Poker Face Season 1 Episode 8 Recap – why did Max commit suicide?

By Adam Lock
Published: February 23, 2023 (Last updated: February 21, 2024)
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Poker Face Season 1 Episode 8 Recap
Natasha Lyonne in Poker Face Season 1 (Credit to Peacock)


A rushed ending hinders a fascinating story of betrayal and corruption. Nick Nolte is gripping as the fragile artist, while Natasha Lyonne’s writing and directing continue to impress.

Poker Face Season 1 Episode 8 opens with a man committing suicide, but as with most things in Poker Face, looks can be deceiving; everything is not as it would seem.

The eighth chapter in the Charlie Cale murder mystery saga focuses on this suicide, exploring the eighties B-movie film scene and the notion of atoning for one’s past. The ever-talented lead actress, Natasha Lyonne, writes and directs this beguiling installment as we embark upon yet another murder investigation.

The episode introduces us to a cliff-side apartment. Laura (Cherry Jones) argues with her husband, Max (Tim Russ). A dramatic score plays as he walks over to the cliff’s edge and jumps, dying almost instantly. Laura then meets with an old friend, Arthur (Nick Nolte), and they discuss Max’s death and her troubled marriage.

They were getting divorced, and Max killed himself after a rather nasty argument. Laura wants Arthur, an artist, and animator, to recreate her husband in model form so that she can apologize to him one last time, face to face.

Two weeks later, the package arrived. Laura unwraps the model and stares at an ultra-realistic sculpture of her dead husband. She apologizes to the model, and the scene seamlessly cuts to a flashback of their infamous final argument. Max informs Laura that he has found the incriminating footage and is taking it to the police.

While Laura defends herself, stating that it was forty years ago, Max starts to lose the feeling in his hands. He has been poisoned. With his final words, Max tells Laura that the footage is locked away on a hard drive.

Why did Max commit suicide?

Laura tells Max that she knows all of his passwords and will delete the file and burn the original film reel. The wife cannot let this crime ruin her life. Suddenly, Max rushes outside and jumps to his death. A seemingly odd form of retaliation at first, but this suicide quickly makes more sense.

Laura needs Max’s face ID to access the file. But Max’s face is currently smashed against the rock below. He committed suicide, so she couldn’t access and delete the file.

In the present, Laura uses the model of Max’s face to bypass the passwords and enter the system. She quickly deletes the file, thwarting her ex-husband’s plan. Next, Laura calls the archives and speaks with Raoul (Luis Guzman). She needs to burn the original to be in the clear.

We then pick up Charlie, a cleaner at a barber’s shop. She delivers a bag of hair to Arthur, which is how these two individuals first meet. Arthur has just returned from Max’s funeral and is drowning his sorrows. Charlie asks to join him. He shows her his workshop, and she asks to work as his assistant.

A week later, the new friends are working on Arthur’s next project, The Orpheus Syndrome.

What ruined Arthur’s directing career?

Here, we see Arthur and Laura’s conversation from Charlie’s point of view. She senses the lies and warns Arthur. But he is happy to help out his grieving friend. While making the model of Max’s head, Arthur explains the incident that ruined his directing career. In the eighties, he debuted his feature film, but an actress died on set. They were shooting an underwater scene, and the actress drowned. Arthur blamed himself for the accident. Charlie realizes that the new project is about that tragedy; he is revisiting the past via this animation.

Why did Laura need the footage destroyed?

After the chat with Charlie, Arthur requests the footage from that fateful day. Raoul brings the film reels over, and Charlie delivers the model to Laura. Arthur watches the old footage and sees that it is Laura’s fault.

She turned off a safety mechanism during the filming, which led to the actress’s death. Laura needs the footage destroying else she faces imprisonment for murder.

Arthur instantly confronts Laura about this betrayal. Laura again poisons her enemy. Arthur drives home as the poison takes hold. Charlie finds him passed out in the driveway. She calls 911 but must flee herself to avoid being caught.

Both Max and Arthur are dead, but Laura is still without the original piece of film that proves her involvement in the actress’ death. She uses the 40th anniversary of her production company as an excuse to find the all-important footage.

Laura ransacks Arthur’s workshop, but she can’t find the evidence. Charlie innocently visits Laura to see if Arthur has found peace; she witnesses Laura’s many lies here. It’s a little late in the episode, but Charlie gets to work, piecing everything together as usual.

How does Poker Face Season 1 Episode 8 end?

Raoul and Charlie look for the incriminating footage, but it is impossible to find. Eventually, Charlie spies the reels of film tangled around a prop head, precisely that of a Medusa-type creature. It is quickly taken away from the event, though. Charlie breaks into the 40th-anniversary event in disguise, manically searching for the footage.

In the end, Laura plays her tribute video, delivering a grand speech on the anniversary and the deaths of Arthur and Max. She has a mini breakdown during her big speech, seeing Arthur in the crowd and talking openly about the actress’ death. She loses the plot and then considers the incriminating footage projected to the crowd of onlookers.

Charlie and Raoul managed to find it in time and serve some justice. Amid her psychotic episode, Laura sees Max alive once again and follows him outside. He jumps off the edge again, and Laura follows, falling to her death.

What did you think of Poker Face Season 1 Episode 7? Comment below.

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