Charles (Steve Martin), Oliver (Martin Short), and Mabel (Selena Gomez) return for the second season of fan-favorite, Only Murders in the Building. The sleeper hit series blends comedy and mystery. This creates a show that is binge-worthy, well-written, superbly acted, and utterly delightful. It’s no surprise that accomplished comedians, Martin and Short, are hilariously brilliant in their roles as washed-up artists. Both long to relive their glory days of fame and respectability. Gomez proved to be an excellent addition to the veteran duo. The young actresses’ dry humor and deadpan stares are equally comedic to Martin’s awkward, clumsiness and Short’s loud, erratic, and loving arrogance.
Season one ended with the team solving two mysteries and gaining the respect of fans of the true-crime genre and (some) neighbors. However, a cliffhanger left audiences’ mouths agape with the reveal of Arconia Board President, Bunny (Jayne Houdyshell), dead in Mabel’s apartment. The prime suspects are none other than the three self-proclaimed sleuths. Notably, they’ve publicly bumped heads with the pushy president in the past.
Season two begins with the three friends being mockingly interrogated by their one-time confidant, Detective Williams (Da’Vine Joy Randolph). However, a new character, Detective Kreps (Michael Rappaport), does most of the interrogating. The appearance of Rappaport is noteworthy because the show has added several well-known names to the cast. Many of whom, including Rappaport, Amy Schumer, and Cara Delevingne, feel unnecessary, if not miscast (more on that later).
Of course, the three are instructed by Detective Williams not to continue their podcast. But when once-admired, now rival, Cinda Canning begins to defame the trio in ruthless attacks on her new podcast, they decide to fight back. Their plan is simple: find out who killed Bunny. But as one can suspect, twists and turns and startling reveals will undoubtedly make this challenging.
With only two episodes available, it’s difficult to predict where the story is headed and what characters will be added. Thus far, audiences will get a more in-depth look into the history of the Arconia and a more intimate look inside the trio’s personal lives. In fact, Detective Williams suggests that they each find new hobbies. The result is witnessing how Charles, Oliver, and Mabel navigate life outside the Arconia. Or, at least, with characters seemingly unaffiliated with the complex. Mabel states simply, yet impactfully, “I need a life away from death.”
Ironically, the show’s creators are aware that there is much to live up to in this second season; there are statements made by the characters who seem to doubt whether the first season of a show can live up to the second. While the first episode feels a bit underwhelming (perhaps feeling the pressure of presenting a satisfying second-season opener), the second is more developed and naturally paced. The chemistry between the three friends remains fluid and captivating and their comedic timing is unsurprisingly perfect.
The show’s familiar charm has the potential to shift with the addition of new characters particularly played by actors who audiences tend to either loathe or love. As mentioned Rappaport makes an appearance during the trio’s interrogation as Detective Kreps. Admittedly, Detective Williams could have carried this scene on her own. Having her interrogate those she helped to solve a crime in season one, especially after getting off to a rocky start, would have been a comedic callback to that initial meeting. Further, Detective Williams is comedy gold when she is annoyed.
Additionally, Mabel meets fellow artist, Alice Banks (Cara Delevingne), who encourages her to pursue art full-time. In a predictable twist, the two become romantically involved. Mabel reveals that she and Oscar (Aaron Dominguez) are no longer together despite them being a couple in the last episode of season one. As season two begins where season one ends, at what point do they decide to call it quits? Surely, only a day, maybe two, has passed between the two seasons. Of course, it is possible that Dominguez had scheduling conflicts or simply chose to opt-out of the show. Still, the absence of Oscar is disappointing. But, like Martin and Short, Delevingne and Gomez’s real-life chemistry is apparent. While Mabel’s distant and stoic nature often send many characters cowering, Alice matches, and even challenges, the intensity.
Lastly, Amy Schumer plays a version of herself – an annoyingly persistent new tenant looking to cash in on the podcast’s success. It’s yet to be seen her character’s impact on the show. Though, it appears that she will have a larger role than Sting, whom she replaces in the penthouse unit.
Fortunately, we are gifted with the presence of cinematic royalty, Shirley MacLaine, as Bunny’s mother, Leonora Folger. MacLaine is perfectly cast as Bunny’s witty, blunt, and outspoken mother. She immediately clears Charles, Oliver, and Mabel of her daughter’s death during a gathering held in Bunny’s apartment. Though, that likely isn’t enough to change the minds of many of the tenants. MacLaine’s scenes in episode two are brief and memorable. However, hope is to be held that she returns to make viewers laugh and deliver more head-spinning historical facts that will send the story in unpredictable directions.
Eight more episodes have yet to be released. Thus, there are still plenty of storylines to explore and relationships to develop. Though we are only in the early stages of this suspenseful whodunnit, if it’s anything like the first season, it will be a bloody good (and hilarious) time.
New episodes of Only Murders in the Building will be released every Tuesday on Hulu
Keshav Kant, aka Mx. KantEven, is a med student tuned Executive Director of Off Colour!
You’ve probably seen her on Twitter and TikTok, both @MxKantEven, or caught her work on Off Colour's many channels.
From consulting on films & shows, manuscript review, conducting interviews, or hosting podcasts & panels, if there is some way to bring sensitivity and authenticity to diversity, inclusion and equity conversations, Keshav will be there.