Movie Reviews

Why Okja Made George Quit The BBQ Business In Poker Face Episode 3

Warning! This article contains SPOILERS for Poker Face season 1, episode 3, The Stall.

Bong Joon-ho’s environmental action movie Okja causes George Boyle (Larry Brown) to quit his own BBQ business in Poker Face season 1, episode 3, “The Stall.” During the third episode of Rian Johnson’s case-of-the-week murder mystery show, George is shown to be incredibly dedicated to the art of BBQ. He views the process of cooking animals as conducting a symphony of flavor, down to the specific varieties of wood he uses in his meat smokers. This is in contrast to his brother, and business partner, Taffy (Lil Rel Howery), who seems to be more focused on shady business practices and conducting an affair with George’s wife, Mandy (Danielle Macdonald).

Poker Face‘s lead character, Charlie Cale (Natasha Lyonne), soon arrives at George’s BBQ joint and helps him prepare for the dinnertime rush in return for inadvertently causing chaos when she accidentally allows a stray dog to wreak havoc at the restaurant. After bonding with George over his love of cooking animals, Charlie offers to let him borrow a film from her collection of animal-themed DVDs, including Babe and Charlotte’s Web. George chooses to watch Okja after a recommendation from Charlie (who reveals that she has only seen the first half of Bong Joon-ho’s 2017 film), unwittingly setting the rest of the episode’s events in motion.

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After watching Charlie’s copy of Okja, George has a change of heart about his diet and profession due to the environmental themes of Bong Joon-ho’s movie. Okja tells the story of a young girl who attempts to rescue the titular genetically modified “super pig” that saved her life from an evil American meat corporation called Mirando. When released in 2017, Okja was met with widespread critical acclaim and received a nomination for the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival before it began streaming on Netflix later that year.

Okja, whose co-writer Jon Ronson said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter could “turn people vegetarian,” deeply affects Poker Face‘s George Boyle to the point where he believes himself to be a murderer due to his profession. Though that effect was neither Ronson’s nor Bong Joon-ho’s intention with the indie film Okja, it does deal with the dark side of the meat industry and pulls no punches when it comes to the negative treatment of animals within it. George is an example of the people who, upon watching Okja, no longer wanted to perpetuate the meat industry’s poor practices when it comes to animals.

After watching Okja, George informs his brother of his intention to leave both their BBQ joint and meat industry behind, taking his half of the business with him. Taffy, who owes money to some shady organizations as part of his bad financial dealings with the company, realizes that this would inevitably be bad for business. He then conspires with George’s wife, Mandy, to rid themselves of George and keep the business going. If George hadn’t watched Charlie’s copy of Okja in Rian Johnson’s Poker Face, then he would have lived. Thus, this was the first time in Poker Face that Charlie accidentally caused the murder that she had to solve.

New episodes of Poker Face air Thursdays on Peacock.

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