Since the last nine episodes of the series, “Poker Face,” we saw Charlie Cale being on the run and hopping from town to town so that Sterling Sr.’s right-hand man, Cliff Legrand, could not catch her. It all started approximately a year ago when Charlie and her friend Natalie Hill worked at the Frost Casino in Nevada. Natalie had found some illicit content on the laptop of a high-profile client named Kazimir Caine, and like a good samaritan, she had reported the issue to Cliff and Sterling Jr. At that point, Sterling Jr. was trying to bring certain radical changes in his way of doing business, and he wanted to show his father that he was worth something. He knew that he wouldn’t want to upset a businessman of Caine’s caliber, who also had a longstanding relationship with his father.
Sterling Jr. had a lot of other things on his mind at that time, and he didn’t want to waste his time persuading an inconsequential girl not to report Caine’s crimes, so he asked Cliff to kill Natalie and end the matter there and then. Cliff did as he was asked, but what he didn’t know was that Charlie would be very affected by the loss of her friend and start snooping around. Sterling had heard about Charlie Cale from his father, and he wanted to hire her to make Kazimir lose a game of poker that he was hosting in his room secretly without informing the casino owners. Sterling Jr. felt betrayed when he had come to know about what Kazimir was up to, and he felt that it was important to stop him, but in such a manner that he didn’t come to know that it was all planned. Charlie found incriminating evidence against Sterling Jr., and she informed Caine about it by sending a recording of her conversation with Jr. Sterling Jr. committed suicide, and Charlie had to inevitably run as she knew that Sterling Sr. wouldn’t let her go so easily. From that day on, Charlie was constantly trying to escape her fate, though she knew that she would be caught sooner rather than later. So, let’s see what exactly happened in “Poker Face” season finale and how Charlie escaped her doom and got the better of Cliff and others who were behind her.
How Did Cliff Find Charlie?
Finally, after chasing Charlie for more than a year, in the tenth episode of the series “Poker Face,” Cliff finally gets a hold of her. Cliff was not the same person we once met in the first episode of the series. Instead, he had become a frustrated man who lost his temper more than often and was on the verge of going against everything he once stood for. He had stayed in motels for the past year as Sterling Sr. didn’t give him an option. He called him when he got way too frustrated and told him that he was supposed to run the business with him and there was no point running after Charlie, but Sterling was very sure that he wouldn’t stop until he caught her. Time and again, Cliff got close to catching Charlie, but she always slipped through his hands, and he had to wait for another prolonged period of time to get any sort of lead or intel about her.
Finally, Cliff got to know that Charlie had died, but when he checked the body, he realized that it was not her. He asked his contact to show him the other girl, who was still alive and admitted under the alias Jane Doe. As soon as he saw Jane Doe, he gave a sigh of relief, and he felt that finally, his year-long pursuit and those endless motel nights with the horrible ham sandwiches were going to end. He might have started dreaming of taking a hot bath and going back to his comfortable bed when Sterling Sr. gave him a call and asked him to book a motel till the time Charlie got well and came out of the hospital. Cliff couldn’t believe it and he became so angry that he told Sterling Sr. that he wouldn’t do that, and he was coming back with or without Charlie Cale. But even Cliff knew that he wasn’t going to do any such thing. He took a motel, gulped down his anger along with that tasteless sandwich, and waited for his nightmare to get over.
What Did Sterling Sr. Want From Charlie?
Cliff waited for the day when Charlie was released from the hospital, and like a true-blue gentleman, he came to pick her up, the only difference being that what he wanted to do with her wasn’t very gentle. Cliff made it very clear to Charlie that she would be making her life more difficult if she tried to run away again. Though Charlie always knew it deep down, she wanted to hear from Cliff whether he had killed Natalie Hill and her husband, Jerry. Cliff accepted his crime and even gave her a gun, making her point it towards him. At first, it seemed like Cliff was being magnanimous in his approach, and he knew that he was unworthy of living because why else would he take a chance on handing over the gun to someone who would greatly benefit from his death? But then, a bit later in the season finale of “Poker Face,” we got to know that he had no intention of walking on the road to redemption, but instead, there was a sinister plan brewing in his mind.
He took her to Atlantic City, where she had to meet Sterling Frost Sr. at the Hasp Casino. Charlie was not able to understand what all that facade was for. Sterling Sr. wanted to take revenge on her for the death of his son, and he should have gotten her killed the moment Cliff found her. But he had taken the trouble of calling her all the way to Atlantic City, and Charlie came to the conclusion that either the man was a lunatic and didn’t understand what he was doing or a sadist who wanted to see her writhe in pain. Charlie was ordered to change into clothes that were already kept in her hotel room and then go down to the casino floor, where Sterling Sr. was waiting for her.
Sterling Sr. said that he didn’t want to take Charlie’s life and she couldn’t believe her ears as that piece of information seemed too good to be true. Sterling Sr. gave her the offer to work for him in the capacity of a human lie detector, be a part of his important meetings, and help him realize who was with him and who wanted to backstab him. Sterling Sr. told her that he wanted her to come with him to the meeting that he was having with Beatrix Hasp, who was a casino owner like him but more importantly, the head of the Five Family, which basically meant the leader of a crime syndicate. Sterling Sr. already knew that Charlie hadn’t killed his son, who had tried to make a deal with Beatrix Hasp behind his back.
