High Desert (Season 1), Episode 5: Recap & Ending Explained – What Peggy and Denny find in Judy’s vomit?

High Desert (Season 1) Episode 5 Recap & Ending Explained: ‘High Desert’ previously showed Denny getting out of jail after years of imprisonment. He becomes a burden on Peggy, who does not want to get pulled back into her past life. She is content with her new vocation as a private investigator. Besides, she is motivated to find out details about Guru Bob’s missing wife – Donatella Scarborough. It will earn her the reward money, which will help Bruce with his business besides and also help her from selling her mother’s house. At the end of the previous episode, we see Peggy showing up outside Denny’s room to have sex with him. 

*Spoilers ahead*

High Desert (Season 1), Episode 5 Recap:

Episode 5: Soul Retrieval

What is soul retrieval for Denny?

After getting out of prison, Denny (Matt Dillon) tries to persuade Peggy (Patricia Arquette) to help him with his ‘soul retrieval.’ He wants to get hold of his stash from the Alejo Roadhouse. While earlier, she was against helping him, she now goes inside the house to retrieve loads of coins from the laundry. She starts seeing how the resulting money can help her with the mortgage for her mother’s house. She calls Stewart (Keir O’Donnell) right then to say that he will get the next two months’ rent. 

Denny thinks the adrenaline rush of this operation will make Peggy get back to doing the things they used to do before his arrest. She recalls the dreadful repercussions she had to face because of his carelessness. He rather focuses on the good aspects of their past. Anyhow, they get out just in time before the owners can enter the house. They kiss each other before driving away. Unfortunately, they don’t get the returns they expected from that stolen stash. 

Back in Bruce’s (Brad Garett) office, William (Kellen Joseph) helps Bruce with getting his backup issues sorted. Bruce considers him a genius for helping with fairly trivial matters. Peggy hides where she met the kid. She offers money from her stolen stash to help Bruce with his practice. She says she wants a future more than anything else – which her job as a P.I. can offer her. He gets emotional seeing her help him sustain the business. 

Peggy then brings up the subject of the reward for finding where Donatella (Tonya Glanz) is. She recalls the balding bird in the saloon that was left behind even after Dona went missing. However, instead of spending time thinking about that reward money, Bruce expects Peggy to find details about a man who wants details about his cheating spouse. Peggy is not on board with snatching happiness away from this woman. But she eventually accepts this gig as a part of her job. 

Later at Pioneertown, Peggy hands over the keys to her new car to Carol (Weruche Opia). She gives elaborate advice on how she should take care of it. Carol brings up the subject of Peggy getting back with Denny. She worries that Peggy will fall back into the same pattern of self-harming behavior. However, it doesn’t take her much time to realize that Peggy already slept with Denny. 

Peggy changes the subject. She hands over the case she is supposed to pursue. She then tries to convince Carol’s edgy step-daughter, Cooper (Jayden Gomez), to be kinder to her mum. Peggy says how Carol isn’t like mother nor is she trying to be. 

Afterward, Peggy drives up to Denny’s hotel room. They are supposed to visit Guru Bob’s (Rupert Friend) place together as a part of their art con. He dresses up to appear like a wealthy art collector. She notices a tattoo peeking out of his shirt and advises him to hide it. He advises her to take out her glasses. He takes out the bug to record their latter conversation another way. 

How do Peggy and Denny plan to know Dona’s details from Guru Bob?

At Bob’s house, Peggy introduces Denny as Mr. Dennis, who works for Kachel. Bob’s suspicions lead him to frisk Denny, Peggy, and even the dog. Peggy tries to be goofily close to Bob, which upsets Denny. He asks if there is something going on between the two. She makes Denny realize that she did it for the sake of their operation.    

They enter the house and start talking about the painting they are planning to con Bob with. While Peggy shares her sound analysis, Denny pitches with his pretentious remarks. Suddenly, he tells Bob that the painting is fake. Bob accepts that it is stolen. The couple tries to get the forger’s name by making Bob agree that it is fake. They eventually put him on the spot after agreeing that Kachel will buy it. 

What does Guru Bob say about Dona?

Rupert Friend in "High Desert, Season 1, Episode 5" now streaming on Apple TV+.
Rupert Friend in “High Desert, Season 1, Episode 5” now streaming on Apple TV+.

While Peggy walks away, Denny suddenly starts blurting out about Peggy’s past. She snoops right inside to stop him from doing so. Soon after, Bob reveals that the forging artist is his wife. He denies the claim that Dona is dead and says that she left him. They say the art collector would want the background of the painting for the deal. Denny says that forgery will help boost the selling process.

What happened in Guru Bob’s past?

Finally, Bob opens up about an incident from 18 months ago. A coworker who was having mental health troubles committed suicide by jumping on a taco truck from which Bob was attempting to get a taco. It left a scar on Bob’s mind and made him unable to work thereafter. Dona was not helpful in his trauma and was mostly apathetic. So, he turned to a therapist who helped him with hallucinogenics. 

Why did Guru Bob have an epiphany on live television? What made Bob known as a Guru?

The therapy radically changed Bob’s perspective on life, which ultimately led to his public breakdown on live television, which made him lose his news anchor job. He looked at this time as a way to gain a new perspective. His televised epiphany made other people gravitate toward him. They thought he had answers to life’s unsolvable questions, while he was just a delusional bore. While he changed his perspective, Dona hadn’t. He suddenly found her disappeared from their house. 

High Desert (Season 1), Episode 5 Ending Explained:

What do Peggy and Denny find in Judy’s vomit?

Listening to Bob’s emotional story, Denny offers to help in his qigong studio – which he plans to start in the near future. Bob buys into it and shows his interest. Denny decides to use this chance to get funding for this studio. Peggy realizes Denny sidelining their actual mission. They go out to find their dog – Judy, and discover something it swallowed from out in the desert.

While driving back, Peggy gets angry at Denny for crashing her mission. They keep arguing till they reach his motel. She believes he is jealous of Cachel since he is everything that Denny dreams of being. By that time, Judy can’t digest what she ingested earlier. She eventually vomits out a finger. While he can’t look at that disgusting residue, Peggy gets happy since it brings her closer to understanding Dona’s disappearance and getting her reward. It may just be Dona’s finger, after all. 

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High Desert (Season 1), Episode 5 Links: IMDb Wikipedia
High Desert (Season 1), Episode 5 Cast: Patricia Arquette, Bernadette Peters, Brad Garrett, Weruche Opia, Matt Dillon, Christine Taylor, Rupert Friend
Where to watch High Desert
Akash Deshpande

Obsessed, fascinated, and always nerding out about cinema! You can find me in the corner of a room ruminating over the last TV series I watched.