Warning: The following contains spoilers about Only Murders in the Building Season 2, Episode 9.
Only Murders in the Building in its penultimate Season 2 episode reveals that the woman who presented herself as Leonora Folger at Bunny’s memorial is actually Rose Cooper.
When Shirley MacLaine was first introduced as Bunny’s mother Leonora in Episode 2, she told Charles that his father — the man in Rose’s painting — was an adulterer; in the mid-1950s, he worked both sides of the street, juggling affairs with Leonora and Rose. When his mistresses eventually met, a despondent Rose was penniless and “desperate to get away from a man.” To help, Leonora agreed to buy one of her paintings.
Soon after that, Rose went missing. And soon after that, Rose was declared dead.
In the present day, our central trio learns that the above-mentioned painting is hidden at the bottom of Mrs. Gambolini’s birdcage. Charles attempts to get in touch and update Leonora, only to discover that the real Leonora is a non-verbal, 92-year-old woman in assisted living. He done got played!
As Charles takes a closer look at the painting, he notices that his father is wearing the same watch he has on now. On the off chance it’s a clue, Charles removes the watch back and discovers an address inside. He looks it up, finds a phone number and dials it. MacLaine, who we now know is not Leonora, answers the call. Soon after, she shows up at Charles’ front door and confirms that she’s, in fact, Rose Cooper.
So, how much of what Rose told Charles in Episode 2 was true? And why did she let the world believe she was dead?
Rose tells Charles that his father was her one true love. “He tried to keep me safe from a rage-filled husband,” she reveals — which might explain why we saw Savage Sr. dragged out of Rose’s building in handcuffs in Episode 2. “I had to leave to keep us both safe. I had to disappear myself, and we never saw each other again.”
But now that Rose has resurfaced, she wants her painting back. Charles presents the artist with the canvas — but there’s only one way to know for sure that it’s the original: They remove the nails from the back of the floater frame, revealing a second piece of art hidden beneath the erotica. It’s a painting of Charles and his father staring up at the Arconia. According to Rose, it’s a portrait of the man Savage Sr. most wanted to be: a father to his boy.
Rose tells Charles to hang onto the second painting. After all, it’s better that he have it than “that woman who came sniffling around a few months ago,” she says — a “pushy” woman with “brown hair and glasses.” That brings us to Episode 9’s other big reveal: the truth about All Is Not OK in Oklahoma subject Becky Butler, which we discuss here.
What did you think of the big Rose Cooper reveal? Drop your thoughts (and any finale predictions) in a comment below.