcoming, I presume.
posted by vacapinta at 4:55 AM on August 31, 2023 [1 favorite]

I'm getting a vibe that the "podcast" is being produced after the fact--a post-mortem for the "Death Rattle" musical as much as it is for Ben. And that we're going to wind up in a place where all the monologues we've heard to open and close episodes (Loretta episode 1, Joy this episode, etc) are looking back on what's happened.

That likely rules out anyone we've heard from as the murderer, of course. But I hugely doubt that they're going to do "romantic partner of the main cast" again, which rules out Joy, Loretta and Tobert anyway.
posted by thecaddy at 6:59 AM on August 31, 2023 [2 favorites]

Oh! For the people wondering about Lucy, I feel like we need to see Lucy and Kimber together.
posted by Night_owl at 8:00 AM on September 2, 2023 [1 favorite]

Loved that Sazz a) appeared, b) is still doubling for Scott Bakula, and c) was annoyed that Charles didn't think to throw her work when he was cast in the play. Loved that Mabel got gussied up, and is getting the most out of that apartment before she has to move. Surprising that her friends did not hear about the sale, when the grapevine at the Arconia is practically kudzu, but it underscores how consumed they'd been by Death Rattle and out of touch with Mabel.

It's weird, isn't it, that the worst singing Jonathan's done on this show is in his solo cabaret act? (I thought the guy in the hat was Dickie, and that he's got another new client.). (I love mochapickle's theory, thanks for linking it, Navelgazer.)

Also weird: Oliver has excellent directing chops dealing with Cobro's issues early on, but doesn't think of putting Charles's LEO character in an early-morning kitchen scene to get through the expository song. Did Oliver turn in his post-heart-attack monitor?
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:47 PM on September 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

Fun Architectural Digest Season 3 set tour! It's 12 minutes but it goes by in a flash. Easter eggs abound! And so many wallpapers! Ben's wallpaper looks like the floors of the Overlook Hotel!

I've been thinking more about color. Like, you'll often see Oliver, Charles, and Mabel wearing variations of red, blue, yellow, and green + neutrals -- the Arconia colors in the opening credits. They switch it up but usually it's Charles in blue, Oliver in reds, Mabel in all four colors, though she's the only one regularly in yellow/green. When someone isn't wearing those colors, they stand out like an aching thumb (Kimber's soft lavender sweater in Episode 3 looked so odd).

In the episode where they revealed the costume concept drawings for the play, they showed three: Kimber in red, Charles in blue, Loretta in green. Arconia colors.

I think there's something, too, about camel: Mabel wears it sometimes, but Donna had this marvelous camel jacket and Ben was wearing a camel trenchcoat onstage.

Donna also had a stunning black-and-white striped coat on opening night. Mabel wears a lot of black/white patterns, too, which seems to fit in with her not feeling entirely at home in the Arconia. I have this developing theory that Mabel wears checkerboard specifically because life for her is a game of chess -- she's not as privileged as Oliver and Charles, and she's young, and a woman, so she recognizes that she has limited moves and must plan them accordingly.

The white rooms in Season 3... Charles sometime escapes to an imaginary white room to flee stress and chaos. The room is completely blank and anonymous, but the view out the window is a view more directly into Charles's subconscious than he would ever reveal on his own. Mabel's apartment is all white, too, but it's all eggshells and cream -- it's like Mabel has aimed to created a blank slate for a future buyer but it's still bold and stylish like Mabel, even if it feels much too stiff and formal.
posted by mochapickle at 9:22 AM on September 3, 2023 [5 favorites]

Dickie wasn’t just in some of the photos in the book - he was in all of the photos. I went back and looked.
posted by bq at 8:42 AM on November 4, 2023 [1 favorite]

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