SPOILER ALERT: This article reveals major plot points from the Season 2 finale of Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building.
Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building concluded its second season on Tuesday with a murder reveal party to rival any other before it—even if there wasn’t cake.
But let’s start at the beginning.
Since Season 2 premiered, there was quite a lot of attention focused on Poppy (Adina Verson), who even this season, was mostly a secondary character. Poppy is Cinda Canning’s (Tina Fey) assistant who was behind much of Cinda’s success as a true-crime podcaster.
But there was more than meets the eye as it pertains to shy and introverted Poppy, as it were. To begin, Poppy wasn’t even her real name. She was born Becky Butler, a small-town girl from Chickasha, Oklahoma who worked for the local mayor. Becky was treated poorly at home and was sexually harassed at work, and her only escape was listening to Cinda’s podcasts.
Becky grew tired of her life and one day decided she would no longer be a doormat for the men in her life, so she became Poppy, a more confident version of herself. She moved to New York and approached her idol with a unique idea for a new podcast about a young woman in Oklahoma who disappeared to be called, All Is Not OK in Oklahoma. Cinda was intrigued but explained that in order for the idea to work they would need the young woman to turn up dead, murdered, in fact, by the mayor. Poppy really wanted a job with Cinda so she found a way to make it look like Becky was killed by the mayor though it was obviously a lie.
Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) reveals all these details to her friends, Charles-Hayden Savage (Steve Martin) and Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), as they’re putting the final pieces of Bunny Folger’s (Jayne Houdyshell) murder together while zeroing in on the killer.
Hot on the case, the trio prepares for their podcast’s season finale which will be recorded live during the killer reveal party held at the Arcona in front of many of the residents. Cake is promised though none arrives, alas, everyone is dying to know who killed Bunny. All signs point to Cinda being the killer and the trio goes all out with classic comedy bits to get her to confess.
Poppy, who aided the trio in sniffing out Cinda as their main suspect, opened up about things that make Cinda uncomfortable which Charles-Hayden and Oliver used as a form of torture to get her to confess. After all was said and done, a true murderer was revealed—Poppy did it!
The show moves forward a year and everyone is celebrating a year of no murder. Oliver is seconds away from premiering his dream show on Broadway, Charles-Hayden is co-starring, and Mabel is in the audience with Charles-Hayden’s new girlfriend Joy (Andrea Martin) cheering them on. But before the show begins, Charles-Hayden shares an intense exchange with the production’s lead, Ben Glenroy, portrayed by surprise guest Paul Rudd, who will return for Season 3. Could have they just been acting or were they really mad at each other?
When the curtain rises, Paul Rudd attempts to say his lines but keels over and dies. Yes, Ben is the new murder victim and the mystery to unravel in Season 3. Charles-Hayden is first on stage to help Ben and will no doubt be looked at as a suspect. It’s worth noting, that Ben had a strange cough prior to his talk with Charles-Hayden.
Series co-creator John Hoffman spoke to Deadline about the events of Season 2 and how it sets up what’s to come.
DEADLINE: Did you always know Poppy was Bunny’s killer? Or when did you make that decision?
JOHN HOFFMAN: Poppy was on a small list in my mind of who would’ve done that, Cinda was also part of that group. Pretty quickly after we wrapped Season 1, it felt more intriguing to me that Poppy did it. Knowing that Season 1 and 2 are sister seasons and that death was related directly to our trio and to actions from Season 1, I wondered who from that world would be most interesting to look at. Then in the writers’ room for Season 2, the question of, What if Poppy is Becky? was brought up. So all of this was sourced and started in a history built into the show already; as well as Becky proving that you can find success by manipulating the story. So there are only a few people who could know that was the case and one of them was Poppy. Trying to advance herself further by taking the lessons she learned, she stepped into it in Season 2 and everything got out of control so she tried to throw Cinda under the bus.
DEADLINE: The killer reveal party and the way the trio played with getting Cinda to confess was such a throwback to the classic comedy bits which Steve Martin and Martin Short are famous for. How did that come together?
HOFFMAN: Oh my God, it was heaven! Selena, Steve, and Marty were brilliant, and then we have this collective of all of the people in the Arconia and those New York actors that we love like Jackie Hoffman, Michael Creighton, Jason Veasey, Teddy Coluca, Vanessa Aspillaga, all of these people that we love and are fantastic. So we have a room full of them in the midst of all of this and to make this setup that feels traditionally Agatha Christie, very deeply whodunit, we then throw twists that are truly insane in there. We had this ridiculous day in the writers’ room where we were trying to think how we would set up Cinda to unravel. I said, ‘We’re not going to do this but, what if Cinda’s fears are the inside of a tomato in slow motion?’ It was just a bookmark to say, something like that but we kept talking about it. So I wondered, Are we really going to do that because it really makes me laugh? Seeing Steve and Marty doing that tomato bit is one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. Then having Tina there and seeing her reactions was heaven.
DEADLINE: Tie-dye guy, Oscar Torres (Aaron Dominguez), was such a big part of Season 1 and now he’s just gone. What happened to him?
HOFFMAN: I love Aaron. For the character, I think there was so much to do with Mabel—as she says in the finale, ‘Any year without murder is a good one for me’—that we really looked toward giving her a brighter beginning. For both those characters, the shock of Bunny’s death for Oscar and his father working in the building, just felt like it was really hard for him to stay at the Arconia. We made a call that we didn’t want to see Mabel develop a relationship where the trauma bond is strong. With all that Oscar had gone through with going to jail for murder, we thought his leaving made sense. I think they keep in touch and I won’t say it’s not something that won’t come back around in some way because he was a part of her life. I’m really proud of Mabel and how she worked through some difficult stuff with Theo (James Caverly), she was victorious. Now she’s a woman with a new purpose who is stronger and even goes on to solve the case. I recently spoke with Selena and let her know our plans for next season and she’s so excited about where we’re going with Mabel.
DEADLINE: With Charles-Hayden back as Brazzos could we expect to see more of Jane Lynch as Sazz Pataki?
HOFFMAN: I will only say, don’t forget Brazzos is in motion but Charles-Hayden is also working on Broadway now. I’m not sure where she will end up.
DEADLINE: How will Season 3 be different with the new murder taking place outside of the Arconia?
HOFFMAN: That’s a great question. I can’t wait to have the answers for you.
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.