The main crew of Only Murders in the Building aren’t the only podcasters on the show. There is also their one-time mentor Cinda Canning. Since their current subject revolves on the Bunny Folger killing, it places them on opposite sides considering their differing agendas.
What’s interesting is the episode is narrated by Canning’s assistant, Poppy White. Using the minor characters in the introduction brings depth to the world and makes it feel more lived in. Similar with Will in “The Tell,” it gives others on the periphery a voice and the show always ties their lines to current themes. In this case, it revolves around the “fictions that ferry us through life.”
The dueling podcast angle raises the stakes because it places one more hurdle in front of the Only Murders in the Building protagonists. Canning unearths a damning character witness against Bloody Mabel. It also paints White in a familiar and relatable position of being underappreciated and working for a terrible boss. Tina Fey captures the bitchy, diva, entertainment type really well but the humor keeps her from entering completely detestable territory.
Canning provides some funny side gags as well if you’re one to pay attention to detail. There are some wild things in her weekly schedule if you take a look (underwater pilates?!). Other than setting up a possible Poppy turn and the comedy, the storyline doesn’t seem to resonate. Like Amy Ryan’s Jan, it feels more of a forced way to bring back a talented actress from the first season that serves as a diversion rather than provide real substance.
Speaking of Jan, at least her stint on Only Murders in the Building quickly came to an end. Her unhinged and delusional behavior was beginning to be too much. It was all worthwhile though since it leads to one hilarious break up which seems on brand for Charles. In addition, all the bassoon foreplay talk is a nice added touch.
Similarly, Mabel experiences relationship troubl. Alice continues to be shady discreetly taking pictures in the apartment and it seems she is only using her girlfriend. When Mabel walks into her partner’s art gallery, it looks like she is only being used. The breach in trust places her in a bad mental state that could have led to her actions in the shocking cliffhanger.
Oliver is having a crisis of his own on Only Murders in the Building as he eagerly awaits the results of his DNA test. He already has an idea what the answer will be but it’s still a lot to process. His subplot provides one of the few touching moments and we really see how close the main trio have become. The care, concern, and understanding Steve Martin’s Charles shows his friend is so comforting, and they are so in tune with each other than only few words have to be spoken. You don’t often see Oliver in an emotionally vulnerable position and it warms your heart know he doesn’t have to go it alone.
Though it provides laughs, the Cinda Canning storyline seems like a forced way to include a talented actress without contributing enough to the narrative to warrant the investment of time. “Performance Review” doesn’t heat up until the ending with a warm intimate moment between Charles and Oliver and a shocking cliffhanger.
New episodes of Only Murders in the Building are released Tuesdays on Hulu.
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