‘Poker Face’ Episode 10: Recap & Ending, Explained: What Happens To Charlie Cale, Sterling Sr. & Cliff LeGrand?

It seemed all but over for the phenomenal lie detector Charlie Cale the previous week when she was hospitalized with severe injuries and, outside her hospital, Cliff informed Sterling Sr. that they had her. With Charlie confined to a bed, it was almost certain that Sterling’s henchman would put a bullet in her head the next time we saw her. Peacock’s “Poker Face” premiered its season finale today, and we found answers to all the questions about the sleuth’s fate and also met the man whom we had only heard over the phone until now. Does Charlie get a bullet for causing Sterling Jr.’s death, or does the casino boss have something else planned for her? Here’s a breakdown of the explosive season finale.


Spoilers Ahead

The End Of The Road For Charlie?

We all remember the phone call Charlie got from Sterling Sr. way back in Episode 1 and how the man asked her to return so that he could ensure her death. Back then, we only saw her listening to him, and nine episodes later, we finally get to see Ron Perlman’s Sterling Sr. make the call to her and then tell his henchman Cliff LeGrand to hunt down the woman who got Sterling’s son killed. The casino owner told Cliff to ask him how deep a hole was needed to bury Charlie. We then watch Cliff go on a cat-and-mouse chase for more than a year, and he’s seen voicing his complaints to Sterling Sr., who constantly refutes his grievances. When the hired muscle finally learns of Charlie’s current fate and how she’s badly wounded to the point of being restricted to the hospital bed, he makes the call to Sterling, asking how deep a hole he needs to dig to bury the woman who made him live a horrid year because she kept evading him. Making Cliff almost throw his phone away in a rage, Sterling said that Charlie should heal up and sit tight for two more months, and the henchman had to spend yet another 60 days awaiting revenge.


Two months later, Charlie hobbles out of the hospital, bidding farewell to the workers with whom she’s made friends over the period until she meets the receptionist and asks how they want the bill settled. The man says that her bill has been paid by a private party since day 1, and she’s not allowed to wonder for too long who that private party might be when she finds Cliff waiting for her at the front door. After spending some time in Cliff’s car’s trunk, Charlie agrees to ride as a passenger, and he keeps watch as she sleeps in a bed next to him in a motel. He says he hopes Sterling will cause her pain when he finally gets his hands on her. She proceeds to confirm that Cliff indeed killed Natalie and her husband Jerry in Episode 1, so he pulls over to the side and asks her to open the glove compartment. With tears in her eyes, she picks out the revolver he had used to kill her best friend and holds it to him, but he knows she won’t try pulling the trigger, so he takes the gun by the muzzle and keeps it to his side. They reach Atlantic City, and he leads her to a hotel room. She wants to know what will happen to her, so he asks her to get cleaned up, wear the dress prepared for her, and he’ll come to get her in an hour.

Later, Cliff walks her through the busy casino floor until she finally comes face-to-face with the man who has hunted her for so long, and Sterling Sr. greets her with the usual “Hey Kid” and offers her a drink. As the man plays with a poker chip, she gives in and asks for a beer, and he asks her about the year she’s had. Charlie gets impatient and says she spent the entire year dreading this exact moment, so he should get on with it and do whatever he has planned for her. Sterling, however, just wants to talk and asks if she has family in the city, but clarifies that this isn’t a threat before explaining that the casino they’re currently in is owned by the Hasp family, with Beatrix Hasp as the matriarch—a really terrible woman. When he brings up his son, Charlie says she didn’t kill his son, and before she can explain too much, he says he understands and doesn’t blame her for Junior’s death. She says she’s going to get up and leave, and he hands her the car keys to her Barracuda. She leaves after he promises not to hurt her, and like clockwork, she returns to find out what’s happening. He then plays an antique tape recorder where Sterling Jr. (Adrien Brody) is heard asking Charlie if she can detect lies over videos, and then when he’s alone in his office, a phone rings, and he says, “not here.” Having tapped the entire casino back in the ’80s, Sr. knew everything as it was happening, so he’s also privy to the fact that Jr. was doing business with Beatrix Hasp and the Five Families, going against a primary rule his dad had laid down for him on day 1. He then comes to his ulterior motive for bringing Charlie here: there will be a sit-down later in the day between himself and the Five Families, and there’ll be some promises made to Sterling. Beatrix can’t attack him without inviting the wrath of the Southwest Syndicate, and it’ll lead to war, so a lot of assurances will be made along with several lies. Sterling wants Charlie there so that she can skim the truths from the sea of lies, and in exchange, he offers her $500k in clean cash. If she refuses, there shall be no obligations from either side. She flips over the tape and asks him to record himself vouching; he does the same, then hands her a new phone and gives her a gift box, and asks her to open it. She opens the box and fishes out a revolver from the box, and immediately the lights go off, and Sterling is shot in the chest twice. The casino owner falls down, dead, and Charlie flees as Cliff shouts for security while chasing her.


We go back to Cliff talking to someone over the phone in his car about how, after spending 25 years as someone’s bodyguard, one might come to love the person they protect, but the bodyguards are often treated like dogs, and Cliff has come to realize he hated Sterling Sr. As a result, he’s interested in the money he’s getting and, on top of that, wants a yacht, and Beatrix Hasp agrees to his demand but wants it done in such a way that someone else can take the fall. Sitting in his car outside the hospital where Charlie is being treated, Cliff starts laughing. We then realized why he wanted Charlie to take the revolver out, and later he fished it out and placed it in a plastic bag. Sterling placed a name tag with Charlie’s name on it inside the gift box, but Cliff threw it away and placed the revolver in the box. He then took a poker chip that lights up when a black light is flashed on it. He receives a special clicker from room service, and he is in cahoots with the security in the casino. He times the moment exactly right so that when Charlie fishes the gun out, he presses the switch in his pocket, the lights go out, he uses a black light to detect the location of the chips, and he fires his gun. As Charlie flees, he replaces the gun she fished out with the murder weapon.

