‘Poker Face’ Episode 8: Recap And Ending, Explained: Does Charlie Find Justice For Arthur’s Death?

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for Charlie Cale to show up at the right place at the right time to help find justice for someone whose death had been overlooked. The 8th episode of Peacock’s “Poker Face” saw Charlie working as the assistant of a brilliant props artist and beginning to care for the old man until he dies in what seems purely a natural case. However, nothing is as innocent as it seems in the world where human lie detector Charlie Cale goes on a cross-country ride, fending off the thugs sent by Sterling Frost Sr. and solving crimes. With a lot of ground to cover in this almost an-hour-long episode, let’s get started.

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Spoilers Ahead


What Happens In ‘Poker Face’ Episode 8?

Indiscernible commotion can be heard coming from inside a beautiful villa overlooking a cliff, and an aging man stumbles out into the patio, crooked with pain, and a white haired woman chases after him, pleading for him to respond that he understands. Max, the man, turns back to look at Laura, the elegantly dressed woman, one last time and flings himself off the balcony onto the jagged rocks at the foot of the cliff. Elsewhere, a decrepit old man designs clay models of freakishly realistic monsters, from three-headed Cerberus-like beasts to a man with a video camera for a head and a mermaid bursting out of a man’s head, who looks strikingly similar to the props artist. He’s using an antique video camera to click black and white pictures of his amazing creations when Laura arrives at his porch and the two embrace. She is amazed by his creations and expresses that she’s truly sorry for all that happened. He responds that, on the contrary, it had been his fault, and he had to leave after the matters that transpired, and to top it off, almost three decades have passed since then. Laura proceeds to ask Arthur, the brilliant props artist, if he thinks one can be forgiven by the deceased. He replies in the negative and speaks from his experience that the best choice one has is to forgive themselves instead. 

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Laura sits down and tells Arthur that she and Max were to get a divorce, and the day he died, they were fighting once again, but that day something broke inside him, and he leapt off the balcony. She pleads with him to create one maquette of Max because his eyes, right before he jumped to his death, haunt her horribly, and she wants to look at his eyes once again and beg for Max’s forgiveness. A couple of weeks have passed, and Laura is standing on her balcony overlooking a beautiful view when the doorbell rings, and Max’s maquette is delivered. She uncovers the model that looks like the real person’s head and torso on her table; such is the craftsmanship of Arthur. She asks for forgiveness from the model, and her memory travels back to the day of the incident. Max sits in front of her, incredulous over what she did, while she keeps repeating that it was three decades back and requests him to let it go. Max refuses and says that he shall be taking the footage to the cops despite her pleas when they’re interrupted by the loud whistling of a kettle. She pours him a cup and asks if anyone else knows about the contents of the footage, to which he says that he wants to give her the privilege of being the first person to know about it. He adds that she should let Arthur know about it before the news of it breaks out, and Laura thanks Max for all he has done when he complains that he can’t feel his hands. She informs him that soon his heartbeat will slow down and it’ll be over very quickly, as he shoots back through gritted teeth, hunched over in pain, that the footage is locked in his device while stumbling outside. She screams that she can’t let him tear down all that she built, and we’re back to the first scene, only this time, before jumping, Max asks her to look into his eyes.

The villainous crone sits down comfortably with Max’s laptop and enters his password, but the two-factor authentication asks for face ID, but the face in question has been smashed on falling on rocks. Cut to two weeks later, Laura uses the spitting image of Max to open his laptop and delete particular footage from the “Dragonfish BTS 1989” files. She then called LAM Archives, and someone called Raoul, to bring her the footage from file number 1663246. She sits back with a satisfied smile on her face as Max’s maquette frowns at Laura.

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We cut back to Charlie Cale, who’s now working at a barbershop, and the sheer amount of lies she hears on a daily basis has started to make her eye twitch. The head barber sends her over to deliver a bag of hair to someone at 52 Cherokee Road, and when she reaches the deserted place, the statuettes of some monsters freak her out. Arthur meets her, bottle in hand, looking even more ragged than usual in his unkempt suit. Charlie was supposed to drop the bag of hair and leave, but her curiosity hounds her to ask why Arthur needs the bag of hair. He replies that he’d gladly talk about his work, but he had buried a friend that day, so he’d rather not talk about it. Charlie hears the truth for the first time in a week and decides to sit down and get to know him better, and he passes her the bottle. Soon, she’s having her mind blown by the astonishing creations that came out of Arthur’s mind and proposes to work as his assistant out of a sudden impulse, which he accepts. One day, she spots the whole setup of the old man with a mermaid sprouting from his head, and Arthur says that he has termed it “the Orpheus Syndrome” but refuses to elaborate. It’s at this moment that Laura’s car arrives, and she proceeds to ask Arthur for Max’s maquette. But what we didn’t see last time was that Charlie was peering at her from the first floor and finding multiple lies in Laura’s piece. She tells Arthur the same, but the trusting man dismisses it as a way of grieving before hiring her full-time for the next couple of weeks.

