Poker Face’s Best Guest Stars, Ranked

Photo Illustration: Vulture. Photos: peacock

There are many reasons to enjoy good television procedure, but one of the greatest joys is watching marquee performers take on the roles of suspects, victims, and everyone else connected to the week’s dead body. On this level, Peacock’s poker face doesn’t disappoint as Rian Johnson’s Natasha Lyonne series pretty much exists to give Lyonne an excuse to hang out with a bevy of Hollywood’s best scene thieves. Over the course of the ten-episode season, her lie-detecting Charlie wanders across America and becomes inexorably involved in solving various murders involving Emmy winners, Oscar winners and drama desk nominees.

But who stood out among the many outstanding guest performances of the season? The criteria for our ranking required that each actor be billed first among the guest stars of that episode (sometimes two actors share a billing so they qualify together), eliminating a number of second appearances by other great actors in more supporting roles. Salute to Dascha Polanco in the pilot, Jameela Jamil in Exit Stage Death, Charles Melton in The Future of the Sport, and of course Stephanie Hsu in Escape From Shit Mountain. (She has an Oscar nomination And a Drama Desk nomination, she’ll be fine!) Also, we don’t count someone who appears in multiple episodes because that’s the supporting cast. Apologies to Simon Helberg and of course to the excellent Benjamin Bratt.

Are you ready for the Brodyssance? Too late, it’s all right with us. Brody, who starred in Johnson’s The Bloom brothers, playing his father’s newly appointed casino manager, starts the whole series by ordering the murder of Charlie’s girlfriend Nat (Polanco) and very clumsily trying to cover it up by pinning it on her abusive husband. He then tries to use Charlie to scam a high roller who runs his own game at the casino, but this leads Charlie to find out Junior’s whole scheme and betray him to the high roller, ruining the casino’s reputation, because players talk. Senior gives his son a very stern call that causes Junior to jump off a balcony, spurring Senior to call for Charlie’s death. Brody plays a slimy loser who thinks he’s smarter than he is, but that’s a lot of action for one role, so he doesn’t have as much fun as some of the other guests on the list. Solid work that sets a menacing tone for the villains to come.

Poor Taffy just doesn’t know a thing about crickets, especially when compared to his brother George (Larry Brown) who can do magic with meat but has a crisis of faith after Charlie lent him some DVDs inclusive OK yes (one of poker face‘s More Refined Background Pop Culture Jokes). However, Taffy is a businessman, so he avoids George, tries to paint it as a suicide, and then insists they run their restaurant in his honor. It all falls apart pretty quickly when Charlie starts asking questions of Taffy and his co-conspirator, George’s wife Mandy (Danielle Macdonald). It’s none of poker face‘s better episodes, but Lil Rel is having fun with his Texas reel-maker persona. He’s got a big hat, big boots, a bolo tie, and also a bit of melancholy about him, like he’s done this horribly evil thing to his brother in the name of grilling and he’s just a little bit sad about it.

Read  Best productivity apps for iPhone & iPad to crush your goals in 2023

Ah, the soothing rumble of Tim Blake Nelson’s drawling voice that tickles your ears. Nelson stars as a gruff older racer who looks like he’s the episode’s villain – only for hot-headed younger Davis McDowell (Charles Melton) to prove even worse. When Keith tries to sabotage Davis’ car, Davis goes even further and lends the vehicle to Keith’s daughter, Katie, an aspiring racer. After Katie crashes but luckily didn’t die, Charlie comes in to find out everything. Nelson is very good in his typical niche, but the episode doesn’t challenge him to do anything outside of it (Melton shares much of the space), and it’s also, unfortunately, one of the less compelling of the season. In the seventh episode we adjusted to it poker face‘s cadence of introducing a potentially appealing character before the reversal kicks in that the realization that Keith is sort of honorable and Davis is pretty terrible doesn’t hit so hard. Still, it’s nice to hear Nelson mumble.

The poker face The season finale gives his major guest appearance to the sinister Ron Perlman, who reappears after his appearance in the first episode to threaten Charlie after his henchman Cliff tracks them down at the end of the ninth episode. Given that Sterling Sr. finds a way to keep turning the screws in Charlie, it is appears like he’s likely to reappear in season two, but then Cliff lets him go and frames Charlie for the act. (I should also challenge the other big guest, Clea DuVall as Charlie’s sister – a But I’m a cheerleader Reunion! – who I hope really does reappearing next season.) The thing about Perlman is that he’s so good, so gruff, so scary, choking down every sinister remark that despite his greedy casino magnate being so evil, we’re sad to see him go. At least he has been replaced as the big culprit by other Perlman, Rhea, plays Beatrix Hasp, leader of the Five Families Syndicate, who calls Charlie with a threat not dissimilar to that promised by the other Perlman earlier this season. Plus ça Perlman changeInfant!

