They only have two seasons, but the second batch of episodes of ‘Only murders in the building’ It’s like meeting up with old friends. Literally and figuratively. Following the television maxim “If something ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, Steve Martin and his crew have brought us a mystery at the height much better cohesive than the previous one, although in exchange they lose a certain freshness and their cast does not stop growing. Not that I’m complaining: I’d rather eat the same delicious ice cream twice than try something different that might horrify me.
The first season was a small television miracle: an adult comedy-mystery series starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez became a totally unexpected success. The humor worked like a shot, but it is true that the resolution of the murder was lost due to twists and turns and false leads that simply served to lengthen the episodes (although we all pretended that we did not realize these dead ends). In these ten episodes have made the mystery easier to follow at the cost of losing some effectiveness on cliffhangers.
As there is no need to submit, the first chapter starts at full blast: Bunny has been murdered and all the clues point to the most famous podcasters of the Arconia. And from then on, everything explodes, causing the ending was more coherent, fun and surprising than the one we saw last year: An Agatha Christie murder solving party with twists every three minutes. As it should be.
If you were satisfied with the first batch of ‘Only murders in the building’ I see no reason not to continue to be after the second. Same places, same characters, same tone, same perfection and attention to detail. That something is continuous does not mean, under any circumstances, that it is worse: what’s more, they introduce enough changes so that it still smells new to us, but to the right extent. The stylistic revolution, if any, will be when it begins to falter. And there is still.
Excuse me, who are you?
The biggest problem with ‘Only murders in the building’ is also one of its great virtues: the wide range of characters (and therefore suspicious), that they cannot develop enough so that, beyond the leading trio, they matter to us. Figures like Howard, who in the first season was gossipy and funny, here are more blurred and end up being irritating, like Alice, Mabel’s love interest, who is never able to convey anything to the viewer. In this sense, the ten episodes have not been able to synthesize the new characters well and expanding the Arconia group has fallen into caricaturing and sketching more than personalities full of nuances.
Throughout the chapters old lovers, daughters, sons, mothers, detectives, podcasters, artists and doormen will pass through there, but most just hinder the main story and they do not contribute new data to an investigation that is left with too many loose ends: What happened to Amy Schumer? Why so much effort to focus on Nina Lin, whose plot does not solve anything? Does Jan know something that is hidden from us viewers?
It is possible that season 3 will solve some of these questions, although the second one has not really solved the previous one: it just has chosen a few details (great, yes) to create the feeling of mystery together, when really it is two totally different cases and that, more or less, can be enjoyed individually. Deep down, with so many series expecting you to remember every line a supporting character said two years earlier, it is appreciated that ‘Only murders in the building’ is not thought of as important.
Better accompanied than alone
Steve Martin has commented on more than one occasion that ‘Only murders in the building’ is the end of his career (a priori), and it’s a gold rubric: no matter how many hits you can put on part of its episodes, it is a fabulous series, an off-Broadway setting far from the great bombshells of the streamers but that is capable of stealing their attention for half an hour a week.
And it is that works like a Swiss watch, like the perfect sum of all its parts never neglecting any: bombproof humor (even in the supposedly solemn resolution of the mystery there is room for laughter), three perfectly molded characters and a mystery so well run that they ensure that each new twist and revelation is an absolute surprise for the spectators. They may not blow my mind anymore like they did in season one, partly because of their dispersal, but it’s one of the few series that is not seen coming, even if it is hiding information from the viewer… And it’s not easy with the smartasses we are today.
The preparation of season 3 leaves many mysteries in the air, but above all one swarmed my head during the last minutes of the episode: How long will they be able to reach these heights of greatness? When will they stop making the difficult easy, or will they get lost in the mystery and it will be obvious to everyone? If they continue with this level, and feeling very sorry for Steve Martin’s wife, I hope the podcast will last for many more years.