While building Max’s maquette, Arthur explains why he stopped working with Laura and Max, and it was because on his directorial debut, they were shooting a scene with a young actress named Lily Alburn, who died on set, and that ended everything. He continues that there was a scene where Lily had to dive inside a tanker where she’d be attacked by a sea monster, but she had a switch in her palm that she could press to alert her discomfort; a red bulb would light up, and the crew would pull her out. However, Lily couldn’t feel comfortable underwater and kept pressing the button again and again, frustrating Arthur severely, until the final shot, where everything went smoothly, and the scene was shot to perfection. The problem was noticed when Lily didn’t come out of the water because she had drowned, but the strangest thing was that the red bulb never went off that time. Arthur has lived with the guilt of having killed Lily for all these years, which is why he quit the entire industry. Charlie says that she lost a best friend as well, and it’s the first time since Episode 1 that she brings up Natalie before psychoanalyzing Arthur’s “Orpheus Syndrome.” She reads through every piece of his creation as a relic of the past that he wants to revisit and, through his creation, forgives himself.

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Down at the LAM Archives basement, Gomez Addams from Netflix’s “Wednesday,” Luis Guzman plays the role of the archivist Raoul, and he picks up the call of Arthur, who wants all the footage of “Dragonfish.” Raoul says he’s not supposed to check out any film, but since Max had already gone through that pile while digitizing the films for LAM’s 40th anniversary, he’d be bringing over the reels the following day. By this time, Arthur’s nervous issues must’ve been really acting up because his hand was shaking while he spoke to Raoul, and his eyebrows were twitching involuntarily. While dropping off the reels at Arthur’s, Raoul meets Charlie, who’s about to go drop off Max’s maquette at Laura’s place. Charlie arrives at her destination and has to drag the box through the gravel to reach Laura’s front door while Arthur begins watching the footage. As he starts going through the three-decade-old tape, his memories come flooding back, how he barked at Lily to do her job while she kept pleading that the whole process was unsafe. Laura unboxes Max’s bust with a satisfied smile, while Arthur makes the shocking discovery that Laura had switched off the main bulb by hitting a switch after Lily kept messing up. That was why the bulb never went off, and Lily must’ve been pressing the switch frantically while she was drowning.

The culprit herself, Laura, is seen calling Raoul to ask for the footage, particularly the reel numbered 1223246, but he admits that he has given it to Arthur, but he can immediately go back to his place and take it. However, Laura notices that Arthur is at her doorstep, and she asks Raoul to forget that this conversation ever happened before attending to her old colleague. At night, Arthur and Laura sit on her porch, and he says that he has spent the last three decades thinking he was responsible for Lily’s death, but Laura responds that she had flicked the switch because she thought Lily was just being dramatic. She starts listing how much money they were losing daily during the shooting when Arthur mentions that he learned that Max was digitizing the footage and proceeded to ask if she had seen the footage. He asks Laura if Max had brought it up with her, but she goes on a rant about how she had to front all the costs of the experiments that the men carried out while Arthur sips from a cup. She says that the dead can’t do anything to hurt her, and it’s clear that she has also poisoned Arthur’s tea when he tosses the reel in the fire, says no one will ever see it, and leaves. Laura goes through several emotions at once – surprise, ecstasy, and remorse until she discovers that there’s no film in the reel he threw to the fire. While driving back, the poison starts working on Arthur, and Charlie finds him on the ground outside his house. She immediately calls the police but needs to flee. Before leaving though, she finds the same gravel on Arthur’s car tires, which piques her curiosity. 

