Every episode of Only Murders in the Building is narrated by a character with a new perspective on the season-long mystery. The narrator kicks things off, almost as if they were podcasting, by explaining their side of the story. As soon as Meryl Streep began this week’s episode with a calming intonation, I knew we were in for a real treat. Naturally, Streep did not disappoint.
While Streep narrates as an older Loretta, we travel back in time to see young Loretta (Taylor Colwell, who is so convincing as a young Streep) as she begins a career in acting. Loretta is a budding star. She plans to move to New York City as soon as she graduates from high school, but unfortunately, life has other plans for the double-braided superstar: After she graduates, Loretta immediately becomes pregnant.
Loretta makes the tough decision to give the child away, though the adoption isn’t closed, and she follows her child around as he grows up—though the kid doesn’t know this. She keeps a scrapbook of his achievements. She’s so proud of the man he’s grown up to be. Ironically, the pair both end up in showbiz. As soon as Loretta sees her biological son is involved with Death Rattle, she auditions, landing the part of the nanny.
Her son? Dickie Glenroy (Jeremy Shamos), the fed-up big brother of recently deceased Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd). The plot thickens!
Apart from this being a jaw-dropping, life-changing, brilliant, incredible, Emmy-worthy twist—seriously, any mystery writer should be taking notes—it provides a ton of context for Loretta’s character. Why has she been a bad actress up until Death Rattle? She didn’t have enough inspiration for her characters. Now that she’s playing a caregiver, a maternal figure who sings about protecting children, Loretta can breathe life into her role. Plus, the actress can stare at her son, Dickie, as she rehearses for the performance of a lifetime.
On top of this huge reveal, let’s not forget, we’ve also got a murder to solve. While at the sitzprobe (when the musical performers sing with a live orchestra for the first time) for Death Rattle Dazzle!, the team learns the truth about the ongoing case surrounding Ben’s murder.
Loretta, innocuously reading one of her lines, yelps, “Who goes there?”
“The NYPD, motherfuckers,” responds Detective Williams (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), who has just busted into the Gooseberry Theater.
Williams announces that she’ll have to pause the sitzprobe to interview everyone in the cast—thanks to Mabel’s (Selena Gomez) new podcast episode, the NYPD has narrowed the list of potential killers down to anyone involved in the original Death Rattle performance. Oliver (Martin Short) is peeved, but Mabel convinces him to work with Charles (Steve Martin) to find a way to sneak into the interviews and get intel on the suspects.
Mabel currently suspects Dickie, after having seen all of the times Ben used his brother to get ahead in his acting career, so she tells Charles and Oliver to beware of him for the time being. Oliver likes the idea of Dickie as the killer. Dickie isn’t really involved with the show. If Ben’s brother is arrested, Death Rattle Dazzle! can continue without losing any Tony-worthy stars.
But Oliver is still wary about that scrapbook of Ben memorabilia he found at Loretta’s apartment (in actuality, it was a scrapbook of Dickie clips, but Dickie has always been pictured next to Ben), so he goes to confront his lover. In the middle of doing so, though, Oliver lets it slip that the “always right” Mabel suspects Dickie. This sends Loretta into a tizzy. She needs to protect her son.
Loretta hunts down Mabel. She’s got to put an end to this rumor. When Loretta starts prodding Mabel and attempting to veer the podcaster away from Dickie, Mabel becomes more suspicious of Loretta. Didn’t Dickie just become Loretta’s new manager? Yeah, no wonder the budding actress doesn’t want him to go to prison. Loretta does anything and everything—she even throws poor, innocent Bobo (Don Darryl Rivera) under the bus—to save her unknowing son.
Meanwhile, Oliver and Charles try their best to distract Detective Williams while she interviews the cast. They’re somewhat unsuccessful. Instead of hiding somewhere in the interrogation room, Oliver and Charles hatch a smart plan: They’ll hide Tobert’s (Jesse Williams) GoPro in a corner of the room to get footage of all of the interviews for the podcast. (They’re definitely going to jail for this, right?)
Then, near the end of the episode, all hell breaks loose. Charles and Mabel discover Loretta’s suspicious book of Ben news clips. Oliver professes his love for Loretta. The NYPD takes Dickie in for investigation, but Loretta refuses to let them take her son away. Loretta admits to killing Ben Glenroy, and as fake as the confession sounds, Detective Williams believes it. In shock of everything going on, poor Oliver has a big heart attack—and then, the curtain on this wild episode falls.
So, who do we think did it? Someone must be a terrific actor, because even as we head into the final two episodes, I still have no idea.
Clues From the Crime Scene
-Howard (Michael Cyril Creighton) thought he heard the ghost of Gooseberry theater on opening night. Turns out, it was just a paper shredder. He heard these creepy noises right before Ben was killed. Could the murderer have been trying to cover up their tracks?
-The two producers, Donna (Linda Emond) and her son Cliff (Wesley Taylor) are being awfully weird in this episode. Donna is peeved to see a popular theater critic sitting in on the sitzprobe, especially when she was so critical of Ben in her unpublished review. Then, Donna confronts Loretta in the bathroom and offers her some weird advice about motherhood. “You’ll do anything to make sure they’re okay,” Donna says. Clearly, Donna did something to protect Cliff as he entered showbiz with his first production. Could it have involved…murder?
-Dickie still manages to sound as suspicious as possible. He tells Loretta that he had a fight with Ben the day before opening night. They made up, like always, but Dickie talks about Ben’s death like it was a miracle. “When he was gone, for those few brief moments, I felt free,” Dickie says. He continues: “And then I was trapped again. I couldn’t take it anymore.”
-Then again, Loretta continues to be iffy as well. Her confession sounds fake, but at the same time, she’s so confident that it sounds genuine. As we know, though, she’s a better actress in times where she’s inspired by her son, and this would probably qualify as one of those moments.