Jane Lynch! Big twist! 'Murder She Wrote'! The final double-episode finale of the season delivered on the laughs AND on its big reveal.
Due to what happened at the end of episode eight, we went into the 'Only Murders In The Building' season finale not knowing what to expect. Last we saw of the characters, Charles (Steve Martin) was left reeling after discovering Jan (Amy Ryan) on the floor of her apartment, stabbed in the back. Who left that note on her door? And is she still alive? We automatically jumped to cat-loving Howard (Michael Cyril Creighton) as suspect number one.
Thankfully, Jan was spared her life - but little did we know that it was all a set-up.
Distracting us with another cameo appearance in episode nine, the wonderful Jane Lynch joined in on the action as Charles' body double from his TV series 'Brazos', Sazz. To date, Lynch never disappoints in however brief her appearances on TV are (Sophie Lennon on 'The Marvelous Mrs Maisel' included), and the 15 year age difference between herself and Martin was barely noticeable as his pull-over and slacks doppelganger. The arrival of various characters into the apartment and greeting "Charles" was top-notch comedy.
But, her character served as much more than a comedic distraction, as Sazz propelled the trio to search out different avenues in their case, suggesting there was a romantic link between Tim Kono and his killer.
In a way, the final two episodes were all about Martin's character Charles. When you think about it, the majority of the season had been overshadowed by Martin Short's eccentric Oliver stealing the limelight with his outlandish ideas and hummus addiction, while Selena Gomez' Mabel has always been on hand as the most untrustworthy of the trio (which was eventually cleared up halfway through the season). We thoroughly enjoyed this, nevertheless, but now it was finally Brazos' time to shine.
And now for the big reveal... It was the bassoonist all along! Once we caught wind of Jan's misleading nature (by not being actually the first chair bassoonist), the season finale reached a crescendo of realisation for all three of the characters and the audience. It suddenly dawned on us all that we were led down the garden path by a character who seemed as sweet and as pun-loving as Holly Flax from 'The US Office'. How wrong we were.
To say that Steve Martin's physical comedy remains as impressive as ever at the age of 76 is an understatement. The actor's ability to deliver a knock-out performance while only being able to mumble and roll around on the ground (and take up a sizeable amount of space in the elevator, which the witty supporting cast didn't even bat an eyelid at) just shows what lengths the co-creator is willing to go through in order to make the viewer laugh out loud while also simultaneously having us perch on the edge of our seat with worry.
And now to that final showdown with the "murder in the building". Jan's appearance at her near-fatal gas set-up doesn't really make a hell of a lot of sense when you consider that she promised to Charles after poisoning him that she was planning on leaving the building in a hurry ("it'll be a gas!"). But, having said that, with the majority of the season's happenings going down in this elite apartment block, it makes sense that the final showdown should also happen here.
Throughout her acting career, Amy Ryan has always shown us a glimmer of her "bad side", but this time she's gone full baddie. She pulls it off flawlessly, instantly becoming more sadistic once Charles reveals he's been taking "stage sips" from his whiskey all along. We would have loved to have seen more of this side to her character, but on reflection, it would have spoiled Jan's big reveal. She was the one who killed Tim Kono, and she would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for these pesky true-crime podcast lovers.
And so, we come to the other big reveal at the end, which sets up what season two will revolve around. As the trio of super sleuths celebrates the capture of Kim Kono's murderer, in the blink of an eye they're each being carted off by the police in handcuffs. The lead board member of the Arconia, Bunny (Jayne Houdyshell), has been killed wearing an 'Only Murders In The Building' tie-dye podcast hoodie. Moments beforehand, Charles and Oliver received a mystery text message telling them both to get out of the building, which spurred them to track down Mabel who had gone to get more champagne.
Who was it that sent the text message? Are there more "loose ends" to tie up, as Mabel suggested? And will Tina Fey get bumped up to a season regular for season two? We'll have to wait until next year to find out.
The full season of 'Only Murders In The Building' is available on Disney+.