‘Poker Face’ Episodes 1 And 2: Recap & Ending, Explained: Why Is Charlie Cale Running From Frost Sr.?


“Poker Face,” created by Rian Johnson, is a fun ride that follows a woman named Charlie Cale, who has this unbelievable knack for knowing if a person is lying or not. Charlie got involved with the wrong people, who yielded a great deal of power, and she was audacious enough to go against them. When the reputation of a casino was at stake because of her actions, the owner took a vow to find and kill Charlie because of a personal loss that he had suffered because of her. Charlie might have been infamously known for the wrong things, but she knew how to stand up for her own people. She had the spirit of a detective, and her insane capabilities and great observational skills meant that she kept finding trouble while being constantly on the run. “Poker Face” is an entertaining watch, and with its tight and compelling screenplay and captivating characters, it keeps you hooked for the entire span of the episode. So, let’s find out what trouble Charlie landed in and if she was able to save her life. 

Spoilers Ahead

‘Poker Face’ Episode 1: Recap – What Did Sterling Frost Want? Why Is Charlie Cale On The Run?

Natalie, a worker at the Frost Casino, had entered room 1848 and found some illegal sexual content on the laptop of the person who was staying there. Natalie was scared, so she decided that she would go to the concerned authorities and inform them of what was happening. Natalie knew that the room was taken by an influential businessman named Mr. Kazimir Caine. Natalie met Cliff, the chief of security at Frost Casino, and he took her to Sterling Frost Jr., the owner of the casino. The Frost Casino was started by Frost Sr., who did not have any trust in his son at one point in time. He always demeaned Jr., and from there arose a need within him to prove his father wrong. Sterling Jr. craved validation, and he wanted to show everybody that he was not as incumbent as his father believed him to be. Sterling Jr. knew that Natalie had spied on the wrong person, and even though she was a sincere employee, she had to be taken care of, as he couldn’t afford to have any loose ends. Sterling told Natalie that the issue would be resolved, and he would make a formal complaint and ask the FBI and the local police to look into the matter. But Sterling obviously had no such intention. He told Cliff to deal with Natalie, and to destroy each and every piece of evidence. Cliff killed Jerry, Natalie’s husband, and waited inside the house until Natalie came. He shot her and made it look like Jerry had committed suicide after he had killed his wife.

“Poker Face” Episode 1 takes us a few hours back before Natalie was killed. At the beginning of the day, Natalie picked up her friend Charlie Cale from her accommodation, and both of them came to work together. Charlie had quite a fascinating history with the gambling world, and she was once known as an invincible Poker player. She had never lost a game before she came to Frost Casino, when Sterling Sr. realized the trick she employed to win each and every game she played. Charlie had been blacklisted from all the casinos after Sterling Sr. defamed her name and told people that she indulged in malpractice. Charlie was offered a job by Sterling Sr. later, and having nowhere to go, she joined the company of the man who ruined her life. Charlie was extremely good at reading the body language of a player, so much so that not even once was she wrong in guessing whether a player was lying or telling the truth. It was almost like she had a supernatural power where she could just observe the player for a second and get to know what he was up to. 

Sterling Jr. had heard about the legend of Charlie Cale, and that is why he thought that she could be of help to him as he was trying to accomplish something that even his father didn’t dare to. Sterling Jr. met Charlie, and he told her that his father had told him how she used to win her games. Sterling Jr. wanted her help to catch Mr. Caine, the whale of the gambling world, red-handed. Caine had started spending relatively less in the casino, and Sterling had gotten to know that the reason behind it was that Caine was organizing some private games in his suite. He didn’t appreciate this from a man of his caliber. He hatched a plan in which he wanted Charlie to assist a player who was already a part of the private circle of Mr. Caine. Sterling wanted to make Caine lose money so that he would start thinking that private games were not a viable option and start spending more in the casino. Charlie was offered a huge sum of money by Sterling in return for the favor he had asked for, and the amount was so lucrative that Charlie couldn’t say no.

In between their conversations, Charlie noticed that Sterling had gone to attend a call. Natalie’s husband, Jerry, came to the casino in a drunken state and created a ruckus. Cliff had to escort the man out, but he didn’t file any formal complaint with the police. When the news of Natalie’s death reached Charlie, she felt that something was not right with the way Natalie had died. There were some anomalies that Charlie noticed, and the reality didn’t match the news being shown by the channels. Charlie took it upon herself to find the truth, as she had realized that the authorities clearly weren’t interested in making any sort of effort. So, she went to the crime scene, i.e., her friend Natalie’s house, and found her iPad. When she opened it, she found that there were some obscene pictures present of none other than Kazimir Caine. 

Charlie realized that Sterling Jr. had been lying to her and not telling the entire story. She confronted Sterling, who had no option but to accept his crime, as Charlie had come with incriminating evidence that couldn’t be ignored. Sterling said that she couldn’t threaten a man who literally owned the entire city. But Charlie was two steps ahead of him already, and she had recorded their earlier conversation, where Sterling was talking about his game plan to install a camera in Caine’s suite and make sure that he lost a huge amount of money. Caine, without telling anyone, checked out of the hotel, and Sterling realized what a blunder he had committed. Sterling knew that he couldn’t come back from that setback, so he jumped from his balcony and committed suicide. Charlie understood that Cliff wouldn’t leave her alive, so she ran and left the city as soon as she could. Charlie reached New Mexico, and though she had thought that she would be able to leave behind what had happened in the past couple of days, very soon, she found herself amidst solving another murder mystery.

