It’s never easy, coming to terms with any sort of difficult truth. Season 2 of Only Murders In the Building (OMITB) has been filled to the brim with setups for potentially devastating realizations for our main characters, and OMITB Season 2 Episode 6, “Performance Review,” explores what happens when those setups finally pay off. Mabel’s (Selena Gomez) relationship with Alice (Cara Delevingne) is seemingly solid, but below the surface there’s suspicion and mystery. Charles (Steve Martin) is hiding his visits with Jan (Amy Ryan) from Mabel and Oliver (Martin Short). And Oliver is grappling with the news that Teddy Dimas (Nathan Lane) might actually be the father of his son. Oliver, Charles, and Mabel are entrenched in their own personal dramas, but this episode is a reminder that their connection to Bunny’s (Jayne Houdyshell) murder could be their downfall, as their lives get more and more chaotic by the moment.
OMTIB Season 2 Episode 6 begins by taking a step back from last episode’s cliffhanger, opening in Cinda Canning’s (Tina Fey) office. Her assistant, Poppy (Adina Verson) has set up an interview with Jimmy Russo, a man Mabel allegedly injured at a job they once had together. While ushering Jimmy in, Cinda is incredibly rude to Poppy. Cinda and Poppy’s connection to the main story is unclear at this time, but Poppy’s mistreatment is a sign that she might be close to her breaking point.
And it’s Poppy who gets this episode’s first voice-over: “We tell ourselves, we can start over. We tell ourselves this time it will be different. We tell ourselves it can’t possibly be true.” As she talks, our Arcadian podcasters go about their day: Mabel and Alice talk happily over breakfast; Charles visits Jan in prison; Oliver waits to take his DNA test and discover the truth about his son. All three characters are trying as hard as they can to move on from the past, but, as we see from Mabel’s inability to tell Alice about her father, Charles’ concern seeing that Jan is insane, and Oliver’s anxieties about his test results, the past is harder to let go of than they think.
We move on to Charles on set at Brazzos, where his character is losing his memory. All of the crazy wheelchair rolling leads to the always-welcome return of Jane Lynch as Sazz, his stunt double. Lucy, Mabel, and Oliver catch up with Charles about the state of their investigation, when they realize there’s a fingerprint on the Pickle Diner matchbook. They reach out to the mystery person who texted them to get off the roof when Bunny was murdered, because they believe – despite the fact that she told them it wasn’t – it’s Detective Williams (Da’Vine Joy Randolph). After a brief wait, the unknown texter tells them to meet them later and bring the matchbook, but not to tell any other police officers. Because that’s not suspicious at all!
Mabel, Charles, and Oliver are called off-set by Detective Kreps (Michael Rapaport), who wants to see them in Bunny’s apartment. When they arrive, they’re greeted by not only Kreps, but by Cinda Canning and Poppy as well. Kreps’ message is clear: They all need to stop podcasting during the murder investigation, because they’re making it impossible for the cops to get any work done. Kreps is also upset because Cinda has been overstepping and solving all the mysteries for them, but Cinda refuses to stop interfering. She even reveals that her interview with Jimmy Russo is about to go live, all to mess with Mabel’s reputation and create suspicion about her.
And the biggest takeaways from this meeting have nothing to do with either podcast. Oliver and Charles realize that Detective Williams is out of state on maternity leave, so whomever they’re texting with is most likely the killer. Then Mabel, focused on keeping the Jimmy Russo interview from being published, tells Poppy she should stand up for herself and keep Cinda from using it – or her.
Eager to trap the mystery texter, Mabel, Charles, and Oliver agree to leave the matchbook in Morningside Park. They’ve also rigged with a glitter bomb to catch whoever tries to get it. They park by the trashcan it’s hidden in and wait, but not without getting sidetracked by their discussion. After catching a glimpse of Charles’ call history, Mabel and Oliver realize he’s been seeing Jan. They’re obviously horrified and tell him he needs to call it off – but Mabel in particular is hurt and betrayed, because Jan murdered her friend. While the three of them discuss this, they miss the killer grabbing the matchbook, setting off the glitter bomb, and running away. Needing time to herself, Mabel storms off and goes to see Alice.
She arrives at Alice’s apartment to find a curious scene. Total strangers are dressed up like Tim Kino (Julian Cihi) and Bunny, and Alice is dressed as Mabel herself. They’re recreating Bunny’s murder scene while Alice takes photos. It’s a gruesome replication of one of the most traumatizing events of Mabel’s life – Alice tries to explain what’s going on, but Mabel freaks out and leaves. As she gets on the subway, Poppy calls. Cinda is awful (surprise!), and will do anything she can to tell a compelling story and bring Mabel down. Already barely listening because she’s so overwhelmed from what happened with Alice, Mabel checks out completely when she turns to see a figure shrouded head to toe in black…and covered in the same glitter that they rigged the matchbox with.
Charles, at home and at peace after sending Sazz to break up with Jan for him, lets in Oliver, who is panicking while waiting for the results of his DNA test. As they dig into snacks and try to relax, Oliver receives a video from his son: it’s a recording from social media of Mabel on the subway stabbing the glitter-covered mystery figure. It’s unclear how the situation escalated to that point, but it’s not hard to recognize that nothing good will come of it.