If the end of Only Murders in the Building (OMITB) Season 2, Episode 2 left you concerned that the show was getting cheesier and harder to believe, OMITB Season 2 Episode 3, “The Last Day of Bunny Folger,” should quickly relieve you of these fears. The reveal that Mrs. Gambolini, Bunny Folger’s (Jayne Houdyshell) bird, knows who committed her murder was shocking and hilarious and ultimately a
red herring green parrot. Only Murders in the Building is not subtle about its comedy, but the show also knows that the idea of a bird becoming this season’s biggest lead for a murder investigation is too absurd to serve as more than the set up for a joke.
What is serious, however, is this episode’s look into the life of Bunny Folger on what she believes will be her last day as the Arconia’s board president, but ends up being her last day on Earth. Until now, Bunny has been reduced to the “crotchety old bitch” of The Arconia; we’ve only seen her through the eyes of Oliver (Martin Short), Charles (Steve Martin), and Mabel (Selena Gomez). As entertaining as the trio is, they’re not the place to go for objectivity. The truth is not something a murder mystery’s victim has the luxury to show; as usual, though, Only Murders in the Building keeps the focus on the heart of its characters. OMITB Season 2 Episode 3 gives us rich insight into Bunny’s motivations and desires, something we never got in Season 1.
“The Last Day of Bunny Folger” begins with Oliver attempting to get Mrs. Gambolini to talk. In a move obviously inherited from Bunny herself, the bird yells a few expletives at him, and the trio worry about the best way to coax info out of it. No one does angry like Martin Short, and it’s a delight to see him go against a bird instead of sparring with another human being. Soon, they channel their frustration into creativity, with Charles and Oliver deciding their best course of action is doing impressions of Bunny to trick Mrs. Gambolini into talking. Though funny, their plan is as unsuccessful as it sounds like it would be, and Mabel forces them to focus. After they find a receipt of Bunny’s from the day of her murder, Mabel suggests retracing Bunny’s steps on that day.
So we flash back to that morning and watch Bunny reading travel pamphlets for Florida – where she, to her own disbelief, is thinking of moving – and rehearsing her retirement speech for that night. As Bunny gets emotional, a different side of her comes to light. She might be grumpy and mean to the residents of The Arconia, but she’s attached to the job and cares about it deeply. Outside, Bunny comes across Oliver, Mabel, Charles, and some of their adoring fans celebrating their podcast’s successful debut season; after hearing the trio recount their (highly dramatized) tales of heroism, Bunny cites some arcane Arconian bylaws to shut the party down. And Nina (Christine Ko), the incoming Arconia president, arrives and backs Bunny up. Their relationship is polite and cordial, but the subtle undertones of hostility begin to show when Nina, attempting to show how prepared she is for the job, inadvertently makes Bunny feel as if she isn’t needed anymore.
Next, Bunny stops at the Pickle Diner, where she gives her waiter Ivan a very thick envelope of cash. Both Bunny and Ivan are familiar with each other, and it appears that it is not the first time that they have had this transaction. Ivan mentions a meeting that Bunny had the day before, and Bunny is quick to dismiss the person with whom she met as merely a friend. But its during this scene we get our first major clue about Bunny’s murder. After handing Ivan the money, Bunny also shares some advice: “Don’t let yourself only love one thing.” It’s obvious Bunny only let herself love one thing in life: The Arconia. Now that Bunny’s time as board president is coming to an end, she’s struggling to find that passion somewhere else.
Back at The Arconia, on her way to her final board meeting, Bunny gets stuck in an elevator with Charles and Mabel. When the elevator malfunctions, Charles and Mabel whip themselves into a panic as they imagine being trapped together. Then Bunny fixes the elevator. Mabel can’t help but exclaim, “Bunny, you’re a badass.” Perhaps inspired by Mabel’s compliments, Bunny enters the board meeting-slash-retirement party and, in a Logan-Roy-From-Succession-esque move, announces she will no longer be leaving her job. Of course, Nina jumps right into to argue with Bunny about her decision – which means she also leaps to the top of our suspect list. Could Nina’s desire to be board president have pushed her to murder Bunny?
Stepping away from this scene, we circle back to our main trio, who’ve begun the celebration we saw in the OMITB Season 1 finale. This time, though, we cut back and forth between their perspective and Bunny’s. She brings a bottle of champagne to Charles’ apartment, seemingly hoping for an invite…but when they turn her away, realizing too late that that was what she wanted, Bunny, shockingly, begins to sob outside the door. To them, Bunny hoping for an invite is confusing and unwanted. After some whisper-yelling about what to do, the trio decides to let her join; by then, of course, Bunny is no longer there.
So, they head to the roof to drink champagne, and Bunny’s fate is sealed. To the viewer, it not only makes sense for a woman as lonely as Bunny to try and join their party, it’s also something that we know could have saved her from death. And while we watch the rooftop celebration, the show also cuts to Bunny in her apartment watching TV with Mrs. Gambolini. We hear someone from the show she’s watching say “I know who did it,” which explains the bird’s affinity for repeating the phrase. We also see Bunny answer the door, ask, “What the fuck do you want?”, and get attacked.
For an episode that takes place entirely in the past, OMITB Season 2 Episode 3 lays out a lot of crucial information that was missing until now. We learn that Bunny’s crotchety persona was not built out of hatred, but out of the need for protection. The Arconia was important to Bunny, and it is possible that this love was, one way or another, the reason for her murder.