Only Murders in the Building – Season 3 Episode 6 “Ghost Light” Recap & Review

Ghost Light

Episode 6 of OMITB’s new season is set in the Goosebury Theatre. The legend of Gideon Goosebury, an actor who died while performing on stage in 1919, features heavily.

Howard is convinced that he killed Ben because Howard did not “sweep Gideon off the stage that night.” He goes to Mabel’s apartment, crying with his confession. She gathers Charles and Oliver. Tobert, who has slept over, also joins them in the drawing room. Howard claims to have seen Gideon’s ghost in the theatre when he was sweeping the stage. The trio does not believe him, although Tobert does not outrightly reject the notion.

In order to investigate his claims, the trio decides to go together. The guys ask Mabel to ditch Tobert since it is “their thing,” and she understandably agrees. Mabel is even excited that they are back together doing what they love.

On the stage, we see a “ghost light” that never goes off. As soon as Charles mentions this, it goes off, and a couple of sandbags fall near him from the rafters. They go to the office of KT, who is the stage manager of the Goosebury. She has done over 43 shows in the theatre and believes that this must be a safety issue. KT takes Howard with her to test the ropes. 

Mabel points out a sign-in sheet hanging in the office. She suggests they can match the handwriting of the cast with the writing on the mirror. Oliver, who has until now been keen to stray away from the investigation, suddenly takes an interest. This is, of course, subsequent to him finding Loretta’s personal diary which revealed her obsession with Ben. He takes the clipboard and reaches the dressing room as Mabel and Charles argue over the latter’s involvement in the investigation of Ben’s murder. 

Charles’ tone is accusatory which makes Mabel defensive. He is clearly in the wrong here but Mabel does not know the whole story. So, they are both in the right. This is the classic result of miscommunication. Charles goes off on his own to find something to keep his fish, President McKinley, in.

Oliver tries to match the handwriting but is interrupted by a loud noise in the rafters. He goes up to investigate and is shocked to find Jerry Blau up there. Blau is a fellow stage director and was fired by Donna the previous year. He had a feud with his partner about the mortgage and is currently squatting in the rafters. He was the “ghost” that Howard saw the other day.

Charles reaches a prop room to find a makeshift container for the fish. He temporarily puts him in the cistern of the toilet. Meanwhile, Mabel finds Tobert tiptoeing around the backstage area. He explains that he followed Jonathan to the theatre. They confront him together but it turns out that Jonathan was seeking Dr. C for anxiety medications. Ben’s death and the responsibility to lead the play have taken a toll on him.

Unwittingly, Charles flushes the fish after taking a leak in the toilet. He is desolate and feels the last constant in his life is gone. But by a miracle, the fish is still flapping around in the bowl! He retrieves it and puts it in a mug. Inadvertently, he switches on a fog emitter and can find no means to turn it off.

Howard and KT discuss their unfilled dreams of becoming a stage actor and director, respectively. She also admits that productions do not get “rid of” Gideon but they have to include him. In a moment to satisfy their dreams, KT directs Howard on stage as he vociferously recites Gideon’s monologue from 1919.

Oliver opens up about his romantic entanglement with Loretta, prompting Jerry to narrate what happened on the opening night backstage. Since he was up in the rafters, he couldn’t hear everything. But it is highly possible that Loretta called Ben a “fuc*ing pig.”

Jerry tells Oliver what we saw in the last episode. Oliver is shocked to learn that Charles punched Ben that night. Oliver is now caught between telling the other two about Loretta’s misgivings, or not telling them and giving himself a chance at love, which he might never find again in life.

Charles realizes he has his Jimmy keys and uses them to escape the smoky room. He runs into Tobert and Mabel, who are walking past the room. Mabel and Charles reach Ben’s dressing room where they catch Oliver rubbing the lipstick off the mirror. He lashes out against Mabel and Charles. There is a lot of pointing of fingers among the trio. Mabel reveals Cinda’s offer and says she might take it given how Oliver and Charles have treated her. Oliver fires Charles from the production after calling him a “washed-up” actor.

All of it ends in a big fight that could potentially steer the three away from each other. 


The Episode Review

This episode of OMITB was gloomy. Mabel, Charles, and Oliver were completely unsynced and untethered to each other. One cannot say it wasn’t expected given how the oldies have had to deal with their love lives. I guess this is the organic direction the story in season 3 has taken but I am not a big fan of it. Granted the romantic entanglements bring texture to the character arcs. But the show has been better when it focuses on the trio’s camaraderie and crime-solving shenanigans. That is the real USP whose absence was felt in this episode.

Bringing Gideon’s legend to life provided a very atmospheric setting in the form of the Goosebury theatre. The storytelling was once again top-notch. The creatives have a very special way of bringing things full circle in these episodes. We did not see many strides in solving Ben’s murder, though.

Clues have been slow to accrue but we have a lot of time for things to take shape. Martin Short has been the pick of actors in this season and his stellar performance continues to be gripping. Season 3 has got its filler episode (as is customary) but hopefully, this is a taking-off point to something better. 

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

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2 thoughts on “Only Murders in the Building – Season 3 Episode 6 “Ghost Light” Recap & Review”

  1. The wonderful actor Peter Bartlett plays Jerry..

    It’s a shame that the reviewer doesn’t know the difference between a “smoke machine” and a stage “fog machine.” Charles would have died being trapped in a room full of smoke. Stage fog (atomized oil or similar material) is designed to fill a room or a stage while allowing actors to continue performing… and breathing.

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