This article contains spoilers through Only Murders in the Building season 3 episode 4.
If you’re like us, you’re neck-deep in Only Murders in the Building theories with almost half of season 3 already completed. This season’s victim, Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd), appeared to have died twice in the season opener, and both the trio of podcasters at the center of the show and the viewers who joyfully follow their misadventures have been eagerly piecing together the murder mystery puzzle with four episodes worth of material to mull over. The most recent episode “The White Room” added some needed context to an earlier development in the case, and many fans online may have already cracked the code.
Remember back in the first episode of the season when Ben was treating the cookies offered to him at the table read for Oliver’s (Martin Short) play as an arch-nemesis of sorts? The scene is filled with great character humor that lets us inside the unique mind of Ben and how he prepares for his roles on stage and screen. Fast forward to the third episode “Grab Your Hankies” and we see a similarly excitable Ben in an argument in his dressing room pre-show with an unseen second party. Well, many fans are starting to think Ben was simply arguing with himself about the merits of eating the delightful baked goods … and honestly, they’re almost certainly correct.
Kimber (Ashley Park) told Mabel (Selena Gomez) in the most recent episode that Ben was suffering from some sort of red mark on his face right before the show. There’s lipstick on Ben’s dressing room mirror cursing him out, calling him a *bleeping* pig, and the lipstick is revealed to belong to Charles’ (Steve Martin) girlfriend, Joy (Andrea Martin). This is a lot to digest, but think we have it all solved with the help of our fellow fans on Reddit:
It makes almost too much sense that Ben views the cookies as the culprit behind his red markings on his face, and he blames himself for not having the self-control needed to avoid eating them. This fits right in line with what Kimber told Mabel this week about Ben’s personality: he’s very hard on himself. While Ben may be an arrogant and sometimes difficult actor to work with (a Hollywood celebrity being a douche? What an absolute shock!), he’s also successful because he puts a lot of training and time into his craft. A fad diet that doesn’t include even the occasional cookie is bound to irritate even the most sweet toothless person on the planet. He wanted a cookie, he ate a cookie, and he thinks he’s a pig for eating it. But after hearing about how Kimber wanted Ben to use her beauty serum, it seems that product is probably the real reason for Ben’s rashes, not the scrumptious treats.
But why does all of this matter in the grand scheme of the murder mystery? As the fan theory on Reddit pointed out, some people believe that the connection between Kimber and Ben is more morbid than Kimber let on in her conversation with Mabel. Kimber is trying to sell a beauty serum that people put on their faces. Ben is an attractive actor trying to stay young and good looking, making him the target market for Kimber’s brand. Kimber says that Ben wouldn’t really use her serum, though, and this could have upset Kimber and turned her against him. This makes her a prime suspect in the case, even after the conversations with Mabel that seemed to clear her name.
Only Murders in the Building is all about hinting at a suspect, declaring them a red herring, and then leaving you hanging somewhere in the middle. Loretta Durkin (Meryl Streep) remains a suspect entering the fifth episode after finding out more about Kimber’s beauty serum. Redditors noticed Loretta had some of Kimber’s product amongst her own belongings.
Loretta’s disdain for Ben seems to run deeper, and her vial could have been the one that “killed” Ben the first time at the play if Ben accidentally used it. Instead of finishing the job, it just left Ben with that initial rash he thought was due to the cookies. We still need a lot more information about Loretta, Joy, and maybe even Cinda Canning (Tina Fey), a competing podcaster who is putting herself back in the media world after she was nearly framed for last season’s crime. The one variable we can solidly check off though, is that the murderer was not talking to Ben in the dressing room. That was an argument between Ben and his own alter-ego.
The first four episodes of Only Murders in the Building season 3 are available to stream on Hulu now. New episodes premiere Tuesdays through the finale on Oct. 3.