‘Only Murders in the Building’ Season 3 Finale Recap: Who Was the Killer?

Patrick Harbron/Hulu
Patrick Harbron/Hulu

After three seasons of Only Murders in the Building, certain aspects of the show have become all too predictable. For example, in the finale, a killer will inevitably be revealed—but there will be a twist in the story that reveals another side unseen to podcasters Mabel (Selena Gomez), Charles (Steve Martin), and Oliver (Martin Short). Then, when the murderers have been escorted away in handcuffs, someone new will die. What remains unpredictable, however, is the whodunit, howdunit, and whydunit.

In the last episode, we found out that Death Rattle Dazzle! producer Donna (Linda Emond) attempted to murder Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd) in an attempt to save her son Cliff’s (Wesley Taylor) first Broadway production. But the rat poison seasoning on Ben’s cookie wasn’t enough to kill the bad lead actor, so someone—presumably Donna, right?—pushed him down the elevator shaft to take him out for good.

Back at the Arconia, where everyone has found a new romantic partner except for poor Charles, the trio attempt to crack the case. Finally, we can really fall in love with Loretta (Meryl Streep), who has been vindicated from her odd obsession with the Glenroys and her fake confession to the murder. She has the final key: the hankie that was in Ben’s hand the night he died. He must have stolen it from whoever pushed him down that shaft.

A still of Selena Gomez, Steve Martin, and Martin Short in "Only Murders in the Building"
Only Murders In The Building
Patrick Harbron/Hulu

The hankie has a smear of Donna’s lipstick on it, so all signs naturally point to her. Using Tobert (Jesse Williams) hiding with a boom mic to capture the confession, Mabel, Charles, and Oliver confront Donna in her dressing room. It takes her approximately a minute to confess: Yes, she was the one to poison Ben.

But she didn’t want to kill him, Donna clarifies; she only wanted to take him out so that he wouldn’t poison (ha, ha) the show. But, Donna asks, “How many rats is a Ben Glenroy?” Perhaps she gave him a near-fatal amount. Anyway, Donna just wants to get back to the premiere of Death Rattle Dazzle!. This will mark her last show, and she doesn’t care if she goes to prison afterward, because she has stage 4 lung cancer. Please, she pleads with the trio, let’s go watch the show.

Meryl Streep and Martin Short on ‘Only Murders’ Are One of TV’s Best Couples Ever

Not so fast, Donna. The trio tell her that they know she pushed Ben down the elevator shaft, presenting the hankie as evidence. Donna looks…shocked? But she confesses to the crime, still wanting to get back to the show. Donna insists that she will not flee after the show, she’s ready to go to prison, so let’s save everyone the hassle of a crime scene on opening night. Everyone agrees. (Is anyone worried she’s going to murder them? No? OK.)

The rest of the Season 3 stories wrap up into a nice package: Tobert asks Mabel to come to Los Angeles to help him on a new documentary, and even though she’s confused about her life in New York, she politely declines. Loretta confesses that she is Dickie’s mother and the pair vow to work together for life. As for Charles…wait, what happened to Charles’ storyline? The poor guy doesn’t have one anymore. He nails his solo, and that’s about it.

A still of Selena Gomez and Jesse Williams in "Only Murders in the Building"
Only Murders In The Building
Patrick Harbron/Hulu

So, that’s a wrap, right? Not quite. Mabel can’t stop sniffing around for clues, because something doesn’t feel right. Donna confessed too easily. Then, Mabel remembers: Donna always kisses Cliff on the lips (so, so weird) as good luck on opening night. He had a motive. This was his hankie. Donna only confessed to, again, protect her son.

We flash back to opening night, where Ben was revived after his cookie was poisoned. He runs into Cliff in the hallway at the Arconia. After a call from poison control, Ben starts piecing together how things happened—if he did ingest rat poison, it had to be the cookie. Ben shouts that his only meal of the day was “one fuckin’ Schmackary!” The person who gave him that cookie was Donna. It had to be Donna.

Unfortunately for Ben, he cracks the case in the worst place possible: in front of the one man who would be willing to defend Donna to the death. Cliff tells Ben he’s wrong, but Ben is ready to call the police. Too late, Ben; Cliff pushes him to his death in the elevator shaft.

A still of Wesley Taylor and Paul Rudd in "Only Murders in the Building"
Only Murders In The Building

Back on opening night, Cliff and Donna walk out of the show in handcuffs, which will surely boost Death Rattle Dazzle!’s popularity on Broadway. Forget Funny Girl—this is the new big drama happening in showbiz. A murder on opening night conducted by the show’s mother-son producing team? Yeah, I’m in.

The killers have left the building, and everyone parties after the show. Hey, even good ol’ Sazz (Jane Lynch) is here to celebrate her old coworker Charles, who finally has a storyline again.

And, boy, does he. When Sazz walks next door to get another bottle of wine for the afterparty, a masked person shoots her in the chest and she falls over, dead. Season 3 comes to an end, and so does our beloved Sazz—luckily, like Paul Rudd in this season, we’ll still get to see plenty of Lynch in the reenactions next season. And that’s a wrap on Season 3, folks!

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