DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Only Murders in the Building episode “Who Is Tim Kono?” is riddled with spoilers. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own peril. 

Welcome back, true-crime buffs! “Who Is Tim Kono?” pulls back the veil on our victim and unravels the threads of Mabel’s past. While we learn about the enigmatic Mabel, we get significantly more questions than answers like any good true-crime drama. Just enough to keep your interest piqued. 

Only Murders in the Building does an excellent job of maintaining the mystery. Yes, there’s some exposition, but instead of underestimating its viewers, the series “shows” more than “tells.” The jokes land. In addition, the characters themselves feel larger-than-life while remaining grounded—the mark of brilliant theater. 

Ready to delve into “Who Is Tim Kono?” Let’s get to it. 

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We open with Mabel (Selena Gomez) watching an episode of “Brazzos,” starring Charles (Steve Martin) as the titular detective. She notices Charles’ speech regarding his father is recited verbatim in the scene she’s watching. Is he ever not in character?

As “Brazzos” plays on her screen, we see her sketching a picture of Tim Kono. Mabel puts the engagement ring Charles found on her finger. 

Still of Steve Martin in the Only Murders in the Building episode "Who Is Tim Kono?"

Only Murders In The Building — “Who Is Tim Kono?” – Episode 102 — The group begins researching the victim. Meanwhile, Mabel’s secretive past starts to be unraveled. Charles (Steve Martin), shown. (Photo by: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

Meanwhile, Charles and Oliver (Martin Short) are recording an episode of their true-crime podcast in the latter’s stuffy closet. Mabel enters the fray. She reveals Tim didn’t have an active online presence, while Charles informs the group that no one went in or out of Tim’s place during the hours surrounding the murder. 

Suddenly, a flashback plays featuring Mabel and Tim (Julian Cihi). Apparently, Mabel disappeared for a decade before returning to the Arconia. Their friend Oscar is getting released from prison. Tim wants her to stay away from him. Mabel, on the other hand, urges Tim to reveal what he saw that night. 

However, Tim rebuffs her. He doesn’t want to dwell on dredged-up, unpleasant memories. He tells her to pretend they don’t know each other. 

Then, Mabel discloses a helpful tidbit — the building is holding a memorial for Tim in the lobby. Perhaps our sleuthing trio will find someone who knew him. They can pump them for information!

Next, Bunny spearheads the memorial. She asks residents if they want to share a happy anecdote regarding Tim. But … everybody loathed him so much that they mourn the death of a cat, Evelyn, more than his passing. 

Meanwhile, Oliver records everything on his phone for the podcast. 

Still of Selena Gomez and Steve Martin in the Only Murders in the Building episode "Who Is Tim Kono?"

Only Murders In The Building — “Who Is Tim Kono?” – Episode 102 — The group begins researching the victim. Meanwhile, Mabel’s secretive past starts to be unraveled. Mabel (Selena Gomez) and Charles (Steve Martin), shown. (Photo by: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

After the unusual memorial, Oliver reveals they should talk to Ursula, the building manager (not the sea witch). Mabel claims she has a migraine and decides to sit this one out. 

Later, Mabel begins recording a video of herself on her laptop. She begins with the question, “Who Is Tim Kono?” We see a flashback commence of young Tim meeting 10-year-old Mabel for the first time. At the time, she resided on Long Island and merely visited the Arconia where her aunt lived. 

Mabel narrates this scene. According to her description, Tim never lied. He was blatantly, brutally honest. Immensely observant too. 

Thus, “The Hardy Boys” were born. 

Fun fact: the book young Mabel’s reading is called Mystery of the Whale Tattoo. This explains her, well, whale tattoo. 

Mabel and Tim enjoyed sneaking into tenant’s apartments and crafting “mysteries” to solve. As they grow older, we see the addition of Oscar (Aaron Dominguez) and Zoe (Olivia Reis) to “The Hardy Boys.” Mabel notes that Zoe tended to push things to the limit.

It was fun … until the end. 

Meanwhile, Charles and Oliver visit Ursula (Vanessa Aspillaga). Ursula unveils a bevy of resident complaints regarding Tim over the years. He wasn’t well-liked. Oliver asks for access to those files. 

However, Ursula has an asking price. If they purchase enough cases of her “gut milk,” her side venture, she’ll hand them over. If they don’t, the said files will be destroyed. Oh, and Tim’s apartment is getting cleared the following day. 

Next, Oliver and Charles head over to Mabel’s place to fill her in on the news. Our trio breaks into Tim’s residence to go snooping. While Oliver is preoccupied with the deceased’s sex toys, Mabel revisits the past. This time, “The Hardy Boys” are dressed to the nines for a New Year’s Eve rooftop party. 

Still of Martin Short and Steve Martin in the Only Murders in the Building episode "Who Is Tim Kono?"

Only Murders In The Building — “Who Is Tim Kono?” – Episode 102 — The group begins researching the victim. Meanwhile, Mabel’s secretive past starts to be unraveled. Oliver (Martin Short) and Charles (Steve Martin), shown. (Photo by: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

But something goes terribly awry. 

Oscar and Zoe are enmeshed in an argument. Later, Tim emerges, vaguely stating that he “saw someone fighting with her.” 

Meanwhile, Charles and Oliver find a slew of bloody feline paw prints. Evelyn, the dearly departed kittie, perished the same night as Tim. Perhaps they should question Evelyn’s owner about why she was inside Tim’s apartment. 

Later, Mabel calls Charles out on his monologue from the previous episode. Is everything he says a lie? Charles tells her that he was allowed to write his own speech for “Brazzos.” It was also factually accurate concerning his own life. 

Additionally, Mabel chastises the older men for not treating the investigation with love and care. Just because Tim was despised doesn’t mean he deserved to die. 

Now, the trio vows to never lie to each other. Well, we know Mabel’s still keeping secrets. After she leaves, Oliver confesses his distrust of her. 

Then, Mabel returns to Tim’s place. She communicates with a vision of him. Next, she rummages through his book collection. Each one is concealing a bevy of jewelry — engagement rings, earrings, necklaces and more. 

Still of Martin Short in the Only Murders in the Building episode "Who Is Tim Kono?"

Only Murders In The Building — “Who Is Tim Kono?” – Episode 102 — The group begins researching the victim. Meanwhile, Mabel’s secretive past starts to be unraveled. Oliver (Martin Short), shown. (Photo by: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

Back at her apartment, Mabel continues recording her video. We see another brief flashback of Zoe lying dead on the pavement as if someone pushed her off the rooftop. 

The episode ends with Mabel titling her video “In Case I’m Next.” She vows to find out who Tim Kono really is (was). 

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Boom! Talk about a cliffhanger!

Mabel’s story is interesting, albeit her scolding Charles and Oliver reeks of sanctimony, especially with the secrets she’s keeping close to her chest. I’m curious to see how her tale progresses. 

I love the nuances with which each actor imbues their characters. Charles tends to “lie” because he’s a performer. Oliver loves to be in charge and has a flair for the dramatic because he’s a theater director. Mabel is more difficult to read, but we’re getting there. She’s the epitome of a locked diary. 

“Who Is Tim Kono?” elevates the intrigue and propels the narrative forward. Bring on episode three!

New episodes of Only Murders in the Building are available to stream every Tuesday on Hulu. 

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