Only Murders in the Building Season 2 Review: Selena Gomez, Martin Short's show charms despite its patchy plot
Selena Gomez, Steve Martin and Martin Short return for a breezy yet chaotic second season. Read Pinkvilla's review of Only Murders in the Building Season 2 below.
Only Murders in the Building Season 2
Only Murders in the Building Season 2 Cast: Steve Martin, Selena Gomez, Martin Short
Only Murders in the Building Creators: Steve Martin, John Hoffman
Only Murders in the Building Season 2 Stars: 3/5
For true crime fans,2022 has offered some great shows/documentaries including the likes of Inventing Anna, The Dropout, Tinder Swindler and more. For fans of the genre, Only Murders in the Building which released its first season last year seemed to capture an exciting and untouched element of it as it brought forward an interesting concept of three true crime fans coming together to solve mysteries in real life and to even have them run a podcast about it seemed like a genius thing. Nearly nine months after its first season came out, the second season brings back the trio of Selena Gomez, Steve Martin and Martin Short.
When the first season arrived, it was laden with elements that were instantly impressive such as the unlikely rapport shared by Gomez, Martin and Short and how well they got off each other's energies to present a show that combined comedy and crime in a manner that seemed impossible to achieve. The first season introduced us to the characters of Charles (Steve Martin), a washed-up actor who once played a famous cop, an unsuccessful theatre director Oliver Putnam (Martin Short) and the mysterious young lady Mabel (Selena Gomez) who stays in the same building as the duo, the Arconia in New York City.
In the first season, we saw them come together and realise their love for solving crimes together as they tackled a death in the building and successfully caught the killer as well. Although towards the end of the first season, we were shown how Mabel (Gomez) gets caught with blood on her hands after the building's board President, Bunny (Jayne Houdyshell) is found dead in her apartment. The trio are then taken into police custody and it's right where the second season begins. With Mabel having little memory of the night that she found Bunny dead in her arms, the trio find themselves in a tough spot as they are deemed persons of interest. Apart from Bunny's death, the mystery also happens surrounding one of her expensive paintings which eerily goes missing after her death. Mabel, Charles and Oliver once again find themselves coming together to solve the case but this time they also become repeated targets as suspicions rise about them being framed by someone.
The second season also introduces a few new characters including Amy Schumer as herself who moves into the building and is eager to make a TV series out of the Only Murders in the Building podcast. There's also Cara Delevingne who becomes Mabel's new love interest. The fact that the second season of the show arrived so soon seemed worrisome for fans given that they are now used to having to wait for a long period before creators perfect their works to maintain a similar amount of hype and charm in their subsequent works. In the case of this show, it's an early return and a tad rushed one as well considering the show seems a little run out of its witty charm that seemed natural the first time around. The self-aware, meta-jokes on the show continue and may even seem a little overdone this time.
Following Bunny's death, there's an interesting shift in how the show's lead trio see her character and from how annoying she seemed in the first season, there's a great contrast of emotions that happens after her character's death as we get a peek into the life of Bunny and suddenly when they humanise her, the part of her that seemed most dislikable in the first season seems far gone. The new season also puts the focus on Mabel, Oliver and Charles from time to time despite the many sub-plots that are running around here. Explorations about Charles' past make for a heartwarming addition to the storyline. Among the things that seem stretched out right, in the beginning, including Amy Schumer's character which doesn't seem to have any particular direction as to where it's headed in the story.
It's a crowded ensemble but when it comes to performances, there's little about Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez that's unimpressive. The trio continue to shine as they bring their best forward and while Steve continues to bring the stability to the wildly distinctive energies of Gomez and Short. While the singer vows us with her signature dry wit, this season, she also gets to peel back a few more layers of Mabel and does a fine job at it. Short, on the other hand, is the genius who smoothly transitions from making his character annoying with his OTT antics to making him lovable again as he dials it all down to explore Oliver's other sides.
Only Murders in the Building while still promising everything that it first impressed us with, tries to take on a lot more in this season and the packed storylines don't always add up to make the best puzzle piece. In Season 2, there are moments of sheer joy and then there are other points where one feels a tad lost when the show tries to move away from its core genre. With six episodes being provided for viewing out of the ten-episode season, there's certainly a chance that the show picks up exceptionally well during the final moments as the murder mystery comes close to its conclusion with the killer in sight.