Review: Only Murders in the Building - Season 3
Season 3 finds Charles, Oliver & Mabel investigating a murder behind the scenes of a Broadway show. Ben Glenroy is a Hollywood action star whose Broadway debut is cut short by his untimely death.
Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez, Meryl Streep, Paul Rudd
‘Only Murders in the Building’ is perhaps my biggest comfort show. From its warm cinematography, witty and self aware humour, colourful cast and intriguing murder mysteries, it’s a fun time that I can’t ever see myself getting sick of as much as it begins to repeat itself each season. For as much as I’m about to sit here and gush about how I loved the majority of Season 3, I’m going to have to force myself to get the negatives out of the way first due to there unfortunately being a lot of them—though they’re mostly smaller in scale for me.
The big one here is the sheer amount of filler episodes in the middle after the show’s best premiere and a great episode to follow it afterwards. They immediately set the tone, lay the groundwork for the season, and pull you in with the show’s trademark sense of humour and interesting mystery after a really fun twist in the first episode. However, as much as I do like every episode in the season and a majority of them are both funny and interesting enough character wise, the six episodes that follow the opening two are filler at best, barely pushing the season forwards and struggling to justify why it’s ten episodes as opposed to eight. And while you may think that the season having such a huge ensemble of characters could mean these filler episodes are justified to help build upon them, but with the exceptions of Dickie and female standout Merryl Streep’s Loretta they never really do.
Instead, they just function to make the season longer and keep the mystery going with its formulaic use of cliffhanger clues that never amount to anything maybe 75% of the time. I’d also be doing a disservice to this review if I were to neglect how predictable the killer of the endlessly loveable Paul Rudd (who plays the exaggerated, egotistical version of himself—Ben Glenroy hilariously) was by the last run of episodes here, though it’s oddly almost a positive.
A major issue this show has had up to this point is making it impossible to guess who the killer is each season by intentionally misleading us constantly and then throwing in a plot twist during the finale that is as nonsensical as it is unsatisfying purely for the sake of cheaply shocking the audience. It works in the first season, but when it happens again in the second it only damages the already frustrating repetitive nature of the series, so when it seems as if the same is going to happen again in this season it’s a refreshing change to notice it doesn’t.
Outside of all that though, I absolutely adored the third season of ‘Only Murders in the Building’ and I’m beyond happy to announce that it’s eighth chapter is one of my favourite episodes of all time. Despite all the filler in the middle, aside from the seventh episode being a massive step up , “Sitzprobe” completely revitalised the season with its sharper sense of humour, pacing, and reveals that amount to something that is only aided by multiple twists throughout that finally make characters feel like they had more of a purpose here.
The “Pickwick Triplets” sequence is one of the most fun (and one of my favourites) of this year at least, and the ending is a cliffhanger for comedy TV ages that had me going insane for an entire week as I waited for the next episode to release. Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez are all as full of chemistry and endlessly loveable as they have been in every season, but Paul Rudd and Meryl Streep truly stole the show here every time they had a scene. Rudd delivers one of the funniest “emotional” scenes I’ve seen in recent comedy television, and Streep provides a performance that is both tender and lovely whilst consistently hilarious when she needs to be. She was absolutely my favourite performance of the season, and without her my favourite episodes (the trilogy of the last three which all received 9s or 10s from me with my personal bias, which I’ll remove as much as possible here for the sake of professionalism) wouldn’t work as much as they do with her and Dickie’s relationship being so important to them.
‘Only Murders’ also continues the trend of being shot in such a warm, soothing manner, and I can’t help but feel like the character dynamics and emotional depth are possibly at their most well written and engrossing here despite the drop in writing quality where side characters and pacing are concerned—something that drags down what could have been a perfect comedic season far too much.
4 / 5