Tuesday, September 21, 2021

REVIEW: 'Only Murders in the Building' - Everyone Has to Fully Commit to Continuing the Podcast in 'To Protect and Serve'

Hulu's Only Murders in the Building - Episode 1.06 "To Protect and Serve"

Mabel brings her new friends (and an old one) to her childhood home to meet her mother. Meanwhile, Detective Williams starts to have her own doubts about the case as she prepares for motherhood.

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.

"To Protect and Serve" was written by Madeleine George & Kim Rosenstock and directed by Don Scardino

Everyone now has to commit to moving forward with the podcast. They each have to reckon with just how personal this has become. They were each fueled by their obsession because of their love for the overall genre. And yet, this story is incredibly real. It can't simply be some jaunty delight that offers some meaning to a few washed-up individuals once more. They have to respect the mystery and where it will potentially lead them. It may not be a pleasant and kind place. Their souls may be corrupted along this journey. It would be so much easier if Mabel could just move forward in a life with Oscar. Their connection is palpable. He wants to leave the past behind him. Mabel is the only connection he wants to pursue. She has too many questions about what happened to Zoe and Tim. Oscar's life has already been damaged because of that pursuit of the truth. He doesn't want it to bring his life down once more. Sure, they can reminisce about what once was. It doesn't need to define them. Mabel's mother doesn't want her to obsess over the past either. She forces these confrontations into happening. She makes Charles and Oliver realize just how personal this investigation is for Mabel. This is her life. She was conducting her own investigation. She wanted answers. She made some significant progress. If she wants to walk away, then they have to respect her wishes. Their needs can't come above hers. They are equal partners in this endeavor. The temptation is very real for them though. All it takes is the right publicity for their podcast to explode. At the moment, they don't have many subscribers. Of course, all it takes is the right people listening in. That too can have a major impact. The storytelling may be questionable. But this podcast has brought people together. Charles and Oliver are grateful for that. They could stop if they wanted to. They wouldn't disappoint too many people if this podcast never had a proper ending. They could just let the mystery be. And then, Cinda Canning appears on TV and talks about it. She laughs at the concept. The sheer mention of the podcast though fuels more viewership. That's what Teddy is proud about. It makes him eager to invest even more. He sees this as a product worthy of more development. He can nurture more greatness out of Charles and Oliver. They are reluctant to accept his money. They can't do this without Mabel's support. They need her blessing. The smart thing would be to rip up the check. Of course, that piece of paper also provides another clue. They may be reading into things. It seems perfectly reasonable for the audience to expect another red herring or two before the ultimate conclusion of this mystery. But it's certainly tantalizing for the team to suddenly believe that their only sponsor may actually be the killer. Plus, Mabel wants to continue. She will be more open and honest with Charles and Oliver. She actually likes them. They have become her friends. They have given some valuable insights to each other. It's sweet when Mabel returns to them bearing gifts. Oliver's love of dips has been noted quite a bit so far. And yet, not everyone can choose to disrupt their lives in order to get to the truth about what happened to Tim Kono. Detective Williams has to accept that aiding the podcast anonymously may be the only way to provide answers without jeopardizing her life and career. She sees the clues that were missed and procedures that were ignored. She can't carry the professional responsibility by herself. She has a family she cares about and has to support. She can still reach out to Mabel though. Tim's phone may provide some key clues if the team can unlock it. That's the big hurdle that must now be overcome. That's the only impediment to progress. Everyone is no longer alone. They have found their people and are committing to their various paths. So now, the mystery must intensify. Everyone may still question their commitments. And yet, that uncertainty may be over now. That may only inspire even more grand twists and shocking reveals. That too will feel earned even when the show can sometimes get a little wonky with the structuring of its episodes. It can sometimes be too meta in the pursuit of making every ambition obvious to the audience. That's annoying. It's not all that necessary either. But Williams still dictates the idea of loneliness and how prevalent it is in the world. Meanwhile, Oliver interrupts what should be the powerful final line of the episode. These winks at the show spelling out what it's doing could play well in some instances. Here, they mostly get in the way by pointing out the obvious nature of the storytelling.