The following recap contains spoilers for Only Murders in the Building S3E7, “CoBro” (written by Ben Philippe & Jake Schnesel and directed by Cherien Dabis)
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.
This week’s episode brought back Uma, who hasn’t been seen since this season’s premiere, and Theo, who hasn’t been seen since last season. Theo seemed a little out of place since it’s been so long, but I enjoyed his presence nonetheless. Why are they back? Let’s find out.
Uma narrates the opening which shows flashbacks of her and Bunny (Bunny!) having lunch and her discussing their friendship. We also watch as she “collects” items others have dropped/lost/forgotten about. Being a klepto is her way of holding onto memories and keeping people alive, long after they are gone.
Speaking of items she has taken, Charles, who joins her in her stall at the diner present day, notices Ben’s bloody handkerchief in her bag (the one he clutched as he fell to his death in the elevator). She brushes it off as she departs, leaving Charles to foot the bill. I imagine this was a temporary attempt to draw suspicion to Uma, but by the end of the episode, she seems to be in the clear. Uma is a treasure and I don’t approve of her being under suspicion, albeit temporary.
Later, when Charles starts putting clues together, he asks Uma to give him the handkerchief. She regrets to inform him that she sold it for seven grand to some schmuck upstairs.
Theo & Mabel (and a little Robert with a T)
Mabel is in her apartment packing. Moving day is approaching quickly. Theo is there to help as well. It just seemed so out of left field seeing him there with no mention of him all season. However, it’s nice to see him happy and doing well after everything he’s been through. Mabel vents about Ben’s case and Theo informs her that Dickie is holding a silent auction in Ben’s penthouse to auction off Ben’s movie memorabilia.
As they enter the penthouse, Theo starts “spitting” out facts about Ben’s CoBro movies. Why does he know so much? He said he loved those movies but could it be more? Everyone is a suspect at this point. Mabel approaches Dickie and begins questioning him about the night Ben died, and Dickie loses his shit, tired of everyone trying to make a buck off of his brother even after he’s dead.
Later, Mabel apologizes and Dickie decides to vent. In the process, we learn some interesting details, although I don’t think it’s anything new to the Reddit sleuths. Turns out Dickie was adopted when he was little because his adoptive parents thought they were unable to have children. They were mistaken, because not long after Dickie was adopted, Ben was born. It then became Dickie’s job to protect Ben. He doesn’t sound too pleased about any of it. Jealousy is more of an accurate word to describe it. He claims Ben always got the recognition even after Dickie did all the work. Hmm.
In the evening, Mabel and Tobert discuss her recording the podcast solo and ask her to change the name. Theo shows up and the three of them go over the case and what they know about Greg the stalker. I felt a little sad watching as it felt like a new Trio was forming.
Oliver & Matthew Broderick
Yep, Matthew Broderick makes an appearance and I love it. After Charles quit last week, Oliver is left auditioning new men for the role. None of them are panning out and it’s driven Oliver insane. Cliff (the mother-loving producer) calls in a favor to Matthew, whom he met while they were sheltered in the Ritz during Hurricane Sandy. Matthew shows up and blows everyone away with his audition. Oliver is so pleased to have such a well-known star attached to his show again, but it doesn’t last long because Matthew begins a quest to understand his character better.
Oliver admittedly hasn’t fleshed out the character because it doesn’t matter. The character is “6 grams of ink on paper,” but Matthew can’t be in character if he can’t properly channel the character’s nuances. After rehearsing for the 38th time that day, Oliver is at his wit’s end and forces Matthew out of his apartment. Charles happens to be listening at the door and apologizes when he sees the tension between the other two. Oliver forgives him and immediately re-hires him as they both kick Matthew Broderick out of the apartment.
The following day they go to Mabel’s apartment to give her the book, but looks like she already moved out. As if that didn’t catch them off guard, they then get the notification that a new episode of Only Murders has been released and it is Mabel announcing she is doing the podcast without Charles and Oliver.
After they make up, Oliver shows Charles the scrapbook he found in Loretta’s apartment. Charles suggests they bring it to Mabel as a peace offering.
Meanwhile, as Mabel and her new team discuss the case, she has an epiphany. Dickie mentioned to her that Ben always set his watch 20 minutes behind so that he could always make a fashionably late entrance. The cops arrested Gregg the stalker because they thought Ben died at 12:06 (according to Ben’s watch) and Gregg was seen leaving the building shortly after. Now that Mabel knows he set his watch behind, she realizes his actual time of death was 12:26 and Gregg couldn’t have been the killer.
At the same time, Theo shows her and Tobert Ben’s drawing/inspiration for CoBro. It is signed B. Glenroy, but upon closer inspection, they realize the B was originally an R. R which is the long form of the name Dick, Richard (Dickie). Then of course you see Dickie at the end crying while holding the bloody handkerchief as he is the one that bought it off of Uma. Are those tears of grief or of guilt?
Then there’s Tobert with his fancy, expensive equipment and his pushiness towards having Mabel record solo and under the name The Bloody Mabel Podcast. Wasn’t that the same name Cinda Canning mentioned using? Could he be working for Cinda to try and recruit Mabel? Or could he and Cinda have killed Ben knowing that Mabel would be intrigued by the murder? That would be one way to have her do a podcast with Cinda. A little far-fetched, but if you know Cinda by now, then it could make a lot of sense. I don’t think so though. I would hate for Mabel’s love interest to betray her again. It seems she can never catch a break. I totally ‘ship her and Theo and am glad he is back.
Most important is Dickie’s admission that he was adopted. The theory floating around has been that Loretta is his birth mom and killed Ben because of the way Ben has treated him over the years. Now, I think that is way too obvious to be the truth. I originally thought Loretta could have been Ben’s mother. There could still be a chance. Why would she have a scrapbook of Ben and not Dickie? Maybe it was just her stalking his achievements as a way to see all that he has taken away from Dickie. Maybe not.
What I love about Only Murders is that the writers give us so much to work with that the actual clues and murderer often get overlooked. It’s not that they didn’t provide us with the truth already, it’s that it becomes fun becoming a detective and working through all the details, even if they don’t matter in the end. I’m so excited to see it all come to a head in the last three episodes!