TV Recap: “Only Murders in the Building” Season Finale – “Open and Shut”

Who killed Tim Kono? We finally find out in “Open and Shut,” the tenth and final episode of the first season of Only Murders in the Building. This episode also brings us to the moment from the prologue where Charles and Oliver find Mabel over a body with blood on her sweater. Are you ready to find out how it all ends?

Tim Kono (Julian Cihi) serves as the narrator for this final episode, talking directly to the audience from beyond the grave about how he only spent twenty-three seconds in the elevator with Oliver (Martin Short), Charles (Steve Martin) and Mabel (Selena Gomez), but it was enough time to kick off their investigation into his death. We learn a little more about his childhood, that he was a loner but never felt lonely until he had friends and lost them the night Zoe died. He also confirms that the bassoon cleaner belonged to Jan (Amy Ryan), with whom he had an affair, which began in that very elevator.

(Barbara Nitke/Hulu)

(Barbara Nitke/Hulu)

Mabel and Oliver have just learned that what they thought was a sex toy is actually a bassoon cleaner, racing to Charle’s apartment to warn him, but finding that he’s not home. Oliver suggests that they break it down and even though Mabel doesn’t think their combined weight will be enough to do it, he tries anyway. As Oliver lays on the floor in pain, the elevator opens and Charles finds his podcast co-hosts frantic. Oliver screams “YOU’RE SLEEPING WITH A MURDERER!”

Charles is surprisingly calm about the accusation, telling Oliver and Mabel that they look crazy as they sit in his apartment. Oliver feels that the stakes have changed, that Charles could now be on the murderer’s side, and informs him that he’s being recorded in case he wants to back out of the podcast now. Mabel reminds Charles that Jan lives on the 6th floor and that the bag of trash Tim Kono had in the elevator was from the same floor. Oliver tells Charles he believes Jan was sleeping with Tim, but Charles says that Jan wasn’t in Tim’s phone and Mabel suggests that Tim deleted her before he died. Charles argues that Jan was stabbed and Oliver diminishes her wounds as being less severe than ones he’s endured from shucking oysters. Mabel asks where Jan is now and Charles tells them he left the symphony early and she’s still there. Mabel hands him the bassoon cleaner and asks him to consider what they told him. Oliver and Mabel leave Charles alone and get the idea to search Jan’s apartment while she’s at the symphony.

(Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

(Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

Charles compares the handwriting of one of the suicide notes from Tim Kono’s garbage bag with a note Jan left him inviting him to dinner when Jan shows up at his door. She saw him in the audience and rushed over during intermission to apologize. “I’m mortified,” she says. “I don’t know why I lied to you about being first chair. I think it has to do with being beaten out by a child.” She adds that if she had just been honest, she could have invited him to see her earlier. She asks about his bloody nose and he says it’s from earlier. She offers to get him ice and have a drink and he invites her in.

Mabel learned how to pick locks from Charles. She unlocks Jan’s door and she and Oliver enter.

Jan brings Charles ice wrapped in a cloth napkin for his nose and an old fashioned, sitting on the couch with him, asking for a toast. She was sure that he would think the worst of her and is so relieved that he still wants to be with her. She notices the bassoon cleaner on the table. “Oh, did I leave that here?” Charles tells her that it was found in Tim Kono’s apartment and she seems confused as to why Tim would have it. “Do you think the killer is targeting bassoonists?”, she asks, questioning if Charles thinks she’s the criminal. Charles tells her he doesn’t, but Oliver and Mabel do. “I would too, jeez.” Jan asks another question but Charles says he doesn’t want to talk about Tim anymore. “I think I’m falling in love with you.” Jan looks surprised for a moment. “That’s interesting because I think I’m falling in love with you too.” Charles is relieved.

Inside Jan’s apartment, Mabel is reminded of a true-crime podcast called “Bakers Dozen” in which the murderer kept all the evidence in her bathroom. Oliver says he needs to use it first.

Charles tells Jan that he would still love her even if she did kill Tim Kono. She notices that even though Charles has been putting his cup to his lips, none of the liquid has gone. “Oh, I’m not drinking at all. I’m taking stage sips because there’s poison in it. That’s what you did with Tim Kono, isn’t it? Poison him before you shot him with his own gun. I’m still not sure why you poisoned the cat, though.” Jan’s demeanor changes to a darkly flirtatious one, leaning in and saying “I didn’t do that. All I can think is she came in the window afterward and maybe…” We see her imagining Evelyn the cat drinking Tim Kono’s blood on the floor and becoming poisoned that way. Jan admits that this is arousing to be completely open with Charles.

