Natasha Lyonne’s ‘Poker Face’ Performance in Season 1 Finale

THE PERFORMER | Natasha Lyonne

THE SHOW | Peacock’s Poker Face

THE EPISODE | “The Hook” (March 9, 2023)

THE PERFORMANCE | Watching amateur sleuth Charlie Cale use her lie-detecting skills to solve murders has been a distinct pleasure all season long on Peacock’s throwback mystery, thanks to Lyonne’s hilariously raspy lead performance. But she topped herself in this week’s season finale as Charlie dropped her own poker face for a bit, letting us get a sense of what actually makes her tick.

The finale offered plenty of chances for Lyonne to make us laugh, from Charlie tagging along with a wild bachelorette party to having to endure Cliff’s dead-serious spoken-word recitation of Blues Traveler’s “Hook.” (He really is the worst.) But Lyonne also flashed a steely intensity as Charlie faced off with Cliff, her eyes welling up with emotion as she contemplated shooting the guy, and later stood toe-to-toe with intimidating casino boss Sterling Frost Sr., never giving an inch. The episode also gave our first good look at Charlie’s backstory, introducing us to her sister Emily, played by Clea DuVall, and Lyonne put Charlie’s emotional bruises on full display as the two sisters bickered and dredged up old family grudges. The stress of living on the lam for a year crept into Lyonne’s voice as Charlie asked her sister, “You think I like living like this?” (The Poker Face writers are still keeping their cards close to their chests regarding Charlie’s past, but Lyonne manages to fill in the blanks marvelously with just a few words and a glance.)

In the end, Charlie caught the bad guy, of course — using an, um, unusual ring to subdue Cliff — and went back on the run, this time with a different casino boss vowing to track her down. (And we can’t wait to see Lyonne tangle with Rhea Perlman in Season 2.) But for now, let’s enjoy what Lyonne has given us this season: an instantly memorable TV character with an endless supply of sassy one-liners and a few hidden depths still left to explore.

Scroll down to see who scored Honorable Mention shout-outs this week…

2023-03-11 15:00:00