Only Murders in the Building – Season 3 Episode 9 “Thirty” Recap & Review


Episode 9 of Only Murders In The Building Season 3 begins with Mabel having a nightmare in the hospital where Oliver has been admitted for five days. He is doing fine and is ready to be discharged. Mabel’s nightmare reflects the state of her life: almost 30 and single without any inkling of settling down with a family in the near future.

On that tangent, what happened to Tobert? We have not seen him in the last few episodes. He has just fallen off the edge of the world, it seems. Well, we will see what happens in this episode.

For now, Oliver’s heart scare is over, Loretta is in jail, and the holy trinity is back to solve the ill-fated movie star’s murder. It is just like old times, which makes all of them quite excited. They come back to Charles’ apartment where Charles finds a package sent by Joy’s mother. It is the wedding dress she wanted Joy to wear when she got married.

We quickly move on from Charles’ emotional vein to the trio interviewing Dickie for answers. Despite his murky credentials, Dickie is cleared from the suspect list as he explains where he went the night Ben was murdered. Dickie was freaked by Ben coming back to life, put on his CoBro suit, and went to a place somewhere between 35th and Broadway Street that Ben used to frequent. “I called out for the five whores and fell asleep on the doorstep,” says Dickie as he shows the trio a photo on his phone. He showed it to the police as an alibi but they didn’t believe him as his face wasn’t clearly identifiable. They fall short of telling him about Loretta as Dickie wonders why she gave herself up for him.

The trio reaches forth to investigate this mysterious place. It turns out that “Snitches Get Stitches” is a fabric shop and the “five whores” are five elderly, gentle ladies who do tailoring for a living. Seamstresses! Ben was in a sewing circle, which met at this shop once a week. The last they saw him was on the opening night of the play. In fact, these women stitched all the hankies that Ben gave out to the cast members.

Trixie, one of the seamstresses, also plays a recording of the voicemail Ben sent her right before the curtains went up that night. “They are all out to get me!” Ben desperately said. The mystery to figure out now is: what happened in the “thirty minutes” between Ben arriving at the theatre in top shape and him sending that voicemail?

Charles suggests they make a timeline using all the interviews from the hidden camera with Williams. Ben arrived late, a KT disappointingly revealed on tape. Cliff was the next to see him. We learn that Ben was fasting until after the show was over.

Dickie is seen saying that Ben learnt Dickie wanted to quit being his manager before the opening night. Ben suspected Loretta put Dickie up to this (which she did) and that is why he had a fight with her. Next, Howard went to KT’s office and heard the shredder. Loretta and Ben have their fight, Charles punches Ben, and Joy goes to his dressing room to touch up the bruise.

Donna gives Ben a pep talk. She cannot see her son’s first production be a failure! Ben is already in a sour mood and proceeds to fire Tobert and takes his camera into the dressing room. And then, Ben is seen talking to this mystery figure on camera (from Tobert’s footage) whom we can’t see. Who is in the room with him? Or, more interestingly, is he alone? Is he talking to himself?

Loretta’s arraignment is at five that day and Mabel dejectedly tells him they cannot solve the murder before that. The trio mulls over what went wrong with their lives. All of them are alone and have no one to care for. Mabel reveals that it is her 30th birthday, which surprises both Charles and Oliver. Howard waltzes in with a blurry vision and the shredded paper taped back together. Oliver instantly recognizes the text: Maxine’s review. In her words, Ben was the weak link of the play. What if someone read it beforehand and tried to remove him from it since a “lot of careers were on the line?”

Oliver prepares a makeshift cake for Mable and tears into dips from Charles’ fridge, even though the doctors have asked him to switch to healthier food choices. When she hears his naughty talk about the food, Mabel realizes whom Ben was talking to that night: the Schmackery’s cookie that Cliff offered him when he saw Ben. He ate the whole thing and became rueful and self-depreciative. It was Ben who wrote the words “F*cking Pig” on the mirror out of disgust. He then sent a voicemail to Trixie.

Oliver realizes it was Donna who sent Ben the cookies. She did not want Cliff’s first production to be a failure. She said the exact same line from the review to Oliver during Sitzprobe. Owing to her connections, she must have gotten a copy of the review from the paper. She was the one who shredded it in KT’s office where she saw the rat poison and the cookie. She placed it in the room in the hope that Ben would eat it. So, Donna is the murderer. But how can they stop Loretta’s arraignment in time?

Mabel decides to don Joy’s wedding dress since no one would stop a bride from going into a courtroom. The plan works and Oliver is able to tell Loretta after flirting back and forth. She isn’t sure if she can come back from the path she set on as Mabel points towards Donna’s presence in the court.

The Episode Review

If there is a comeback episode in television this year, episode 9 of Only Murders in the Building should take the cake! This is what us fans have been yearning for since the start.

Although I have mentioned before that I liked the indulgences by writers in the protagonist trio’s love lives, they started to become a distraction. Charles, Mabel, and Oliver solving crime together is the soul of the show. And episode 9 brought it back in abundance. The episode is edited and executed to perfection. It exudes a heightened state where we find Season 3 flourishing at its peak. Paul Rudd’s heartbreaking cameo is a character reversal for the ages. Charles’ tears might not have been real, but ours definitely were.

But perhaps this should have come a little earlier in the season. We are almost there and things have taken a definitive shape. I wouldn’t have pegged Donna to be the killer but the writers might have one final trick up their sleeves. Episode 9 is indubitably the best episode of this season and perhaps one of the best episodes of the show overall. It ably redeems the sluggishness of the previous few episodes. A perfect score for this one!

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

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