‘High Desert’ Ending, Explained: Is Peggy Dead Or Alive? Will There Be A Season 2?


Our defining feelings about High Desert so far have been centered around Peggy. We started out by not liking her for the way she seemed to take everyone for granted, but then we slowly progressed to see a woman who was helpless at the hands of her own addiction and had lost too much to it. She did not seem to have any hope left for changing her life, despite her desperately wanting back some relationships in it. Peggy is going through what our non-expertise would call the inertia of grief. Her circumstances mean that Peggy lacked the motivation to work her way out of her sadness, which meant that she kept digging herself deeper into it. High Desert is nothing, but this woman thrown into a wild situation and her trying to make the best of it, and here is a recap of how the whole thing came to be and how it ended.

Spoilers Alert

How Does Peggy Get Involved With Guru Bob?

Peggy is about to be evicted from her house, the one in which she has lived for years with her mother, who has recently passed away. Since Peggy was acting as the caretaker of their mother, her siblings, Stewart and Dianne, paid for the mortgage. But now that their mom is no longer in the picture, they want Peggy to either start paying for herself or leave the house. Therefore, Peggy gets a job working for a detective, Bruce Harvey, to show her siblings a semblance of employment other than her waitressing job. But working with Bruce is not enough, who is about to go bankrupt himself. That is when Peggy chances upon Guru Bob, one of her co-worker’s ex-boyfriend, and Peggy happens to see a high-quality fake of a prized painting in his house. 

Upon looking up who Guru Bob is, Peggy finds that his wife had gone missing a year or two ago, and her family had put out a certain amount of money as a prize for any news on her. Peggy suspected that Guru Bob had killed her and was lying about her having run away. Peggy plans on getting proof that Dona is indeed dead and using the evidence to get the prize money from her family. Peggy meets Dona’s family, the Gattchis, under a fake name (Sylvia), to find out whether the prize is still active. Upon getting the answer in the affirmative, Peggy works her way around Guru Bob. She poses as a broker who knows an art collector who wants to buy the fake paintings of Bob. Peggy knows that the fakes were painted by Dona, and with the help of Denny, her ex-husband, she tries to get an incriminating confession out of Bob. She and Denny meet Bob, posing as people interested in buying the paintings, but Denny gets a little too jealous of Peggy and Bob’s chemistry and interrupts their conversation. It is given that Peggy would not have gotten anything directly incriminating out of Guru Bob, but she was probably hoping to get some muddled-up facts or an accidental confession or error that could either solve everything immediately or direct her to the next step. However, that was not to be due to Denny’s interruption. Regardless, it is not a fruitless exercise since Denny’s dog finds something near Bob’s house: a finger from a dead body that Peggy realizes must be Dona’s. That is enough proof for Peggy to go to the Gattchis, but the trouble is far from over for her.

Peggy undoubtedly complicates her life, and we can tell that she has feelings for Bob or is at least attracted to him. She plans on getting the money from the Gattchis to pay off her siblings before making sure that Guru Bob escapes from their clutches. But there is one variable that Peggy missed taking into account. A gangster father and daughter duo are after Bob’s life to get back the money he swindled from them by selling a fake painting. Peggy ends up getting involved while trying to protect Bob, and she has to give them Denny’s stolen money and his trailer van to buy some time. Additionally, the Gattchis are at Peggy’s throat, having discovered that she lied about her identity and is probably involved with Dona’s death. Things have gone wrong in the worst possible ways, and Peggy is completely stuck.

‘High Desert’ Ending Explained: What Happens To Peggy?

First of all, let us start by saying that Heather’s father died when a bullet by a police inspector misfired while Heather was killing him. An enraged Heather naturally seeks her next target, which is Peggy. The police had stopped them because the trailer van was noted in a robbery case. Since the van was given to them by Peggy and Denny, Heather wants revenge on them, naturally. Denny sees her and makes a run for it while desperately looking for a missing Peggy. This is also when we come to know another big secret. Carol’s real name is Nia, and she changed her identity as part of Peggy’s plan to get her some medical care. But getting engaged to the doctor and becoming stepmother to Cooper was a snowball effect, and Nia is now committed to being Carol.

Meanwhile, Bob and Peggy are taken by Nick and Leo Gattchi to where Bob says that Dona is buried. As Peggy and Bob dig her up, it is clear that they are not getting the prize money anymore since the Gattchis suspect that these two are having an affair and are responsible for Dona’s death. This is when Bob finally reveals what went down with Dona. They had a fight after Bob had given away one of her paintings for a very small amount. During the argument they had, Dona had fallen down the stairs and died on impact. Bob had buried her body and lied about what had happened because he knew that nobody would believe him. He thought that was right because, right now, Leo and Nick want to kill him. But Peggy manages the situation once again by offering to bring a buyer for Dona’s fake paintings.

While Nick is on board with the idea, Leo still wants to kill the two. Nick and Leo fight, and in an unfortunate comedic turn of events, they end up killing each other. Peggy and Bob are off the hook with the Gattchis and now make their way to Peggy’s bartending job. Bob still needs the money from the sale of his painting to pay off people, but Denny and his friend drive him away. As for Peggy, her boss Owen is angry with her for not agreeing to be shot out of a cannon, a feat that Peggy had promised by alluding to it and now wants to shirk off the responsibility for.

At the end of High Desert, Peggy reveals to her sister, Dianne, that their mother died because Peggy was out getting high on drugs and wasn’t there to take care of her. Their mom had said something along the lines of not wanting any more care and just wanting to leave, but it was up to Peggy to make better decisions. She had not done that because, for whatever reason, she had not cared. Right now, grief has hit Peggy hard due to the memory, and she agrees to get into the cannon. As the screen closes, we hear the shot. 

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of unresolved questions left at the end of High Desert. Though we have seen that it is impossible for Peggy to survive the cannon, in the interest of Season 2, we have to assume that she is alive. Every doll that has been shot out of the cannon has been broken into bits or has flown far into the desert, meaning that it couldn’t have survived the impact. If the same happens to Peggy, we know that she won’t survive. However, this series was clearly designed for multiple seasons, which means that Peggy must be alive.

As we wondered what Season 2 of High Desert might bring, we realized that Season 1 failed to connect emotionally with the audience. It laid down all the pieces of the family that would relate to us, but it failed to bring them together with a coherent explanation for us to like it or feel strongly about it. We expect the future narrative to be more fun than these eight episodes so far, and until we are proved right, we cannot recommend High Desert to anyone. 

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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