(Barbara Nitke/Hulu)

(Barbara Nitke/Hulu)

Mabel opens a drawer and finds organized containers of poison that Jan has labeled. Oliver records the audio for the podcast, lamenting that if Jan weren’t a murderer she would be perfect for Charles.

Charles asks Jan if she was seeing Tim Kono and she admits to being a sucker for lonely men with an age gap. Tim broke up with her, but she called him over to pick up some things he left behind and served him an old fashioned that was poisoned. A half-hour later, she put the glasses in the garbage bag and asked him to throw it away for her. She says she then practiced her bassoon, but Charles interrupts and says that was a recording and she smiles, excited that he picked up on that. He stands up and pins up her note to him, saying she has a unique “J” that gave her away when he compared her writing. His speech starts to slur and he stumbles. Jan tells him this is exactly how Tim Kono sounded when she poisoned him. Charles realizes that she poisoned the cloth napkin she put the ice in instead of the drink. “I mixed it up this time,” Jan smiles menacingly.

Mabel has opened Jan’s air duct and found the knife she used to stab herself.

Charles comes to the same realization as he collapses to the floor and Jan puts a pillow behind his head. In flashback, we see Jan pulling the fire alarm and proceeding to Tim’s apartment while The Arconia evacuates. We see her finding the emerald ring, which Tim had intended for someone else and she took it. “You know how I feel about being made to feel second. That’s a big trigger for me.” We see Jan wearing gloves as she crouches over Tim who is writhing from the poison. She places Tim’s gun in his hand and positions it in his mouth, pulling the trigger to make it look like suicide. She tells Charles that she gets off on having a man completely powerless. “You need me now more than ever, don’t you Charles? Why does that feel so good?”

Mabel opens another drawer and finds the emerald ring that Zoe took from Theo Dimas, the one that Tim Kono was obsessed with finding before his death. “Oh Mabel, I’m so so sorry,” Oliver laments as she shows him. “She did it. She really killed him,” she realizes out loud. Mabel suddenly thinks of Charles and they race out of the room.

Jan paces as she talks about how this is her trickiest case yet since she has Mabel and Oliver to deal with, plus the podcast listeners. She turns on the fireplace and talks about how nice it is to be able to use them again and how it makes the whole building feel connected. “Should make for an exciting finale. It’s gonna be a gas.” Jan says she really did fall in love with Charles and that this is her saddest breakup to date. “Sadly, I will not be seeing you bassoon-er or later.” Jan leaves and now alone, Charles forces himself to roll over, worming his way to the couch where he moves a pillow with his teeth. His phone was underneath recording the entire conversation. He uses his nose to try and make an emergency call, moaning “I don’t feel good.” Siri responds: “Okay, playing ‘Fields of Gold’ by Sting”

Oliver and Mabel race to the elevator. The left elevator door opens and they rush in. As their door closes, the right elevator opens and Jan walks out.

Charles has rolled himself to the hallway, his phone playing “Fields of Gold.” A neighbor sees him and it looks like he’s dry humping the floor, so they go back the way they came. Charles rolls into an elevator and just as the doors close, the other elevator’s doors open and Mabel and Oliver rush out. They find Charles’ door open and notice that the fireplace is on.

Bunny (Jayne Houdyshell) and Uma (Jackie Hoffman) get on the elevator at the next floor and realize that someone has pushed all the buttons, connecting that it must’ve been Charles and complaining as if he’s not there sprawled on the elevator floor. “I can’t wait till he’s gone,” Bunny says as the elevator stops and Howard (Michael Cyril Creighton) gets on with a new kitten, Evelyn 7. “Lucky number 7,” he muses, inviting the ladies over to play Parcheesi. Dr. Stanley (Russell G. Jones) gets on next, the only one to acknowledge Charles on the floor, handing him a business card. The elevator opens on the lobby and everyone gets out except for Charles. Lester (Teddy Coluca) the Bellman sees Charles and says “Don’t worry, this happened to Sting when the Police broke up.” He presses the button to send Charles back upstairs.

As the door closes on Charles’ elevator, the other door opens and Mabel and Oliver rush out. They ask Lester if he’s seen Charles and he tells them he just sent him back upstairs. They run back into their elevator and find Charles on the floor outside the elevator. Mabel asks him if Jan poisoned him but all his noises are inaudible. Oliver, who has been pushing around Winnie’s stroller this whole time, opens it up to reveal that he has Gut Milk in it. He tells Mabel that milk absorbs toxins as he pours some into Charles’ mouth. Charles motions towards his phone and Mabel tries to use his face to unlock it. Because his muscles are relaxed, Oliver has to hold his skin taught to get it to work. Mabel sees the recording and presses play to hear Jan reveal what she did.

