DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Only Murders in the Building episode “Double Time” is riddled with spoilers. Proceed at your peril.
Welcome, true crime lovers! We’ve reached penultimate episode territory for Only Murders in the Building! “Double Time” is a methodical, slow burner, culminating in a thrilling climax that sends the murder case hurtling in a new direction. The addition of Jane Lynch as the smooth-talking Pataki feels extraneous at first; however, she not only sheds a different light on the investigation, but she imbues Charles with courage.
Perhaps the gang just needed an alternate version of Charles to see the case from a new perspective. Maybe this newfound bravery forces Charles to see that Jan is the murderer, plain and simple.
Ready to delve into “Double Time”? Let’s get to it.
We open with Jan’s (Amy Ryan) narration, who talks about how cold New York City winters are to the bassoon. We see Charles (Steve Martin) frantically calling for help over her prone body, and she lightly squeezes his hand to let him know she’s alive.
Later, Jan arrives home from the hospital with Charles in tow, and “get well soon” presents warmly greet her. Charles scolds her for doing too much, notably Jan’s upcoming symphony performance. But “sitting and blowing” is her favorite thing to do!
Charles decides to drop the Tim Kono case — while our trio successfully nailed the Dimas boys for Zoe’s murder, they wrongfully accused them of killing Tim. Plus, he needs to focus on helping Jan recover from her stab wound. So, he will break the news to Mabel and Oliver about his decision to quit the band.
Next, Charles’ stunt double of two decades, Sazz Pataki (Lynch), unexpectedly visits him. Pataki’s dressed exactly like him, and, according to Charles, she’s in town because of a stunt awards ceremony. Pataki is as cool as cool can get — everyone loved her more than Charles on the set of “Brazzos.”
Meanwhile, Mabel (Selena Gomez) paints her stunning mural of the Arconia while listening to the latest episode of “Only Murders in the Building.” Oscar (Aaron Dominguez) emerges, dressed to the nines. He’s meeting with a lawyer that’ll help clear his name of all charges regarding his wrongful imprisonment for Zoe’s murder.
Then, Pataki charms the pants off Jan, much to Charles’ dismay. Mabel and Oscar stop by, and they greet Pataki thinking she’s Charles. Oliver (Martin Short) arrives with his possessions in tow. Bunny kicked him out of his apartment but allowed him access to a few belongings. He also believes he’s addressing Charles when he’s speaking with Pataki.
While pouring over evidence, essentially starting the murder investigation from scratch, Pataki wonders whether Tim’s murder is a crime of passion. The bourbon glasses found in his trash are suspect — why would Tim share drinks with his murderer unless this person poisoned him, then shot him?
Jan protests Pataki’s involvement because, initially, Mabel and Oliver made a big stink when she tried to help out. Pataki also interprets Tim’s “suicide note” as a confession from the killer, and the wording reeks of suspicion.
Later, Charles, Mabel, Oliver and Oscar attend a building meeting organized by Bunny. Bunny and her tenants are infuriated regarding the negative press Charles, Oliver and Mabel have garnered for the Arconia. Not only that, but if eight to 10 people file complaints, you’re subject to eviction. Thus, our trio is on the precipice of getting the boot.
However, Howard stalls the vote to evict. He reveals that he’s thankful for the podcast, as he learned earlier that his cat Evelyn was poisoned with the same poison used to murder Tim. So, that rules out Howard as a suspect.
Unfortunately, the vote passes with flying colors — Charles, Mabel and Oliver must leave the Arconia. Well, Bunny refers to them as “Murder, She Wrote.”
Back on the elevator, Charles unleashes his displeasure over the whole shebang. Their antics led to Jan’s stabbing, and he washes his hands clean of the investigation.
The trio return to Charles’ apartment to find Pataki removing Jan’s sweater. According to Charles, Pataki stole his girlfriend Cookie back in the day, and now, history repeats itself. However, Jan asserts Pataki is merely helping her apply fresh bandages.
Later, Jan and Charles hash it out over the latter’s insecurities about Pataki, and Charles doesn’t feel he’s worthy enough of love. Jan reveals she’s staying at her place that night since she has the big concert with the symphony the following evening. She’s the first chair, and she’s getting a meaty bassoon solo because of it.
Then, we see Oliver spends the night at Mabel’s apartment. Oscar departs early the next day to meet with the lawyer, and Oliver and Mabel dive headfirst into the murder case. Oliver procures Tim’s sex toys, noting that his lover might not have been of the opposite gender.
Mabel discovers that Tim was carrying a garbage bag with blue straps on the day of his death, but they found bags with orange ones in his apartment. Our pair decides to question Ndidi, Tim’s neighbor, who might know if he was in a relationship when he died.
Next, Pataki returns to Charles’ apartment and apologizes for driving a wedge between him and Jan. Pataki discloses that Cookie left her for another man after two decades together. She believes she and Charles deserve partners like Jan — kind, caring and funny. Pataki urges Charles to attend Jan’s symphony performance that evening and show her support despite Jan’s wishes.
Pataki reminds Charles that he’s a beautiful person who’s more than worthy of happiness.
Meanwhile, Mabel and Oliver question Ndidi (Zainab Jah) about Tim’s relationship status and if she saw him with a partner. According to her, Tim’s paramour was particularly loud in the act of lovemaking, and Ndidi believes he was seeing a woman.
Later, Charles sits in the audience for Jan’s performance, and he’s next to an excited man whose girlfriend performs with the symphony. Mabel and Oliver examine Tim’s sex devices again, and they extract what appears to be a cat toy. However, they look up “Exotic Instruments,” the company that produced the said “cat toy,” and learn that it’s a bassoon cleaner.
The conductor introduces the youngest bassoon soloist the symphony has ever seen, and it’s not Jan. A young girl emerges, and she sits next to Jan, revealing that Jan is the second chair, not the first. Charles’ nose starts to bleed.
Talk about a propulsive, white-knuckled ending! Why did Tim Kono have a bassoon cleaner hidden among his sex toys? Probably because Jan was his lover, and she killed him in a fit of fiery rage.
It makes sense now — Jan incessantly attempted to throw the trio off their path by adding new “suspects” into the mix, and she thwarted their mission to save herself. Eventually, all roads would’ve led to her.
Only Murders in the Building artfully crafts a nail-biting thrill ride laden with humor, mystery and unexpected twists. Performance-wise everyone’s firing on all cylinders, and I can’t wait to see how it ends (hopefully, with Jan’s arrest).
Only Murders in the Building debuts its season finale next Tuesday, October 19, on Hulu.
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