Poker Face Episode 10 The Hook Review And Recap-On The Road Again And Charlie Is Ruinous
The Hook by Blues Traveler tells you everything you need to know about Charlie and Peacock’s smash hit. The hook always brings you back. Everyone has one. It is sometimes our greatest weakness and sometimes our greatest strength. Regardless if it is a help or a hindrance, it reliably predicts our behavior. Charlie’s hook is curiosity. It gets her in trouble but has gotten her out of just as much. Curiosity killed the cat, but Charlie has nine lives. When Cliff finally catches up to her in Poker Face Episode 10, she must expend several of them and all her talents to save herself. Thanks to Cliff, it looks like she jumped out of the fire and into the frying pan.
It all started when Charlie got the phone call from Sterling Frost and hit the road. Ron Perlman’s Sterling is an imposing figure with a scheme and a surprising soft spot for our favorite lie detector. We watched as Cliff hunted Charlie for more than a year going from bad hotel to bad hotel. He hated it and grew to hate Sterling for making him keep looking for her. He wanted to be a partner. When he finally caught up to her and Sterling made him wait until she was healed, it was the last straw. He put an elaborate plan in motion, and unfortunately, Charlie was an unwitting patsy.
He gave her an out when he had her hold a gun aimed at his chest. She could have killed Cliff, assuming there were bullets in the gun. Charlie is a lover, not a fighter, and the heartbreaking tears falling down her face prove she couldn’t kill anybody. Unfortunately, Cliff knew that and wanted her prints on the gun. It was a safe bet and a reasonable risk to take.
Sterling Sr. knew the Hasps were terrible people. He knew he shouldn’t get into business with them. He told his son to avoid it at all costs. Sterling Jr. was a bad son and an even worse businessman, though. Sterling Sr. had his son’s office bugged, so he already knew Sterling Jr. planned on screwing him. More importantly, he knew Sterling Jr. was involved with Beatrix Hasp. Now Sterling Sr. has to make a deal with the 5 Families, and he needs Charlie to determine if promises and assurances are real. He offers to give her 500K and her freedom. Sterling is different from his son in that she could walk away. Cliff has other plans, though, and he switched a kind-hearted gift of her old name badge with a gun.
Cliff turned off the lights in the casino with the push of a button delivered by room service via Beatrix, and he shot Sterling in the dark using a black light and a poker chip to guide the way. When Charlie panicked, dropped her gun, and ran, Cliff switched her gun with the one that shot Sterling Sr. and yelled for security. The setup was nearly perfect, and with the full force of the Mob behind him, he has Charlie dead to rights and Sterling just dead.
Charlie isn’t without any help, though. She has Agent Luca Clarke she met at Mossy Oaks, and her sister Emily perenially excellent Clea Duvall. Luca can’t offer more than advice, and Emily is less than thrilled to see her, though. Charlie’s gift created a massive rift between them, and Emily isn’t ready to let her ruin her life. She doesn’t understand how Charlie chooses to be the way she is, and after ten episodes, we know it is a choice. It’s her hook. She doesn’t just fall ass-backward into trouble. Charlie finds it and has to engage with it. She can’t help herself. Finally, Emily admits that she thinks Charlie does a lot of good but doesn’t want her anywhere near her. It’s a deceptively subtle, devastating scene that speaks volumes about where Poker Face Season 2 could go.
Everyone loves a flawed hero. Superheroes were built on the backs of flawed people forced to become better than they were in extraordinary circumstances. Charlie isn’t shooting webs or firing laser beams from her eyes, but she is a hero. It is who she is, but it also makes her a loner. Her backstory will be fascinating, and Lyonne has a knack for wringing out emotion from the most unexpected places.
With keys to a boat that won’t sail and only two contacts in her phone, she has no choice but to call Cliff. He tells her where he is and then calls the police to tell them she is coming. Cliff didn’t count on her already being at the marina, though. So he has to entertain her questions when she arrives just minutes after their call. He knows what she can do and does his best to answer truthfully when possible and dodge the rest, but Charlie is relentless.
She finds his glow-in-the-dark chips but doesn’t need them. However, the penis ring is handy when she punches him and jumps into the water to swim safely. Luckily Luca is a good agent, and when she tells him about the tape recordings, he listens to it all, and Cliff gets arrested for the murders of her friend and her husband.
After arresting Cliff, Luca drove Charlie’s car to a diner to meet with her. He informs her that Cliff flipped on Beatrix, so Charlie is off the hook for Sterling Sr.’s murder and offers her a job. She turns him down and several minutes later does the same when Beatrix calls, offering Charlie life in exchange for her service. For the second time in Poker Face Episode 10, someone calls Charlie ruinous, and maybe they are right. She has a habit of ruining plans. With Beatrix and the 5 Families searching for her, Charlie hits the road once again. “When you end up in the water, what else you gonna do?” Swim Charlie Cale, and don’t ever stop.
This series has always done a great job of balancing comedy, sentimentality, and mystery. The fact that Sterling wanted her dressed like a Real Housewife Of New Jersey was funny. That she got a penis ring stuck on her finger that later destroys Cliff’s eye is funnier still. We need that laughter to get us through the scarier and more emotional bits. An entire syndicate is after her. This isn’t just one guy anymore, and her past with her sister is tragic. Being on the road can seem romantic, but it is also lonely. She may be good at it, but that doesn’t mean it is good for her. It is good for storytelling, though.
Poker Face Episode 10 ends where it began. Poker face Season 2 is nicely set up, and the skies are the limit for Charlie Cale. Natasha Lyonne holds all the cards, and Peacock has a Royal Flush. One thing still bugs me. What is the obsession with Burn Notice? As much as I loved watching Michael, Sam, Fiona, and Jesse, I’m surprised it gets so much play in the comedic procedural. References to the action spy show bookended Poker Face Season 1. The group was shot at and had their things blown up more times than I could count. Charlie doesn’t have a killer instinct or explosive friends. She only has her wits and her gift. Those are usually enough. Find all our Poker Face coverage here.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.