Poker Face (Season 1), Episode 9 Recap & Ending Explained: The penultimate episode of ‘Poker Face’ is an intense chamber drama. After taking Charlie through an adventurous ride, this Peacock series now takes a somber approach to dealing with its new murder tale.

The latest episode ingeniously marries her personal case with the one she stumbles upon. While the show has already established its knack for mysterious story-building, the latest episode affirms how it can achieve it in almost any setting and still hold your attention.

With every character being in some way ‘on the run,’ Poker Face season 1 episode 9 plays around with how every one of them is trying to save themselves. If you’re planning to read further, be aware of spoilers.

Poker Face (Season 1), Episode 9 Recap:

Episode 9: Escape from Shit Mountain

After doing one temporary job after another, Charlie (Natasha Lyonne) finally succumbs to lust. While walking through an area filled with woods (and criticizing its boring monotony in brand with her crackling individuality), she stumbles upon a handsome hunk who offers her emotional shelter. They act like the lovey-dovey couples that we look at and cringe at seeing their cheerfulness. Alas, seeing her finally happy and not just running for her life feels good. But it seems like her fate is bound to keep her on a rollercoaster ride of experiences. So, this love soon fades out.

The sunny cheerfulness transforms into a coldness of chilling snowscapes. Seeing no purpose left at this place, Charlie decides to get going. She cleans the snow off windshields of unsuspecting gas station customers in front of a convenience store and collects their tips to pay for her car’s gas. Right when the store owner gives her a final warning to leave, she bumps into a girl (played by newly Oscar-nominated Stephanie Hsu), who proposes to Charlie that she will pay for her journey if she gets a ride out to the ocean. Charlie accepts the deal.

We will never know this girl’s real name, but she at least gives Mortimer Bernstein’s credit card to pay for the gas. So, she becomes Morty! Charlie instantly sniffs Morty’s kleptomania, which follows their further adventure. On the way, her car goes off the road while saving it from hitting a deer. She summons Morty to go back to the store for help and keeps waiting for her till late at night. Right after a deer passes by, she sees the bright headlights of a car and starts waving to ask for help. In no time, she gets hit. This is the first time she will be fighting for her own life and not just for someone else’s death.

The car belongs to Trey Mendez (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – a wealthy guy who belongs to a breed of men who worship Elon Musk and probably enjoy smelling their own farts! This narcissist felon is out on parole and isn’t supposed to leave the premises of his home. He spends his time racing a car on his LCD screen, following a disciplinary routine while being engulfed in his little paradise. He orders food on a daily basis but refuses to pay any tip to the delivery man. Perhaps because of his beliefs that everyone else does not deserve the money, whereas he earns because of his worth. Who knows!

One night, he is notified by his parole officer that his ankle monitor won’t work till the early morning. He gets a rush at the thought of this freedom, and his first instinct is to take his actual race car out for a ride. He drives away like there’s no tomorrow (pun, absolutely intended!). When he manages to miss hitting a deer, he ends up hitting Charlie. Seeing that he has hit a human being, his first instinct is to leave immediately from the blame. But when he notices a car about to pass by, he rushes to pull that body into his car’s trunk.

He takes it to his old friend – Jimmy’s (David Castañeda) motel, who is sore seeing Trey arrive only when it’s an emergency – like he did for some reason years ago. While Trey keeps blaming his partners for solely reprimanding him for insider trading fraud, Jimmy stays pissed at Trey’s utter selfishness. Still, he helps this felon dump near a tree in their ‘usual spot’ and covers it with leaves.

Soon after, Charlie soon comes back to her senses and tries to find a light out of the tunnel (quite literally!) She climbs out of that deep hole, walks to the motel, and starts knocking on the door. Trey opens the door to find this fallen body. Jimmy sees that she is alive and decides to shoot her, more so because of Trey’s persuasiveness. That’s when Morty arrives in Charlie’s car (stealing her car, as Charlie suspected!) and ends up saving her.

Back in the motel lobby, Charlie tries to figure out from her blurry memory if she can remember the face of the person who hit her. She can only remember the deer! During their back-and-forth related to Morty’s kleptomania, they start talking about two things – the first is about a girl named Chloe Jones who went missing since God knows when, and – the second is about the bone that she used to crawl out of her hole. Charlie pushes Jimmy’s buttons to make him tell why he does not have a missing person poster for Chloe like every other store in the area. So he begrudgingly shows it.

Poker Face Season 1 Episode 9

Trey wants to get rid of Charlie since she cannot recall any details. Jimmy thinks they should keep her in a room till the morning since the cop’s arrival would mean their ‘spot’ would be revealed. Trey still does what he wants to and pretends to call the cops to alert them about this emergency. But neither Charlie nor Morty know that the line is dead. Charlie senses that the police will arrive, which will get her identity revealed, and stops Trey from speaking with them.

