The eighth episode of “Poker Face,” titled The Orpheus Syndrome, tells us the story of a man whose conscience was guilt ridden but he didn’t know that he was blaming himself unnecessarily for the crimes he didn’t commit. His whole life had become a quest to bring the past back to life and rectify what he couldn’t before. Charlie found him intriguing, and it was probably the first time she had begged someone to take her as their apprentice. Also, she was sick and tired of hearing lies all the time, and for a change, it was nice to meet a man who spoke the truth.
Why Did Laura Kill Max? Why Did She Need Arthur’s Help?
The eighth episode of the series, “Poker Face,” opens on a tense note, and we see a couple having a heated argument. The man froze for a moment, stared at the woman, and then jumped from the terrace while the woman screeched, feeling petrified at what she had just witnessed. On the face of it, everybody would have speculated that the man committed suicide for an unknown reason, but the reality was much more twisted than this.
The couple, Laura and Max, were the owners of an animation and VFX studio called LAM. Laura went to meet a man named Arthur just after the death of her husband. Arthur used to be their third partner, but due to an incident that happened on the set of one of his films, Dragonfish, he had decided to part ways and start his own thing. Also, Arthur was not the kind of man who kept up with the technological advancements happening in his field. It was not because he was incapable of adapting to the changing times, but he always said he needed something real to hold on to. He liked working with clay because he could hold it in his hands and make his imagination come to reality. He liked those days when he had opened a practical special effects shop in 1975 with his partners, Max and Laura. He felt as if they were creating actual life out of clay. Arthur always said that he strived hard to make his creations look real and that is why every object inside the special effects shop was created in an astoundingly nuanced manner. Laura told him that things were not right between her and Max. They had decided to file for divorce, and for that purpose, they were meeting when things got heated up, and they started fighting. Laura said that whatever she said triggered Max, because of which he jumped and gave his life. She pleaded with Arthur to create a maquette of her husband because she wanted to look him in the eye one last time and ask for forgiveness.
Arthur was moved by what she said, and he told her that he would make it for her. Observing Laura, we knew that she had malicious intentions behind getting the maquette made. Laura didn’t have any intention of asking for forgiveness, as the death of her husband didn’t have any effect on her. She was more worried about a piece of evidence that Max had in his possession. Max knew something that Laura had done in the past, and he was threatening her with telling the whole world about it. Laura tried to reason with him not to divulge her secret, but Max was stubborn and in no mood for reconciliation. Laura poisons Max’s drink, but before he can die of the poison, he jumps from the cliff because he wanted to destroy his face.
The evidence was stored on his computer, which had a two-tier locking system in which, after a password, Max had to show his face to unlock it. So, Laura wanted the maquette made because she hoped the face recognition system wouldn’t be able to tell if it was a clay model or a real man’s face. Arthur was a genius craftsman, and what he created made it look like he had brought Max back to life. Laura opened the laptop using it, got hold of the behind-the-scenes footage, and deleted it immediately. She thought that she had escaped her fate, but it was not so. Coincidentally, Charlie happened to be around, and once again, she found herself amidst a mystery that she wanted to solve at any cost.
‘Poker Face’ Episode 8: Ending Explained – How Did Charlie Expose Laura? Is Laura Dead?
Approximately 30 years ago, Arthur was going to make his directorial debut when the actress in his film, Lily Albern, died on the set, and he blamed himself for it. Arthur wanted to take a shot where the actress went inside the water and was attacked by a sea monster. The big tank in which Lily had to go had an emergency system where, if she had any sort of problem, she could hit a button on her hand, which would turn on a red light outside and make the crew aware. They had tried taking the perfect shot many times that day, but they were not able to get it. Every time she went inside, she pressed the button, and the shot failed. Arthur got a bit frustrated and spoke to her rudely. In the last take, Lily gave the perfect shot, and the crew breathed a sigh of relief, but they noticed that she didn’t come out of the tank. Lily died inside the water tank, and Arthur believed that if he hadn’t pressured her, she would have survived.
Charlie had started working as Arthur’s assistant the day she came to deliver wigs from a barbershop to him, which he needed for his maquettes. She was fascinated with the kind of person Arthur was and, more importantly, with the work that he did. Arthur always spoke the truth, no matter how harsh it was, and Charlie loved that about him. Charlie was inside Arthur’s workshop when Laura came to him with a request to get Max’s maquette made. Charlie had noticed that, for some reason, Laura was telling lies, and she informed Arthur about it. Though Arthur didn’t believe it at the time, he had an intuition and decided to watch the behind-the-scenes footage of Dragonfish. He once again witnessed the events of that fateful day, April 12, 1989, and he accidentally saw something that exposed Laura and brought her crimes to light.
The red bulb had been intentionally switched off by Laura because she thought that the actress was wasting their time and resources on purpose. There was a lot at stake for all three partners, and in fact, they had put their houses up for mortgage to fund their film. At the spur of the moment, Laura had gotten agitated and killed the poor girl. Arthur had blamed himself for the past 30 years and had nothing but disgust for what Laura had done. He had a lot of respect for Laura before that day, but everything went downhill after. Arthur went to meet Laura, gave her the original reel, and told her that she could do whatever she wanted with it. Still, Laura was not sure about him, so she poisoned his drink just like she had done with Max. Arthur died, and Charlie found him lying on his porch.
Charlie went to meet Laura just to know if, in his last moments, Arthur had reconciled with his guilt. She wanted to know if he was able to die in peace, but instead, she realized that Laura was hiding something and not telling the truth. Laura spoke about how, after meeting Arthur, she felt a kind of release and stopped blaming herself for Max’s death, and that’s where her lie came to light. Charlie got in touch with Raoul and asked him to bring the digital files of the behind-the-scenes footage that had been captured on the set of Dragonfish. She noticed that one particular file had been deleted, and she realized how Laura would have used the maquette to delete the files.
Raoul confronted Laura, who had come to hijack the entire setup of Arthur and asked her why she had taken the original reel. Laura said that Arthur had brought the film to her house and destroyed it there. Charlie was listening to the conversation while hiding, and she realized that the film had not been destroyed completely. She connected the dots and speculated that Arthur might have spliced out the important bits and hidden them somewhere. She found out that the spliced film was hidden in one of his sculptures called the Medusa from Zazamoosh.
Laura was celebrating the 40th anniversary of her company, and she had organized a ceremony that was to be attended by people in the industry. Charlie decided to bring her crimes into the public eye, and she played the spliced-out bits of the film where a young Laura was seen switching the red bulb off. Laura couldn’t see her life getting destroyed in front of her own eyes. It felt as if she was possessed by the ghost of her past, and just like Max, gave up her life by jumping from the building. Charlie ran after Laura, but she couldn’t save her, and she stood there, probably thinking that the ritual of penitence for killing an innocent life had now been completed.
See More: ‘Poker Face’ Episode 9: Recap And Ending, Explained: Who Killed Chloe Jones? Are Mortimer And Jimmy Dead Too?