‘Poker Face’ Episode 2: Recap – Did Charlie Find Evidence Against Jed?

In the second episode of “Poker Face,” we are introduced to Sarah, Damien, and Jed, who lived and worked in New Mexico. Damien was an ex-marine, and he had moved to the city recently. He and Sarah had developed feelings for each other, and Jed felt jealous of their relationship. Jed had always loved Sarah, but she had never reciprocated his feelings and often got creeped out by his presence. Damien wanted to go and talk to Jed directly, as he saw how uncomfortable he made Sarah, whenever he came to buy anything from her store. Damien followed a ritual every day, where he would bring a Subway sandwich for Sarah at night and then buy a lottery ticket from her store. 

One night, after he came and met Sarah, he decided that it was the opportune moment to make Jed realize that his obsession wasn’t helping his cause, and Sarah had started despising him even more. Damien wanted to say it in a good way so that Jed could move on with his life and stop wasting his time over a girl who didn’t have any feelings for him. Damien went to the rooftop where Jed was sitting to watch the meteor shower. They had a heated conversation, but it felt like Jeb would be able to realize that whatever he was doing was making Sarah very uncomfortable. But just then, Damine told him that he had won a lottery of $25,000, and that’s when something snapped inside Jed and pushed Damien off the roof. Jed went down and, upon realizing that Damien was still not dead, he hit him with a heavy rod. He then disposed of his body in a carrier truck and ran away from the scene. The driver of the truck got very scared upon finding the body inside her vehicle. Jed smartly switched on the camera, which he had switched off for an hour or so, and captured the driver throwing the dead body of Damien on the roadside. Jed informed the police of the crime, and the driver of that truck was taken into custody.

Earlier that day, the same truck driver who had been falsely accused of murdering Damien had met Charlie, who had arrived in New Mexico after escaping the Frost Casino. That truck driver’s name was Marge, and she had been very kind to Charlie. She had voluntarily offered help and dressed her wound, and then took her out for drinks. Marge was lonely, and she craved some good company. She told Charlie that she had not spoken to a soul in the last 270 days. That night Charlie had passed out, and in the morning, she found out that her friend had been arrested for murder. Charlie once again started snooping into the matter, as she just couldn’t gulp down the fact that Marge was capable of murdering someone so brutally. She checked the camera footage, and she found that there were some discrepancies and approximately an hour’s worth of footage was missing. She then went and talked to Sarah and learned that Damien used to buy lottery tickets from her regularly. Charlie had talked to Jed earlier, and she knew that something was not right with him.

After observing the lottery tickets, Charlie realized that she needed to find out what Jed’s lottery ticket number was, as she had an intuition that after killing Damien, he would have taken his ticket. Sarah manipulated Jed and took his lottery ticket under the pretext that she wanted to see what a winning lottery ticket looked like. Sarah gave the ticket to Charlie, who found out that she was right in assuming that the number on Jed’s ticket did not match the time he had taken it. Jed agreed that he had committed the murder, as he knew that Charlie didn’t have any evidence to corroborate her findings and assumptions. Charlie knew that Jed was right, and that is why she left the scene, frustrated at how someone had outsmarted her. When she was just leaving the city, she got an idea, and she believed that it could help her get a breakthrough. She saw that each and every truck had a camera installed near the windscreen, and she remembered that there was another truck that was parked just in front of Marge’s. Charlie had found out that the truck belonged to a driver named ‘Pickleback,’ but before she could get to him, Cliff arrived at Route 66, looking for Charlie. Charlie had taken out cash from the ATM machine, and she knew that pretty soon, Cliff would get to know her location. Charlie once again hit the road, but before going, she told the people sitting in the bar about it and asked them to search Pickleback’s camera footage.

Jed used to work at a mechanic’s shop, and his employer was an old man who took a lot of pride in his honesty. When he got to know that Jed had lied to him and killed Damien, he was hurt, as he had always treated him like his own. Even Jed couldn’t deal with the guilt of disappointing his boss, so he burned his lottery ticket and called the police to confess his crimes. 

What To Expect In The Next Episodes?

In the upcoming episodes of “Poker Face,” we would see Charlie being on the run and trying to find a safe haven where Cliff and Sterling Frost Sr. wouldn’t be able to find her. Ideally, for anyone who wanted to conceal their identity, it was never advisable to indulge in matters that didn’t concern them, but Charlie was not the kind of woman who could control her impulses. She got attached to people quite quickly, and once she developed that bond, she couldn’t just ignore the fact that they had been manipulated or denied justice. Even if the odds were not in her favor, Charlie never shied away from taking on the mantle of finding the real perpetrators. Her acts of kindness often landed her in a lot of trouble, but somehow Charlie was always able to save herself and come out of it unharmed. It would be interesting to see what adventures she encountered next and how long she would be able to run from Cliff, who was relentless in his pursuit and was surely not going to give up any time soon.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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