DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Only Murders in the Building episode “How Well Do You Know Your Neighbors?” is riddled with spoilers. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own peril.
Welcome back, true-crime buffs! “How Well Do You Know Your Neighbors?” brings Martin Short‘s comedic talents to the forefront. Naturally, he knocks it out of the park. God, I missed seeing him on my screen (and Steve Martin). Only Murders in the Building brilliantly embraces Oliver’s penchant for theatrics by having him harness it for the murder investigation. I love that the show equates finding a killer to casting a stage production.
We open with a flashback — it’s 2005, and Oliver (Short) is trying to sell reputable producer Teddy Dimas (Lane) on “Splash! The Musical.” Oliver wants to go big or go home. We’re talking about an actual pool constructed under the stage into which the actors can splash. Besides Teddy, we see Oliver’s former wife, Roberta, is also present.
Thankfully, Teddy decides to fund “Splash! The Musical,” much to Oliver’s delight.
Fast forward to the present. Mabel (Selena Gomez) is creating an intricate mural featuring Bunny in her apartment while Oliver and Charles (Martin) are recording another episode of “Only Murders in the Building.” Charles is playing the concertina, which doesn’t impress Oliver. Well, all I need in this life is Steve Martin playing the concertina, so color me content.
Then, Ursula (Vanessa Aspillaga) stops by with more gut milk. If you’ll recall, if our boys ordered three cases of gut milk, Ursula would spill the beans regarding Tim Kono. She’d provide more in-depth info that wasn’t on record in his files.
In addition, Ursula reveals distressing news. Oliver now has 24 hours to pay Bunny’s debt instead of the previously established two weeks. So, there’s that.
Meanwhile, Charles sends Mabel a series of “granddad” texts. It’s adorable.
The gang unites for a brainstorming session. Charles took a slew of selfies with tenants who are potential suspects. You know, because regular photos would’ve been too suspicious. Somehow, this is exponentially worse.
Oh, look, there’s Charles with Sting!
Next, Oliver taps into his “theater director” superpowers. We see a lineup of the Arconia residents as Oliver narrows down who’s “charismatic” enough to stay. Each of them confesses to killing Tim, but only Howard, Evelyn’s owner, has the motive to do it.
This bit is so clever. Short shines here.
Then, Oliver gives Charles and Mabel microphones to wear while they visit Howard. Oliver believes he did it because Tim incessantly complained about Evelyn. Apparently, Tim was allergic to cats.
Later, Charles and Mabel meet Jan (Amy Ryan) in the elevator, a bassoonist who not-so-subtly flirts with Charles. Get it, granddad!
Meanwhile, Oliver stops by Teddy’s place. They haven’t seen each other in years. Oliver broaches the subject of podcasts and asks if Teddy would like to sponsor “Only Murders in the Building.” Is 32 grand too steep of an asking price? It is, which is why Teddy promptly gives Oliver the boot.
Next, Mabel and Charles are sitting with Howard (Michael Cyril Creighton). Howard is utterly grief-stricken. Our dynamic duo treads with caution, especially where Tim Kono is concerned. Howard did loathe him, after all. While attempting to inform Howard that he’s being recorded subtly, Charles’ nose starts bleeding. Howard falls unconscious at the sight of the blood.
Mabel emphatically orders Charles to grab an ice pack for Howard. While rummaging in the freezer, Charles discovers the frozen form of Evelyn. Howard froze the body of his dead cat. Charles inadvertently breaks off her paw when he procures an ice pack.
Howard’s blood phobia may strike him off the suspect list.
Well, so Mabel thinks. Charles knows an actor when he sees one.
Later, Charles reunites with Oliver on the elevator. The latter’s attempt at securing money to clear his apartment debt failed miserably. He will sell the original poster for “Splash! The Musical” to help make ends meet.
However, Charles talks him out of it. Oliver regales him with the tale of “Splash!” and just how much of a financial flop it was. It utterly ruined his career and his family.
But Charles counters that the world needs more “Olivers.” More risk-takers. Ever since Charles met Oliver, he’s been stepping outside of his comfort zone. Now, he talks to women! Peculiar cat owners! Millennials!
He also carries a frozen cat paw on his person, and that’s all because of Oliver’s influence.
So, Oliver marches back into the fray, rejuvenated and ready to get that money!
Meanwhile, Mabel knocks on Oscar’s door. His father answers. Unfortunately, he won’t let Mabel see Oscar. Oscar needs a fresh start, and Mabel is a stark reminder of his old life. You know, the one that got him imprisoned.
Next, Oliver returns to Teddy’s door armed with a wine bottle and a pair of glasses. He convinces Teddy to reconsider. Podcasts are the future! Finally, Teddy relents. He agrees to invest. But now Oliver’s price has been bumped to 35 grand. Supply and demand, baby.
Then, we see Mabel rummaging through the books she found in Tim’s apartment. She unveils a note that says, “G.M. 1/31 @ 4:30 pm Shore Road.” It’s only January 24! Mabel pockets the note.
Later, Oliver and his beautiful bulldog encounter Sting in the elevator. Oliver animatedly discusses the building murder to a standoffish Sting, who apparently detests dogs. He demands Oliver “control” his pup. What a prick.
Our trio is back together for a meeting. Charles serenades Mabel with a concertina concert. Like Oliver, she’s unimpressed. Oliver reveals exciting news — their first podcast episode is live!
Charles is upset because Oliver clearly rushed to publish the episode. But that’s irrelevant because Teddy is now a sponsor! Oliver has the money he needs to pay back Bunny.
Meanwhile, we’re back on Oliver’s stage. He narrows down his list of suspects/actors until no one remains.
Back at his apartment, Oliver finds a note stuck to his door: “End the podcast, or I end you.” That’s not ominously threatening at all. He enters his abode to find his poor puppy on the floor, moaning in pain. It looks like she was poisoned. But who would do such a thing?
We see Sting sitting on the stage now while singing “Don’t Stand So Close To Me.” Brilliant.
So far, Only Murders in the Building is shaping up to be a delightful outing that’ll slake true-crime lovers’ thirst for mystery. “How Well Do You Know Your Neighbors?” puts every neighbor on display in a wholly inventive way. Martin Short steals the show along with unexpected guest stars and plenty of twists and turns.
I’d be remiss if I left out the concertina.
This show is pure, unadulterated joy. That being said, I hope whoever poisoned that sweet bulldog gets their comeuppance. Please excuse me while I hug mine a bit tighter tonight.
New episodes of Only Murders in the Building are available to stream every Tuesday on Hulu.
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