This article contains plot recap and minor spoilers regarding Only Murders in the Building season 2.
Part of the charm of Only Murders in the Building is the sheer rewatchabilty of the show. Like any good mystery with twists and turns, going back to watch from the beginning and seeing how the writers misdirected you, or what clues they left, is just as enjoyable as trying to figure it out the first time you watched. The creators of Only Murders went one step further, giving you one more little clue each episode that you can look out for even before the action has started.
The creators of Only Murders turned to the title titans at Elastic, the filmmaking team behind the Game of Thrones intro sequence, to add to the mystery and leave an exciting new Easter egg in the opening credits each week. Sometimes, even if you discover the animated incongruity in each intro, deciphering what they mean can be just as tricky.
Allow Den of Geek to be your guide, and help you find all 9 clues from this season so far and explain their significance.
Episode 1: The Painting
With a second season, we naturally begin to learn a little more about our trio of amateur sleuths: Charles (Steve Martin), Oliver (Martin Short) and Mabel (Selena Gomez). In the premiere, as soon as the friends are released after being detained as persons of interest, they of course, dive immediately into trying to solve the murder of their building’s former Tenant Board President, Bunny (Jayne Houdyshell).
As they slither through Bunny’s apartment, they discover hidden elevators and secret passages, but nothing quite as delicious as overhearing that Bunny is missing a beloved and irreplaceable painting. Could this theft be the killer’s motive? Where is the painting?
As the episode winds down, and Charles returns to his apartment he discovers the answer to that last question: it has been planted in his apartment, revealing a connection to the killer, and possibly revealing a dark secret from his past.
In the title sequence, as we peer into Charles’ apartment window as he washes dishes, just as he always does, look for a mysterious framed painting over his shoulder that isn’t usually there.
Episode 2: The Bird
In every title sequence, there is an animated version of an older woman walking her dog outside the doors of the Arconia. It happens at the very beginning, and she can be seen again just as the titles conclude. That woman, bearing a remarkable resemblance to this season’s victim, Bunny, makes one major and quirky change to that routine.
In the second Easter egg, the animated Bunny can be seen walking a parrot, on a leash, just as she did time and time again with the dog. The significance being that as our trio of heroes dive deeper into the mystery of her death, they also inherit Bunny’s foul-mouthed fowl, Mrs. Gambolini. Granted, a parrot isn’t a fowl, but that was a solid play on words, and seeing Mrs. Gambolini is a great way to play with the introduction and show audiences just how important the parrot may be to solving the mystery.
In fact, Mrs. Gambolini is such a presence throughout the remainder of the season, that she gets her walk in almost every remaining episode.
Episode 3: The Bottle
“The Last Day of Bunny Folger” is an apt name for the third episode this season, as we get a glimpse into the final moments of the victim’s life. This coincidentally also serves as a flashback to last season’s finale, when Bunny was found lifeless in front of a bloodied Mabel.
Bunny’s life is revealed to be filled with sardonic bitterness and a touch of sympathetic loneliness, the latter of which plays into our next title card clue. When Charles, Oliver, and Mabel solved Tim Kono’s muder in the first season, they went to the roof to celebrate. This scene has been shown several times, bookending season 1, and being reintroduced in this episode. However, before the trio of podcasting sleuths climbed to the top of the Arconia to celebrate, they were simply basking in their victory in Charles’ apartment. Bunny came knocking on the door, and for once, the lonely Bunny shined a friendly smile, and reached out to the group, only to be rejected by the trio, blissfully unaware that they had shunned Bunny.
Near the conclusion of every title sequence, our three animated heroes can be seen standing in the middle of the Arconia’s atrium, staring up at the various windows. Look for a bottle of bubbly beside them this time, indicating that their fates, and the fate of the victim is certainly linked to their celebration, Mabel leaving to get more champagne, and the three of them ignoring poor Bunny
Episode 4: The Flip-Flops
Season 2 also introduced new characters, such as Lucy (Zoe Colletti), Charles’ surrogate step daughter from one of his more painful relationships. We’re introduced to Lucy in a flashback as she and Charles sing an upbeat version of his song “An Angel in Flip Flops”.
When Lucy later dusts off the record that contained the song, we learn that it was a major hit for Charles (in Germany) and recently several hip hop artists sampled the song which in turn, gives Charles a fairly comfortable sum every year in royalties.
