Poker Face (Season 1), Episodes 1, 2, 3 & 4: Recap & Ending, Explained

Poker Face (Season 1) Episode 1, 2, 3 & 4 Ending Explained

Poker Face (Season 1), Episodes 1, 2, 3, & 4: In a recent interview, Rian Johnson proclaimed his love for whodunit narratives. He mentions how comforting it is for him to work in this genre – and to bring Agatha Christie-like suspense thrillers to life. Knives Out showed his expertise in carving such a narrative. Glass Onion put a spin on the genre structure to play around with our expectations.

Now with Peacock’s ‘Poker Face,’ he is back in his element, bringing an A game in terms of presenting nail-biting suspense. With Natasha Lyonne’s inimitable screen presence, it brings back the case-of-the-week murder mystery format to television. Its four-episode premiere looks more than promising for all the genre fans.

Poker Face (Season 1), Episodes 1, 2, 3 & 4 Recap:

Episode 1: Dead Man’s Hand

Natalie (Dascha Polanco) works as a maid in a lavish Frost Casino. During her cleaning shift, she enters the room of one of the guests named Kazimir Caine. Over there, she stumbles upon a photo on his laptop. She takes a picture of it on her phone and leaves the room. Natalie alerts Cliff Legrand (Benjamin Bratt), the casino’s chief of security, about it since she recognizes its potentially dangerous ramifications.

He takes her to the current casino manager – Sterling Frost, Jr. (Adrian Brody), to seek his counsel. He advises Natalie to go home while feigning worry for her well-being and taking the case in his hand. Before she leaves, he gets hold of her phone and deletes the photographs she has taken. It makes him seem suspicious from the get-go.

When she steps into her home, she gets shot dead by Cliff. It turns out Sterling Jr. himself ordered the hit. Back to the morning from that day, we meet Charlie Cale (Natasha Lyonne), who lives in an RV and works in the same casino as a cocktail waitress. She enters with Natalie, who keeps talking about her struggles with her husband. The same husband later barges into the casino and creates a massive scene. The security manages to stop him, and then Cliff takes off the gun tied to his shoes.

Meanwhile, after her shift, Charlie is escorted to Sterling Jr’s office. She assumes that he is going to fire her. But he recounts a tale of a woman who roamed around the country, winning big in various casinos, yet the woman never cheated in her games. In the end, this woman ended up in the Frost Casino, where Sterling Sr closely observed her game.

It turns out the woman is Charlie herself, who he eventually hired as their cocktail waitress. Sterling Jr understands Charlie’s skills to deduce truth from lies. So, he wonders why she did not continue using this God-given gift. On the other hand, she wonders why he brought her into his office if not to fire her.

Sterlin Jr. then shares a task with her. It is to understand the playing technique of one of their players, who he assumes, is cheating. Sensing that she does not have the option to say no, she accepts the proposal. While the two are busy planning out the details to catch that player’s lies, he receives a call from Cliff. After killing Natalie, he makes the same call to tell him that their mission is successful. The next day, Charlie learns about Natalie’s death in the newspaper, and it occupies her mind throughout the day. Because of this, she can’t focus on her work, and she constantly thinks about death.

Sterling Jr tries to pin it down on her abusive husband, who appears like the most obvious suspect. But Charlie cannot digest this deduction. Why would the husband kill her out of nowhere? – she wonders. While adding multiple cameras in the player’s room to check if he is lying, she cooks up a plan to get inside Natalie’s apartment to look for some reason why she was killed.

Charlie breaks into Natalie’s home and finds her iPad but cannot access it since she does not know its pin number. She takes it home and thinks of ways to deduce the pin. She eventually discovers it and gets inside the device’s storage. Moreover, Charlie finds a photo that puts suspicion on Kazimir Caine.

Then, she goes back to the Casino and reveals all these details. She also tells her suspicion that Caine did not want these details to be disclosed and, thus, killed Natalie. Sterling Jr and Cliff understand that Charlie is getting eerily closer to the truth and try diverting her mind back to the task at her hand.

However, she is persistent in her pursuit. In the night, she figures out a lie that he told in the afternoon. She also sees the security footage when Natalie’s husband is escorted out. Cliff mentioned that he returned the gun, but the metal detector did not show him having anything metal, i.e., gun in this case, on his body.

