ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING, Season 3, Episode 7: Mabel Flies Solo in "CoBro"
There are two ways I could start this recap so let me start with the second and then go back to the first. Second: HOLY SHIT, ITS MATTHEW BRODERICK!
Ok, now that that’s out of the way, let’s focus on the key mystery at hand. Thanks to Mabel, we’re one step closer to finding out who killed Ben Glenroy. When she and Theo (welcome back!) go to an auction at the CoBro star’s apartment, they see his brother Dickie and ask questions. It turns out that Dickie and his brother were like most siblings: a lot of love and a lotta bickering. Dickie knew about Ben’s love for boba tea and was also forced to save the internet from a lot of dick pics. Also, Ben had a penchant for keeping his clock back 20 minutes so he could always be fashionably late
That’s a big reveal because it means Ben didn’t die at 12:06—he died at 12:26 after Gregg had already left the building. The stalker, currently sitting in jail for pushing Ben down an elevator shaft to his death, couldn’t have done the crime. Perhaps it was Dickie, but it’s never that simple.
Still, this is excellent forward momentum. We have a new clue (the timeline has shifted) and updated motive (fratercide). I haven’t felt this good about a lead since Kimber’s hankie went missing back in episode 3. Mabel is feeling pretty good, too, even though she misses her friends, Charles and Oliver, after their big fight last episode. She forges on without them, recording a teaser for the new podcast, and officially moves out of her apartment.
Charles, meanwhile, could be making a new friend in Uma, who apparently is a kleptomaniac. In fact, she stole Ben’s hankie off dead body and by the end of the episode has sold it to Dickie for a cool seven thousand dollars. Good for her in this gig economy. While her hoarding is not totally surprising, her keen anthropological sense of friendship is. Sitting at the Pickle Diner, she tells Charles how much she loved Bunny and all her quirks (Jayne Houdyshell makes a cute cameo in flashback). As you get older, Uma explains, friends can disappear in an instant so it’s important to keep them close while you can.
It’s a character choice that feels a little out of left field but not completely unwarranted, serving as a natural push to get Charles to go back to Oliver. The director, meanwhile, has his hands full with a talented actor we call “MB.”
Yes, that’s right! After Charles quits the show, producer/momma’s boy(toy?) Cliff has one hail mary approach to save Death Rattle Razzle from failing: hire Matthew Broderick. The Tony winner is an absolute riot in this episode, driving Oliver to the brink of madness as he tries to peel back layer upon layer upon layer of his character, the Constable, in the musical. He also gets that pitter patter song down in a couple of seconds, no trips to the White Room required.
The best part of MB’s arrival is the reveal that he and Charles have a (possibly one-sided) deep rivalry. With their witty repartee, I was reminded of another TV sitcom rivalry that I enjoyed in it’s small doses: Karen Walker and Beverly Leslie from Will & Grace. Let’s hope OMITB continues to mine this gold for all its worth. Honestly, MB doesn’t do much beyond being talented and throwing off some excellent one-liners and I think that’s the perfect way to play it…come in, be goofy, and see you next season (hopefully).
By the end of the episode, Oliver and Charles have made up and Charles is (begrudgingly) back in the show. As a peace offering, Oliver shows Charles the scrapbook filled with newspaper clippings of Ben he found in Loretta’s apartment. Charles doesn’t think it proves she’s a killer, but with his track record, Oliver is now more convinced than ever. They go to share the evidence with Mabel but it’s too late: the teaser has dropped and she’s no longer a resident of the Arconia.
The last thing we see is Detective Sexy (real name: Biswas) calling someone after hearing Mabel’s podcast teaser saying they have to reopen the case. This is a very exciting development because it has to be Detective Williams (Da’Vine Joy Randolph)... right?
*Insert “I can’t wait to see how this turns out” RuPaul GIF here*
Treading the Boards
-Line of the episode: “For the millionth time, you would not have been a good Ferris Bueller, you were 41.” - Matthew Broderick to Charles-Haden Savage.
-Cliff stress dances when he’s nervous. Don’t we all?
-The Mel Brooks cameo was such a delightful addition, especially his astonishment that Oliver had never seen The Producers (“it ran for six years!”). I’m glad they got him even if it was just on FaceTime.
-Dickie tells Mabel he was adopted which made him feel terrible because then along came Ben and he was perfect in every way… but if Loretta is Ben’s mother and didn’t raise him, that means Ben was also adopted, so who knows what the Glenroys told their children. Also maybe CoBro was invited by Dickie?!
-The key art for The Bloody Mabel Podcast is A+ even if the title is not. It’s the brainchild of Tobert, who is in this episode but doesn’t really have much to do other than look incredibly handsome. Theo, like the rest of us, is also turned on by the film maker.
Only Murders in the Building is now streaming on Hulu.