Tuesday, August 9, 2022

REVIEW: 'Only Murders in the Building' - A Blackout Leaves Everyone Scrambling to Find Connections in 'Hello Darkness'

Hulu's Only Murders in the Building - Episode 2.08 "Hello Darkness"

A blackout throws the city into chaos. As the trio races to save a loved one from the killer, other Arconia residents begin to explore unexpected connections in the midst of darkness, all enhanced by Gut Milk and a yodel or two.

"Hello Darkness" was written by Madeline George and directed by Chris Teague

Has this season been meandering on purpose? The podcast's fans note how the last five episodes haven't advanced the investigation at all. They've gotten bored and have started looking for new podcasts to consume. Their obsessive need for content demands quality. Right now, it simply doesn't feel like Charles, Oliver and Mabel are making any actual progress. They have a ton of theories. However, they aren't any closer to catching Bunny's killer. They have had multiple run-ins with the person. They are still clueless about their identity. This episode features Charles, Oliver and Mabel running around the Arconia in search of Lucy. They want to save her from the killer. And yet, it's purpose is in showing who isn't present. Overall, the story wishes to showcase how the people of this building come together during this turbulent time. A blackout has struck the entire city. It's not exactly perceived as something the killer was able to pull off for some elaborate reason. Instead, it's simply an inconvenience that happened at the worst possible time. Buildings have no power and people can't communicate with each other electronically. Instead, the residents of the Arconia have to endure the stairs to get to their respective apartments. They can no longer enjoy the comforts afforded to them in this place. Of course, this building has produced several murders at this point. It may not be the safest place to live. That should only be amplified further because of the uncertainty. The doorman continually fears that he let the killer in. Bunny cared so much about the people of the Arconia. She knew how he was important to the building and what was important in his life. She passed those lessons onto Nina. Neither of them can rest easy until Bunny's killer is found. They can only be certain in their lives once they know what happened. They fear something bad could happen again. It more than likely will because the show has been renewed for a third season. It's still a personal burden for these characters. They want to feel safe and protected. And yet, the police don't seem to be doing their job. Detective Kreps has offered nothing of substance in the actual investigation. Meanwhile, the competing podcasts are simply trying to discredit each other. Again, all of this has a purpose. It means plenty of close calls and terrifying moments. It hasn't resulted in a ton of momentum. Instead, it simply rings out with the worry that not everyone once perceived as the killer may ultimately be the killer. That's a heavy burden that sets the template for many reveals to come. At this point, the show is running out of time to provide any satisfying answers to those questions. It may do so with Mabel's final realization. Even that feels like it could be a twist to produce drama instead of coming naturally from what the story hoped to reveal with the citizens of this world.

Mabel notices red glitter on Detective Kreps' neck. Him being the killer would support the lack of development in the police investigation. It still needs a worthy explanation as to why he would be trying to frame Charles, Oliver and Mabel for the crime. Plus, it would require him to be aware of the intricate details of the Arconia's building design. That's what the narrative has pivoted to. It comes after an episode spent building up the overall creepiness of Marv. He is the one who provides the overall narration. He wants people to take his theory about the 6th Avenue killer more seriously. However, his inclusion is mostly for comedic effect. He is meant to convey how anyone can produce theories. That doesn't mean they are right to connect various cases together. Nor does it imply they have the skills to entertain through a creative medium. Right now, Marv wants attention. He wants to feel included and like he's doing something good. That's not inherently going to fix his strained relationship with his daughter. He sees the podcasters as kindred spirits. They understand his plight. It just never seems like his focus and attention is in the right place. If he could redirect his energy elsewhere, then he would better serve the people he cares about. And yet, Marv ultimately has to be vindicated because he helped Lucy avoid the killer in the catacombs. The killer is perfectly comfortable stalking Lucy and Bunny. However, they are intimidated by Marv. That's a startling fact. It plays into the idea that Detective Kreps wants to be intimidating solely because of the power afforded to him as a member of the police force. Mabel isn't fooled by his one-dimensional nature. But again, that makes his possible reveal as the killer to be too easy. He hasn't had a major role this season. That would make this entire mystery seem pointless in the end. It would all stem from a connection that has nothing to do with the Arconia and the people who call this home. This episode aspires to showcase the bonds made amongst the neighbors. They all easily break into song in order to feel hopeful and loved. Powerful relationships are made when people reach out with compassion. The source of stories doesn't always have to be death. That's the focus Charles, Oliver and Mabel have placed on this building. This place is full of so much more. Those stories are often seen as secondary. They are a way to fill in the colorful details of this world. They are ultimately a distraction from the important work that must be done. Yes, important admissions are still made. Lucy reveals she was in the building the night of Bunny's murder. She can only identify the killer through their sneeze. That seems meaningless. And so, it's going to take a lot of work for the narrative to assure the viewer that every twist that happened this season was ultimately worth it. That seems daunting and more than likely impossible. That's a bummer even though the performances and comedic rhythms continue to feel so natural.