Only Murders in the Building – Season 2 Episode 5 “The Tell” Recap & Review

‘The Tell’

Will learns a truth about himself that has stayed hidden from Oliver, despite his peculiar ability to spot a “tell”, for years.

Through flashbacks of the 1970s, episode 5 of Only Murders in the Building Season 2, we see a young Oliver’s uncanny success at a game he invented. He called it the “Son of Sam or the innocent blonde”. He is extremely good at it. So good, that in a flashback from Will’s memory of him playing the game, Oliver guessed Teddy Dimas was the killer.

Charles and Jan have a conversation in jail where he gains valuable insights about the killer from her. She indicates that the killer is someone who is an “artist-like” person. Someone who wouldn’t leave his masterpiece unfinished.

She also makes a pass at him, urging him to accept his own feelings about her. Mable and Alice discuss their plans for the day. The latter is in Bushwick for the night but asks Mable to host the get-together at her apartment as there’s a leak in her apartment’s ceiling.

While talking through her, Mabel discovers the secret door that connects to the passageway in her apartment. She notices a bloody matchbox lying at its entrance – another clue. The party will happen at Mable’s place as she confirms. The trio is reunited by this clue and discuss its possible meanings. They wonder if he is a regular at the Pickle Diner. Ivan, who served Bunny, gives them a list of his regular customers.

Oliver invites himself and Charles to Mable’s party. The only thing she wants is for them to be normal. But knowing them, that will be a hard reality to imagine.

In a meta moment, the writers deploy a group of fans on the adjacent table to comment about how this episode has made “Story progress”, and that Mable dating a girl is quite “progressive” in societal terms. Mable introduced Alice to Charles and Oliver. She is complimentary to both, making Charles believe she “cannot be the killer”. Oliver, though, is more sceptical.

He plays the “Son of Sam” game with the crowd. In a blink, he stages the party as one set in the 1970s. The game goes something like this.

Oliver dims the lights and shouts “Blackout!”, after which the group comes together in a circle and one of them falls to the ground. Then, Oliver has to eliminate the innocent blondes. Finally, it boils down to two – Mable and Alice. To understand the “why” in what happens next, a little context. Oliver and Charles had been wondering ever since Jan made the remark about the killer being an artist about the timing of Alice’s entry into Mable’s life. And the fact that she is an artist herself.

As it turns out. Oliver bares out Alice’s lies. Her tell is when she plays with her hair. Alice, in a moment of despair, accepts lying about going to Oxford and coming from a place of affluence. She did so to establish her legitimacy to sell her paintings. Because, “who would buy $50,000 paintings from the daughter of a plumber in Essex?”

The party disperses as Alice goes crying to the washroom. Mable tries to console Alice about her lies and comforts her. Charles carries on his conversation with Jan over the phone. Has he still not gotten over her after she tried to kill him? Anyway, she discusses the case with Charles but also the effect he has on her. They reminisce about the time they spent together.

Oliver notices that Ivan, from the diner, has placed an envelope full of cash under Bunny’s apartment. He goes to investigate in the diner and Ivan tells him the truth. Ivan also shows Oliver the footage from some of Bunny’s final days coming to the diner. In one instance, Bunny walks out the door, angry with the “murderer”. He gets up and picks up a matchbox from the table, giving credibility to the idea.

The ending is a shocker for everyone, most of all Oliver. Will discloses the secret he told about in the starting. Oliver isn’t actually Will’s biological father – he has half Greek lineage, not Irish. It is Teddy Dimas. He was having an affair with Roberta, Oliver’s wife.


The Episode Review

Story progression and representation aside, ouch! That was a brutal ending and character development for Oliver. Not knowing that your child is your own after pretty much living all your life thinking otherwise? This has got to hurt worse than death. I wonder how Oliver will take it.

He has been the comic light of the show until now. His showmanship and tendency to be fearless in situations where the other two might be caught wrong-footed gives the trio a compelling dynamic. If he goes into a rut, it will be hard for us to enjoy the “story progression” as they find more clues.

At the beginning of the episode, it was Oliver who was scared Teddy might kill him. But after this, I think the tables will have turned.

There were some important clues that this episode uncovered. The matchbox and mysterious man in the footage will definitely help them navigate the way ahead. When the time comes, they’ll know how to put two and two together. Jan and Charles are pseudo-dating again.

I still do not how I feel about it but it is at least something you can watch with some nervousness. To be fair to them, Mable’s characterization through her sexuality was something the writers did not force upon us. They have taken their own time and allowed it to happen in an organic escalation.

Cara Develigne was a bit unconvincing as Alice here. She did not do the best of jobs in bringing out Alice’s helplessness for lying. It felt more of victimization than a justification and hence, didn’t evoke an empathetic response from us. That apart, season two continues to progress, ever closer to making a crucial breakthrough!

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1 thought on “Only Murders in the Building – Season 2 Episode 5 “The Tell” Recap & Review”

  1. I have nothing against guys, but why does there always have to be a gay storyline in everything. Besides, Cara is not a very good actress and isn’t right for the role.

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