Tuesday, August 31, 2021

REVIEW: 'Only Murders in the Building' - Mabel Hides Her Truth During the Efforts to Humanize the Victim in 'Who Is Tim Kono?'

Hulu's Only Murders in the Building - Episode 1.02 "Who Is Tim Kono?"

The group begins researching the victim. Meanwhile, Mabel's secretive past starts to be unraveled.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Hulu's Only Murders in the Building.

"Who Is Tim Kono?" was written by Kirker Butler and directed by Jamie Babbit

Mabel knew Tim Kono. Apparently, she was the only person in the building who did. The other tenants hated him. They were annoyed by his blunt demands that made their lives more difficult. During the memorial service in the lobby, they just want to know how this will change their lives for the better. All of this is incredibly cynical. It shows that people don't really change their behavior all that much following death. Moreover, people only cared to get to know Tim after he was gone. Charles and Oliver see it as an opportunity to work again. Part of it is driven by their true crime podcast obsession. They are turning this narrative into a series. They are inspired by that. As such, they are following the conventions they believe are demanded by the genre. That means the second episode has to be about the victim. The story has to make the audience connect with him in a grounded and emotional way. Those are the expectations. They clash with reality though. It doesn't line up perfectly with what Charles and Oliver are hoping. They cling to this possibility though because it has already invigorated their lives once more. They aren't that great as investigators. Oliver is personable and believes he can talk his way out of any situation. Again, that's driven by denial of his own economic status. He can only put off the inevitable for so long. That may, in fact, drive his actions. He desperately holds onto the power of this project believing it will allow him to avoid any serious consequences for his actions. His refusal to be held accountable though forces others to pay. Charles has that awareness. He too is a tenant who cares about how much he will have to contribute to this community. Charles and Oliver have lived in this building for a long time. Mabel has her own personal history with it as well. They have each had their own isolated existences though. This murder and love for podcasts brought them together recently. They aren't completely trusting of each other. Oliver hopes he can break the ice just like he does when interacting with a new cast for the first time. This situation isn't like that at all. Charles and Mabel had a moment of being vulnerable with each other. And now, Mabel is given a reason to doubt his sincerity. His whole monologue was lifted verbatim from his old TV show. It's not real. It's just a tragic backstory written into a show to give the lead a complicated life. It certainly creates a connection. Mabel felt that. She has also remained guarded about her past. It seems likely that the mystery of her life is connected to what happened to Tim. They were a part of another murder that happened in this building. Another friend of theirs went to prison. Mabel believes Oscar has long been innocent because Tim told her that he saw someone else with Zoe moments before she was pushed from the rooftop. He never came forward with the truth to the police. Mabel doesn't understand why. She too is consumed by the mysteries that seem to define who Tim was. And yet, she is the only person who can paint a full picture of his life until death. She has that context. She knows what he was like. She saw the various sides of his personality. She has an emotional attachment to this case that makes it all personal for her. She isn't quick to share that. The audience is given those intimate moments. Charles and Oliver are kept in the dark. They are off on their own aloof adventures. Mabel is digging for the truth and holding things dear as she reflects on the past. It's brutal and gruesome. She yearns for answers. Charles and Oliver may be able to help her. That trust hasn't completely formed yet though. It's all incredibly silly. It's disruptive to every element of their lives. This is meaningful for them. It takes root in many different ways. That complexity showcases a grand ambition on the part of the series. It's also setting high expectations for the ultimate execution. As such, it can't really waver at any point. Right now, the nature of the storytelling feels the need to overstate every distinct action without really allowing much time to rest and be reflected on. The mystery is still engaging. Hopefully, that means the flow of the story and the relationships amongst the core characters becomes even stronger as the season progresses.