Read  The 9 Best Pull-Up Bars for Home Gyms of 2023

Almost every Rian Johnson project comes with an appearance from JGL, and that’s the way it has to be poker face. This time around, Johnson’s muse plays a white-collar criminal stuck in his tech-crammed mountain home, tied to an ankle monitor and giving grocers terrible reviews. Trey has a dark past; Years ago he killed his young girlfriend Chloe and implicated his friend Jimmy (David Castañeda) in order to get his help hiding the body. He’s ready to kill again the moment Charlie and Morty (a thieving ski bum played by Stephanie Hsu) cross his path – Charlie literally because he hits them with his car. Gordon-Levitt is a good villain who works to the end of his performance Super pumped, and he has the advantage of appearing in one of the most tightly constructed episodes of the season. It turns out his new niche is anyone willing to engage in insider trading or worse.

Now we come to the very funny stuff. Nolte and Jones play former VFX employees turned rivals who were both implicated in the drowning of an actress on the set of a sci-fi film. Arthur directed and holds himself accountable, while his collaborator Laura, who went on to become a Hollywood power producer, actually sabotaged the starlet. When Laura’s husband Max (Tim Russ) discovers footage implicating Laura, she kills him. The whole episode feels like an excuse for Lyonne, who also directed, to croak a scene across from Nolte and take on the tireless Jones, meaning these actors play with malicious abandon to type. How exciting!

Speaking of typography, here’s cool girl Chloë Sevigny as a cool rocker who hates the only single (also not written by her) that was a hit for her band. Sevigny previously played Lyonne’s mother Russian doll, and it’s spot on that the two flip that shit on screen together. The mystery of this episode isn’t too complex: Ruby gets jealous again when newbie Gavin (Nicholas Cirillo) writes a song that could become another hit, and convinces her bandmates to electrocute him on stage so they can get the rights to it. Too bad that the song was a plagiarism of the benson Theme! The chemistry between Charlie and Ruby gives Charlie a real sense of reluctance and disappointment as she realizes how they pulled off the murder. It’s always a shame when a cool girl turns out to be not that cool after all.

Light and Merkerson make an absolutely adorable pair of nursing home schemers who turn out to be radical radicals. They plan to murder newcomer Ben, formerly known as Gabe (played by the always good Reedbirney), a former comrade who they know contacted the police at the time in their extremist group. After befriending Irene and Joyce, Charlie slowly finds out they’re behind the conspiracy with the help of Simon Helberg’s bumbling FBI agent. It’s a bit of a shame that Charlie ended up siding with the Fed, and that Irene and Joyce are actually pretty dangerous idiotic radicals (they were going to blow up a Model UN, which would mean killing kids). Maybe I was so enchanted by Light and Merkerson playing the chaotic evil – the way they scowled when they switched heart rate monitors is a very cartoon Disney villain from the days of Disney villains were really scary – that I was lured into their site.

Read  7 best new to Peacock movies that are 90% or higher on Rotten Tomatoes

I’m a sucker for anything to do with dinner theater. Meadows and Barkin play former TV co-stars and current lovers who pretend to be at odds while secretly plotting to piss off Meadow’s new wife (Jameela Jamil) by dumping her through the trick trap door of their reunion production. poker face sets the plot around a Tennessee Williams-style performance of a play called Tennessee Williams Ghosts of Pensacola, which means there’s plenty of backstage action, with Meadows and Barkin happily exaggerating while making ridiculous stage accents. He wears a military uniform, she plays a grande dame; both cry about times gone by. Supporting actress Rebecca (Audrey Corsa) catches her plot and tries to blackmail her, and soon Charlie finds out too. The episode ends with Barkin giving it her all with a glorious Southern Gothic monologue before stepping through that trapdoor herself. Both actors are having so much fun and Barkin really kills it (sorry) with that closing monologue. I would check Ghosts of Pensacola. I mean, especially if they served dinner too.

A TV procedure really should be where an actor as capable as Hong Chau with an accent, a fake mole and a big hat can kick off. Marge is a driving truck driver who befriends Charlie on the road, gives good advice on staying incognito, and says things like “I get ‘disconnected’ vibes” once she realizes this is more of a one friends-not-performance situation. Marge becomes involved in a murder when mechanic Jed (Colton Ryan) kills local lottery obsessive Damian (Brandon Micheal Hall) for a winning ticket, so of course Charlie has to come to her rescue. The whole plot is secondary to the fact that Hong Chau is just so good at creating a character that’s crazy and also instantly viscerally real. She got an Oscar nomination for it The whale (terrible movie, although she’s good at it) and probably deserved it instead The menubut what she does on poker face is so delightful, oddly specific, that it deserves an honor of its own. After just a few scenes, you can imagine the rest of Marge’s life wandering the streets of America, probably belching.

See everything

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also
Back to top button