‘High Desert’ Episode 5 Recap And Review: Is Donatella Scarborough Dead?

It’s 42 degrees Celsius outside as I write the fifth High Desert article sitting in my small, dimly lit room. In a surreal way, the show adds to the smell of summer that fills my nostrils. The salty breeze and the dry Earth, to which I am subjected by my window right beside me, teleport me to Yucca Valley, California. And with every episode, I am drawn more and more to Peggy Newman. I don’t want to be like her, but I do want her to be my friend. That way, I could hang out with her and share everything with her with zero fear of being judged. The only way I can describe her is “cool”. Episode 5 shows Peggy taking Denny, who is pretending to be an art consultant, to Bob so that they can find out Donatella’s whereabouts. But oddly enough, it is someone else who doesn’t even care about money or epiphanies who finds evidence related to the missing lady.


Spoilers Ahead

Nickels Of Silver

It seems that Peggy is right about Denny. The guy cannot be trusted at all. The silver coins they managed to grab from their previous house (now seized by the DEA) are high in nickel content, which means that there’s less silver. All that they get in return is $5000 when they should have gotten $25,000. But since the show must go on, she takes the money and gives it to Bruce, who is overjoyed to the extent that he starts crying. But there’s a clock ticking, and she doesn’t want to waste time, so when Bruce refuses accepting it, she takes the money back without hesitation. Bruce is just glad that Peggy has his back. She has also arranged a meeting at Pioneertown, where he has to be present. It’s about the case of Donatella Scarborough and the reward. She believes Donatella is dead, but she needs to prove it for the reward. But it seems that her investigation will have to wait as Bruce hands her a new case of a woman cheating on her husband. What Peggy says here is a brilliant take on why the woman might be cheating on her husband: she has finally found love. But Peggy knows better than to say no to Bruce and thus takes the case, only to hand it over to her best friend Carol, who is supposed to follow the woman and take pictures of her. Carol’s stepdaughter hates her, and Peggy yet again swings her wand of words at the girl. Listening to Peggy tell the girl that she needs to pay Carol the respect that she’s owed and how she needs to be like a comet that shines across this boring Earth, I cannot help but be mesmerized by her words and the way she looks at life despite the condition she is in. As cheesy as they sound, they work their charm, especially when Peggy says them.


Be The Comet

Peggy and Denny then arrive at Bob’s house, all dressed up and bugged up, so that they can find out more about Donatella. Denny is supposed to be an art consultant, while their dog Judy is given the job of recording everything Bob says, though without her consent. If only Judy could speak! She would let them know how ridiculous the idea is since she won’t even be in the same room as them. As Bob pats down Peggy, Denny gets visibly jealous, as patting down is supposed to be one-way, but here it was happening both ways. Peggy pats Bob too. It was probably sexual, but Denny doesn’t get to show his jealousy because they are divorced. Once inside, Denny and Peggy, who know that the painting is fake because Peggy has already found out this much (Episode 4) about Donatella, tell Bob that they know about the paintin’s authenticity. They seal the deal for the painting at $1 million, but they ask him about the forger. Unfortunately, and to Judy’s good fortune, Bob wants her taken out. So Peggy does the needful, and as Judy runs off, she also takes away the chance of recording whatever Bob says about Donatella. 

What Does Judy Have In Her Mouth?

As Bob, Peggy, and Denny sip beers and speak about Donatella, Peggy and Denny, try to convince him to speak about his wife, saying that if she is dead, her art will be a lot more valuable and useful for marketing, which is true. Look what happened to Vincent Van Gogh or Paul Cézanne. This is when Bob finally opens up about himself. After a guy, whose personal issues Bob rebuked at, committed suicide in front of Bob 18 months ago, he was traumatized. To come out of it, he reached out to a psychiatrist, who provided him with hallucinogenic therapy. We all know what that means. Life changed. Perspective changed. Bob had an epiphany. And after the stunt he pulled at the newsroom, he garnered an unusually high fan following from people who found hope in his “everything is stupid” theory.


Unfortunately, Donatella wasn’t one of them, and so she left him. All this while Judy had been roaming outside. Peggy realizes that there’s no point in taking the conversation further after Denny introduces a new topic about how he would love to bring Bob to his studio. Denny surely intends to make use of Bob’s so-called “hallucinogenic” therapy. She calls out to Judy, who returns with something in her mouth. Before Denny can pull it out, she swallows it. Peggy is very upset because now she has to find another angle to get to know more about Donatella. They return home, and as Peggy and Denny are having an argument, Judy regurgitates what she had swallowed earlier. To the utter shock of Denny and ours, but to Peggy’s surprise, it’s a woman’s finger. Episode 5 ends with Peggy overjoyed to find a chopped-off finger. Same old Peggy.

If the finger is Donatella’s, Peggy is in for the reward. But there’s more to the finger because Judy found it in Bob’s backyard. Did Bob kill Donatella? Seems unlikely. Then who did? Does Bob know that there is a woman buried in his backyard? Moreover, if it isn’t Donatella, who is it? Episode 6 will answer these questions.


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Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata’s greatest regret is the fact that he won’t be able to watch every movie and show ever made. And when he isn’t watching a movie or a show, he is busy thinking about them and how they are made; all while taking care of his hobbies. These include the usual suspects i.e. songs, long walks, books and PC games.

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It's 42 degrees Celsius outside as I write the fifth High Desert article sitting in my small, dimly lit room. In a surreal way, the show adds to the smell of summer that fills my nostrils. 'High Desert' Episode 5 Recap And Review: Is Donatella Scarborough Dead?