At the very start of the title sequence, as Bunny walks her dog, or parrot, there is a pair of large trees on either side of the Arconia’s gates. Pay attention to the tree on the right, as you’ll have to be quick to catch a pair of flip-flops dangling from the top of the tree as if they were a premature Christmas ornament.
Episode 5: The Lava Lamp
This is arguably the most obvious Easter egg of all 10 episodes this season. Every title introduction has a short stop to peek into the windows of Charles, Oliver and finally Mabel before soaring over the roof of the Arconia.
Their routine remains the same almost every time, but in this episode, the colorful Oliver is bathed in even more color thanks to a lava lamp sitting in his window sill, lighting up the entire apartment.
This is connected to the series of flashbacks where Oliver, in typical Oliver fashion, hosts a murder mystery card game related to the Son of Sam and his victims. The lava lamp is a fairly superfluous clue merely representing the game that Oliver often plays, trying to determine everyone’s ‘tell’ and figure out who’s hiding a secret.
Episode 6: The Glittery Sun
As if competing with the previous episode, this episode’s massive sparkling sun gives the flamboyant Oliver bathed in purple light a run for its money.
The sun that typically fades over the horizon of the New York cityscape every intro transforms into a giant ball of red glitter. This is an connection to the glitter-bomb Charles, Oliver and Mabel plant in an attempt to ensnare the murderer, who the trio recently discovered is the person they’ve been texting. They originally thought it was their ally Detective Williams (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), but when the truth was discovered, they could no longer simply hand over evidence to the killer, they had to use this moment to their advantage, and set a trap.
As the three stake out the scene in Oliver’s trusted car, Aphrodite, they naturally get distracted, and miss the explosion and their moment to catch the killer. But as Oliver pointed out, there’s no getting rid of glitter. It will eventually and undoubtedly lead to the prime suspect.
Episode 7: The Puzzle Pieces
As Charles and Oliver have already had episodes which revealed a dark corner of their past, this episode, entitled “Flipping the Pieces” reveals a bit of Mabel’s tragic past, and the relationship she had with her father.
A young Mabel is seen bonding with her father as they challenge themselves to weekly puzzles. Since Mabel, a natural problem solver, begins to find these puzzles all-too-easy, her father challenges her to ultimately flipping over the pieces of the puzzle so that she can’t see the image at all.
Mabel eventually reveals that she equates this to the random memory blackouts she has. Her father’s painful passing is too difficult to speak of, and any time Mabel comes across something traumatic (which happens all too often), she “flips the pieces” in her mind, so that she can no longer remember the trauma.
In the intro, look for what subtly looks like charcoal scuffs on the outside walls of the Arconia. Eventually, these charcoal outlines begin to look more and more like giant puzzle pieces, as within the episode, Mabel begins to piece together her memory, and unlock a major part of the story.
Episode 8: The Darkness
Every generation knows the Simon and Garfunkel perennial hit “The Sound of Silence,” either by being brought up on the song, or more recently in a series of memes. Episode 7 ended with a bit of a cliffhanger, as the entire Tri-State area experienced a massive and mood-inspiring blackout.
Episode 8, “Hello Darkness” takes place almost entirely in that blackout, and the title sequence is no different. While we still see into all the windows of the Arconia residents, there are no internal lights working, only flashes of the emergency lights in the stairway. This delightfully dark dramatic introduction is a great way to set the tone for the remainder of the episode.
Episode 9: The Chicken
As previously mentioned, Mrs. Gambolini the parrot isn’t necessarily being walked in every episode this season. We’ve already established the dog is there in the premiere, but look at what is at the end of Bunny’s leash in this episode.
As if trying to answer the age-old riddle of “why did the chicken cross the road”, Bunny is walking a true fowl this time. Yet, why the switch?
After Mabel went to Coney island with former foe Theo (James Caverly) and was eventually cornered by the glitter encrusted killer last episode, the murderer got away with the matchbook (an important piece of evidence) but not with their backpack, which Mabel snagged. This backpack has an all-too-familiar patch on it, a logo of a chicken which Mabel recognizes. Knowing she’s seen this logo before, Mabel begins to realize this might be the final clue to the ultimate reveal of who the killer might be.
Episode 10: ???
What will the opening title cards of Only Murders in the Building season 2 episode 10 reveal? You’ll have to wait until next week to find out. But to all who are eagerly to know: we recommend rewatching the first episode of the season.
The Only Murders in the Building season 2 finale premieres Tuesday, Aug. 23 on Hulu.