Only Murders In The Building Theory Suggests Ben Might Be Loretta's [SPOILER?]

You simply do not cast a heavyweight actor like Meryl Streep — regarded as one of, if not the very best actor of her generation — and underutilize her or deny her a solid plotline, unless you are behind the second season of HBO's "Big Little Lies." Nobody on the third season of "Only Murders in the Building," as far as anybody knows, was a part of that travesty, so fans have high hopes for Streep's role as aspiring, flailing actor Loretta Durkin. To that end, some fans are theorizing that she could have an unexpected connection to this season's murder victim, conceited superstar Ben Gilroy (Paul Rudd).

Over on Reddit, one enterprising Redditor noticed that Loretta is reading one particular Shakespeare play, which could contain some clues about her past. "I paused the screen to see the book Loretta is reading at the beginning of Ep. 1," u/catsurly wrote. "It is the scene in the Winter's Tale where the king is ordering a member of his court to take his infant daughter and abandon her to die, and he agrees to do it. The king suspected his wife of having an affair and the baby not being his. It turns out the queen did survive in the end, and the infant daughter was saved by a shepard and married the son of the rival king (there's more to the plot, obviously, but these are the main points). Interesting in relation to the baby in Death Rattle being found with a dead mother. It seems like these choices are often intentional by the writers."

Could Ben possibly be Loretta's long-lost son?

Other Redditors agreed with this theory — and not only that, they provided a whole ton of evidence to back it up. As u/blueshoemood wrote on the same thread, "Great catch. I think it's one of the most detailed shows with costuming, sets, dialogue. Nothing seems to be random. I wonder if Loretta is Ben's mom somehow? Maybe she gave him up to pursue her dream, just spitballing, but he made that comment that they're the same?"

u/joljenni1717 wrote a veritable screed backing up this fan theory, kicking it off thusly: "This passage and her moving audition script (it was paraphrased from the nanny dialogue in the murder mystery novel: 'Murder on the Orient Express') were the first two clues." As they point out, there are also some clues in a commercial for the rest of the season when it comes to the person who made a giant display all about Ben; various things point to it potentially being Loretta.

So did she kill Ben? u/joljenni1717 doesn't think so: "I don't think she killed her own son but this explains why Loretta gets lost staring at him during the first table reading. And this explains why she is so mad four months later; after finding out Ben, her son, is a d*ck. Loretta doesn't care about the show at all which is why she barely hears Mabel when Mabel states Loretta must be excited the show is back on. Loretta replies 'No, Ben's still an a**hole.' because Ben's Loretta's main focus. Loretta and Ben both have blue eyes and they zoom out during the table reading to show Loretta and Ben using the same reading prescription glasses and drinking with the same mannerisms."

Loretta is definitely a major suspect in Only Murders in the Building Season 3

That's the big question, though: did Loretta kill Ben? After being apparently poisoned and surviving the attempt on his life, Ben turns up definitely dead in the Arconia, and it's up to Oliver, Charles, and Mabel once again to track down the killer. Loretta does feel like a suspect, especially because after Ben survives the poisoning and "apologizes" to his cast for being so awful before — while still being pretty awful to everybody in the room, honestly — Loretta does, as the Redditor noted, say he's "still an a**hole."

We also know that Loretta's maybe not the strongest performer, despite Oliver's fervent belief in her... and that Ben definitely didn't think she should be a part of the play, going so far as to call her a "stinkarooni." It's still definitely possible, though, that Ben could be the child Loretta once gave up, and that her fury at him stems from the fact that he turned out to be such a jerk.

"Only Murders in the Building" drops new episodes every Tuesday on Hulu.