SPOILER ALERT: This interview contains spoilers from “Poker Face” Episode 5, now streaming on Peacock.

Following last week’s launch of four premise-setting episodes of Rian Johnson and Natasha Lyonne’s “Poker Face,” the new Peacock mystery series went in a drastically different direction for Episode 5, with murderers who don’t seem like the villains — until they do.

Guest-starring Judith Light and S. Epatha Merkerson as Irene Smothers and Joyce Harris, respectively, the episode, titled “Time of the Monkey,” follows the two retirement-home residents and life-long besties with a solid free-spirit streak who become friends with human lie-detector Charlie Cale (Lyonne) while she’s working in their community for her latest on-the-run gig.

“You want her to be friends with these cool women and be ride or die with them — and instead they break her heart. And it’s really hard for her,” co-showrunner Nora Zuckerman told Variety.

Charlie is completely besotted with the women and their tales of sticking it to the man back in the day, even when she discovers that they are behind the murder of a new resident in their community. But that’s because she believes he is the man who ran their rebel group and then turned them into the feds, causing Irene to be paralyzed in the raid. Once she learns that he turned the group in because they were planning a bomb attack on high-school children of politicians, Charlie decides she can’t abide by what her friends did or the fatal payback they enacted.

Series creator and director Johnson says he and the “Poker Face” team did consider making this the one case where Charlie walked away from the murder of the week without turning the culprits in — until she found out the true nature of her friends, that is — but decided it’s not the right time for that particular plot yet.

Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale in “Poker Face” — Photo by: Phillip Caruso/Peacock Phillip Caruso/Peacock

“That’s always the slight tempting thing, because the instant you start doing that subversion of, in this one, it’s the killers that she becomes friends with — especially when they’re as charismatic as Judith and S. Epatha, it leads to that question,” Johnson said. “And my position was always, that’s not off the table — but that needs to be a really special case, that needs to be a last resort. Honestly, it was a lot more interesting, to me, the way that Natasha plays the scene where she realizes the truth about the ladies. And the notion of thinking that you’ve found someone to look up to, and then they severely let you down and being disillusioned with them seemed like a much more interesting thing and the place to go.”

The “Knives Out” and “Glass Onion” filmmaker also notes that without the twist, you wouldn’t get that knock-down, drag-out fight between Charlie, Irene and Joyce at the end. “It also let us have one of my favorite climaxes in the show,” he said. “I called it the ‘They Live’ fight. So the notion that it goes where it does at the end made me giggle.”

Stage combat aside, “Poker Face” co-showrunner Lilla Zuckerman finds the episode particularly emotional because of the devotion between Irene and Joyce and how it compels the viewer, and Charlie, to waver. “Their friendship is so pure, it’s so true and they have a lot of heart. So when they do something so wicked, you’re kind of stunned, but you’re also kind of on their side,” she said. “And I really enjoyed seeing Charlie struggle with her discovering this. It takes her a long time to accept it, and then accepting it is heartbreaking for her. And I do think there is part of her that’s considering, do I just walk away from this one? I think there’s a tension in all of our episodes where it’s like, ‘Charlie, just let it go!'”

So why can’t Charlie ever let it go?

“Her arc bends towards justice, I guess,” Lyonne said. “She just can’t help it. She just really can’t stand for it, even though it breaks her heart. That character just likes the truth. It was very interesting to play the scene where we’re inside at the table, and I don’t think we were expecting it to become even emotional, but there was something about S. Epatha and Judith, everybody had been really doing organic, good work together. It was interesting to see that Charlie really does have integrity at that level. She just can’t stand for certain stuff, no matter the circumstances.”

If Light and Merkerson’s portrayal of undying female friendship was able to tug at your heartstrings enough to worry about what comes next for Joyce and Irene, don’t fret too much about their future after being arrested for murder.

“Joyce and Irene are icons,” Nora Zucerkman said. “They’re probably getting in more trouble in prison as we speak.”