Peacock dropped the latest episode of the TV series “Poker Face” today, and the fifth episode changes up the usual manner of storytelling a bit, but that doesn’t take away from the fun of the story. The last we saw of Charlie Cale, the human lie detector, she had exposed the hacky band Doxxxology as murderers and intellectual property thieves in “Poker Face” Episode 4 before fleeing from Cliff, the henchman for Sterling Sr. After inadvertently causing the death of the son of a casino tycoon Sterling Frost Sr., Charlie is on the run from his men, and solves murders on the way. Each episode finds her coincidentally at the site of a murder, and she spends the episode solving it. Here’s what happened in this episode, where an old-age facility was introduced along with a host of interesting characters.
“Poker Face” Episode 5 opens on an old-age complex called Mossy Oaks, where sexagenarians and septuagenarians arrive to live out their final days in a homely facility with ample leisure time and healthcare. We meet Irene and Joyce, the former who’s still doing push-ups despite needing a wheelchair to move around and the latter who has a backyard garden for home-grown pots. These two women aren’t the helpless senior citizens you’d expect to see in an elder care facility. We’re introduced to a host of other characters in the facility, like the Fletchers—three women who absolutely adore Norwegian murder mysteries; Betty—the wrinkly woman who styles herself as a social justice warrior—and an elderly man who comes to live in the facility that the women instantly recognize. The next scene shows Irene and Joyce making up their minds about having the old man killed. After Irene collects a syringe from Billy, the orderly’s medicine cart, and gathers sodium nitrate from the gardener Joyce buys her garden supplies from, the plan is ready, and execution is all that’s left.
On the morning of the visit to the zoo to watch Melanie, the orangutan, perform, Joyce wheels Irene into the washroom, and the latter proceeds to use her tremendous arm strength to lug her body three stories up through the rosy trellis on the outside and reaches the old man’s room. She’s removing the heart monitoring band from the man’s arm when he wakes up, so she expresses her happiness for his return and stabs him in the throat with the syringe. The two women head to the zoo with the others, Irene wearing the old man’s wristband or heart cuff, and while the others are enjoying the primate’s performance, Joyce tasers Irene, spiking an alert into the orderlies’ tablet that tracks the heart rate of the residents. The medical unit rushes in to find the old man dead, and despite all their attempts to defibrillate his heart, they’re unable to revive him. Just as the residents are arriving, Ben, the old man’s body, is being carted out, and Billy places Ben’s heart cuff on the reception. Irene replaces the wristband with the one she took from Ben, and the women shake hands to celebrate their success.
A week before, we find the mystery-solving, lie-detecting, blonde poker player on the run, Charlie Cale, working in the facility, and she’s introduced to the proclivities of Irene and Joyce by Betty, who describes them as junkies and felons. Charlie immediately hits it off with the women, and they share a blunt, and they tell her tales about the time they served in Bedford as political prisoners. A flashback shows the women creating politically charged posters and simultaneously sharing passionate moments with Gabriel. Learning about the wild, raunchy, and chaotic life these two women lived and knowing about the leader of their political cult, Gabriel, Charlie is amazed by these former revolutionaries. The women tell how everything was ruined, and the flashback shows a poster of the bourgeoisie leaders they were organizing to march against and arranging flowers when Gabriel went outside to check out a noise he heard and the FBI raided. Irene was shot in the back, paralyzing her from the waist down, and Gabriel was never heard from again—and it’s unclear if he survived or not.
We see Ben, the old man, moving into the facility, and he stares fondly at the two women who’ll later murder him. Charlie carries Ben’s suitcase to the third floor, and after giving an awkward hug to Ben, his nephew (Simon Helberg from “The Big Bang Theory”) leaves, and when Charlie tries sharing niceties, the man curtly informs her that he’s all alone. That night, Ben visits Irene and Joyce’s living quarters, and they welcome him with adulation. Ben had entered the facility under a false name to meet the women, and he was none other than Gabriel himself. The women are elated to meet him until he reveals that he was the mole who ratted out the women, and all those decades back, he had comfortably sat inside a police van while the protestors were attacked. He then shares the dream he’s had for years where he chases these women, but they never talk to him, so he begs their forgiveness, and after a meaningful look, they say they’ll forgive him. The moment he leaves, we’re back to the scene where they plan to murder him.
