Tuesday, August 8, 2023

REVIEW: 'Only Murders in the Building' - Charles and Mabel Face Death While Oliver Suffers From Stress in 'The Beat Goes On'

Hulu's Only Murders in the Building - Episode 3.02 "The Beat Goes On"

Mabel, Oliver and Charles attend Ben's lavish memorial full of fans and those with more dubious motives. As the actor's sudden death is mourned, Oliver works to revive his shaky Broadway show.

"The Beat Goes On" was written by Ben Smith & Joshua Allen Griffith and directed by John Hoffman

Is the podcast healthy for Charles, Oliver and Mabel? It absolutely provides their lives with purpose. It also provides a lot of stress. They have made countless mistakes in their investigations too. They hope they've gotten better over time. They are still amateur detectives. Those instincts kick in whenever a murder occurs. Everyone is justifiably horrified by Ben crashing through the elevator. They run to get help. Mabel also starts taking pictures. Ben has actually been murdered this time. A mystery presents itself that needs to be solved. The podcast is back in business. And yet, Mabel is on the verge of turning thirty. She agonizes over not having her life figured out. She's comforted by a hallucination of Ben. This actor has actually been a huge influence over her life. She has a connection to his former television show. After her father died, Girl Cop was the only source of levity between Mabel and her mother. They got through that difficult time because of the ridiculousness of the show. It's a completely parasocial dynamic where it had this huge impact on Mabel while it was just a job for Ben. He appreciated the fans he got. He went on to other roles. He's still personally slighted over getting fired from Brazzos when he was just a kid. He had a deal to join the show full-time until Charles complained. Charles has no memory of that whatsoever. It made no impact on his life. His livelihood and career weren't affected at all. It was a defining moment for Ben. It immediately taught him how to be resilient. That's the central theme delivered in the eulogy. It was the beginning of the feud between Charles and Ben. They had their differences. Oliver was willing to work with Ben to pull a great performance out of him. He saw it happen. Charles did as well. He can deliver a compliment. It never built to something greater. In the end, everyone left this play puzzled over what they were suppose to believe. It makes no sense. Ben can't get into the mindset of a detective who believes a baby killed someone. That's the premise of this story. He never arrived at a convincing portrayal. Instead, the play was destined to be panned. With production shutting down, those reviews will never be released. Oliver held himself back to avoid screwing up this second chance. He always knows how to deliver style. This latest direction was bland. He was too timid. He feared the worst. His stress has always been high. That's the way he always lived. He never thought he was compromising his vision to deliver something more palatable. That was still the end result. He couldn't see the compromises he made along the way. Even when he's hit with the truth as well as a heart attack, he's afraid of change. He has the vision for so much more. That doesn't immediately suggest a better outcome is likely.

The podcast provides a way for Charles, Oliver and Mabel to continue working together. They know they aren't the only people interested in solving this murder. The police already have their suspect. Gregg is arrested. He plays into the traditional story of a crazy stalker going too far. He abducted Charles and Mabel. He believed they were hiding something. He was a massive fan who found a way to attend Ben's funeral. Sure, it was just in the third overflow room. It was just enough proximity to play into the fantasy that has been concocted in his mind for a long time. He too saw something valuable within Ben. It was something admirable and desirable that needed to be a constant presence in his life. It was significant. He carries that with him all the time. It's how he shows affection. It's built on a lie. He takes it to the extreme. That's the peril of parasocial dynamics at times. Art is put into the world in order to have an impact on people. With actors, the lines are easily blurred between the project and their real lives by the people watching. Ben wasn't like the people he plays in film and television. He carried his own personal burdens and motivations. He wanted to apply them as best he could to this new material. It was simply too difficult. He wanted to rise above it and deliver the best product possible. It still ends in disaster. Charles and Mabel read into Gregg's actions. They know he is innocent. They have the proof that Ben's body was found with the cast gift given to someone else. It wasn't his own. That's a huge development. It's private as well. The podcasters are the only ones let in on this secret. The police know they are troublemakers. They are on law enforcement's radar. This murder appears to be solved. Charles and Mabel even believe that for a moment. They are convinced Gregg will kill them. He's motivated by the belief they killed his idol and friend. It's all one big misunderstanding. It also reveals the dangers the podcasters throw themselves in. Oliver is told to reduce stress in his life and change his diet. That will be difficult given his affection for dips. That's all he needs to consume to feel good navigating this world. It isn't healthy. Charles and Mabel are thrilled they have a reason to start the podcast again. Inspiration struck Oliver differently. He sees a vision of Death Rattle being produced as a musical. He's down a leading man. His friends aren't particularly fans of the genre. He sees it as the necessary move to be bold once more. He's invigorated. He's also being pulled in different directions. The podcast needs him. His career is on its last leg. His health could give out at any time. He yearns for more. He tries to appease everything. That may only doom him as he doesn't have any clear direction as to what truly matters the most. And so, the podcast is compromising even though the details of Ben's murder are scandalous.