Only Murders in the Building S3E6 Recap: “Ghost Light”

Mabel, Oliver, and Charles sit on the couch listening to Howard.
Screenshot / Hulu

The following recap contains spoilers for the Only Murders in the Building S3E6, “Ghost Light” (written by Madeleine George and directed by Chris Koch)

Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.

The trio has eliminated another suspect this week, and as enjoyable as it always is, this episode felt more like filler than anything else. While the murder board has shrunk slightly, there are still many unanswered questions.

Last week ended with Oliver finding that scrapbook of Ben in Loretta’s apartment. I assumed the story would pick up where it left off, but no, it seems a day or so has passed and nothing much has come out of that discovery. Oliver pages through it at his desk, clearly upset about what it could mean. He hasn’t confronted Loretta and chooses not to tell Mabel or Charles about it. However, finding the book has made him want to be more involved in the investigation, which delights Mabel. She has been longing for the team to be a team again.

Let’s start at the beginning. Dear sweet Howard shows up at Mabel’s apartment and confesses to killing Ben. We all know this isn’t true, so what does it mean? Before he gets into detail, Mabel invites Charles and Oliver up to hear. According to Howard, the theater is haunted by an actor named Gideon who died while on stage one evening. In order to stop him from killing, Howard would sweep the stage every night as a ritual to keep Gideon away. He didn’t clean the night of the opening though and because of that, he blames himself for Ben dying.

Howard claims that he even saw Gideon running through the theater one morning. Don’t worry, Howard warned Gideon that he knows Krav Maga.

His reason for not sweeping that night was a bit peculiar and added to the already rather large mystery. He says KT’s office was locked that evening (though it is never locked) and that there were strange noises coming from inside. Hmm.

After Howard’s confession, Robert with a T comes out of the bathroom in a towel to the surprise (maybe even delight) of the others. Charles feels a little hurt because he thinks Mabel is investigating with Tobert instead of him. She reassures him that he is not part of the team.

Tobert believes that Howard may be covering for Jonathan, especially after they saw him at the club last week with Ben’s doctor. Tobert goes off on his own to follow Jonathan.

The Theater

The trio (including Charles’ fish, President McKinley) bands together to investigate Howard’s claims at the theater. On stage, Howard and the team discuss the case further, but as they do, a sandbag falls from the ceiling, almost hitting Charles. Oliver questions if Charles was the intended target. Charles believes that is absurd until another sandbag drops almost hitting him once again.

They decide to go to KT’s office where she is shredding a script page. Was this something important? They inform KT of what is happening at the theater, and she needs someone with small hands to help her check the stage for safety. With that, they send Howard out with her.

Mabel finds a sign-in sheet and thinks they can compare the handwriting of the cast with the “Fucking Pig” that is written on Ben’s mirror. Oliver snatches the sheet and leaves.

Mabel and Charles have a talk about Tobert. Charles accuses her of recording with Tobert. To me, it sounded like a married couple accusing each other of cheating. Love it.


Charles is still holding the bag with Mr. McKinley in it and decides he should find the prop room and see if there is a tank he can place the fish in. He leaves Mabel, much to her dismay, since she thought they would all be investigating together again.

Charles finds a storage closet with a toilet. “A tank is a tank,” he says as he puts the fish in the large tank of the toilet. He then realizes the door has been locked. Did someone purposely lock him in? This sets him off into a rant about being alone. After that he takes a pee in the toilet, forgetting that the fish is in the tank. He flushes and immediately realizes his mistake. There goes Mr. McKinley.

Charles cries for a while and has a sort of mental breakdown, but suddenly there is a “bloop bloop” and Mr. McKinley re-emerges and is inside the toilet. Charles exclaims that Mr.McKinley has survived two assassination attempts now. Steve Martin is gold.

Mabel and Tobert stand in a hallway
Screenshot / Hulu


Mabel is looking for Charles in the hall when she runs into Tobert. He says he was tailing Jonathan when Jonathan ended up at the theater. Together they find him by the dressing room with a large ziplock bag full of prescription bottles. He admits that he never wanted to be the lead in the play now that Ben is gone. All it has done is cause him extreme anxiety. He is only doing it to make Howard happy. He went to Ben’s doctor so that he could take the same “leading man cocktail” that Ben took.

If you’re wondering what is in the leading man cocktail, well here it is: A mix of Beta Blockers, Propecia, and just a dash of methamphetamines.

Another suspect off the list.


Oliver heads to Ben’s dressing room to compare the handwriting when he hears noises. He follows them up to an attic of sorts and finds Jerry, who was fired from the show a year ago and has been squatting there ever since. Not wanting to be found out, he pretended to be Gideon’s ghost when Howard saw him walking around.

He and Oliver have a chat. He tells Oliver that he saw Charles hit Ben that night. Oliver is shocked. They then discuss what’s important to Oliver. Hearing this, I assumed Oliver would pick his team over Loretta and share his discovery with them. That doesn’t happen. What he ends up doing is going back to Ben’s dressing room and wiping “Fucking Pig” off of the mirror.

Mabel and Charles (who finally burst out of the closet and into Mabel) become upset and ask why he would do that. They begin to argue and Oliver confronts Charles about hitting Ben. Then tells Mabel she is throwing suspicion on his cast when the police have already arrested the killer. He tells her if she had a grown-up job she would understand. Low blows Oli, low blows.

Mabel says Cinda Canning was right and that she doesn’t need them.

Then she says something important. She says a man is dead who means something to her and she will find out who killed him. Then she storms out.

Later, she and Tobert stand in front of the murder board which can insinuate that Tobert is her new partner.

Some Questions

Is Oliver working hard to protect Loretta because he knows deep down she is innocent? Or is he sure she is guilty but her being guilty would mean another disruption to his show? It could be canceled for real should another event happen.

Mabel comments that they didn’t find meth in Ben’s system during the autopsy. Which begs the question, why wouldn’t Ben take the cocktail on opening night when his anxiety would be at its peak? Did someone switch what he thought was his leading man meds with something that could kill him?

What was KT shredding? It looked to be a page of a script or script notes with highlights. Why shred it, and why now? Could be nothing but the camera focused on it for a second too long. Why was her office locked on opening night? She tells Howard she never locks the office.

There were a few mentions of Howard’s failed dream of being an actor and Jonathan taking the role of Howard. Could Howard have done something to Ben so that Jonathan could be the lead? Howard could live somewhat vicariously through Jonathan. I, for one, hope this is nowhere near the truth because I love Howard and who would take care of his cats if he were in jail?

Then of course Mabel’s declaration that Ben was important to her. This has been insinuated multiple times from the beginning. Yet, supposedly she never knew him personally. Why was he so important?

And then there’s Tobert. It’s just a hunch, but he’s not telling Mabel everything. His documentary of Ben would be much more interesting if it turned into a murder investigation documentary. Could he have killed Ben for that?

I could go on, but with only a few episodes left, I think we will start getting some answers, real ones, soon.

Written by Felicia Nickens

Lover of television, film, & the macabre.

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