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“Only Murders in the Building” 2: Does the new season of the series with Selena Gómez and Steve Martin look bad? | REVIEW | SKIP-INTRO

“The second seasons are difficult”, says Oliver Putnam (Martin Short) inside the now famous Arconia elevator, that historic New York condominium where it takes place “Only Murders in the Building”, the series that months ago amazed thousands with a trio of protagonists that, in addition to Short, make up Steve Martin (in his role as Charles Hayden Savage) and Selena Gómez, playing the young Mabel Mora.

The phrase, which seems absolutely hackneyed, certainly echoes in our heads after having seen the first three episodes of the second season of this series, which is broadcast by Star+ in Latin America and Hulu in the United States. The reason? To be frank, there are several. For the same reason, we are going to use this space to try to explain, following a comparative model, why this second part could have disappointed many in relation to the previous one.

LOOK: “Only Murders in the Building” presented a new and revealing trailer shortly after its premiere on Star +

First: what was the series in question about? “Only Murders in the Building” tells the story of three lonely characters united in a peculiar Adventure: to create -from nothing- a True Crime Podcast. This trio was made up of Mabel, a mysterious young woman who inherited her aunt’s apartment millionaire, tried to lead a life linked to friends, but failed in the attempt.The second is Charles Hayden Savage, an actor (single and without children) come to less than is only remembered for one role, the protagonist of the series “Brazzos” Finally, Oliver Putnam is an almost retired theater director who, given the lack of job options, seems about to be kicked out of his department, at the time, the only thing that seems to make him feel important.

An encounter inside the elevator of the Arconia and the subsequent crime of the neighbor Tim Kono (Mabel’s old friend) ends up uniting the three characters mentioned above in an irreverent, fun and seamless story. As we said in a previous review, the Star+ series is the portrait of three lonely lives that find a sense of life in the production and realization of a Podcast. Along the way, of course, viewers will witness hits, stumbles and a lot of quality humor: the combination of a daring Mabel with a politically correct Charles Hayden Savage and a ‘loving old man’ like Oliver makes for great moments in a praised premiere season by critics and awarded on different occasions.

Selena Gomez in "Only Murders in the Building 2"
Selena Gomez in “Only Murders in the Building 2” / Hulu

Now, what makes this second part flounder? Let’s go with a little information. After successfully solving the Tim Kono case, our three protagonists decide to celebrate on the Arconia rooftop. At one point, when the Champagne runs out, Mabel goes down to her apartment to get more drink. Opening the door, she finds a dying Bunny (Jayne Houdyshell), the building manager. Seconds later, Oliver and Charles climb out of her to find her holding her bloodied corpse. So, in one night, they all go from heroes to villains.

Described in the season premiere as a grumpy old woman, arrogant and extremely regulatory, certainly nothing foreshadowed that Bunny would take center stage in a second installment of this series. The circumstances surrounding his death make possible what at times seems to be the first setback of this new season: the secondary characters (in this case, the other residents of the Arconia) begin to gain strength, one by one, thus bringing to the side our three freelance detectives.

It would be difficult to deny that the result – at least in these first three episodes – is weakened on screen when Mabel, Oliver and Charles do not show their faces. But that is not all. As appearances so far ‘soulless’ we could describe those of Cara Delevingne and Amy Schummer. The first plays Alice, a kind of art curator who discovers the bisexual side of Mabel Mora. With no resources other than a somewhat cheap speech about “who she really is” (based on her Instagram posts of hers), she wins her over in a ‘two by three’. Zero depth, although a lot of artistic chemistry.

Cara Delevingne joined the second season of "Only Murders in the Building"
Cara Delevingne joined the second season of “Only Murders in the Building” / Hulu

The other role so far lukewarm is that of the humorist Schumer. This irreverent exponent of the Stand Up Comedy arrives at Arconia as the new owner of the apartment that Sting occupied, who is worth truths, with very little she achieves triple the empathy that Amy does before cameras (the comedian plays herself). She makes her appearance in the elevator with Oliver, both of them engage in an absolutely lackluster dialogue that ends with a millionaire proposal to buy the rights to the Podcast from her. Several of the things that are discussed in these three walls (plus a door) seem unlikely to come true later.

Without being so hard on Delevingne and Schummer -and with the faith that they will take on more weight in any of the remaining seven chapters–, we return to focus on the argument itself. No one can hide that there is in this series a brush with the verisimilitude that we all accept in order to have a good time in front of the television, the Tablet or the cell phone: a building as luxurious as the Arconia is not full of cameras on its respective floors. So we accepted this situation because we liked to see how the Tim Kono case was solved ‘old fashioned’, looking for hypotheses and digging through the gossip.

Already in the second season, such a resource demands much more than these things. On the other hand, Mabel, Charles and Oliver are no longer the same inexperienced as before who go stumbling after stumbling, making us laugh with their recriminations and, even more, moving us by revealing themselves as lonely characters whose only way to be happy is united to “do the good”. In this second part, the three dominate techniques and methods that throw the surprise factor to the ground on more than one occasion.

Lastly, as we said a few paragraphs ago, the weight of the secondary actors here is not enough to make up for the talent of our three ‘detectives’. Perhaps a good way out could be to delve into weight figures, as happens with Bunny in the third episode. In a flurry of flashbacks we will learn who this single Arconia administrator was who, for three decades, gave her life to do a job that any of us would reject: seeing how the world circulates by your side without paying you the slightest attention.

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