Natasha Lyonne’s “Poker Face” Performance in the Season 1 Finale

THE ARTIST | Natasha Lyonne

THE SHOW | peacock Poker face

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

THE PERFORMANCE | Watching amateur sleuth Charlie Cale use his polygraph skills to solve murders was a treat all season long on the Peacock comeback mystery, thanks to Lyonne’s hilariously raucous performance. But she outdid herself in this week’s season finale as Charlie dropped her own poker face a bit, allowing us to get a sense of what really makes her tick.

The finale offered plenty of opportunities for Lyonne to make us laugh, from Charlie accompanying a wild bachelorette party to having to endure Cliff’s very earnest recitation of “Hook” from Blues Traveler. (He really is the worst.) But Lyonne also displayed steely intensity as Charlie confronted Cliff, her eyes filled with emotion as she considered shooting the guy, and later stood face to face with the intimidating casino boss Sterling Frost Sr. ., never giving a thumbs up. The episode also gave our first good look at Charlie’s backstory, introducing us to his sister Emily, played by Clea DuVall, and Lyonne highlighted Charlie’s emotional bruises as the two sisters bickered and ripped old family grudges. The stress of living on the run for a year crept into Lyonne’s voice as Charlie asked his sister, “Do you think I like living like this?” (THE Poker face the writers still keep their cards close to their chests regarding Charlie’s past, but Lyonne manages to fill in the blanks beautifully with just a few words and a look.)

In the end, Charlie caught the bad guy, of course – using an, uh, unusual ring to subdue Cliff – and went on the run again, this time with another casino boss swearing to find her. (And we can’t wait to see Lyonne tangle with Rhea Perlman in Season 2.) But for now, let’s enjoy what Lyonne gave us this season: an instantly memorable TV character with an endless supply of sassy one-liners. and some hidden depths yet to be explored.

Scroll down to see who scored honorable mentions this week…

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