Sterling had rigged all the rooms of his casino since the 1980s, as he knew that in his business, he couldn’t trust his own family. Sterling told her that he was only forcing her to attend the meeting he had with Beatrix that afternoon, and after that, if she didn’t like the job, she was free to walk away, and he wouldn’t utter a word. He offered her a whopping $500,000 for doing the job and also gave her a gun as a gift. Charlie was still processing everything and checking out her brand-new weapon when the lights in the casino went off, and Sterling Sr. was shot dead by someone. Cliff called his guards to catch Charlie as she had the gun in her hands, and in the darkness, it did seem like she had killed Sterling. Charlie ran to save her life, while in a dramatic monologue, Cliff made us aware of who the real killer was. Cliff had murdered his boss, and then framed Charlie. He had the gun in his possession with Charlie’s fingerprints on it. He shot Sterling from that gun and replaced it with the one that Charlie had gotten as a gift. Just when Charlie had started dreaming of stability and got rid of her fears, her world came crashing down, and she was once again on the run while hiding from the authorities.
‘Poker Face’ Ending Explained: Why Did Beatrix Hasp Kill Sterling Sr.? How Did Charlie Prove Her Innocence?
Sterling Sr. never thought that Beatrix would take the risk of killing him, as it meant waging war against the Southwest syndicate. Sterling was wrong in assuming one more thing: that Cliff was a loyal ally whom he could trust blindly. In the season finale of “Poker Face,” Cliff finally opened up about the bitterness he had inside him for the Sterling duo. He was faithful only because he had no other option, but he knew the day he would get an opportunity, he would definitely stab them in the back. It could have been possible that Cliff would have come into contact with Beatrix during the time Sterling Jr. was in talks with her. It could be a possibility that he would have approached Beatrix after Sterling Jr. died and told her that he could help her take over the Frost Casino.
Charlie knew only one person in Atlantic City, and that was her sister, Em, so to hide from the police, she went directly to her house. Em had a lot of unresolved issues with Charlie, and she held her responsible for a lot of things that she believed wouldn’t have happened if Charlie had been a little less ruinous. Em made it very clear that she didn’t want Charlie in her house. Em had created a whole new world for herself, and she didn’t have the energy or the patience to deal with something she knew would never get solved. She had forgotten her past, and she didn’t want Charlie’s shadow to fall upon her daughter, Shasta. Charlie asked her for one last favor before leaving, i.e., the keys to her father’s boat. Charlie took the keys and went away. Charlie called Cliff and tried to make him understand that she hadn’t killed Sterling Sr., as she had no clue that he was the one who had killed him. At that point, Cliff was on his yacht, and he called Charlie over to discuss the issue. Cliff called the police after that and informed them that Charlie was coming to his yacht and that they should come and arrest her.
Fortunately for Charlie, the crime scene at the Hasp Casino was being investigated by Luca Clark, whom we had met in the fifth episode of the series, “Poker Face.” It was through Charlie that he had caught Kazimir Caine and gotten a promotion, and that is why he owed her big time. He told Charlie that every piece of evidence on the crime scene pointed towards her and that she should try to leave the city as soon as she could. Charlie told him to check the Sterling Sr. tape recorder and see if he could find something on it. Luca said that he had gone over it, and there was nothing that they could find there. Charlie asked to turn it over and once again go through it because she had an intuition that there would be some recording on it that could prove her innocence.
Charlie went to Cliff’s yacht, and that’s where she realized that he was the one who had killed Sterling Sr. and pinned all the blame on her. She saw the Black Light novelty poker chips in his bag, and it dawned on her how he planned the perfect crime. Charlie punched him in the face and jumped from the yacht into the water, knowing that the police would arrive anytime now. Cliff was still at ease as he knew that the police would find her soon. He saw the FBI agents coming his way and got down from his boat, and told them that Charlie had escaped. But the FBI contingent, led by Luca, hadn’t come to arrest Charlie; they had come to arrest Cliff for the murders of Natalie and Jerry Hill. As Charlie had told Luca, he played the other side of the tape and found a recording of a conversation taking place between Sterling Jr. and Cliff, which was more than enough to prove his guilt.
Towards the end of “Poker Face” Season 1, Luca goes to meet Charlie in a cafe and tells her that it is because of her that he has solved a second big case in a span of six months. He told Charlie that Cliff had testified against Beatrix Hasp and told the FBI that she was responsible for Sterling Sr.’s murder, which meant that Charlie was free of all charges. Luca told Charlie that the option of working for him officially was always open and that she could always contact him in case she needed anything. But Charlie chose to once again hit the road, without knowing where her journey would take her next.
What Should We Expect From Season 2 of ‘Poker Face’?
Beatrix Hasp called Charlie at the end of “Poker Face” Season 1 and gave her an offer to come and work for her in the same capacity as she was going to do with Sterling Sr. or otherwise bear the consequences of going against the Five Families. Charlie declined her offer and hit the highway, as she had somehow started liking the life of a nomad. Em, Charlie’s sister, had said one thing that probably defined Charlie’s behavioral traits in the best possible manner. Charlie felt compelled to solve these cases and get people justice. Charlie always maintained the fact that she didn’t choose this life for herself, but Em was of the opinion that she had done exactly that. Em told her that her “truth and bullshit” facade had only caused them trouble, and that is why she didn’t want Charlie to stay at her place a minute longer. Em said that she was aware that a lot of people will be indebted to her, but in the process, she had lost her family forever.
In the second season of the series, “Poker Face,” we would see Charlie once again being on the run, solving cases, helping people, and trying to turn the odds in her favor. Though Cliff went to jail, he might also have a role to play in the scheme of things in the future. Beatrix and her crime syndicate will try her level best to find her and at the end of the day, she will do whatever it takes to stay alive.