Arnav (Maulik Pancholy) comes out into the hallway and sees the trio, telling them he feels dizzy and that he smells fumes coming from the basement. Mabel realizes that Jan has started a gas leak and tells Oliver they need to get to the basement. Oliver puts Charles in the dog stroller to wheel him down.

Oliver narrates as they arrive in the boiler room, calling it “The irritable bowel of the Arconia.” Oliver recognizes that air ducts are attached to the wrong place and detaches one, asking Mabel to grab the other. As they both turn off the machines, Jan reveals herself by pulling a gun on them and ordering them to stop. She sees Charles in the dog stroller. “Hey, look at you still kicking. I was worried that hankie wouldn’t do the full trick on Brazzos.” Charles rises dramatically and delivers a monologue: “This ends now, Jan. You won’t shoot my friends. Shoot me if you need to but not them because I don’t want to live in a world without them anymore.”

That last bit was all in Charles’ mind. In reality, he’s still sitting in the stroller mumbling incoherently. With Jan’s attention on Charles, Oliver thinks fast and pushes the stroller at her, which knocks Jan over. Mabel rushes to step on the gun as it slides out of Jan’s hand. “This is for Tim,” she says as she kicks Jan in the head, knocking her out. “This sends the investigation into a whole new direction,” Oliver excitedly exclaims for the podcast. Mabel brings Oliver back to reality, saying they need to have Charles’ stomach pumped.

We see Jan being loaded into a police car outside The Arconia as Charles is loaded into an ambulance. Bunny apologizes to Oliver and tells him there’s been a reversal in sentiment regarding his tenancy, so he can stay. But she adds another threat: “I’ll get you gone sooner or later. You’re all idiots.”

Oliver’s son Will (Ryan Broussard) brings Winnie back home to his dad and she’s made a full recovery. Will tells his dad that he’s proud of him, producing a check for him. Oliver refuses and asks for a hug instead. Will agrees to stay for a while and hear all about the case.

Mabel finishes painting the mural of the windows of The Arconia in her aunt’s apartment, painting her own image in the last one. Oscar (Aaron Dominguez) tells her it looks incredible and they celebrate the fact that his name has been cleared. He asks Mabel if she’s okay and she realizes that for the first time in a long time, when she says yes she means it.

In his apartment, Charles texts his ex-girlfriend’s daughter Lucy, who he felt like a father to and hasn’t talked to since the breakup. Charles texts Lucy and says “I think about you a lot.” He considers signing off with his full name, but deleted it. He stares at his phone and sees the three dots that suggest she is typing a response, but then they stop. He puts the phone down but then gets a reply. “Hey,” Lucy texts. Charles’ eyes get misty as he responds with the same greeting.

Tim Kono’s narration morphs into Charles recording the final line of the first season of the podcast. “We are all Tim Kono.” Mabel and Oliver love his performance and Oliver even says he has nothing left to teach him, but when Charles asks if he should add voice-over work to his resume, he is reluctant to agree.

The co-hosts celebrate with champagne on the roof of The Arconia. Mabel is wearing the emerald ring. She is surprised at how Charles is handling the fact that his girlfriend turned out to be the murderer, but he thinks it will be a good icebreaker on future dates. Mabel asks if they feel like there are any loose ends, but when they run out of champagne, she offers to go get more. Oliver is already brainstorming what their next case will be, but their conversation is interrupted by sirens. They both receive a text from Mabel that reads “GET OUT OF THE BUILDING NOW!!!”

(Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

(Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

Charles and Oliver race downstairs, not willing to leave Mabel behind. Racing to her apartment, they push open the door to find Mabel on the floor with blood all over her shirt. She is crouched over a dead body in a tie-dye hoodie. It was Bunny, who was in Mabel’s apartment and charged at her. Mabel used her knitting needle in self-defense, but it appears that Mabel killed her. The police rush in and arrest Mabel, Charles and Oliver. As they are escorted out of The Arconia, they pass Detective Williams (Da'Vine Joy Randolph), who tells them not to say a word. The trio are walked down a line of angry residents of The Arconia, followed by their biggest fans. At the end of the line is Cinda Canning (Tina Fey) and her assistant Poppy (Adina Verson) who holds the mic and says “Coming this fall, Only Murderers in the Building.” Cinda takes credit for writing that, threatening her assistant’s career if she claims it as her own. The squad car drives away with Mabel, Charles and Oliver in the backseat.

We will have to wait until season 2 of Only Murders in the Building to find out what happens next. I, for one, plan to go back and rewatch the series on Hulu now that I know how it ends to look for all the breadcrumbs that were left for us to find.

Sign up for Disney+ or the Disney Streaming Bundle (Disney+, ESPN+, and ad-supported Hulu) now