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Only Murders in the Building - Fan Fiction - Review: On a Deadline

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Only Murders in the Building takes a careening turn, suddenly barrelling toward its endgame - but not before a giggle-inducing sideplot that shows just how far the titular podcast has been able to reach.

We open to find that “Only Murders in the Building” (the podcast) has gained itself a small, vocal fanbase who call themselves Arconiacs. The leader of this group is a young man named Sam (played by Jaboukie Young-White!), who founded the “Only Murders” message board they all met on. In case anyone forgot this is technically a comedy show, the foursome rub up against the fourth wall as they discuss and critique the latest developments in the Tim Kono case. It’s bold, but the writers are already poking fun at themselves before its first season has even ended, mocking the Sting cameo as “an entire episode with no stakes.”

In the meantime, Mabel and Oliver are most certainly in the middle of an episode with stakes: after being snatched by Theo, they are brought to Teddy, who threatens the two of them in no uncertain terms. He tells them to make the final episode of the podcast - concluding that Tim did, in fact, kill himself - and publish it by the next morning, or else face the same fate as Tim. Making it back to the Arconia, Mabel and Oliver first encounter the Arconiacs. Both are surprised to see that they HAVE fans, but have more important things on their mind. “We’re dying for the next episode,” Sam tells them. “We might be too!” Oliver responds, rushing away.

Making it to Charles’ apartment, the duo find that Jan has stayed the night and has been helping Charles go through Tim Kono’s phone. The couple (now hesitantly calling themselves a couple) have already found evidence that Tim witnessed Zoe’s murder, and Tim retaliated by trying to take down Teddy’s secret business. They realize they need as much help as they can get to take down Teddy before his deadline, so they recruit Dee, who they (correctly) estimate was the one who sent Mabel Tim’s phone. She tells them that she can’t help them over the table, but recommends they find the case’s “who, how, why and why now.”

Next, the team finds out from Oscar that Tim had actually bought Zoe’s ring right before he died and was extremely close to closing in on Teddy - the "why now," perhaps, although Jan seems hesitant to say anything is set in stone. In need of even more help, Oliver recruits the podcast fans outside to come in and help crack the clues. “Wouldn’t we want us on this case before we were us?” he asks, to which the Scooby gang reluctantly agrees.

Shockingly enough, the fans are immediately helpful, pointing out that on the night Tim was murdered, he got onto the elevator from Teddy’s floor holding a trash bag. They realize that all the notes that Tim had in his trash may have actually been death threats from Teddy. After an Oliver-directed reenactment of the murder, they conclude that when Tim returned to his apartment, the fire alarm went off, Theo came in, shot him and then wrote the fake suicide note. Jan is still unconvinced, however, and wants the crew to look at the neighbor whose cat died again. Feeling like they’re on to something, the podcast crew ignore her in favor of the Theo theory, and Jan goes home disappointed.

The episode is published, and the Dimases' black market business is exposed - with the father and son promptly arrested by Dee. However, something rings false about the whole ordeal. As one fan points out listening to the episode - why would the Dimases sponsor a podcast they knew might out them? And in the case of the audience, why would we have 2 more episodes left if they were actually who killed Tim Kono?

Those questions are validated when Dee discovers that Tim’s toxicology report has come back, stating that he was poisoned to death before he was shot. On top of that, security cameras show that the Dimases weren’t even in the building at the time of the fire alarm. So the Dimases went down...but there’s still a murderer in the building. Charles goes to tell Jan that she was right and apologize for not listening earlier...only to find her covered in blood in her apartment - seemingly dead?

This episode was not only one of the funniest so far, it also took the mystery - which has been admittedly slow - from a 2 to a 10 in the span of 30 minutes. Sure, from the moment Jan recommended the gang look back into other suspects, it was pretty obvious both what would happen to the mystery and to her. However, I’m still intrigued and invested in what the final episodes will bring, especially since the Theo/Teddy plotline - which I expected to take up most of the remaining narrative - has already seemingly been put to rest.

What did you think of “Fan Fiction?” Do you think Jan was onto something (clearly, right)? What events do you think lead up to the flashforward we saw at the beginning of the season? Let me know in the comments!

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