In her steady process of bringing out the truth, Sterling Jr confesses and decides to kill Charlie since she knows the truth and would have probably recorded it. While she did not record that particular conversation, Charlie had a recording of what he said earlier, which proves his guilt. With a fear of losing his reputation and casino’s ownership from his father, whose approval he always sought, he decides to end his life than being proven guilty. So, he ends his life by throwing himself off the balcony.

Since only Charlie is in that hotel room besides Cliff, she will be considered the most likely suspect in Sterling Jr’s death. So, she rushes right out of the room, and Cliff follows her. Charlie reaches a restaurant and tries to send that picture to the local sheriff. Meanwhile, she notices the news headlines referring to Sterling Jr’s death as a suicide. She gets a call from Sterling Sr to return to the casino. But Charlie decides to be on the run since she knows that going back would only mean danger for her.

Episode 2: The Night Shift

In a small town in New Mexico, Jed (Colton Ryan) sits on the rooftop of the garage where he works and observes whatever happens around it. Damian (Brandon Micheal Hall) is a veteran who works in a Subway outlet next to it. He is an optimistic hustler who moonlights as an influencer and passionately improves his present skillset. Sara (Megan Suri), who works at the convenience store on the opposite side, is his close friend.

That night, he goes to her store and takes a lottery card like every other day, hoping to go on a Hawaii trip with her. While they are talking, Jed arrives at the store and asks her if she would like to join him to watch a rare event of, the meteor shower. He has a crush on Sara, but she does not respond to him well.

Damian sees that Jed is creeping her out and, later, decides to speak with him about it. At night, he goes to the rooftop and tries to make Jed get out of his bubble of self-loathing as a loner. Soon after, he scratches his recently purchased lottery card and finds out that he has won after months of failed attempts. Hearing about the considerable amount Damian gets out of luck, Jed becomes even more jealous of him.

While Damian starts dancing in joy, Jed pushes him down. Though Damian doesn’t die immediately, he kills him with the sandwich knife from his pocket and then puts him in a bag. Then, he erases the traces that can implicate him as the murderer. He takes the dead body and puts it in the truck parked outside.

Sometime later, the trucker sees this dead body inside, takes a U-turn, and throws the body next to Jed’s garage. He notices all of it and turns on the security cameras right then to get the trucker on tape. Then, he calls the police to inform them about a murder he witnessed. Charlie, who is on the run, arrives in this town the previous morning.

Charlie needed to repair a car issue and ended up in Jed’s garage, which his uncle owns. He says that he can get it repaired only the next day. So, she can’t think of any other option but to stay there for a bit. Soon after, she meets a nomad trucker named Marge (Hong Chau). After their irreverent conversation, Charlie faints in front of her.

Marge takes her to her truck to help out with a remedy. Soon they end up in the nearby diner and have a dialogue about Marge’s transitory lifestyle. The following day, Charlie learns that Marge has been arrested for a murder, which she cannot believe. So, even after driving out of town, she returns to find the actual culprit.

Charlie learns from Sara that Damian was hoping to go to Hawaii with her with a lottery ticket. Coincidently Jed wins the lottery the same day, which makes Charlie suspicious of Jed. She goes to him to know what he was doing at the time of the murder.

During his self-loathing monologue about his lonely time on the rooftop, she finds him lying that Damian was not with him. Later, she goes to the rooftop on her own to find a Hawaii coin between a pile of red bottle tops. Charlie sees it as a sign of Damian’s presence but does not let Jed know about her knowledge.

She returns to the store and buys a bunch of lottery tickets to scratch them out, hoping to find a clue about the culprit. Charlie learns that the lottery tickets are numbered consecutively. Then, she manages to get hold of Jed’s lottery-winning car, and as per her suspicion, it is an older one. She makes him accept that he swapped the two cards and killed Damian.

However, even if she has his confessions recorded, he bluffs her. By then, he understood that she was trying to escape her own trial. So, calling the police would make her get arrested. So, she decides to drive away from the town. But she soon deduces a way to prove that Marge is innocent, drives back, and explains it to the waitress and the random truckers from the diner.

During that time, she sees Cliff’s car being parked on the opposite side and decides to run for her life. Meanwhile, Jed’s uncle saves her from repairing a possible break failure of her car. He also realizes Jed’s lies about the night before. Later that night, police arrest Jed at the garage.

