Hulu's Only Murders in the Building managed to pull off an episode that twisted expectations and became a prime example of how you can craft a phenomenal season finale. Warning, potential spoilers ahead.
Only Murders in the Building remembered the way the many characters in the show truly bring out the best of the comedy, mystery, and heart in every scene. Characters such as Howard (Michael Cyril Creighton), Ursula (Vanessa Aspillaga), Uma Heller (Jackie Hoffman), and even Bunny's bird became such critical parts of putting the pieces together. The series used the beauty of a character like the setting of the Arconia building, and it makes everything ten times better. There was brilliant pacing in them identifying the killer, identifying the real killer through clever performances and props, and finally setting up a cliffhanger for the next season.
So many times, there were lines from characters that fit the moment perfectly in the season finale of Only Murders of the Building. It became a truly surprising turn of events in the latter half of the episode, using classic methods in the mystery genre in a way that fits the environment and character strengths. It can be great to feel truly shocked in a moment when that previously felt impossible with previous shows and stories.
Only Murders in the Building works back and forth between answering questions and bringing up potential theories in a way that doesn't make you give up trying to solve things out of frustration. Characters aren't coddled, but they also aren't left outside the realm of being messed with or flawed. Charles (Steve Martin), Mabel (Selena Gomez), and Oliver (Martin Short) become a force to be reckoned with, and they show others how much they've grown not only as a podcast but also as friends. Cindy (Tina Fey) and Poppy (Adina Verson) continue a gripping dynamic that keeps the mystery alive until it absolutely needs to be revealed.
The very ending of the episode is absolutely enthralling, and my appreciation remains high for the structure Only Murders in the Building has given to its two seasons so far. Introducing Paul Rudd to the cast was a fun surprise and a great way to flip the script on a typically loved comedic actor, similar to Fey's performance. In a recent discussion of the finale, John Hoffman, co-creator of the show with Martin & someone who co-wrote the episode, remarked that the killer reveal indicates a lot about society's obsession with true crime in ways that develop down truly unhealthy avenues. Poppy became a truly great character to examine for Hoffman. Having the idea pop up early on makes a lot of sense for how her motives developed, plus it works through themes with the fun of props that hint towards her guilt. Overall, the season two finale for Only Murders in the Building brought out the best of mystery and how television can continue to reward and challenge fans in the best ways.