Back to the present, when Irene is upstairs killing, and Joyce is stalling the crowd, we see Charlie walking past and catching their lie about Irene’s stomach condition that’s keeping her occupied. Before they can use the Taser, Charlie stops the women and shows them the T-shirt of a band that had used their photos as the album cover, and they even point out Gabriel to her. They then make up a lie and avoid going to see the orangutan, and even though Charlie catches it, she dismisses it casually. At his funeral, Charlie walks in to find the nephew in attendance, and she learns that Ben was actually under the witness protection program, and the so-called nephew, real name Luca, was his case agent. Looking at his younger picture, Charlie recognizes him as Gabriel and tells Luca that she knows this because of her friends Irene and Joyce. Luca is bewildered to know this, and immediately the facility is stormed by cops, and the women are taken in for questioning, but they’re let go because of the alibi that Gabriel’s time of death was 2:23 PM when the women were at the zoo. Charlie meets Luca, and she’s still supporting the women when he tells her that Irene and Joyce’s political cult hadn’t been planning a march, but that they’d have blown up the Model UN—high school kids pretending to represent the UN countries—with bombs constructed from pressure cookers.
Later, Charlie talks to Joyce and Irene, and they tell her that Gabriel met them the previous night and outed himself as the mole and that they chose to forgive him. She then asks the women if what she learned from Luca was true or not, and the women defend their actions, saying they wanted to teach a lesson to the next generation of criminals of war, even if their method to do so involved killing high school children. The previous flashback changes, and now the hit list shows a bunch of teenagers’ photographs on the board, with Joyce and Irene mixing nails and other explosive materials and filling up pressure cookers. She asks the women if they killed Gabriel, but they refuse to answer, claiming she’s wearing a wire. Charlie’s bubble of being best friends with the coolest women she knew bursts massively. She then goes on a mission to find out if it was indeed a murder and learns from Fletcher that sodium nitrate is an easily accessible poison that can be used to kill people, and that it’s naturally occurring in the body.
Charlie finds out from the gardener that Joyce took a massive amount of sodium nitrate from him, has Billy show her the data of Gabriel’s heart chart to learn that at 11:10 AM, the heart rate changes, and lastly from Pete that some people can use Tasers to derive pleasure. She calls Betty, who confirms that at the zoo, she had spotted Joyce using a Taser on Irene, which proves that the woman simulated a cardiac arrest to pretend as if Gabriel died of a heart attack. Betty also tells Charlie that she had told Irene that she’d tell the FBI about their deviant modes of seeking pleasure and then asks Charlie to hold because Betty’s Instapot is acting up. Charlie pleads with the old woman to immediately evacuate, but an explosion and Betty’s dead body show that Joyce and Irene are on a bloodthirsty rampage.
Charlie confronts the two women at their home, and a fight ensues. Joyce hits her on the head with a pan; Irene stabs her in the leg and then pins her down to use the lethal injection on her when Charlie uses the Taser on herself. The murderous crones are attempting to inject her anyway when they spot the blinking heart cuff on Charlie’s arm. Immediately, Luca and the other cops show up. Outside, Luca gives Charlie an offer to join the FBI, and the moment she turns the golf cart on, it begins sputtering, and she jumps out a moment before it explodes. Irene and Joyce stare from the back of a police car with smug smiles as Charlie gathers herself before giving them the bird.
‘Poker Face’ Episode 5: Ending Explained
This might be the first time that Charlie has been in real, mortal danger ever since she escaped from the clutches of Sterling Sr. and Cliff. In this episode, there’s a change in the storytelling style—we usually see that Charlie befriends the person who gets murdered in the episode, and she then seeks justice for her fallen friend. However, in “Poker Face” Episode 5, Charlie befriended two very interesting women, and she supported them until she learned that Irene and Joyce had wanted to kill children, and because Gabriel had backed out and sold them out to the cops, the women killed him. Moreover, upon learning that Betty was going blabber to the FBI about their secret, they blew her up with a pressure cooker bomb. Charlie would’ve died as well had it not been for the band she wore. The band alerted the authorities that she was in mortal danger when her heart rate spiked to that of a heart attack, which made Luca and the rest rush inside. The red blinking on the heart cuff signaled an alert, which saved her life. Later, she also gained Luca as a trustworthy ally in the FBI, to whom she might be able to turn to when Sterling finally catches up to her. The golf cart explosion was also planned by the two wretched crones, who immediately put Charlie on their hit list after she learned about their original plan all those decades back. It was pure luck that Charlie managed to fling herself off the cart before it blew to bits; otherwise, we’d have one more car explosion like the one in “Godfather” (1972).