Poker Face mines the advanced and emotional depths of its most systemic and densely-layered mystery but, with a implausible new episode.In its newest episode, “The Way forward for the Sport,” Rian Johnson’s Poker Face continues to excel on each entrance. Now seven episodes deep, Poker Face has effectively and actually cemented its legacy as an exceptional season of tv and an absolute triumph when it comes to showcasing simply how fulfilling and satisfying episodic televisual storytelling can nonetheless be. In an period the place almost each different streamer is tethered to serialized storytelling that usually feels stretched skinny, Rian Johnson and the inventive group behind Poker Face have gone all-in on deliberate and rigorous episodic storytelling. And “The Way forward for the Sport” could also be its finest episode but.
“The Way forward for the Sport” sees Natasha Lyonne’s human bullshit detector, Charlie Cale, in the course of a long-running feud between two race automotive drivers that escalates right into a lethal on-track accident. However when secrets and techniques and whispers emerge, indicating that the accident was something however unintended, Charlie finds herself valiantly crusading to find the reality among the many stacks of lies and misdirections.
Written by Joe Lawson and directed by Iain B. MacDonald, “The Way forward for the Sport” is a implausible episode of tv that serves as a showcase for its lead performances. Tim Blake Nelson and Charles Melton star because the feuding race automotive drivers and are each fantastic. Nelson brings his trademark grit to the position however manages to broaden it to ship a extra emotive and sinister efficiency than audiences would possibly count on. Melton, in the meantime, is nothing wanting a revelation. Lawson’s script asks numerous the actor, and Melton greater than rises to the problem, completely stealing the episode with a deeply layered, nuanced, and charismatic efficiency.
The truth that Melton is so endearing within the episode additionally heightens one in every of this story’s best strengths: the way it pulls Charlie and the viewers’s allegiance. Lawson, MacDonald, and editor Paul Swain go to painstaking lengths to current Nelson’s character’s family and residential life within the episode’s opening moments. The result’s by no means saccharine or manipulative however is so finely tuned and crafted that viewers can not help however really feel sympathy for them. However following the opening, as Charlie is introduced crashing into the story, the viewers is as an alternative positioned with Melton’s character’s household on this identical means, giving followers empathy for either side of the sophisticated battle.
Cinematically, “The Way forward for the Sport” continues to show that Poker Face is likely one of the most technically completed exhibits on tv. From Swain’s propulsive and audio-driven editing to cinematographer Christine Ng’s implausible lighting to MacDonald’s versatile and strong staging and framing, there’s a smorgasbord of refined and completed craftsmanship in each single body. There’s additionally an insanely efficient beat within the episode’s finale that sees all of those points working in concord collectively (together with Lyonne’s effervescent efficiency) to show the easy turning of a automotive into an impactful character second.
“The Way forward for the Sport” sees Poker Face pushing additional away from typical resolutions to wondrous impact. Seven episodes in, Rian Johnson and co. are dedicated to discovering more and more ingenious and adventurous methods to convey satisfying conclusions to Charlie’s tales. That have to push the envelope pays off superbly right here, with an ending that bets huge on character and theme over narrative and comes away a jaw dropping winner.
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