In the 3rd and 4th episodes of “Poker Face,” Charlie finds herself entangled between two more murder cases while being on the run and trying to save her life from Sterling Frost Sr. and his muscleman Cliff. Charlie seemed to have a knack for befriending the victims, and as soon as she developed an emotional bond with any person, something or the other happened with them, and they met their fateful end. So, let’s see if she was able to crack the two cases that came her way and what drastic measures she took to make sure that the victims got justice.
‘Poker Face’ Episode 3: Recap – Was Charlie Able To Expose Taffy And Mandy?
The human lie detector, Charlie Cale, had reached Texas, and she found herself asking for work at Boyle’s Barbecue Joint. It was a family-owned business that consisted of three people: George, his brother, Taffy, and his wife, Mandy. When Charlie arrived at their place, Taffy was not inclined to entertain her. But George was a kindhearted man, and he wanted to help Charlie, which is why he allowed her to work for them. Trouble followed Charlie wherever she went, and this time, as soon as she reached Texas, a conflict arose, and there was a murder committed in an otherwise peaceful neighborhood. Charlie had shown George a movie called “Okja,” and that influenced him so much that he decided to leave the beef business and become a vegan. As George said, barbecue could mean a lot of things for people all around the globe, but people in Texas liked keeping things simple, and for them, beef and barbecue were one and the same thing. From creating new dishes to developing a strong brand image, George was totally invested in the business until Charlie came along, after which there was a change in his ideologies and perspective. He became sensitive towards animal cruelty, and he decided that he would talk to his elder brother about taking his share of the business and starting an entirely new venture. Taffy obviously didn’t take this change of heart in a good way. He tried to convince his brother, but Geroge was a strong-headed person, and he was determined to follow the path that his heart was set upon. The brothers were on the threshold of a big deal, and all these revelations were in conflict with the aims and aspirations that Taffy had for the business.
Taffy, together with Mandy, hatched a plan to kill his own brother, as he was left with no other option. Mandy was the criminal mastermind who had provided support from the background, while Taffy was the executioner. Taffy always said that paying attention to details was of the utmost importance, and keeping his own words in mind, he hatched a plan to commit the perfect crime. Taffy used to go on air at the local radio station and have question-and-answer sessions with all his listeners. He first recorded an approximately 15-minute-long monologue in which he was speaking on a topic, the context of which was in sync with the show he was going to have. He created the perfect alibi as the people who were listening to him thought that he was speaking live on air, but he had put the recording on and escaped from the window to go to George’s caravan. Taffy first poisoned George’s beer, and after he passed out in his caravan, he locked it from the inside using a thread and then filled it with smoke, which ultimately led to George’s death. The police thought that George had committed suicide as the caravan was locked from the inside, but Charlie found it really hard to accept that the man who was sounding so hopeful the day before could take such an extreme step.
Charlie was leaving town when she found the same “dog,” who had pestered her so much earlier, lying in the middle of the road in a wounded state. She took the dog to the vet, and that’s when she learned that small pieces of a special kind of wood were found in his wound. She knew immediately that it was pecan wood, which George used to barbeque his meat with. She realized that the dog was hit near George’s caravan, and then somebody carried it and put it on the side of the road. She went and checked George’s caravan, and she found yet another clue that hinted towards foul play: the beer bottle had no smell of beer, which meant that somebody had washed it and made sure that there were no fingerprints on it. She also saw a mark on the lock that made her realize that somebody had used a thread to make it look like the door had been bolted by George himself.
Charlie’s suspicions were strengthened even more when she talked to Taffy and Mandy, as she got to know that they had been lying all along. But all this evidence was not enough, so she went to the radio station, where she met Austin, who was a popular radio jockey. She asked him to give her the recording of Taffy’s show from the night of the crime. She found a few irregularities in the recording, like the sound of the train that used to pass at short and frequent intervals wasn’t coming in the background, and there was a glitch too, which made her realize that Taffy would have plugged in the pre-recorded voice in between the live show. Charlie knew that Austin was good at mimicking other people, so she asked a favor of him. Austin called Mandy, pretending to be Taffy, and told her that Charlie had solid evidence to prove that they had committed the murder. Mandy confessed everything on the call, and Charlie and Austin used it against her. Mandy went to the local police and put all the blame on Taffy, but later, when she was pretending to be innocent, Austin played the confession audio clip on his live show, and people came to know that Mandy was involved in plotting and planning the murder of her own husband.
