High Desert Season 1 Finale Recap and Ending, Explained

Apple TV+’s ‘High Desert’ comes to an end with its eighth and final episode, taking its protagonist through a series of unexpected events. All the mysteries are solved, and loose ends are tied up while Peggy confronts a dark truth that has haunted her all this while. Things don’t turn out quite as she had expected, but the fact that they don’t turn out worse is good enough for Peggy and the people around her. The ending leaves her on an uncertain note. If you want to know whether or not Peggy survives the events of this episode, then here’s what you should know. SPOILERS AHEAD!

High Desert Episode 8 Recap

Picking up after the events of the previous episode, the final episode of ‘High Desert’ opens with Arman and Heather driving away with Denny’s van. Unbeknownst to them, it is marked by the cops, who are looking for it in relation to a shooting incident. Things turn grim when they are stopped by a police officer. When they discover that the vehicle is related to a crime and that they might be arrested for it, Heather decides to kill the cop. In the scuffle, a shot is fired, which hits Arman, and he dies.

This unexpected beginning sets the tone of the episode as, one after the other, new information comes to light. Peggy, who was taken by the Gattchis, finds herself in the back of their car. They also stop by Guru Bob’s house and throw him in the car. He had eluded the father-daughter duo but couldn’t escape before his brother-in-laws got him. Peggy knows that they are about to be killed. Luckily, Carol arrives at her house at the same time and discovers that she is missing.

With the confirmation that the body in Bob’s backyard is his wife, Donna’s, Carol becomes concerned about Peggy’s safety. Denny tells her about Arman and Heather, but Carol knows that there are more things at play. No matter how they look at it, they know Peggy is in danger. While Denny contacts all the people on Peggy’s contact list, Carol goes to Bruce for help.

High Desert Finale Ending: How Did Donna Die?

The mystery of ‘High Desert’ started with a stolen painting that Peggy thought could get her millions. But soon, it turned toward the mysterious disappearance of Donatella Scarborough. Peggy had no doubt that Donna was dead, especially after she discovered that the woman had left behind her beloved parrot. She also knew that Guru Bob had something to do with his wife’s disappearance, but she needed proof to confirm that. If she did that, she would get 70k as reward money.

In the penultimate episode, Carol’s stepdaughter confirmed the presence of a dead body in Bob’s backyard. Even though the confirmation was yet to arrive, Peggy found it enough to approach the Gattchis and tell them about their sister. They, however, don’t seem too inclined to believe her. They think she is after the reward money and is lying to pocket it while having an affair with Bob. So, they get Bob, too, and decide to kill him and Peggy.

While they have a gun pointed at Bob’s head, he confesses to knowing exactly what happened to Donna. He claims he didn’t kill her; it was a freak accident. A flashback reveals that it happened the day Donna decided to leave Guru. He had started his cult following his departure from the network and sold one of Donna’s paintings. He didn’t ask for her consent, and this angered her. She told him off and packed her bags.

The argument between her and Bob escalated, and she threw his award down the stairs. Bob tried to stop her but ended up pushing her, and she fell down the stairs, right on top of the award that pierced her head. She died on the spot. Scared that her brothers, known to be ruthless criminals, would kill him, he buried her in the desert, hoping no one would find her. It happened as expected, and Bob got away with it until Peggy Newman came along, and Denny’s dog found the dead body.

What Happens to Guru Bob?

After Bob’s confession, Nick and Leo Gattchi prepare to kill Peggy and Bob, but she starts talking about the paintings and how she could get them ten million for all the fakes. She promises to get the money on the same day if they allow her to talk to the man she represents. While Nick is open to the millions of dollars, Leo wants to kill them and avenge his sister. This difference of opinion leads to an argument that escalates into a fight, and Nick and Leo end up shooting each other.

With their captors dead, Peggy and Bob are free, but he has a gun and tells Peggy to stop conning him. She tells him that the deal was real and tells him to accompany her to Pioneertown. She gets in touch with Carol and Bruce, who tells her about the confirmed identity of the corpse. Everyone meets at the rendezvous point. Peggy’s sister brings the painting from her house, and Denny convinces one of Peggy’s colleagues to play Kachel while Bruce calls the cops.

Bob thinks that things will go his way because he has a gun. However, the moment he brandishes it, it is taken away, and he becomes helpless in front of Denny and the fake Kachel. Scared that they are real gangsters and he has barely survived an attempt on his life, Bob runs away. In his hurry, he doesn’t notice that he is running into the desert. No one follows after him, so his fate remains uncertain, but there are only so many ways it can end for him.

Having run into the desert, Bob will soon be far from civilization. With no means to survive, he will die in the desert. Or, he will come to his senses soon enough and realize he is running in the wrong direction. He will have to retrace his steps and go back to Pioneertown. However, the prospects are not so good for him here either. Because Bruce has already contacted the cops and there is a dead body in Bob’s backyard, he’ll have cops waiting for him. He will be arrested and sent to prison.

Does Peggy Die?

Peggy thought that the paintings and Donna would get her enough money to save her house and Bruce’s business. However, nothing pans out as she had hoped. She could be grateful that she didn’t die, but before she can make sense of it, she is approached by a nervous Owen, who is worried about the human cannonball Peggy had promised him. When she used the words “human cannonball,” she meant it in terms of her play. However, Owen took it seriously and created a real cannon to shoot a real person. He thought Peggy would do it, but he started looking for replacements when she didn’t show up.

In the end, Peggy arrives but refuses to become the cannonball. An angry Owen starts talking about how Peggy always disappoints people around her. Her sister, Dianne, stops him and starts talking about how good Peggy is and how she took care of the family as a teenager. Hearing her sister defend her, Peggy becomes emotional and confesses about her drug problem. She reveals that she was high on the night their mother died. She could have been there for her mother and maybe even saved her if she had been sober.

Dianne is surprised to discover that Peggy has been on drugs all this while. Peggy is overwhelmed by her grief and guilt, and tired of disappointing others, she agrees to become the human cannonball. To the surprise of everyone around her, she enters the mouth of the cannon, ready to be fired away. The camera cuts to black before the cannon is fired. What does this mean for Peggy? Will she die?

Being a human cannonball is known to have been a fatal thing. In real life, people have died while doing it. So yes, chances are Peggy will not survive it. Since we have seen it fail in its trial run when Owen tried it with mannequins, the chances of Peggy’s survival decrease even further. However, because we don’t actually see her getting launched into the air, her fate is not written in stone.

Perhaps the cannon doesn’t work, and Peggy has to come out of it. Perhaps, the cops arrive just in time to stop the cannon and get Peggy out of it. Perhaps, the cannon fires, but somehow, Peggy survives, even if she gets badly injured. The point of this scene is to tie up the symbolism of Peggy’s journey so far. She had been like a cannonball all this while- running around, trying to fix things, while on the brink of exploding. This is her, falling off the edge she was desperately holding on to and accepting fate, no matter what it brings upon her.

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