Only Murders In The Building is firing on all cylinders in the fourth episode of season two. It’s a testament to the show’s writing team as they dexterously introduce a vital new character (it’s nice to finally meet you, Lucy), expand on a creaky old Arconia mystery, and bring back a few dearly missed faces from the first season. At first glance, it seems like the plot might be a little overstuffed. OMITB thankfully links its seemingly separate arcs in a surprisingly schmaltzy way—mostly thanks to, as Oliver puts it, Charles’ Lifetime TV movie speech about parenting. “Here’s Looking At You...” sets up an intriguing path for the podcast trio’s personal and sleuthing lives.
It all circles back to Lucy (Zoe Colletti). Charles’ former step-daughter gets a fascinating spotlight as she reenters his life. It’s not a huge leap considering he reached out to her after solving Tim Kono’s murder and the popularity that followed. But even he’s shocked that she shows up out of the blue from Connecticut to his trailer while shooting the Brazzos reboot. Colletti is a breakout star after Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, Fear The Walking Dead, and her recent Boo, Bitch role. She absolutely sells Lucy’s angst and heightened emotions here. And is it any wonder the kid is concerned about Charles’ safety? After all, Lucy heard Bunny dying and almost witnessed who did it. It’s an unreal twist that OMITB spends the entire half-hour making quite believable.
As it turns out, Lucy grew up at the Arconia (again, much like Mabel, Charles, and Bunny). It means she’s got some secrets of her own about the building, like knowing there’s a goddamn secret passageway that connects all the houses (Oliver dubs them “Arcatacombs,” and I approve). It was Lucy’s hide-and-seek spot while playing with the neighbor’s kid. This is a huge explanation for how the killer is slyly getting around Arconia without being spotted. Although it’s important to note that, if “The Last Day Of Bunny Folger” is to be believed, her murderer simply used the elevator to reach her floor, ring the bell, and do the deed. Why not slither in through the passageway as he exited it?
Anyway, back to Lucy. The teen has a key to Charles’ apartment all these years later. On the night of her mother’s wedding, which also happened to be the night Bunny died, she ditched the celebration in favor of hanging out with Charles because she misses him (and prefers him over whoever is going to take his spot). Unfortunately, he turns down the opportunity because of his planned party with Oliver and Mabel. Too bad that she’s already reached Arconia. Upset over this, she sneaks into Charles’ house anyway. She goes into the passageway using an entry behind his bathroom to record a sentimental video about returning to a familiar place. (I like this attention to detail of how generations of growing up in the Arconia have an attached sentimentality to it. The building has always been a character of its own, and that’s expanded in season two).
Lucy soon overhears Bunny crying for help before hiding from the killer who enters the Arcatacomb to presumably deposit the bloody knife in Charles’ kitchen, the same one everyone finds earlier and Oliver lodges onto the ceiling when Howard knocks to give “hot goss” about Nina. Now, did Lucy’s camera (because it was still recording, right?) capture any of this action? She doesn’t mention any of these adventures to Charles but does warn him to toughen up and solve the case quickly before he gets caught or meets a worse fate.
Lucy may have gone back to her mother, but I’m certain she will return before the season ends because she’s a crucial witness. Her presence also helps us understand Charles a little more. Their connection, and generally speaking the parent-child bond, becomes an emotional theme in “Here’s Looking At You...” Charles sweetly consoles Nina (who is apparently eliminated as a suspect for now) after her water breaks about the rewards of parenting. Lucy and Mabel emotionally look on. Mabel tells Lucy that Charles reminds her of her own dad who died when she was young. It encourages Lucy to open up more to him too.
Oliver also wisens up and goes to help his son, Willy, who is directing his first school play. He’s motivated by the speech, but also because he witnessed Teddy and Theo Dimas’ heartbreaking argument by spying on them through the Arcatacomb (I’m sorry, it’s a catchy name!). First of all: How great was it to see Nathan Lane and James Caverly again? I’m still haunted (in a good way) by “The Boy From 6B” episode in season one. But it looks like the father-son duo is on the outs now. A wildly upset Theo has found his own lawyer and wants nothing to do with his dad’s graverobbing schemes that have led to their house arrest. And they’re not the only ones who make a grand return.
It’s a huge week for Charles, who ends it by heading to prison to meet with Jan, his ex-flame and Tim Kono’s killer, who has continually been calling him. He says he needs her help, but with what? How would she know anything about who killed Bunny if she was already in prison, or does he just want to pick the brain of a known psychotic criminal for ideas? Let’s face it, that’s not the worst plan, even if we already know Jan’s never going to help without wanting something in return. (We also know Oliver will be mad because he didn’t get to go and record Jan for their podcast). If it means more of Amy Ryan’s wickedly brilliant performance next week, I’m in.
- The running gag of Charles’ not understanding millennial texting lingo remains fantastic, whether he’s receiving messages from Mabel or Lucy. His reaction to “bet” is pitch-perfect. As is this line from him about hearing Lucy’s slang talk: “It’s like watching Squid Game without the subtitles.”
- Another great running gag? Charles’ fictional characters getting an iconic catchphrase. If Brazzos’s “This sends the investigation into a whole new direction” wasn’t enough, he also starred as an obstetric anesthesiologist on a show called The Deliverer, where every fictional baby was born healthy and he would say, “Do I deliver or do I deliver?”
- Arconia’s elevators should come with a warning sign. It’s where all the drama begins. Oliver, Charles, and Mabel first interacted here and bumped into Tim Kono too. It’s also where they later met Jan. Not to mention Oliver’s run-in with Amy Schumer in season two’s premiere, or Charles and Mabel’s with Bunny on the night she died. And Oliver’s jarring conversation with Teddy Dimas in this episode? Cursed elevators.
- What the heck is up with that glass space pod Nina and her husband want to install on the Arconia’s roof?
- “$200 on the Upper West Side will just get me a bagel and a soy latte.” True that, Mabel.
- I can’t help but marvel at the minimalist poster Charles has on his kitchen wall. It simply says “Nice, Hot Vegetables.”
- This was a huge episode for Steve Martin, but shoutout to Selena Gomez’s incredibly wry delivery of every sarcastic dialogue she has in this episode.
- Good for OMITB writers for sneaking in that bit about how Charles still gets a buttload of royalty from various rappers sampling the music of his old song.
- Here are the artisanal gifts the podcast trio gives to a super pregnant Nina: A blanket, baby oil, a can of vegan tuna, and a wet tennis ball. Two of these things are not like the others.
- With Nina seemingly out of the way, who’s now topping your suspect list? Is her husband a threat? I’m still leaning towards Howard till we learn more.
- And if you want to read more about the real-life New York City building that inspired OMITB’s setting, Vanity Fair has a riveting story for you.