‘Only Murders in the Building’ Season 3 review: Thrice as good

From an obnoxious Hollywood star who dies twice, to seismic changes in the lives of our intrepid podcasters, the comedy-murder mystery delivers joy in spades

August 09, 2023 03:28 pm | Updated 03:28 pm IST

A still from ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Season 3

A still from ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Season 3 | Photo Credit: Hulu/YouTube

The third season of the mystery-comedy Only Murders in the Building shows no signs of slowing down or fraying, delivering equal measures of sharp laughs and commentary — “narcissism should be more fun” and “murderous girlfriend derangement syndrome” are just two examples.

Only Murders in the Building (Season 3)
Episodes: 8 of 10
Run time: 30 to 38 minutes
Creators: Steve Martin, John Hoffman
Starring: Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez, Paul Rudd, Meryl Streep, Jesse Williams, Ashley Park
Storyline: Our favourite true crime podcasters investigate the death of an actor on opening night

Season 2 ended with the death of the film star Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd) on the opening night of Death Rattle, Oliver Putnam’s (Martin Short) big comeback to Broadway. Episode 1 of Season 3 opens four months before the opening night where Oliver is struck by Loretta’s (Meryl Streep) talent and casts her in Death Rattle. Loretta is a struggling actor who has never made it big.

The read-throughs are fraught with Ben treating everyone badly, including Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), for firing him (Ben) from his cop show Brazzos when Ben was just a child. Ben tries to get Loretta fired when she flubs her lines and rides roughshod over his brother and manager and general cleaner upper of his messes, Dickie (Jeremy Shamos).

Fast forward to opening night and Gilroy drops dead on stage. At the after party however, Ben is back, dismissing his collapse on stage as food poisoning. Just as crotchety Uma (Jackie Hoffman) tells Oliver, Charles and Mable (Selena Gomez) that at least this time the murder was not in the Arconia, the posh apartment block they live in, Ben crashes though the elevator, very definitely dead this time.

There are changes in the lives of our podcasters. Joy (Andrea Martin) Charles’ makeup artist forever and recent love interest, has moved in with him, which is proving quite a challenge for the solitary Charles. With Death Rattle turning into a musical, Charles, who plays the investigating office of a murder probably committed by homicidal triplet babies, is called upon to sing and dance — something he is not particularly comfortable doing.

A minor heart attack sees Oliver’s doctor telling him to avoid stress, which Charles cannot do as there is tension aplenty with his producers Donna (Linda Emond) and Cliff (Wesley Taylor) threatening to pull the plug on Death Rattle even as he scrambles to salvage it from the opening night horrors.\

Mable, who was house sitting and redecorating her aunt’s apartment at Arconia, has to move out in a month as her aunt has sold the apartment. With Oliver and Charles busy with the Death Rattle, Mable seems the only one keen on the podcast to find Ben’s murderer. She also gets a tempting offer from a frenemy from the past and interest from documentary filmmaker Tobert (Jesse Williams), also known as “Robert with T”.

Like in the previous seasons of the award-winning show, there is no dearth of suspects, humour, whip smart writing and charm in season 3 either. Suspects include Gilroy’s understudy Jonathan (Jason Veasey), an Arconia resident and the starlet, Kimber (Ashley Park). Though most of the action is in the Arconia, with rehearsals happening at Oliver’s house, there is a fun episode in the Gooseberry Theatre with a ghost who might or might not have caused Gilroy’s death and a room that Oliver describes as the “Phantom of the Opera’s dorm room”.

Howard, the cat-loving Arconia resident, is Oliver’s assistant and placates the ghost of the Gooseberry with daily sweeping ritual. The ghost incidentally gives sage advice including the first rule of theatre being ‘Don’t feed Hugh Jackman after midnight!’

Characters from earlier seasons drop by for cameos and there are a couple of super fun star ones too. Everyone has a jolly time in this pitch perfect show including Streep’s scatty Loretta, Rudd’s horrid Ben and the three principles. Siddhartha Khosla’s lovely music and those gorgeous title designs, coupled with the amaze coats and hats, apart from the aforementioned smart witty writing, all contribute to making this show un-missable.

Only Murders in the Building currently streams on Disney+ Hotstar with fresh episodes of Season 3 dropping every Tuesday till October 3, 2023

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