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By now, the murderer of three people, Laura, is seen talking to someone over the phone and saying that it was a known fact that Arthur had had a heart problem for a long time before directing the conversation to the fact that since LAM funded his workshop, she wants full custody of everything in there that very day. She’s distracted when she spots Charlie examining the gravel outside her house, and she approaches Arthur’s assistant and brings her in for a chat. Charlie has a satisfying chat with Laura, who confirms that Arthur had visited her the previous day and that he was at peace. It’s just when Charlie is leaving that something Laura says starts making Charlie’s eye twitch. She confirms that she herself is the one who killed Max and Arthur by stating the exact opposite of the same. Charlie rushes back to Arthur’s workshop to find Raoul eating hot pockets, and she explains how Laura is the murderer, and he tells Charlie that he’s here to retrieve the tapes he gave Arthur. The human lie detector deduces the events exactly as they happened—another of her myriad skills—and concludes that they need to watch the reel. Raoul checks the soft copy of “Dragonfish,” but that particular reel of Lily’s death is gone, and the actual film inside the reel is missing. While deciding their next move, Charlie and Raoul have to hide as Laura arrives with an entire crew on her back and orders them to collect everything in the workshop, but to pay special attention to the films, because she wants every piece of it. The sole living member of LAM realizes that someone is here and calls out for the stranger, and Raoul steps in and says he is searching for the reel. Laura says that Arthur went over to her place the previous night and burned the reel—Charlie spots the truth. She adds that all the film is gone – Charlie spots the lie. Laura sends Raoul back to his basement and hurries the crew to gather every scrap of film, which makes Charlie realize that Arthur had spliced out the reels. All hope seems lost on exposing Laura as the murderer when Charlie spots the reel on a maquette of Medusa before it’s loaded into the car. 

At her house, Laura is seen organizing an exhibition of all the creations of Arthur and says that every piece of his creation shall be present for viewing, including “Dragonfish,” while burning the reels of the movie. As “Lights And Motion” – LAM’s HQ is draped in banners announcing the 40th anniversary and the artworks are rolled inside, Charlie starts moving inside while wearing a horse costume. Laura approaches Raoul in his basement and fires him for lending out the reels, thereby having violated some company policy, when one of the security guards is alerted that a horse is loose in the set. Charlie is seen walking around in a horse costume before she’s thrown out of the premises by Laura’s security, and outside, Charlie meets Raoul, who’s packing up his things. Suddenly, she’s struck with an idea and asks if Raoul’s key card still works.

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The event starts, and Laura is up on the center stage, delivering a speech about the success of her LAM and the brilliance of her colleagues, but she starts having a meltdown midway. She mistakes an old man for Arthur in the crowd and keeps repeating that if her colleagues were here, they’d surely understand her actions, and her tension increases further upon seeing Charlie and Raoul move through the crowd. She asks the crew to start playing the film they’ve prepared, but on top of the film, the one reel Laura had deleted from the “Dragonfish” footage starts playing. The audience gasps at the sight of the young Laura turning the switch off that led to Lilly’s death, as the older woman keeps screaming to turn the projector off. Unable to contain her anxiety any further, she starts walking at the maquette of Max, and all the creations of Arthur for “Orpheus Syndrome” come to life and growl and attack Laura—in her mind. She spots Max smiling and walking away, and she starts chasing him until he looks back at her, asks her to look into her eyes, and remembers the moment before leaping off the balcony of the floor. Laura screams after him and follows – falling to her death while the maquette is shown to be where it had been all along.


‘Poker Face’ Episode 8: Ending Explained

In this episode, Charlie can’t hand over the killer to the law officials, but instead, a raging sense of guilt delivers karmic justice. Our favorite pass-time detective begins caring for the fragile, old man Arthur, apart from admiring the freakishly talented abilities he possesses. After spending some time in a barbershop that was chock full of liars, Charlie developed a twitchy eye every time someone lied, and it was this sensitive reaction that made her realize what led to the deaths of Arthur and Max. She deduced the situation correctly, but it was all thanks to Raoul’s key card and a massive stroke of luck that helped her retrieve the spliced-up reel from Medusa’s locks and play it on the big screen to expose Laura. Interestingly, Laura could’ve slithered away through some crevice of the law had it not been for her adamant desire not to lose the empire she had created. It was her greed that made her kill Max and the need to protect herself that led to Arthur’s death, but the human brain can only take so much before it starts acting out.

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At the big event, Laura started seeing the ghosts of Arthur and Max, and she chased after her husband, pleading with him to answer that he understood her motives. It seems Max’s last words rang true for Laura because he had asked her to remember what had happened. Laura followed Max’s ghost and jumped to her death, so even if she didn’t face the inside of a jail cell, she couldn’t enjoy the empire; she committed two murders within the span of two weeks.


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Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.

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