'Poker Face' Episode 1 Finale Explained: Hitting 'Em Where It Hurts'
"Charlie Kyle, I'm here to get fired."
Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Episode 1 of Poker Face.
Writer-director Rian Johnson has had a pretty busy few years. In 2017, he directed Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, which traveled to a galaxy far, far away. A few years later, in 2019, his dark comedy detective "Into the Wild" was a critical and commercial success, admired for its clever storyline and strong characters. One character in particular, Daniel Craig's Southern detective Benoit Blanc, has become a fan favorite and recently flew to Greece to solve another mystery in The Glass Onion: Knives Out. (Johnson was nominated for an Oscar for his writing on both films.)
Thankfully, he isn't slowing down on the mystery anytime soon. He is the creator, writer, and director of the Peacock series Poker Face, a weekly mystery-style series, à la Columbo, that follows Natasha Lyonne's Charlie Cale, a perfectly flawed and messy woman living in Arizona. The woman is very nice, at least by her standards. She does have this really awesome gift of being able to tell exactly when someone is lying, a skill that has come in handy many times in the past and is poised to put her in danger in the future. used to Are you here for a ride?
Solving the Mystery of Charlie Cale
It soon becomes clear that Charlie Kyle is a cool cat. She was instantly an enigma by wearing sunglasses, a trucker hat, shorts, and a cardigan all at the same time. She lives in a trailer on a dusty Arizona road, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer (the first of many) like a boss...all before her workday even starts. Okay, so, maybe she's not exactly "responsible" or "setting a good example", but, she's everything you could want from a lead character. She keeps her cards relatively secret, but at the same time has no filter. When she's not in the trailer, she works as a cocktail server at Frost Casino, usually sneaking drinks on the job. How and why did Charlie waste her human bullshit detector skills when she was working as a waitress at some random casino?
See, Frost Casino isn't just any casino. For the past few months, it has been taken over and "run" by Sterling Frost Jr. (Adrien Brody), a scruffy, self-righteous mogul just trying to prove to his recently retired father that he is , in fact, has the ability to follow in his footsteps. Charlie is She is surprised at the break to learn that Sterling wants to see her, and immediately thinks she's going to be fired. Given the whole of her "things" (more on that later), she's actually shocked that she's been there for so long. Sterling didn't want to fire her, but wanted to work with her and use her talents as a bluffer to their mutual financial advantage.
In this uneasy exchange in Sterling's office, we learn how Charlie got to where he is. "Once upon a time, in Denver..." as Sterling explains, "the best poker players in central Colorado met in the Fairfield Inn suites off Interstate 25." For her cash and her cute ways, she was allowed to compete. Not only did she win, but she outsmarted her opponent, pissing off her peers in the process. And, it wasn't a fluke. Turns out Charlie has done this in different cities because she keeps a low profile on purpose and never goes to the big or corporate owned casinos so she is able to get away it. Word spread quickly about her, and since gamblers were known to talk, people began to suspect that she was looking at the cards. However, this could not be further from the truth.
Charlie just has a "supernatural infallibility", which Sterling's father finally noticed when she first stepped into the Frost Casino, and even studied her in tournaments. He ends up spreading the word that she's a liar (which is a lie) and she gets hacked in no time. He offers her a job at the casino (he tries to keep her in a "cage"), and Charlie has been working as a cocktail waitress ever since. And she is very casual about being blocked? This troubled and confused Sterling deeply. How could she be so calm about not using her talent anymore? "Man, I'm a sucker," Charlie explained after hearing his fabulous retelling of her story. She has no master plan. She doesn't think she got away with anything. Frankly, her austere lifestyle working in a casino is much more boring than when she gambled and won a lot of money. "I love my life. I love my job. I am I'm sorry you're firing me," she said to Sterling. Don't worry, Chuck. He didn't fire you.
