POKER FACE -- "Escape from Shit Mountain” Episode 109 -- Pictured: (l-r) Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale, Stephanie Hsu as Morty -- (Photo by: Peacock)

In a welcome return, director Rian Johnson kills it in the penultimate episode of POKER FACE’s first season. The show had lost its way due to the format of the series repeating itself. However, in ESCAPE FROM SHIT MOUNTAIN, Rian Johnson leans into the established formula and adds more twists than a curvy mountain road.

The guest stars in E9 are all top-notch as well. Joseph Gordon-Levitt on house arrest, sympathetic David Castañeda (THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY), and the actress that appears to be “everywhere all at once,” Stephanie Hsu. Each gets the spotlight in the flickering cabin light on “magic mountain.”

Yet, what makes POKER FACE work, is Natasha Lyonne’s empathetic portrayal of Charlie. I love it when creators trap their protagonists in situations that appear impossible to escape. Like KNIVES OUT, Rian Johnson expertly crafts situations that put a lead character in mortal danger. And that danger raises the stakes to their highest all season.

I highly recommend you come equipped with a “stabby stick” and take a trip to SHIT MOUNTAIN. It’s the second-best episode in the series so far and proves that Rian Johnson can work his magic whenever he’s behind the camera.

It’s available on Peacock.

Aaron "Dobler" Goldstein

Aaron Goldstein is a Product Manager by day, ludicrous speed content consumer by night. He’s a LA Film School Alumni and TV Academy / Producers Guild of America member. Aaron is a proud parent and dad joke enthusiast.

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