Episode 3: The Stall

Poker Face (Season 1) Episode 1, 2, 3 & 4 Ending Explained

In their family-run BBQ joint in Texas, George Boyle (Larry Brown) suddenly decides to go vegan one day. He cannot bear the cruelty he has been a part of all the years and decides to sell his share of the business. His brother, Taffy (Lil Rel Howery), does not like this news since it would burden him financially. He has a reckless spending pattern, which puts him in danger.

Besides, George’s skill in cooking meat was the reason people came to their place. So, his leaving would be disastrous for them. Seeing his firm resolve, Taffy hatches out a plan to murder his brother without anyone’s notice. During their ritualistic broadcast, he plays a recording of his speech and, at that time, goes to George’s trailer to choke him to death.

Outside the trailer, a feisty dog keeps barking at Taffy, which could have jeopardized his safe escape from the murder attempt. So, Taffy kills the dog on the spot and then throws it away on the roadside. Then, he returns to the broadcast at just the right time to receive a fake call from Mandy (George’s wife, played by Danielle Macdonald). Taffy walks back to their guests, pretending none of this has happened.

We see Charlie driving through the country on the previous day’s morning. For some reason, this same dog enters her car, sits on its front seat, keeps barking without a break, and does not get out despite her numerous attempts. So, she makes peace with the fact that it will be her travel companion. It turns out it is a MAGA dog since it responds well and stays silent only to far-right radio news broadcasts!

Suddenly, it starts barking again, which makes her decide to stop the car on the side of the road. She ends up parking near Boyle’s BBQ joint. That’s where the dog gets out of her car, runs right toward the guests, and jumps over all their tables. Taffy comes up to her, asking to pay for all the food destroyed by it.

Since Charlie does not have enough money, she makes a deal to work for them for a day. That’s when George shares his passion for cooking and gives her some expert lessons on BBQing the right way.

Sometime during the day, George watches Bong Joon-ho’s Okja (one of the movies that Charlie recommends to him) and has an epiphany about the cruelty of his work. So, he suddenly decides to depart from the thing he is known for and follow a vegan lifestyle. The murder act happens during the same night, after which one of their workers finds George dead in his trailer, which looks like a suicide. The next day, the family is mourning, and so does Charlie. While she decides to drive away, she sees the barking dog lying on the roadside. Soon after, she notices signs of its wounded body being displaced from near the trailer.

This strange incident makes her suspicious about George’s death. During his dialogue, he always seemed optimistic and, thus, highly unlikely to commit suicide. From the taste of the wood to the empty alcohol bottle in his trailer, she keeps up with her attempts to find a culprit. The mystery around George’s death grows stronger since she finds loopholes in Taffy’s alibi.

Charlie goes to meet the voice behind the far-right radio show. She finds Austin (Shane Paul McGhie), a young black man in the studio, who uses that voice and peddles highly problematic views to get more traction. After speaking with him, she comes up with a theory that gives Taffy enough time to commit the murder during his broadcast.

Charlie these details with Mandy (George’s wife), but she keeps trying to defend Taffy for being innocent. She does it because otherwise, she will also go to jail for assisting him. The following day, Charlie goes up to him and tries to get a confession in her usual style. She mentions the alcohol bottle being suspiciously cleaned, to finding the tooth of the dog near George’s trailer.

Eventually, Charlie mentions a train’s sound coming in his radio broadcast, proving that it was a recording since the train does not pass by at night. Meanwhile, Charlie asks Austin to call Mandy and pretend to be Taffy. He pretends Taffy to be scared because of Charlie’s clever deduction. During their dialogue, Mandy also ends up confessing and gets arrested herself.

Episode 4: Rest in Metal

Ruby Ruin (Chloë Sevigny) is a middle-aged punk rock metal singer who works for a blue-collar job for money. Since she plans to go out on tour with two other band members, she is looking for a drummer to tag along with them. Gavin (Nicholas Cirillo) shows up at her workplace for an interview and gets selected soon. He is ecstatic to join since he considers her a legend.

With Al (John Darnielle) and Eskie (G.K. Umeh), she heads for their tour with this new kid. Ruby is tired of covering their old hit – ‘Staplehead,’ which is requested at every place they visit. Despite its popularity, they do not get any royalties since their drummer, Belinda owns the lyrics’ rights. She earns quite a lot because of this single track, while they get none of the royalty. Tired of always needing to perform this song, Ruby asks for opinions on their next step as a band.

