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Only Murders In The Building Season 3: Oliver's Episode 2 Dream Explained

Contains Spoilers for "Only Murders in The Building" Season 3, Episode 2 — "And the Beat Goes On"

Considering the heavy amount of stress Oliver Putnam (Martin Short) has undergone over the past couple of seasons of "Only Murders in the Building," it's not surprising that he finally has a heart attack in the episode "And the Beat Goes On." While he tries to rest and avoid stress, he justifies the amount of work he's putting into remounting "Death Rattle" and the case surrounding Ben Glenroy's (Paul Rudd) murder. He reminds his son Will (Ryan Broussard) that famous film and Broadway choreographer-director-producer Bob Fosse experienced similar cardiac issues while managing to brilliantly mount some memorable work. Will points out that Fosse eventually died from his final heart attack. 

When Oliver falls asleep, the dream he has is inspired by Fosse's most intimate artistic statement about his own heart issues. He imagines Will, Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez), and Charles Haden-Savage (Steve Martin) dressed up in dazzling black suits. They all beg him to take a break and get some rest and destress. The style of the number, the choreography, and even the outfits the trio is wearing are clearly based on those worn and enacted by Leland Palmer, Ann Reinking, and Erzsebet Foldi in "All That Jazz" during the "There'll Be Some Changes Made" number.

All That Jazz is Bob Fosse's magnum opus

While Oliver naturally manages to survive his dream sequence, Bob Fosse's alter-ego, Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider), does not make it through "All That Jazz." Eerily, Fosse too would die of a heart attack eight years after the release of the film — he collapsed into the arms of his ex-wife Gwen Verdon on September 23, 1987, on a Washington D.C. street.

Much of the grist for Fosse's fictional mill came from his real life. The story fictionalizes his relationship with his daughter Nicole (called Michelle in the musical), estranged wife and partner Gwen Verdon (named Audrey Paris), and then-current partner Ann Reinking (playing a fictionalized version of herself as Kate Jagger) and his inability to stop drinking, smoking, womanizing, popping pills, or putting himself under heavy amounts of stress. As Joe tries to mount a new Broadway musical and edits another film while trying to balance his health and chaotic personal life, he becomes enamored of Angelique (Jessica Lange), a seductive woman in white and the angel of death personified. 

At least Oliver manages to snag some inspiration from his dream, deciding to turn "Death Rattle" into a full-out musical. That increases the likelihood that Season 3 of "Only Murders in the Building" will indeed sport a full-out musical episode. But while Oliver's career-related stress has started to clear up, the mess related to Ben's death seems to be never-ending. Hopefully, he'll manage to make it through the rest of the season hale and well.