DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Only Murders in the Building episode “Performance Review” has spoilers. Prepare to send the investigation into a whole new direction and proceed at your peril. 

Welcome back, Arconiacs! We’re past the halfway point in Season 2 of Only Murders in the Building, and things are heating up for our sleuthing trio. “Performance Review” kicks the action into high gear, presenting thrilling new twists and a jaw-dropping cliffhanger as our crew inches closer to Bunny’s killer. Undoubtedly, it’s the strongest episode of the season thus far. 

Selena Gomez churns in one of her best performances, never overplaying Mabel’s reaction to Alice’s twisted display but leaning into the understandable shock she’d experience. There’s a naturalness to Gomez’s acting that I enjoy. She doesn’t try too hard to show us what’s happening with Mabel onscreen — instead, she is

Ready to delve into “Performance Review”? Let’s get to it. 

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Only Murderers in the Building

We open with Poppy (Adina Verson) looking over Cinda Canning’s extensive schedule for the day. She greets Jimmy Russo, a man who claims Mabel chopped off his finger. Poppy introduces Jimmy to Cinda (Tina Fey), who prepares to interview him for an episode of Only Murderers in the Building. Poppy records the intro, during which we see Alice (Cara Delevingne) surreptitiously snapping photos of the bloodstain underneath Mabel’s rug.

Mabel (Gomez) brings the pair breakfast, explaining that it’s a recipe from her father. Alice asks Mabel what happened to her dad, but Mabel reveals she’d prefer not to answer that question. Everyone obsesses over her past; she likes spending time with Alice because the latter makes Mabel “feel new.” 

Alice sits on a couch in Mabel's apartment on Only Murders in the Building Season 2 Episode 6 "Performance Review."

Only Murders In The Building — “Performance Review” – Season 2 Episode 6 — Alice (Cara Delevingne), shown. (Photo by: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

Prison Love

Meanwhile, Charles (Steve Martin) visits Jan (Amy Ryan) in prison. Jan notes how Charles nervously twirls the phone cord, and it’s abundantly clear that he wants to end things with her. Jan insists they never broke up, while Charles assumes it happened because, you know, Jan killed Mabel’s friend, tried to murder Charles, and attempted mass slaughter in the Arconia. 

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Next, we see Oliver (Martin Short) plans to get his DNA tested to see if Will is genuinely his son. Oliver word vomits all over the man next to him, agitated to no end regarding Will potentially being Teddy Dimas’s kid. 

Then, Cinda texts Poppy while the latter continues recording her intro. Why? Because she needs to take a dump. So, Poppy caters to her boss’s biological whim. 

Later, Charles films a scene for the Brazzos reboot as Uncle Brazzos, putting his “touch of dementia” on display via his incessant demands for soup. This script is Emmy-worthy, folks.

Charles, Mabel and Oliver face off against Cinda Canning and Poppy in Bunny's apartment on Only Murders in the Building Season 2 Episode 6 "Performance Review."

Only Murders In The Building — “Performance Review” – Season 2 Episode 6 — Cinda (Tina Fey), Detective Kreps (Michael Rapaport), Mabel (Selena Gomez), Charles (Steve Martin) and Oliver (Martin Short), shown. (Photo by: Patrick Harbron/Hulu)

Sazz Pataki – the Best Stunt Double in the Biz

After finishing a take, Joy (Andrea Martin), the makeup artist, touches up Charles’s face. Suddenly, Sazz Pataki (Jane Lynch) wheels up to the pair while donning the same costume as Charles. She’s ready to act as his stunt double again!

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Charles introduces Joy to Mabel, Oliver and Lucy (Zoe Margaret Colletti). Everyone notices Joy flirting heavily with her “Charlie.” The gang encourages Charles to jump back into the dating scene, but he claims he’s not ready. Meanwhile, the team reaches out to Detective Williams via text, hoping to send her viable evidence in the form of the bloody matchbook from Mabel’s apartment. Williams agrees to meet with them.

Next, Detective Kreps (Michael Rapaport) calls our sleuthing trio to Bunny’s apartment. We see Cinda Canning and Poppy are also present. Kreps orders the competing podcast groups to cease their podcasting! The NYPD receives an influx of citizen tips, mostly suggesting they investigate the foul-mouthed bird. 

Cinda lets slip (purposely) that she interviewed Jimmy Russo and plans to release the damning episode for all the world to hear. She wants the audience to see how “unstable” Mabel is. Mabel insists Jimmy’s full of sh*t. While Mabel follows Poppy out of the apartment, Charles and Oliver learn from Kreps that Detective Williams is on maternity leave in Denver. Suspicious!

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Mabel urges Poppy to stand up for herself. Cinda treats her like crap. Mabel reminds Poppy that she won’t ascend the podcasting ranks while crushed under Cinda’s thumb. 

Poppy walks down a hallway in the Arconia on Only Murders in the Building Season 2 Episode 6 "Performance Review."

