Only Murders in the Building season 3 episode 9 recap: stitching the clues together

 Martin Short in Only Murders in the Building.
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NOTE: this post contains spoilers for Only Murders in the Building season 3 episode 9, "Thirty."

It's been too long since the podcast trio worked together, but the investigation takes center stage in the penultimate episode. While there are significant questions to answer, Oliver (Martin Short) is confident Loretta (Meryl Streep) didn't kill Ben (Paul Rudd), only confessing to protect her son Dickie (Jeremy Shamos). Unfortunately, Loretta's arraignment is fast approaching, and they must find a way to fill in the missing pieces before it's too late.

The besties are back

After Oliver's heart attack and five days in hospital, he is deemed fit enough to leave. Charles (Steve Martin) and Mabel (Selena Gomez) haven't left his bedside, and we even glimpse Mabel's trippy dream that shows her giving birth to the podcast.

In her opening voiceover, Mabel says when she was 10 she had her future figured out, but the reality is unclear. Oliver, however, is clear in his pursuit to prove Loretta's innocence as she is the love of his life. The answer could be on the interrogation videos. Mabel and Charles haven't watched them, wanting to wait for Oliver, because "the besties are back" and eager to record the podcast once again.

The besties also got some packages delivered. Donna (Linda Emond) sent Oliver a box of cookies while Joy's (Andrea Martin) wedding dress was delivered to Charles by accident.

Snitches Get Stitches

The trio goes to talk with Dickie to see if they can get him to confess to being the murderer. They know Ben Stole the CoBro idea from him and that he has always covered things up for him. Dickie admits to CoBro and that he altered Ben's toxicology report from his poisoning, but not to cover up the rat poison, but other substances in Ben's Blood.

He also has an alibi. After being freaked out when Ben came back to life, he got wasted while wearing Ben's CoBro costume and went looking for Ben's five whores. Every Thursday, Ben would disappear for hours to an unknown location, and when Dickie asked, Ben told him, "Snitches get stitches." Dickie tracked the address down, and on the night of Ben's murder, Dickie passed out in front of the location. The only issue with this alibi is you can't see his whole face in the CCTV photo.

This seems to put Dickie in the clear. However, they agree it isn't their place to mention Loretta is his birth mother.

The discover that "Snitches Get Stitches" is a textile store, though Oliver thinks it's a cover for a brothel. After he and Charles have different terrible ideas about gaining access, they discover it is an actual sewing circle that Ben was part of. The five women are his friends who helped him make the hankies before opening night. Ben was up all night and had also been fasting before the show. Disturbingly, the women have a voicemail in which Ben sounds panicked, and the sound of Oliver knocking on his door gives them a 30-minute window from a cheery arrival at the theater to a paranoid spiral.

Ben's murder timeline

Back at the Arconia, the trio goes through the interrogations to map out what happened to Ben before going on stage. Cliff (Wesley Taylor) is shown tempting him with the type of cookies he has already explained he cannot have due to his strict diet.

When it is Dickie's time to talk, we discover Loretta has been taking a motherly role in his life. He plans to quit being Ben’s manager and has written out why. Ben ends up grabbing the list, blaming Loretta for driving a wedge between them. But Dickie tells him she is not the problem. "I don't have a brother anymore," Ben spits at this betrayal.

The "fight call rehearsal" is when Ben lashes out at Loretta, and she calls him a "f***ing pig." Charles punching him is another part of the story we already know (same with Joy covering up the red mark). Donna's interview reveals Ben was agitated when she saw him and she offered encouraging words, suggesting he do something that would make him feel good. After this, Tobert (Jesse Williams) goes to film him in his dressing room but Ben grabs his camera and fires him.

"We don't know what we don't know," says Charles about the mystery person in the dressing room in Tobert's documentary footage. Howard (Michael Cyril Creighton) also comes through with the document, which is Maxine's scathing review in which she savages Ben's performance.

Mabel's birthday and saving Loretta

They take a brief break to celebrate Mabel's 30th birthday. While she still has nothing figured out in her life, she says there is "no way I'd rather spend" her birthday than with her guys investigating murder. Oliver puts a candle in some dip, and Mabel has a brainwave when he starts talking about the food he has been missing. It wasn't a person Ben was talking to but a cookie: he wrote "f***ing pig" on the mirror in a moment of self-loathing desperation.

The working theory is Donna read the review and realized what this could do to her son Cliff's career. She used Ben's insecurity to get him to eat a rat poison-tainted cookie (and later pushed him down the elevator shaft).

With just 20 minutes until Loretta's arraignment, Mabel puts on Joy's bridal gown to get there in time ("Nobody stops a bride," she reasons). Oliver and Charles put on tuxes, and there is a Father of the Bride reference for anyone counting.

Arriving in time isn't the only obstacle, as Donna is at the courthouse as well. Can they save Loretta and get her to the theater before the curtain call?

New episodes of Only Murders in the Building season 3 premiere Tuesdays on Hulu in the US and Disney Plus in the UK.

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