Once these old friends go out to make arrangements for Charlie’s motel room, her mind starts working as quickly as before the accident. Why would she fall in a place where a bone was present? Is it possible that the disappeared-for-years Chloe is in the same hole? She quickly thinks of calling the cops about it (takes Morty in on this plan by offering its lofty reward money) and realizes that the lines are dead. Now, why would Trey pretend to call if he is not involved in this act?

Who stays alive in the end among Charlie, Morty, Jimmy, and Trey?

Since Charlie’s leg is fractured, Morty decides to figure it out by going to that hole. Trey notices her from the room and follows her. While she is busy taking photos of Chloe’s skeleton, he points a gun at her head. Her sixth sense works fine for her, just as does her kleptomania. She points the stolen gun from the motel back at him and cuts a deal for his car in exchange for keeping this evidence a secret. Little did she know that this was another one of his ploys to get her killed.

Meanwhile, Jimmy goes back to Charlie and finds her stumble upon a group photo where he and Trey were standing along with the missing Chloe. First, he offers her two pills of ibuprofen (which Charlie’s lie detector quickly realizes to be his tool for intoxicating her) and then shares a story of him, Trey, and Chloe. He says she was in an on-and-off relationship with Trey, which ended badly. Charlie senses his pain as truth and lets him believe that she is under the influence of the drugs he gave. He walks out of the lobby, convinced that she is no longer there, and ends up arguing with Trey right outside.

Charlie continues with her attempts to get the car keys so she can safely drive away. But she creates a mess and thus invites both these friends inside. While Trey stops her from getting hold of the keys, she makes Jimmy see Trey’s evil side. By doing that, she decides to unburden him from his guilt by clearing up the truth.

Until then, Jimmy thought Chloe had died of a drug overdose resulting in a life-threatening accident. Now that he realizes Trey’s narcissistic evil behavior killed her, he resolves to save Charlie from him (since Trey killed Morty just as he did Chloe, without any remorse). But Trey does not think much before shooting him in the head. Yet another murder by his hands where he sees no fault of his.

While Charlie makes attempts to save her life, he stabs her in the chest. Then, he takes both these bodies back to the spot, piling them upon Chloe’s. He goes back to the lobby, tries clearing the evidence that can implicate him, and gulps down the coconut rum from the mug (that Charlie drank from before). However, he wasn’t aware that Charlie had put the pills into the same mug. He unknowingly consumes them, which makes him woozy on his way back to his place.

Poker Face (Season 1) Episode 9 Ending Explained

Does Trey succeed in tricking his parole officer?

Despite the struggle to gain sanity, Trey returns to his residence on time. His parole officer was just calling him then, trying to check up as per his regular duty. Trey sees all of this as a victory – from successfully evading the blame, not one, two, but four murders (if you also include Chloe’s). In that euphoric state, he returns to his room, trying to find balance with his wounded leg. When he sits down to finally speak with this officer, he notices that his ankle monitor is missing.

What happens to Charlie after the stabbing accident?

Turns out, Charlie snatched Trey’s ankle monitor, which stays in her hands till 7 in the morning. As a result, Trey gets sentenced for all these murders, and Charlie (who is very much alive!) hears about it through a television news broadcast from her hospital bed. This makes it the second time Trey suspected she is dead! Besides Chloe’s and Jimmy’s, the police also find Charlie’s dead body (suspecting Morty to be her – perhaps owing to Morty’s kleptomania that results in Charlie’s wallet being found on her body).

Charlie looks at her cast and sees Jane Doe (aka unknown identity) written on it. She considers her death as a sweet victory of her fate! However, she isn’t aware that her fate is waiting right outside in the parking lot in the form of Cliff Legrand (Benjamin Bratt)! The question remains – how does he know that Charlie is alive? Was he on her tail all this time? Only the finale can answer that.

But for now, Rian Johnson deserves all the praise for directing this enthralling hour of television just as his excellent direction for ‘The Night Shift.’ I can already see Natasha’s name popping up in next year’s TV nominations (and deservedly so!) Besides the Proustian flashbacks that Charlie goes through in this episode (the coconut rum takes her through unflattering memories in a swimming pool with her mother), I hope the finale sheds light on the past of her rolling stone personality a bit further. I believe many viewers (including me) would love to see her past explored for her to be who she is.

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Poker Face (Season 1), Episode 9 Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Poker Face (Season 1), Episode 9 Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Stephanie Hsu, David Castañeda, and Benjamin Bratt
Where to watch Poker Face

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