Only Murders in the Building S3E8 Recap: “Sitzprobe” — Which of the Pickwick Triplets Did It?

Mabel, Charles, and Oliver put hands together and make up in Only Murders in the Building S3E8
Screenshot / Hulu

The following recap contains spoilers for Only Murders in the Building S3E8, “Sitzprobe” (written by Pete Swanson & Siena Streiber and directed by Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini).

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.

I really enjoy good old-fashioned sleuthing. I also enjoy a good theater mystery. This episode had both and yes, it is my favorite of the season thus far. There has been a new arrest made, but it’s pretty clear that the murderer remains at large.

The Trio Reunites

The cast of Death Rattle is assembled at the theater to rehearse their songs with the orchestra, an important final step before opening night. Maxine, the critic who previewed (and hated) Death Rattle pre-musical, is spectating as Oliver hopes she will be wowed this time around.

Before they begin, Mabel shows up and has a talk with the fellas backstage. Charles just wants the group to make up already, but Mabel and Oliver are still at odds. That is until she tells them that Dickie must have killed Ben. Oliver agrees that Dickie is a perfect killer since it would mean no interference with his production. With that, they return to the auditorium.

Detective Williams (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) makes her return to the show when she barges into the theater and with all her sass tells everyone that the killer is someone in the theater. Gasps abound. She wants to take everyone down to the station, but the trio has other plans.

The Plans

The trio suggests to the detective that she should interrogate everyone in the theater since actors can be picky. She agrees. Mabel wants to hear what’s going on during interrogations, but Edward pulls her away with his exclamation that he found an important clue. Charles and Oliver reassure her that they have it under control. And surprisingly, they do.

Charles sings Pickwick Triplets.
Screenshot / Hulu

Charles shows the detective to his dressing room and sells her on it by showing her his lumbar support chair. She loves good lumbar support. He sneaks back in during her first interrogation under the guise of looking for his weighted blanket. We have to question how dumb he is if he thought that would work. The detective kicks him out.

Oliver tries next. He tells the Detective that Charles’s turn on stage is coming up and how much of a fool he will make of himself. She kicks him out as well.

Charles is called over the intercom to the stage and Detective can’t resist the opportunity to see Charles fail miserably at his solo. To her surprise, and ours, he sounds really good. I will never get over the lyrics to “Pickwick Triplets.” Charles gives it all he’s got for almost three minutes.

Three minutes is enough time for Oliver to sneak Mabel’s (well, Tobert’s) Go-Pro into the dressing room where it will record the interrogations, much to Mabel’s delight, and thus officially bring the group back together.

Loretta & Dickie

The episode opens with flashbacks of Loretta in her youth. She explains how theater was her life and she would go to NYC to become a star. Her dreams are dashed when she unexpectedly becomes pregnant. However, a couple in town who can’t conceive adopts her child. After, Loretta boards a bus to New York where she never makes it big, or small.

The couple eventually have their own kid, which we know ends up being Ben. Loretta’s son, obviously, is Dickie. She explains all of this to him in a letter and wants to try and have a relationship with him. She sees him at the theater and they agree to have dinner that evening where she plans on giving him the letter.

Loretta and Dickie talk in the hall.
Screenshot / Hulu

Later, she learns from Oliver that Dickie is Mabel’s prime suspect and that Mabel is always right. Panicked, she tries to persuade Mabel to look into other members of the cast, but Mabel is sure the killer is Dickie.

In the ladies’ room, Donna gives a speech about how a mother will do what she needs to for her child. I knew immediately where this was going. Loretta takes the stage for her performance. While she sings, she sees Detective Williams approach Dickie. She screams out that she killed Ben and that she won’t stand by while another innocent man is arrested for her crime. She did what any mother would do. Detective Williams takes her away in cuffs.

While all of that is going on, Mabel and Charles go through Loretta’s bag, find the letter to Dickie, and read it.

After Loretta is taken away, Oliver collapses to the ground as he has another heart attack.

Who Really Did It?

There are two episodes left and to be honest, we still don’t know shit. I mean yes, we know a lot, but does any of it mean anything at this point?

From the beginning, Dickie and Loretta seemed like likely suspects. This episode creates huge amounts of doubt. Loretta takes the blame for Dickie, which would indicate that she is innocent, but then Dickie admits to her he was happy when Ben died the first time because he felt free, but was disappointed when he saw he was still alive. That would mean he had nothing to do with the murder, at least the first time around. I don’t think he would say all that to Loretta if he had anything to do with the murder the second time either, but hey you never know.

Oliver told Loretta he loved her. Twice. I hate to think that Oliver finally fell in love just for her to end up being a murderer. It has too many Jan vibes. I don’t think it’s likely the show would repeat the same ol’ story. It would be disappointing for sure.

There is still the rest of the cast, but their characters seem very insignificant to the overall picture, and so I find it hard to believe anyone would care one way or another if any of them did it.

Tobert remains a viable person of interest. The idea that he and Cinda Canning constructed the whole thing would be very on point with who Cinda is as a person and Only Murders has a tendency to not be done with a character even when you think their story is through.

My belief, still, is that it was probably multiple people. Maybe every suspect had a hand in almost killing Ben. No one seemed to like him. At all. Except…Mabel.

Does Mabel still have a secret she isn’t sharing?

Lastly, the words floating through the boards are that Ben may still be alive and faked his own death. It’s possible. I could see him trying to the first time with the poison, but the second time in the elevator, well I think that was real and that he is dead, dead.

As of now, the team has the Go-Pro footage. Unless, of course, the guys were too old to understand that they needed to actually press record. I don’t recall seeing Oliver do that, but perhaps it happened off-screen. The interrogations may spark something in the trio’s minds that will help point to someone new. Then there are the shreds of paper that Edward is taping back together. What will it say?

I’m super excited to watch next week while simultaneously dreading the end of the season. Let’s hope there are plenty more murders to keep them going!

In the meantime, you can always listen to Charles as he questions which of the Pickwick triplets did it.

Written by Felicia Nickens

Lover of television, film, & the macabre.

One Comment

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  1. I am putting these guesses here:
    1. Dickie knows who called Ben the day he died, when Ben says “I have to take this call.” during the party at the Arconia. That person will have more info on a third sibling.
    2. There wasn’t “someone in his Ben’s dressing room” as Tobert commented when they watched his go-pro. “Acting all sweet? We both know you are bad.” Those were cookies from Smackeries. Dickie was supposed to keep them out.
    3. Loretta’s claim that she poisoned Ben’s “disgusting protein shake” will exonerate her. That was not what he ate before the show.

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