The Frost Casino Is Bad News
In the show's opening scene, before we have the aforementioned exchange or meet Charlie, we meet the casino lady Maid Natalie (Dasha Polanco), judging by her reaction, she saw something very outrageous in the opening of the hotel guest's laptop. She took a picture and called one who didn't answer and then tell security chief Cliff (Benjamin Bratt) what just happened. It turns out the computer belonged to Mr. Kane, a high-roller oil dealer who brought them a lot of business. Cliff and Natalie tell Sterling (who was in a meeting with important people) and was disgusted by what he saw on his computer. Although the man brought them a lot of business, Sterling said he wanted to do the morally right thing and work with him Cut off ties. Well, can we really trust him?
Short answer? Absolutely not. Sterling tells her she's right to speak out and assures her they'll deal with it. Instead, Cliff picks up from the safe Grab a gun, head to Natalie's house and shoot her insults The husband is on the head. As Natalie was on her way home, she received a call from her friend and colleague Charlie, which we learn was actually a call back to an earlier missed call by Charlie, which Natalie dialed immediately after seeing the computer. phone. Natalie came home to see her husband dead on the floor, only to be shot herself. Cliff then takes the gun, places it in the hands of her husband, and frames him for murder-suicide. Now, where are we?
The opening scene where Natalie is murdered doesn't actually take place until midway through the episode. After a one-on-one with Sterling, Natalie's husband visits drunk, and Cliff quickly takes her in. Later, Sterling takes Charlie to the crow's nest to see if she can read Kane, the guy we know who owns the crappy laptop and the casino's big business. Sterling explained how Kane took advantage of the casino's good treatment of him and played private games outside his room, which did the casino no good. The solution Sterling came up with was to have Charlie signal him when he was bluffing while watching private game tape, so Sterling can empty his pockets. Charlie explained that pulling the golden goose didn't seem like something Sterling's father would do, but Sterling insisted. Charlie leaves for a brief meeting, then returns to his chat with Charlie. The next morning, Charlie is horrified to learn that Natalie was allegedly murdered by her husband. But the more the story unfolds, the more questions Charlie has instead of answers. Was Sterling behind it?
Since this mystery is told out of order, it must be retraced. We learn that Sterling's visit with Natalie about the computer actually happened when Charlie asked Sterling about his plans to get his money back from Kane. While Sterling handles the situation and orders the strike, Charlie goes to the crow's nest and returns to his meeting with Charlie as if nothing had happened. Charlie explained that she knew he was lying when she asked him if everything was okay, but he insisted it was just a typical call from Cliff and everything was fine. Cliff thinks they should abort the cheat mission now that Charlie is after them, but Sterling won't back down.
Sterling's plans to cheat with Charlie in Kane match foiled When they're both late, Charlie takes the opportunity to tell Sterling that she knows Natalie was murdered by him. "When she saw something horrible, she did the right thing, she did something. And you killed her for it." If Natalie showed the police the photos from the laptop (which we learned had child pornography), then Kane would go to jail. She details how she knew Cliff took Jerry's gun when he was dealing with drunken behavior at the casino and used it to frame him for Natalie's murder. Sterling said he could get away with it because the police would believe him instead of her and threatened to throw her off the balcony in an elaborate cover-up. Charlie revealed she recorded Sterling's conversations about his plans to cheat and sent them to people who would "whack them". Policemen? no no. Kane himself. Everyone will know by now that Sterling played dirty because the gamblers talk.
The icing on the cake happens when Kane gets a call from his father, who now knows everything. Overwhelmed, Sterling jumped off the balcony and it was over For his life, Cliff chased Charlie angrily. Charlie escaped (despite being shot) and sent computer photos to police. The episode features Sterling's father (with a surprise cameo voiced by Ron Perlman!) calling her and telling her he's going to spend the rest of his life hunting her down until he can finally hit her where it hurts.
The first four episodes of Poker Face are now available on Peacock, with new episodes released every Thursday.