Only Murders in the Building – Season 3 Episode 10 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

Opening Night

What clue from Loretta breaks the case for the trio?

The finale of Only Murders in the Building’s Season 3 begins with our prime suspect Donna’s monologue. The seasoned producer has seen many successes and failures in her life. But her most prized possession remains Cliff, her dear son whom she delivered while on the phone, working. Producing is not an easy job; motherhood is certainly not easier. But the lengths of what a mother would do to protect a child… therein lies the clue.

Loretta is now free. She joins the trio’s murder-solving “inner sanctum” to help them. Loretta still hasn’t told Dickie about their blood relation and will do so after the opening night of Oliver’s new play. Mabel points out that even though the evidence against Donna for the poisoning is enough, they don’t have the requisite amount to nail her for the push. That is when Loretta presents them with the exact thing that solves the case. There is also the suggestion of Donna being “sick” on Loretta’s part, which we saw back in episode 8.

Why does Mabel feel Donna is not the killer?

Donna is cleverly invited to KT’s office on opening night as the trio begins their customary “We gotcha!” routine. Donna isn’t having any of it and confesses in the early part of it. Mabel rues her preparation for a dramatic reveal as Tobert records her confession. Donna maintains that she didn’t want to kill Ben; just “knock him on his ass” since the play would have bombed. The defining evidence that Loretta gave them was Ben’s bloodstained hankey, which also had a lipstick stain. The shade matches Donna’s lipstick and she accepts the charges. But Mabel and we notice a reluctance in her voice and demeanour… is this a coverup for someone else?

Donna tearfully reveals she has stage four lung cancer. She requests them not to call the police until after the opening night. Howard waltzes in to inform Oliver that Jonathan has drowned in the effects of the pills.

Ben’s understudy has lost it and only someone who knows the character’s lines, and intonations, and someone who never wants the spotlight, should go on. And of course, Oliver thinks Howard is referring to him. He kickstarts the proceedings with the opening number, “Creature of the Night”. Mabel and Tobert talk backstage, where he reveals that he has been offered an indie film in LA. And he wants Mabel to come with him.

Who killed Ben Glenroy?

In an emotional moment, Loretta tells Dickie the truth about their true relationship. He expresses his delight at the revelation and the two embrace. Mabel is listening on the other end of the wall and realizes that Donna is covering for Cliff, who is the real killer. She finds him up in the rafters and confronts him with the truth. We see what happened that night. Ben’s doctor told him about the rat poison which baffled him. Ben was fasting – so how did he ingest the poison?

Cliff is with him and Ben accuses Donna of poisoning the cookie. As Ben reaches for his phone to call the police, Cliff insults Ben by telling him how he told Donna that she shouldn’t cast Ben in the play. Cliff calls Ben a hackjob and a phoney. They indulge in a pushing contest and Cliff pushes him down the elevator.

Ending Explained: Who killed Sazz?

Cliff, whom Donna has just told about her confession, threatens to throw himself from the rafters as Mabel sorts out the night’s events. It is clear that Ben wasn’t murdered and it was just an accident. When the realization of it all strikes Cliff, he gets even more antsy. The show wraps up immensely but the audience is confused when Oliver sees Cliff hanging from the rafters and runs upstairs. Charles does so too. Just as Cliff is about to let go, Donna grabs his hand. She consoles him and reaffirms her love for Cliff, who is visibly regretful of what happened. 

Maxine’s review is glowing and Oliver Putnam is officially back in business. Dickie breaks the news of possible offers for Loretta, who privately mentions to Oliver that taking them would mean moving away. Oliver promises he will come with her and she should take the job. Mabel refuses Tobert’s offer to go with him but promises to visit LA when she can.

Sazz Pataki surprises everyone with a visit to the afterparty. It is also revealed via texts that Joy has moved on from Charles. He vows to bring one of his prized wines from his apartment but we see that it is Sazz who had gone instead. And as is tradition for season endings, Sazz is fatally shot by someone through the window. Charles was the target but he is fine, wondering where Sazz is at the afterparty. Sazz tries to write something down – probably a clue – but the camera cuts before we can see anymore.

The Episode Review

Season 3 of Only Murders finishes with a flourish and a satisfactory finale. The show had lost some of its sheen through the middle episodes but made a rollicking comeback in the final two episodes. The trio spews magic when solving murders together and it is clear from the finale how much that camaraderie elevates the storytelling. Although I won’t say the opening prologue made the end anticlimactic, observant viewers must have spotted the clues without fail.

Wesley Taylor, who had yet to truly warm up to his character, made the most of the precious minutes he got in the end. Martin Short’s show-stopping performance was also a highlight and brought back memories from his days as Broadway’s blue-eyed star.

Jane Lynch’s Sazz Pataki was a loveable character and resolving her murder may make the efforts personal for Charles if there is another season.

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You can read the Season 3 review of Only Murders in the Building here!

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