This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.
Only Murders in the Building episode 5 is a tripartite journey solely focused on relationships. The trio disbands to navigate their personal lives—and some do better than others. Charles struggles with self-identity in his relationship, whilst Oliver makes a discovery that may shatter his newfound love.
Episode five deviates from the overarching story for this season in favor of character development. The anchor lies largely with Oliver and the endeavour of success for his show. Although this aspect is incredibly enjoyable, it’s yet undetermined whether this is a wise choice. Now halfway through the season, there are several loose ends that look as though they may not tie together as neatly as season one or two does. There’s plenty to appreciate, but with little more to offer in terms of plot, it is certainly the mid-season lull.
*Warning: Spoilers ahead for Only Murders in the Building season 3, episode 5*
Trust issues in Only Murders in the Building episode 5
Following last week’s episode, Charles (Steve Martin) is stunned by the shocking revelation that his new fiancé, Joy (Andrea Martin) may be Ben’s killer. However, to his fellow investigator’s dismay, he has yet to find the confidence to cross-examine her 48 hours later.
The arrival of Sazz Pataki (Jane Lynch) back on the scene interrupts his primary line of questioning and enrages Joy in the process. Sazz holds a minor role in seasons one and two, and acts as Charles’ stunt double for ‘Brazzos.’ Lynch supplies comedic relief from the suspense, and her return in season three is enjoyable.
Charles lays bare his relationship concerns and suspicions about his future wife. Outwardly, Sazz is the ideal person to entrust with this matter, having worked alongside Joy for ten years. Still, she may not qualify to provide relationship advice as she admits to Charles that she’s dating his incarcerated ex-girlfriend, Jan (Amy Ryan). Nonetheless, the pair discover that his issues are far more subliminal.
Charles is afraid to be loved for all his imperfections. He questions Joy’s motives having seen his flaws during her time as his makeup artist, so he self-sabotages his shot at happiness.
It’s something that everyone can resonate with to some extent. It’s refreshing to see a version of Charles that’s far more in touch with his emotions, a reminder of how far his character has grown since season one—having been closed off to affection after his stepdaughter Lucy’s (Zoe Colletti) departure.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t play out well for him as Joy decides she cannot forgive his initial distrust and leaves him rather indignantly.
Not everyone is as they seem in Only Murders in the Building episode 5
Mabel’s (Selena Gomez) relationship with documentary creator Tobert (Jesse Williams) evolves further in episode five. Tobert coerces Mabel to dinner under the false pretence of gaining a lead in the Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd) murder investigation. Realizing she’s now officially on a date, Mabel sticks around.
It works very much in her favor when Ben’s understudy, Jonathan (Jason Veasey) is caught in the midst of a shifty deal with Ben’s former doctor. In high spirits, the pair move their date over to Mabel’s apartment at The Arconia where she shows Tobert her whiteboard complete with every potential suspect.
Only Murders in the Building is incredibly adept at creating a deep-seated sense of dubiety around numerous characters—which often results in a huge payoff at the end of the season. The excitement surrounding Oliver and Loretta’s relationship development last week may be premature, as all doesn’t seem too good in this newest installment.
The overly-confident Oliver (Martin Short) arrives at Loretta’s (Meryl Streep) apartment for their first date, and it’s a rollercoaster. What begins endearingly awkward slowly descends into an uncomfortable evening for the couple. It starts with a conversation about ‘Death Rattle’s’ star, Ben, and the conversation takes a sour turn when Loretta remarks that he’s a “fucking pig.” This immediately raises alarm bells for Oliver after the discovery in Ben’s dressing room, where this turn of phrase is scrawled across his mirror.
Short’s ability to convey shock, alongside aversion and confusion here in one singular glance is creditable. He disregards the comment temporarily for Loretta’s sudden desire to whisk him away to a bridge on the Mississippi River, as it’s evident he desperately wants her to be blameless.
On the yacht, the couple share a tender moment. Loretta admits that she was involved in an argument with Ben on the night of his death. Half an hour before the beginning of the show, to be exact. During this argument, Ben seemingly claims that Loretta was “obsessed with him” and that he “didn’t want to share the stage with a nobody”.
Completely taken by her, Oliver deems Loretta’s side of the story to be true and goes back to her apartment to take their relationship further. In one fell swoop, Oliver’s contentment crumbles around him when he makes a lurid discovery.
As Loretta is drawing a bath, he searches her bookshelves and discovers a scrapbook full of cuttings of Ben, including numerous newspapers or paparazzi shots that mirror the activities of the stalker from episode two. Being over halfway through the season, it’s entirely plausible Loretta may be the killer. In the words of Brazzos himself, “this sends our investigation into a whole new direction”.
One step closer to the finale in Only Murders in the Building episode 5
Only Murders in the Building episode 5 doesn’t advance the plot until its last ten minutes, but the quality doesn’t dip for a moment. Every bit of information builds suspense for what’s to come. The guest stars this season are fabulous, and every opportunity to see more of them is appreciated. It’s building up to guarantee a wild finale.
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'Only Murders in the Building' Episode 5 Review'Only Murders in the Building' Episode 5 Review
- So much suspense!
- Sazz returns
- More Streep!
- Slower pace than previous episodes
- Not enough of the original trio together