One of the biggest surprises of 2021 was the Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez vehicle about three strangers, who are obsessed with a true-crime podcast, are suddenly involved in one as their neighbor is found dead in his apartment. The first season was filled with plenty of twists, turns, and laughs, and it made an unforgettable impression. This article will revisit the top five episodes from the first season of Only Murders in the Building. This list will contain spoilers so if you’ve managed to live your life without checking out the series then I strongly suggest binge-watching the show on Hulu first. Let’s get started with the first episode.
Pilot episodes can be tricky. The purpose is to introduce the world and the core characters within the series without giving away too much or too little. It’s also supposed to get you excited for the upcoming episodes of the remaining season. I wouldn’t label the first episode of Only Murders in the Building a classic, but it perfectly checks all of the necessary boxes to keep you watching past episode one. The show instantly grabs you by the throat with the swat team storming in as Charles and Oliver frantically run to help out Mabel. However, the discovery of a dead body and Mabel covered in blood keeps you engrossed to find out what the hell is going. As I previously stated, the rest of the episode perfectly checks off the pilot boxes and introduces the colorful world that Charles, Oliver, and Mabel live in. It highlights that the series is a nice blend of drama and comedy, something that Only Murders in the Building manage to do well through the remaining episodes.
To Protect and Serve
When we first meet Detective Williams, she’s a bit of a hardass, though you completely understand why it’s annoying that three random strangers are trying to solve a serious murder case. However, To Protect and Serve dives into the psyche and home life of Williams and it gives the audience a better chance at connecting with the police officer. This episode furthers the development of Mabel, her family dynamic, and just the type of person she is. To Protect and Serve is still crucial in advancing the Tim Kono plot; however, the quiet character moments are really made this episode pop. The fact that we were able to dig into the lives of Detective Williams and Mabel helped us draw closer to both female characters, and more importantly, understand their world view. The only nitpick of this episode is that the show kind of relies on exposition a little too much, we got that Mabel doesn’t exactly have the easiest time trusting people, so her having to reinstate that in the final scene felt clunky and unnecessary.
The Boy from 6B
At the end of a nailing biting cliffhanger from To Protect and Serve that revealed Teddy Dimas is Angel, we got a strong episode that invited us into the world of Theo Dimas, the deaf son of the rich tycoon. This was an extremely intimate study of Theo’s character and it’s easily one of the most brilliant stories of the series. For the writers to thrust audiences into this stark contrast of what’s been presented to us was a bold move that greatly played off here. It also gave us more insight on Zoey, her deteriorating relationship with Oscar, and the stunning reveal that it was Theo who accidentally killed Zoey. The creators managed to jam in so much information within 30 minutes and The Boy from 6B never feels rushed or confusing. James Caverly is superb here and manages to make an unforgettable turn in one episode.
So, Theo and his father are evil bastards, and this episode furthers the case of Teddy being more of a mob boss type character. We got a great backstory of Teddy’s life, him being ashamed of having a deaf son that ended his marriage (and the whores), but his rationale on why being quiet was so important. This episode sped us down a false, but compelling path that is necessary for mystery/crime thrillers. It’s insane how the show manages to balance comedy and drama and mystery; This episode introduced the Arconiacs, yet their inclusion never felt weird or awkward despite the fact that they never make another appearance during the show throughout the remainder of the season.
Open and Shut
The season finale wrapped up the main loose ends, notably the confirmation that Jan is the one behind Tim Kono’s murder. Admittedly, Jan kind of became a cartoon character by explaining why she did what she did, but Amy Ryan’s performance was a delight. Again, the nitpick of exposition was strong here, but this was still a delightful episode that capped off an amazing first season. The twists and turns were organic, and the dialogue (except the exposition stuff) was another highlight. The twist of Uma being killed was fun and it sets us up for another thrilling season.