The Story Behind the Nursing Home Ladies Fight

Poker Face reinvented itself, in just five episodes. In the most recent episode of by Rian Johnson Columbo-Inspiring mystery adventure, amateur detective Charlie Cale (Natasha Lyonne) encounters likable killers for the first time on her cross-country journey: two elderly women, former activists, living in a retirement community.

In every episode of Poker Face, which premiered last week on Peacock and will continue to stream new episodes weekly, Charlie confronts a new killer in an attempt to uncover the truth. Throughout the series, we see crime happening, but we don’t always know the motive. Such is the case again in this episode, “The Time of the Monkey,” in which Charlie, a “human lie detector,” solves the murder case of two nursing home residents. It was the best episode of the season so far.

Two women, Irene (Light Judith) and Joyce (S. Epatha Merkerson) in short, the bad guys. They quickly become friends with Charlie, who is seeking their guidance as she flees murder, hiding as a housekeeper in the homes of the elderly. Trio playing croquet. They reminisce about the old days, when Irene and Joyce were members of a cult-like activist group Underground weather.

But they yearn to reunite with Gabriel (Reed Birney), the mastermind behind their underground organization, who narrowly escaped when the rest of the group was raided by the police and sent to prison. And, did you know, Gabriel showed up at their retirement community just days after Charlie Cale. But Irene and Joyce quickly come to the conclusion that he must die, though we don’t know why until near the end of the episode.

“From the very beginning, there was this idea that one would turn to the other and say, ‘We have to kill the asshole,'” co-host Nora Zuckerman told The Daily Beast’s Obsessed over Zoom. “That will show up in the episode in one setting or another, and that will define who these women are. They ride or die.

This, Poker Face Hosts Nora and Lilla Zuckerman, as well as director Lucky McKee, explore Charlie’s latest escapes with the elderly.

Front spoiler for Poker Face Episode 5, “Time Body”.

How were you introduced to the idea of ​​these evil nursing home women?

Lilla: When Rian came to the room, he said, “I really want to do an episode about the retirement community.” My first instinct was, “Oh my god, this is going to be like On the Golden Pond or something. This sounds dull, a retirement home. But then the idea is: What if they were two women, if they were best friends, if they were secretly really hard in a past life?

Nora: Another crazy thing we’ve come up with is that there’s going to be an epic battle, it’s the craziest battle of all the first seasons of the series. Poker Faceand that’s in the retirement community.

McKee: Rian had me read the pilot a few years ago, and I immediately felt the same way. As we approached the time of making the movie, he asked me if I wanted to do a series. The episode that I will be doing has aired. Then I read this, and it fits me like a glove. They specified it, and I was like, “I’m going to have so much fun with this.” Especially with casting, because we knew we were going to get some classic, classic people for those roles.

How did you develop their friendship and backstory?

Nora: It’s just in the room, we keep talking about who these women are, and what you would do if you were locked up with your best friend in prison for years. You will have each other’s backs.

Lilla: Also, we’re talking about the ’70s, the Weather Underground and all of this—all the people who are in nursing homes today aren’t necessarily the sweet, boring, boring people. They have a rich history and we love the fact that these two women are the bad guys. They are tough people. They just happen to get old.

McKee: It’s interesting to do research on the Weather Underground and its activists in the late 60’s, early 70’s, [and I] started to feel my way around there. The interesting thing about this show is that each episode is like a meal. No big cliffs or anything. Each episode creates its own world. You can build everything from scratch with each episode.

And then there’s a twist that they’re actually completely evil, and they’re planning to bomb a high school’s Model UN club when they’re sent to prison. How did you bake it in such a big reveal?

Lilla: The beauty of this structure that we have with Poker Face is that you always enter these episodes through the eyes of the villain. If you don’t get the audience to empathize with someone who’s about to commit this murder, then I don’t think the episode will be a success. In many ways, you’re spending the first 10, 20 minutes of these episodes almost learning them. Then, of course, you bring Charlie in and they start circling each other. It’s almost like you’re torn for it.

I think the reason it worked especially well in Episode 5 at the retirement home is that those two women were so dedicated to each other. Charlie is really hooked on them, so it’s really heartbreaking for her to find out that they did this and that she has to take them down. That’s a really powerful aspect.

Nora: Because we may not fully understand what they do, but we do understand their devotion to each other and their lifelong friendship, and I think that’s something everyone understands.

Charlie is very disappointed because they are villains. She starts to cry very subtly, my favorite part of the episode — how did you shoot that scene?

McKee: A great way for you to do that is to maintain an open dialogue with the actors and talk about how far you want to go with things. We took place when Charlie had a slightly more public reaction to [it]. Natasha has found a delicate balance that is really good. There’s a lot of hurt going on there. In many episodes, she befriends a dead person, but in this one, she befriends the two after she’s been on the road for a while and gets into difficult situations. She eventually found the two women she really bonded with, so to find out that they’re corrupt, betrayal, and heartbreaking is a lot she has to go through. She really understands that.

It was like a scene from a movie about crowds or something like that. When we were filming, I said, “God, it feels like we’re filming a scene from a movie. The departed or best friend!” Got this whole idea, “Are you a rat? Are you wearing a strap? It’s fun to play with that tension and the disconnect these women have because of their beliefs.

How did you feel working with Judith Light and S. Epatha Merkerson?

McKee: My God, Judith and Epatha are not only extraordinary actors but extraordinary people. They have such a strong bond, right out of the gate. They were almost like two little schoolgirls hanging out in the middle of the scene, sharing old war stories. Both have been in the business for the same period of time, but they have never worked on a project together. It was really special for them, to be doing this and playing with these really wild characters. Epatha is especially excited because she has to curse so much! All the characters she usually plays Law & Order And Chicago Med and everything is so much more straightforward. In this, she must be really wild.

Let’s talk about that war. How did two elderly women almost kill Charlie?

Nora: You see Charlie being like, “Should I hit these women?” It’s like, no, they’re coming to you! It’s a really fun thing to watch unfold.

McKee: It was set up pretty early so that these two women weren’t troublemakers. The element of surprise comes from the fact that it’s so painful and it’s a brawl from an old Peckinpah movie. We shot that episode over the course of a day with the amazing collaboration of the stunt team and the actors. But man, it’s mostly the actors doing those things. Judith crawled on the floor for 12 hours that day. She fell to the ground. Epatha is ready to throw down.

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