Only Murders in the Building – Season 3 Episode 2 “The Beat Goes On” Recap & Review

The Beat Goes On

Episode 2 of Only Murders in the Building’s new season begins around 3 months before the present day. It is a brief scene where we see Ben (Rudd) struggle with “Feeling” the script. He specifically says to Oliver that he does not see the logic in the plot. Ben also feels the writing is coddling and difficult for him to express. Back in the present, Mabel finds herself alone in her living room watching Girl Cop. This is the hit show that Ben did early in his career that instantly established him as a heartthrob.

It is also revealed that right after they found the body, Uma, Charles, and Oliver rushed to get help. But Mabel didn’t follow them at once and stayed back to take photos of Ben’s body. She imagines talking to his character from the show. Mabel opens up about her shambles of a life. Without the house and the podcast, her life is falling apart. Ben consoles her by saying that he himself had no direction when he was acting in Girl Cop. They end their imaginary conversation with the thought that late bloomers in life always have a chance to spring a surprise.

Meanwhile, Oliver is losing his mind. Donna and Cliff have ordered the set to be taken down. They are shutting down the production but won’t meet with or talk to Oliver to tell him. On the morning of Ben’s funeral, the trio go together, even though they aren’t “invited.” To their utter surprise – especially Oliver – the trio is placed in “overflow three” where people are watching the real funeral (taking place upstairs) on a tv. Oliver grows anxious and creates a distraction (which involves humiliating Charles) to slip out without the usher noticing.

Mabel runs into Gregg, Ben’s erstwhile security guard. He has a theory about what happened to Ben and invites Mabel to come to his apartment. She invites Charles with her and they go to Gregg’s apartment. Although they initially think he is a diehard fan of Ben’s after seeing his collectables, it becomes clear to them that he may be a potential psychopath when they see photoshopped pictures of Greg with Ben in photo frames. Gregg then surprises them from behind and takes them captive.

Oliver makes his way upstairs and runs into Maxine, a noted theatre critic. They know each other quite well and Oliver inappropriately asks her to publish her press review (which takes place before the official curtain raiser) to give good publicity. Although Maxine tries to avoid the subject, she finally caves in and says to Oliver that she planned her review, which was never sent to her editor. She found his production bleak, Ben’s performance abysmal, and thought the play lacked Oliver’s signature vibrance. 

Oliver is shaken learning all of this. He remembers the time in Ben’s dressing room when Ben and he discussed how the former needs to be “fearless” and just “be himself” to nail the role. His motivation seemed to work as Ben delivered the lines with conviction. But in the present day, Oliver doesn’t seem alright. It turns out that he had a minor heart attack. The doctor strictly says “no more stress” for the next few weeks. But how can Oliver sit quietly being unfulfilled like this?

Mabel and Charles are in heaps of trouble. Gregg has cuffed them in his basement. He walks in prepared to torture and kill them because they ‘killed’ Ben. That is when Mabel realizes that Gregg did not murder Ben. Before he came into the room, we got insight into Mabel’s life after her father died. Her mother had a complete breakdown and didn’t leave her room for six months. She wouldn’t talk to Mabel at all and Mabel would wish that Ben would come in his Saab (from Girl Cop) and take her away. She also realized that her mother used to watch the show and enjoyed it, just like she did. They laughed at the same jokes in two different rooms.

Charles admits that Ben was rude to him because Charles got Ben fired from Brazzos. Ben was the “8-year-old kid” who was forever struck with the trauma of being told he could never act. We see Ben confronting Charles for the same in the past, citing his awkwardness and general demeanour as the result of the humiliation. The police arrive just in time, led by Detective Biswas, a new character in this season. They had been following Gregg since Ben’s murder. 

Mabel also arrives at the conclusion that Gregg didn’t kill Ben because he had a handkerchief that Ben gifted all the cast members. So, if Gregg had Ben’s hankie, whose hankie was Ben holding when he died? For the police, though, the case is solved. Mabel also believes that Gregg loved Ben and wanted to find the killer. That is why he kidnapped them. Ben must have grabbed the murderer’s hankie before he was thrown from the open elevator shaft. 

The duo is convinced to take off on a new adventure. Meanwhile, Oliver has a dream where he sees Charles, Mabel, and his son Will sing in a musical-style act asking him to watch his stress levels. He excitedly announces to Charles and Mabel that he will be repitching Death Rattle as Death Rattle Dazzle, a musical. Oliver, though, falls short of telling them about his heart attack. 

The Episode Review

The series double-header ends on a solid note as we have yet another promising case on our hands. The creators and writers of the show continue their remarkable ability to juggle storytelling and character exposition. The setups are so clean that neither of these things are affected by the other. Such synergy is rare to find on television but OMITB has been doing it for three seasons.

Selena Gomez’s Mabel once again looks set to be the prime focus this season. Episode 2 offered insight into her childhood connection with Ben and steered her arc toward coming-of-age territory. The musical teaser that bookended the episode suggests that we will indeed have some “Fosse” magic in this season.

Somehow, the trio of actors get better with every new season. They grow even more in their characters’ skin and look more comfortable than ever. Season 3 is off to an explosive start with a signature sign-off for the next episode.

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

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