Tuesday, August 15, 2023

REVIEW: 'Only Murders in the Building' - Expectations Shift as Loretta Becomes the Ingenue Over Kimber in 'Grab Your Hankies'

Hulu's Only Murders in the Building - Episode 3.03 "Grab Your Hankies"

Oliver races to bring new life to his show as Mabel's investigation into the actual murder collides with a surprising ally. Charles bonds with the cast, and Loretta proves her voice is invaluable.

"Grab Your Hankies" was written by Matteo Borghese & Rob Turbovsky and directed by Adam Shankman

Mabel firmly believes that whomever from the play's cast and crew who no longer has their hankie is Ben's killer. The actor's stalker, Gregg, took the hankie that belonged to him. One was found on his body in the elevator shaft. That's only one lead. It's enough evidence to motivate Mabel and Charles into action once more. The podcast has begun anew. Oliver isn't as present this time because he's focused on reviving his show. This production put so much work into getting to opening night only for Ben to seemingly drop dead onstage. That wasn't the end of his story. He still met a grim fate later on that night at the Arconia. Moreover, the process of getting a show to Broadway isn't over. Oliver believes he has to radically change everything. He can't let this second chance at an acclaimed career go away. Donna and Cliff were already taking a risk financing Death Rattle. It's a play that makes no sense whatsoever. Despite all the rehearsals, the cast still has no clue what motivates their individual characters. Ben was positioned as the star of the show. Everything promoting this run revolved around him. Oliver worked with the famous actor to produce a great performance. However, the narrative of the season is formed around Loretta. Oliver prides himself on discovering her. She is the talent who beams brighter than everyone else. When he needs saving, she provides inspiration. He will even cut down her dreams in the name of saving his show. She has been through this process a lot over the years. She knows what it's like to be involved while the creative team is workshopping a project. She has never made it to the final presentation onstage. This play was meant to be her grand debut. Instead, that discovery may come from a network television show. She has the talent and conviction. She just needs the agent and casting director to see that greatness. Oliver did. He wants the credit. He has her under contract. He won't let her leave him. It's tied closely to his romantic feelings for her as well. She is a quick study of what makes an Oliver Putnam production work. It's all about finding the heart amongst the bombastic style. He goes over-the-top easily. He also offers sincerity underneath it all. That's what makes for a nuanced performance by Martin Short. It's delicate character work where Oliver strives for so much. And yet, the stress is killing him. It may only be a matter of time before a heart attack takes him out for good. He's not decreasing his workload either. He hopes to write a musical overnight. The material he believes will be the showstopper Donna needs is only half-baked. Instead, the one number about the nanny is enough to sell everyone on this change in direction. Loretta makes them believe. Everyone was willing to walk away because of Oliver's chaos. She pulls them back in.

The spotlight is shifting to Loretta. That's where Oliver always wanted the attention. It simply didn't align with the need for Ben to be the star of the show. The big name in the cast has been killed. That provides an opportunity for everyone else to step up. Mabel and Charles easily believe in that motivation for the killer. That makes sense. Someone in this production is capable of murder. That's what the evidence suggests. Kimber becomes the prime suspect. She no longer has the hankie. Charles is awkward in trying to connect with the cast. He never bonded with them. He never put in the work to become a successful member of the ensemble. His ego got in the way. He was more concerned with how he would manage performing eight shows a week. That was overwhelming. The demands of a musical will only further increase that burden. He's not concerned about that. He's firmly set on identifying the killer. Mabel is as well. She forges a connection with someone also looking for an alternate glimpse at this world. Everyone makes fun of Tobert's name. It's ridiculous. He has spent his life behind the camera trying to capture the figures depicted onscreen. It was mesmerizing when he was in Botswana documenting the behaviors of animals after an annual flood. He had to choose whether or not to engage with the environment. His disruption could alter the fate of the story. He chose to play a passive role. He did that while following Ben too. He was crafting a story of an actor's Broadway debut. It's different from his past work. However, he found a way to be excited about it. Mabel is equally motivated about solving this mystery. It's a way to honor Ben's legacy as an actor she revered. It's the purpose that allows her life to have meaning. Mabel knows Gregg is innocent of this crime. Tobert isn't convinced of that. He doesn't have all the information. The two team up because they have ulterior motives in snooping through Ben's apartment. It has become a shrine to him. That was true before his death. Now, it's a constant reminder of the life lost. That's overwhelming to his brother, Dickie. It's motivating for those seeking their own ownership over this space. Clues are hiding. They just have to be found. The documentary footage provides an insight into the rehearsals leading up to opening night. Ben apologized to Kimber for a reason. Moreover, he didn't like the final person in his dressing room before the curtain rose. That person's identity remains hidden. Mabel has a clue for where to go next. Kimber desperately wants to step into the spotlight. She joins Loretta onstage during the pitch to the producers. She wants to be the ingenue delivering her breakout performance in this show. That recognition has frequently gone to Loretta as a way to subvert expectations. That pattern is noticeably broken. The person who would typically benefit from it is upset about the change. It doesn't apply to Kimber. And so, she does anything to be noticed even when she doesn't comprehend the creative decisions others are making with this material.