Only Murders in the Building Season 3, Episode 9, “Thirty,” is yet another enthralling penultimate that lays everything on the table while keeping us in the dark about its truth. The verdict can’t be that obvious—it never is, and it’s undoubtedly setting us up for another exceptional reveal.
However, perhaps the best part of the episode isn’t the disclosures but rather how it places friendships front and center while ultimately looking into the thematic importance of communities and trust. Inner heartaches all come to the surface as we learn that Ben wasn’t talking to anyone or doing drugs as Dickie believed, but instead, he was meeting five women (the “five whores”) in a sewing circle to spend time with them when he was anxious and distressed. At the same time, Only Murders in the Building “Thirty” effectively frames Ben’s heartaches around Mabel’s 30th birthday, allowing the characters to essentially stand as fools of one another to underscore the importance of communities.
Only Murders in the Building “Thirty” Takes Apart Childhood Dreams
The episode opens with yet another hallucination/dream sequence, and this time, it’s Mabel giving birth to a “podcast” with Oliver and Charles’ faces alongside a microphone before the scene cuts to the crew at the hospital. As predicted, Oliver is thankfully fine after his second heart attack, but it propels the team to finally put their collective chops back together to unravel who the suspect is to free Loretta before she pleads guilty. By recollecting the events while playing back Detective Williams’ interrogations, as well as Howard finally piecing together the shredded paper, they conclude that it was Donna DeMeo who poisoned Ben Glenroy with the Schmackary’s cookie. But we’ve all seen Season 1 and Season 2 penultimates—we know that this end is only a beginning and that as much as this season is about the lengths mothers will go to for their sons, there’s a significant piece of the puzzle we’re likely missing.
Amidst all this, Only Murders in the Building “Thirty” commendably brings the core trio centerfold to highlight their loyalty to one another while simultaneously showcasing Mabel’s battles with herself. Mabel’s future wasn’t what the younger version of her playing M.A.S.H. predicted, but it’s not so bad either, as she’s surrounded by people who care about her and know her value. She might not be fortunate when it comes to love, but she has besties by her side who have shown that this rift makes them stronger. It’s a fascinating juxtaposition to pair her in a similar light to Ben while looking toward unraveling what keeps someone from falling apart. From the first season to this penultimate, Mabel struggles the most when it comes to finding her footing. Back and forth she goes, trying to understand the meaning of everything while everything around her crumbles.
Ultimately, Only Murders in the Building “Thirty” is a riveting exhibition that loneliness leaves its mark on everyone, no matter who they are or how beloved they are. In breaking apart the case and understanding the lengths people will go to protect one another, it dives deep into showing why it’s essential to have people to talk to. It’s about the consequences of trying to protect people without giving them their agency while simultaneously remaining as hilarious as ever. (The Fathers of the Bride joke will go down in history.) If Donna truly is the killer, there will be much to explore in the next episode; still, for what it’s worth, as a penultimate, this one proves that Mabel Mora’s circle isn’t ever abandoning her.
Now streaming on Hulu: What are your thoughts on Only Murders in the Building “Thirty?” Do you think Donna is indeed the killer? Let us know in the comments below.
First Featured Image Credit: (Photo by: Patrick Harbron/Hulu)