Only Murders In The Building — “Performance Review” – Season 2 Episode 6 — Poppy (Adina Verson), shown. (Photo by: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

Glitter Bomb the Killer

Later, the gang reconvenes their brainstorming session at Charles’s apartment. They realize they might be texting with the killer if Williams is in Denver. However, they decide to go through with the meeting. The texter orders them to plant the matchbook evidence in a trash can so that they can pick it up. Our crew concocts a plan to add a glitter bomb with the matchbook. Then, they can quickly identify and tag the killer. Side note: in this scene, they talk about how an outing of Brazzos mentioned its “twist” in the episode title. “Twist” is also a title of an Only Murders in the Building episode. Art imitates art!

Meanwhile, in her calendar, Cinda finds time set aside for a “performance review” (Title of the episode!). Poppy, empowered by Mabel’s encouragement, tells her boss she’s hoping to discuss a potential promotion. Cinda appears to consider it. 

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Then, our sleuthing trio sits in a car while keeping an eye on the trash bin with their matchbook and glitter bomb. Oliver vents about his frustrations regarding the situation with his son’s parentage, while Charles discloses his frequent visits with Jan, much to Mabel’s dismay. She killed Tim Kono! Naturally, Mabel’s upset. 

Suddenly, while they’re chatting, we see a hooded person in black approach the trash can. As they attempt to procure the bloody matchbook, the glitter bomb detonates, sending crimson sparkles every which way. They see the person flee with a backpack. 

Charles stands in his apartment while pointing to his Brazzos poster on Only Murders in the Building Season 2 Episode 6 "Performance Review."

Only Murders In The Building — “Performance Review” – Season 2 Episode 6 — Charles (Steve Martin), shown. (Photo by: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

Performance Review

Next, Mabel storms off, frustrated with Charles and their failure to catch the potential murderer at that moment. Meanwhile, Poppy and Cinda have their meeting. Cinda claims Poppy works better as an assistant, even though she’s technically a producer. She shames Poppy for making everyone uncomfortable with her request for a performance review. Cinda deserves a “World’s Worst Boss” mug. 

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Sazz appears at the prison with a script in tow, memorizing the lines Charles gave her. Why? Because she will break up with Charles. After all, Sazz is Charles’s stunt double. It’s one of her many duties! Sazz recites her lines, but they make Jan horny, despite being a bassoonist (I’ll see myself out.). 

Sick Display

Then, Mabel reunites with Alice, but Alice looks a bit peculiar. Mabel waltzes into a model of her apartment, complete with a copy of her intricate mural. Mabel notes a man dressed like Tim Kono and a woman impersonating Zoe Cassidy. Alice dons Mabel’s bloody sweater while snapping photos of someone who looks like Bunny. Of course, Mabel spirals, bewildered by the display of “trauma porn” before her eyes. Alice tries to explain herself, claiming she hoped this would help Mabel heal. Nah, this isn’t it. Mabel leaves. 

Mabel stands in a replica of her apartment with the mural she painted behind her on Only Murders in the Building Season 2 Episode 6 "Performance Review."

Only Murders In The Building — “Performance Review” – Season 2 Episode 6 — Mabel (Selena Gomez), shown. (Photo by: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

Meanwhile, Oliver, nervous about the results of his DNA test, hangs out with Charles, who vows to introduce him to salsa. Poppy calls Mabel, informing her that she didn’t get a promotion. Mabel tries to end the call, but Poppy lists a few reasons why Cinda is a phony. Poppy claims to know “where the bodies are buried.” She has the dirt and is willing to divulge it all to Mabel. 

Stabbing Cliffhanger

However, Mabel, sitting in a subway car, spots the mysterious figure from the trash can. Red glitter covers this person, indicating that this might be Bunny’s killer. Mabel freezes as the figure approaches her. At the Arconia, Oliver receives a video from Will featuring Mabel on the subway. She stabs the unidentifiable figure before fleeing the scene while a flurry of witnesses records the shocking event. Oliver and Charles hug awkwardly, unsure how to react to the unsettling sight. 

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“Performance Review” finally reveals Alice for the shady character she is. I had a sinking feeling about her from day one, and this outing confirmed my suspicions. Of course, there’s merit to art facilitating the healing process, and exposure therapy is a legitimate practice. However, Alice did all of this without Mabel’s consent. Plus, she’s not a licensed therapist. She had no place to capitalize on Mabel’s pain. 

Alice’s arc on Only Murders in the Building is, essentially, a plot device. She serves to catalyze Mabel’s story. I’d love for Mabel to get a love interest that doesn’t merely exist to move her narrative along. I feel the writers screwed the pooch with Oscar. He was terrific for Mabel! I hope we get an explanation for his inexplicable disappearance soon. 

Do you think Mabel stabbed the masked figure? What dirt does Poppy have on Cinda? Did Oliver try salsa for the first time? Join me while I continue recapping Only Murders in the Building, only on Geek Girl Authority. 

Only Murders in the Building drops new episodes every Tuesday on Hulu. 

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