The “Only Murders in the Building” season finale should come with a warning. Allow me to suggest “Caution: HOT.” Throughout the season, the show has walked the challenging line between comedy and murder mystery, armed with a cast just as unlikely as it is strong, and the finale is the culmination of their work, chock-full of suspense, shock moments and a drop of resolution.
The core three characters, Charles (Steve Martin, “Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish)”), Oliver (Martin Short, “The Morning Show”) and Mabel (Selena Gomez, “A Rainy Day in New York”) come together through their investigation of fellow Arconia resident Tim Kono’s murder. Their true-crime podcast that seeks to reveal the true killer has shot to stardom, and you can’t help but feel like a proud mama. Every time you think you have it figured out, the show proves you wrong again. The suspense is palpable as you shiver under your covers, drooling in wait for the next episode.
While the finale is satisfying by tying up loose ends and incorporating a big twist, it’s slightly underwhelming after the high that the final moments of the penultimate episode generated. The finale isn’t boring; in fact, it’s nowhere close — it’s just that nothing can top the shock you feel when you realize that Jan is the killer. Whether you saw it coming or not (and let’s be real, you didn’t), the moment where Tim’s sex toy was revealed to be a bassoon cleaner was earth-shaking.
The finale had several noteworthy moments, albeit not quite as gasp-worthy. Opening the finale with a fourth-wall break? Risky, but genius. To get an inside look at Tim was so refreshing after a whole season of trying to piece him together. Arguably, one can only wish it had come sooner, but if it had, the show would have lacked the air of mystery so definitional in its first season.
Then, still not even ten minutes into the finale, viewers have no choice but to resort to gnawing on fingernails as Charles sits inches from his girlfriend and Tim Kono’s murderer, Jan (Amy Ryan, “Lost Girls”), seemingly unwilling to recognize her for what she is: a killer. Viewers can hardly bear to watch through the crack in their fingers as a casual drink becomes a confrontation. Charles tells her he’s got her all figured out, and it’s in exactly that moment you realize she was one step ahead. It’s turns like these, taken at breakneck speeds, that send your heart into your throat, your love for the characters and their strange but heartwarming dynamic that keep you pulling for them.
It all comes to a head very quickly and seems to be over when Tim’s murderer is carted away. Everything seems to be resolved, but we know better. If you’ve come this far, you know that “Only Murders in the Building” is not the show to comfort-watch, and the finale is no exception.
It’s “Only Murders in the Building’s” constant twists and turns that make us love it, and it’s only in the show’s nature to stun us one more time before this hiatus. In the finale’s closing seconds, it’s the starring trio who is escorted to the squad car in handcuffs as the viewer watches, helpless to save them. The finale slaps you across the face, again and again, dangling a sense of closure in front of your face like a carrot then tearing it away. In a strange way, that’s a relief: Lack of closure must mean it isn’t over. The finale certainly answers enough questions, but it still leaves you wanting more, chasing the high of the penultimate episode.
Allow me to save you some trouble: As of now, “Only Murders in the Building” season two does not have a release date, but if rumors are true, we might see it in fall 2022 or even in August. What’s for sure is we’ll see our favorite unlikely trio together again soon, but not soon enough, and hopefully not behind bars.
Daily Arts Writer Emmy Snyder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.