Gavin believes they should make another hit just like Staplehead, which Ruby was not on board with then. During their first gig, he gets hit by a stapler while they perform Staplehead. In the high of the moment, he steals her iconic scream during the performance. It makes her furious, so she punches him down on the stage. Later in the night, he comes up to their room and presents a song that he wrote called ‘Sucker Punch.’ The band members listen to it and instantly consider it a likely hit.

During their next performance of ‘Merch Girl,’ Gavin is suddenly hit by a shock from his drum set and ends up dead. The police see it as an accident due to an electrical malfunction and consider it just another death of this kind. Meanwhile, Ruby burns the page where Gavin had written the lyrics on.

Before going on this tour, Ruby gives out an ad to hire someone to sell their merchandise. She learns about Charlie, who is looking for any opportunity to make quick cash. So, she is hired to go with the band as their merch girl!

During her time with them, she gets to know Gavin, who is passionate about the Metal genre, and cannot stress how ‘metal’ he is! He went to the prestigious Julliard school of music and still decided to enter this band. Charlie cringes at his deep commitment to this genre. But she also feels terrible for him hearing his urge to get validated by Ruby and the other band members.

So, at night, Charlie meets Ruby and asks her to give the kid a chance he deserves, not to steal it from him. That is why Ruby asks Gavin to play his new track for the band. Soon after, he gets murdered, and the band starts using his track to gain instant popularity. They start seeing themselves reborn, while Charlie sees Gavin being robbed of credit for writing it. Ruby denies giving him that chance since it is her shot to attain the level of fame she did once.

Charlie is not convinced that Gavin’s death was a suicide and investigates it. She learns that the safety requirement (using a death capacitor) was not met during this concert, the way it is always followed. So, she tries to find who purposefully made it unsafe. She also stumbles upon ads for the stapler that hit Gavin and the AMP used by him before his death by Al. She sneaks into their RV to check the AMP cable. And as Charlie suspected, it did not have a death capacitor.

Poker Face (Season 1), Episode 4, Ending, Explained:

Does Charlie find out who killed Gavin?

Charlie goes to Ruby to tell her about Al’s new song – You Can’t Un-Murder Someone. She cringes at the lyrics but also sees it as a possible confession. Ruby sees the lyrics as’ metal’ for the same reason. She defends Al’s innocence in this matter to the best of her ability.

Then later, she goes to the trailer to confront him about his stupid decision to sell this murder evidence. However, Charlie is still not satisfied with what she has found out. So, she looks at a photo during the infamous performance and sees Al wearing shoes with thick rubber isolation that can keep him safe from any danger of shock.

While it takes her closer to the truth, it is not evidence in itself. So, Charlie goes through the video footage and finds that Ruby also wore similarly insulated shoes, which saved her from getting electrocuted. So, she goes to Ruby to make her confess to the murder. Ruby ends up accepting the guilt. Yet, she continues to defend herself and her last shot at fame.

After being escorted out by security, Charlie meets a nerdy man she met before and considers to be a police officer. She explains the entire case to him, only to learn that he is not a cop! But he mentions to her that her recent virality can aid in getting justice for Gavin. That’s when Charlie learns that a video of hers punching a prankster has gone viral on Tiktok. She realizes that it would help Cliff to know her location. The next moment, he shows up right beside her.

Does Charlie escape without getting caught by Cliff?

Cliff tries to scare her into tagging along with him for her own safety. However, Charlie runs toward the concert and gets an easy entry. He reaches there a little late and tries to get to her through the crowd. However, during his struggle to get hold of her, she runs for her life.

Meanwhile, ‘Sucker Punch’ becomes an instant hit for the band, as they suspected. When they are about to sign the golden contract in their meeting with a record label, one of the studio guys stops them. He goes on to show an online reaction video that concludes that Sucker Punch has been ripped from the theme song of a TV show of Benson.

The record label fears the case of copyright infringement and fraud looming over the band. But besides that, there is also a true crime podcast that reveals the reason behind Gavin’s murder and shares the event in complete detail. The podcast is recorded by the woman Charlie met during the band’s recording. So, it is evident that she tipped off all the details. Meanwhile, the band seems to be in deep trouble because of the scandals they have caught themselves in.

Watch Poker Face (Season 1) Trailer

Poker Face (Season 1), Episodes 1, 2, 3 & 4 Links: IMDb, Wikipedia
Poker Face (Season 1) Episodes 1, 2, 3 & 4 Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Benjamin Bratt, Adrien Brody, Hong Chau, Chlöe Sevigny
Where to watch Poker Face
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.