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.
The Arconia’s doors are open once more, and the curtain rises! But what’s next for the true-crime trio? Season two’s finale revealed it’s been one year since Bunny Folger’s (Jayne Houdyshell) murder. As the crime-fighting trio can attest, a lot can happen in twelve months.
Much like Oliver Putnam’s (Martin Short) brand-new Broadway play, which finds the three New Yorkers wrapped up in the plight of their latest murder. After a year-long wait, the Only Murders in the Building season 3 premiere is here, and the result is the top-quality content fans of the series have come to expect.
*Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Only Murders in the Building season 3 premiere (episodes 1 & 2)*
“Maybe I could spend more time with my guys again”
Season three kick-starts with Oliver casting lead lady Loretta (Meryl Streep) in his latest theatrical venture ‘Death Rattle.’ It seems fitting that the story opens in a theater as it’s clear early on that this setting will become a reoccurring premise throughout the eight episode season. Charles (Steve Martin) is one of the leading actors in his friend’s dubious play. The elder man doesn’t appear to have much else going on, besides courting his newest love interest, Joy (Andrea Martin). This season seems to already lend its focus more towards Mabel (Selena Gomez).
One of the dearest components of this show is the trio’s close-knit friendship, and Mabel is a key piece in ensuring this companionship remains strong. Despite all seeming well before Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd) collapses on stage, their familiarity with each other doesn’t last long. As the opening episode progresses, it’s revealed that the protagonists feel somewhat detached from each other.
Between the commitment to Oliver’s show and no murders in the building, Mabel realizes that the time apart from her two older friends has left her feeling disconnected from their lives. Shortly after disclosing her aunt’s decision to sell the apartment to the pair and overlooking their protests, she announces her intent to leave the Arconia, and start her own life.
With this in mind, it doesn’t mean that this season is lacking any of its usual charm. The result is more of the same witty back-and-forth humor that ricochets effortlessly between the three. Selena Gomez is simply an outstanding addition to the older duo. On paper, this unlikely friendship shouldn’t work, but writers John Hoffman and Steve Martin breathe life into the camaraderie, giving it an authentic and delightful feel. Steve Martin and Martin Short’s banter feels genuine, largely due to their many years of faithful work together.
Only Murders in the Building season 3 premiere: introducing huge household names
The excitement surrounding the season three line-up fulfills our wildest expectations and then some! It was announced back in January that Meryl Streep would join Paul Rudd in the cast of Only Murders in the Building, and the hype has been trending upwards ever since. Loretta will occupy a large role in this season as part of Oliver’s main cast.
It’s difficult to determine who her character is of yet, but she seems to be a rather timid individual so far. Interestingly, episode one hints toward a potential love interest between herself and the ever-flamboyant Oliver—which would be totally adorable considering the pair’s timely chemistry.
Loretta is amid the long list of individuals struggling with Ben’s large personality. In all sincerity, he’s a bit of an asshole, with a sizeable ego to accompany it. But hell, does Paul Rudd know how to put on a performance. It’s quintessentially Rudd, and evident that plenty of content has been filmed with him irrespective of his death, so his presence isn’t disregarded altogether.
In a surprising turn of events, Ben crashes the post-show wake to broadcast his survival. Enter a joyous five-minute monologue from Rudd as he circles around the room, identifying his misgivings with most of the parties, inadvertently underlining everyone’s motives. It isn’t amiss to anticipate these motivations to circle back around later when sleuthing future suspects.
Rudd’s talent for encapsulating his character in comparatively short scenes is extremely well finessed. All good things must come to an end, however, and this is no exception. This new lease on life doesn’t last long for the overconfident leading man.
Only Murders in the Building season 3 premiere is augmenting the tension
Season three is firing on all cylinders and hitting huge levels of tension early doors. Charles and Mabel are lured into a ruse fabricated by a precarious stalker, who is posing as Ben’s former security guard in order to feign innocence. At the same time, Oliver is preoccupied with pursuing an opening night critic in a frantic attempt at upholding the show’s reputation.
Though Oliver’s misplaced confidence in the critics ‘tell’ (a smart call-back to season two) means that he’s certain the review is going to be a hit, she informs the director that her review was actually “going to be a pan.” What follows may be one of the most concentrated acts in the show to date.
Unsurprisingly, the severity of the situation alerts Oliver, who has a minor heart attack on the steps of the cathedral. Considering the shocking discovery last season—Teddy Dimas (Nathan Lane) being his son’s biological father—Oliver’s fixation with ensuring this play is a hit has led to danger of him becoming too controlling, and it’s entirely understandable. Truthfully, this scene is edge-of-your-seat material as the panic instills for one-third of the act.
Playing alongside this distress are Charles and Mabel, who are close to torture at the hands of their assailant. This opens a heartfelt one-on-one between the pair who exchange their own self-doubts. When it comes down to it, this is really when the show is at its best. It’s a reminder that no matter what you may be facing, your friends are the ones who are there right alongside you, and it’s executed faultlessly.
Right as the outlook seems uncertain, the abducted duo flees and returns to the Arconia to uncover a minor lead amongst Mabel’s pictures of Ben’s deceased body (after it crashes through the elevator ceiling). Naturally taking the evidence to back Oliver, who remains quiet about the nature of his heart arrhythmia, they assert the notion that the killer is someone in Oliver’s show.
Be that as it may, the theater director’s revelation following his medical scare means that he is set on adapting his play into a musical. But whilst his friend’s epiphany confirms the entourage is back, will Oliver be able to balance both of these motivations?
This season has many questions to answer yet, the biggest is undoubtedly, who amid this season’s stacked line-up can we trust? The Only Murders in the Building season 3 premiere is categorically setting up what may be the most exciting intrigue yet, and the ‘OliMabel’ trio is back in full swing to expose who did it!
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'Only Murders in the Building' Season 3 Premiere'Only Murders in the Building' Season 3 Premiere
- Only Murders in the Building is back!
- Outstanding cast for season 3
- Going big straight away
- Not enough of the original trio together