‘Poker Face’ Episode 4: Recap – Was Ruby Able To Release “Suckerhead” Under Her Name?
Doxxology was a band that shot to fame years ago with their hit song “Staple Head,” but after reaching that pinnacle, nothing else worked in their favor, and everything went downhill. Ruby Ruin, the lead vocalist of the band, didn’t want to be known as a has-been, and she wanted to give it one last shot. She got an opportunity to do a short tour, and she knew that it was probably the last chance she would ever get. She wanted to make the most of it, and she knew that she had to create some magic to make the people realize that there was still some fire left in them. Ruby and the other band members never got any royalties for their song “Staplehead,” as it was written by Belinda, and that is why, even when it became a chartbuster, they considered it a curse that they couldn’t get rid of. The audience always wanted to hear Staplehead, and every time the band played it, it reminded them of how they had been duped by Belinda. Ruby wanted a new guitarist, and that’s how she came in contact with Gavin.
Around the same time, even Charlie came to town and took the job of selling the merchandise of the band while touring with them. Charlie and Gavin became close as she realized that beneath all that funk and eccentricities was an honest guy who wanted the best for everybody. Gavin had written a song named Sucker Punch, and when Ruby heard it, she was blown away. She knew that the song was a hit, but she was skeptical because she didn’t want history to repeat itself. So, she and her band members, i.e., Al and Eskie, hatched a plan to kill Gavin. They replaced his amp and electrocuted him on stage. Charlie accidentally found Gavin’s belongings and realized that he had taken the words of the song from different objects and food items that he had in his possession. She then saw that Al had put the amplifier and the stapler with which Gavin had been assaulted for sale on eBay. She went to the band’s caravan, and that’s when she heard Al singing a song that felt like a confession for murdering an innocent soul.
Charlie knew that Al was behind the murder, and she told the same to Ruby. Ruby told her upfront that, though the song had been written by Gavin, the band had no role to play in his death. Gavin used to record his foot movements while playing his drums to improve and catch his mistakes. Charlie knew about it, and when she watched the footage, she came to know that Ruby, Al, and Eskie were wearing high-soled boots on purpose, which acted as an insulator and saved them from the electric shock. Before she could expose the real faces of the perpetrators, Cliff arrived at the scene, and Ruby had to run to save her life. But before that, she did something that spoiled Ruby’s plans, and even if she couldn’t put her behind bars legally, she made sure that Doxxology wasn’t able to release Sucker Punch under their names. The tune of the song was ripped off from the theme song of an American sitcom called Benson, and when the record label got wind of it, they refrained from signing any contract with the band. Additionally, Charlie also gave the evidence she had found to a girl who was an amateur conspiracy theorist and ran a YouTube podcast channel called Murder Girl. Ruby’s perfect plan to resurrect her band didn’t work, and Charlie was satisfied after bringing the truth to light.
The chase would continue in the subsequent episodes of “Poker Face,” and we would see Charlie taking up new cases and solving the mysteries that came her way. There would be tons of new characters, and Charlie would keep helping them get justice. It would be interesting to see if Rian Johnson and his team of writers try to break the mold or if they carry on with the same whodunnit pattern where Charlie keeps getting justice for the victims posthumously. Though the concept seemed fresh for the first two episodes, by the fourth episode, it became a bit repetitive. Predictability is the biggest enemy of a series that is trying to keep the audience on the edge of their seats, and for Rian Johnson, the biggest challenge would be to not lose out on that gripping suspense that was an essential ingredient of the narrative, at least for the first two episodes.