After a lot of wrong numbers, Charlie finally connects to Luca Clark (Simon Helberg), whom we met during the case of the homicidal crones Joyce and Irene, and asks him for help. He provides the simple answer of turning herself in and disconnects, only to call back moments later and tell her not to go to the authorities. He also informs her that thanks to that email she sent, they got Kazimir Caine, the pedophile from Episode 1, which granted him a promotion, and now he’s handling the death of Sterling Sr. She begs him for help, but he says there’s video evidence of her pulling the gun out, and seconds later, Sterling was dead. Charlie, who had been hiding in one of the hotel rooms, realizes she can’t stay here any longer and decides to sneak out and join a rave bachelorette party to get out of the hotel. Inside the party bus, a heavily intoxicated girl gives her a phallus-shaped ring, and she gets off the bus and calls Luca and asks him to listen to the tape intently for any and every possible detail. She then sneaks in through a hidden passage in a house that has several police cars in the front yard while a little girl informs her mother that a strange woman is coming into the house through the “secret way.” The mom is none other than Charlie’s estranged sister Emily, who gives her an earful for bringing down the entire island’s cops at her front door as Charlie asks if Emily got the money she had sent her. Charlie asks for the keys to her dad’s boat, and while Emily is fetching the keys, the lie-detecting sleuth meets her niece, Shasta, and introduces herself. Upon seeing a childhood photograph of herself and Emily, Charlie recounts how their dad would make them swim. Emily returns and hands Charlie the keys, and while on her way out, she really lays it in on her sister. She admits that Charlie most definitely helps people with her lie-detecting gift, but this family has no use for that, and it’s best if they don’t see each other again.


The family boat of the Cales lies in a horribly dilapidated state with holes all over, and driven out of options, Charlie ends up calling Cliff, unaware that it’s the same man who framed her. Meanwhile, Cliff is relaxing on his new yacht and enjoying the high life when he receives Charlie’s call and asks her to meet him on the boat. Moments later, he alerts the authorities that the prime suspect in Sterling’s murder will be coming to his boat and agrees to stall her until the cops get here. Charlie arrives, and he invites her to the deck, where she proceeds to recount the events and adds that the chip Sterling was fidgeting with started glowing. Cliff takes a look outside and explains that some poker chips are specially designed to glow when black light is shined on them, and the killer probably used that to locate the man when the lights were off. She suggests that they escape the whole fiasco because the heat must be at Cliff’s back too, and they go back outside. He asks her to return to the deck and fetch his iPad, and while searching his things, she finds the black light poker chips and immediately knows what has transpired. Cliff locks her inside and says those chips will not matter against video evidence as she tries opening the lock. He barges in and tries to hurt her, so she hits him in the face, still wearing the phallic-shaped ring that almost blinds him in the eye. Hearing the police sirens, she jumps in the water as Cliff frantically asks Luca and the other officers to go after her. The detective, however, asks Cliff to confirm if it’s his voice on the tape where he agrees to kill Natalie and her husband and arrests Cliff moments later.

In a diner, Luca meets Charlie and informs her that Cliff sang like a canary to indict Beatrix Hasp once he was arrested, which is why Charlie is off the hook, although she’s still absconding. However, the southern families have declared war against her, and the situation isn’t looking good for the matriarch. Luca again offers her a job at the FBI, but she declines and leaves. Charlie gets a call from a woman, and she quickly realizes it’s none other than Beatrix herself, and she asks Charlie to come to help the families in their operation, or else she’ll suffer an unimaginable fate. The reluctant detective takes the high road, smashes the new phone she has, and prepares to set out once more on the road to detect lies and save lives.


‘Poker Face’ Episode 10: Ending Explained – Did We See The Last Of Charlie Cale?

Charlie Cale’s story for the first season draws to a close, with the sleuth coming out on top of all her enemies and setting out on the road once more. She spent an entire year fleeing from Cliff LeGrand, who was following Sterling Sr.’s orders to bring her in alive so that he could personally dispose of her for his son’s death. However, when she finally sat opposite him in a casino, he forewent his vengeance and even offered her a job. Sterling was not only forgiving Charlie but, as the brief moment with him revealed, he wanted her to be a part of the Frost casino. However, Cliff’s greed led to Sterling’s death because he was dissatisfied with the way Sterling had been bossing him around. Cliff laid out an entire plan where he’d murder Sterling and place the blame on Charlie, but it was the tape recorder that brought about his downfall. Charlie’s request to Luca to pay close attention to the tapes revealed that Cliff had murdered Natalie and Jerry, and he was brought in. It didn’t take much to break him, and he immediately informed on Beatrix and her involvement in the murder of Sterling, thereby acquitting Charlie. After spending a year fleeing from one casino boss, it was time for her to enjoy some downtime, but no, fate had other plans for her.

The phone call she receives from Beatrix paints a massive target on her back, and now she has to once again flee from a bigger and worse criminal who wants her dead. It’s certain that Season 2 will focus on Charlie fleeing from the Five Families as she goes on using her skills to detect lies to help bring in murderers and protect the innocent. With Peacock confirming the second season of the show, we need to wait to see Charlie back on the road with her trusted Barracuda and her lie-detection skills.


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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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