Review by Sean Boelman
Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building was a smash hit last year — a perfect storm of a showcase for one of the brightest young stars right now, a reunion of one of the most beloved comedic duos of all time, and a parody of one of the hottest forms of entertainment of the moment. This second season took that success and used it to make something even funnier and smarter.
Picking up where the last season left off, we again join our crime-solving podcaster trio as they set out to investigate another murder, this time, one that they are themselves persons of interest in. Bigger stakes, quicker wit, and more unpredictability go a long way in making this feel distinct from the first season in a welcome way.
One of the best things about this series is that it creates mysteries that legitimately keep the viewer guessing. And this season is perhaps even more unpredictable than the last, with a lot of twists and turns that will throw audiences off the scent of the culprit. Eight episodes in, there are still a ton of different directions that the story could go.
The new season explores fame in a fascinating way. A lot of murder mystery sequels go the copycat killer route, so much so that this has effectively become the easy way out. But the flaw with this is that it can become derivative quickly. Even though this new mystery (deliberately) brings back a few beats from the first season’s mystery as potential red herrings, it’s not a carbon copy.
Like any good second season, this season introduces exciting new supporting characters while enriching its leads in a fascinating way. Thankfully, the show preserves the dynamic between the central trio, which is what allowed the series to work so well in the first place. Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez are all at their absolute A-game — and clearly having a blast.
The most notable new additions to the cast are Michael Rappaport, playing a hard-nosed detective with a mind to bring down our heroes, and Cara Delevigne as a love interest for Gomez’s character. Both have a smattering of funny scenes, but don’t distract from the main draw of the central trio.
There are some fascinating things going on here on a stylistic level, and while nothing quite matches the brilliance of the Theo Dimas episode from season one, there are some amazing moments that show how kinetic this series is. And yet, even though there are these stylistically distinct episodes, the overall vision of the show is consistent.
Season two of Only Murders in the Building somehow improves on a series that was already one of the best comedies on streaming. Yet again, this is sure to be the talk of the town thanks to its genuinely smart and satisfying blend of mystery and comedy.
Only Murders in the Building streams on Hulu beginning June 28, with subsequent episodes streaming on Tuesdays. Eight out of ten episodes reviewed.