The second season of Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building” leaves no time to waste, picking up right where the first season’s cliffhanger left off. Watchers plunge back into the deep end with trio Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez), Oliver Putnam (Martin Short) and Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin) as they tangle themselves further into the murder of Bunny Folger (Jane Houdyshell), the Arconia’s longtime building manager.
With weekly episodes, the first half of the second season gracefully returns with new characters, new storylines and sprightlier energy compared to its inaugural season. Flipping the script, the central trio must clear its name as persons of interest to Bunny’s death.
Season two starts out swinging with the introduction of a new star-studded cast. Amy Schumer plays herself and Cara Delevingne plays slightly obsessive British artist Alice. Both characters feel slightly out of place in the beginning, largely due to their obtrusive introductions early on in the season. However, they quickly find their place in the show and prove largely noninvasive while simultaneously adding new intrigue to Bunny Folger’s death.
Other bright additions to the show include Charles’ teenage daughter Lucy (Zoe Colletti) and Bunny’s mother Leonora Folger (Shirely MacLaine). While Leonora contributes dry humor, Lucy brings a youthful, zappy attitude to the show’s sometimes slower burning nature.
When Charles brings Mabel and Lucy together to chat, Lucy jokes about Mabel’s presence on “Mental Health TikTok” and how it must be easy for her to get “knopolin” — leading Mabel to realize Lucy is too young for her. All in good fun, Lucy accurately reveals teenagers’ extraordinary online presence and Colletti does a fabulous job playing a caricature of Gen Z.
One of the show’s most charming features is its ability to diversify itself for every viewer. It’s difficult to note the series’ target audience, especially in its jokes. One minute, Oliver and Charles joke about the Iran-Contra affair; in another, superfans are marveling at the “progressiveness” that Mabel and Alice’s relationship brings to the podcast.
Amongst plenty of new characters and different storylines, the show’s central mystery takes a backseat. While this is similar to the first season, the show now does a better job maintaining interest in the case, especially when it doesn’t have to delve into the back stories of each character. Cinda Canning (Tina Fey) makes for a great podcasting villain while the puzzle of Bunny’s death keeps the audience constantly on its toes, waiting for the next clue.
By episode five, the show shifts into completely different territory. At the halfway mark of the season, Charles is to talking to his attempted murderer Jan, Mabel is an internet meme called “Bloody Mabel” and Olivier deals with issues of his son’s paternity. The series flips itself upside down by inviting theories about who killed Bunny and how it happened, while also continuously developing each character’s own story.
Through the chaos, the show’s aesthetics shine through just as much as the storylines and the characters. In a scene where Mabel breaks a sculpture of herself with a hammer, Billie Eilish’s “You Should See Me in a Crown” matches the beat of her swings. When Oliver transforms Alice’s party into the ‘70s to play a game of Son of Sam, “Psycho Killer” by the Talking Heads plays in the background. Additionally, the decor of each apartment in Arconia is beautifully tailored to each character’s personality. These small details cut back the series’ carefree nature, adding a quality touch.
Only halfway through its second season, “Only Murders in the Building” has proved its solidity through fun new characters and ever-changing suspects in an enthralling murder case. In the latter half of the season, fans can anticipate the same easygoing humor, binge-worthy plotlines and, hopefully, an answer to the question of who killed Bunny Folger.