The biggest mystery so far on Peacock's “Poker Face” is Damian's special Subway sandwich

Cold cuts, tessellated cheese and herb bread...what exactly is in this mysterious meal?

By Joy Saha

Staff Writer

Published February 9, 2023 12:15PM (EST)

A Subway sandwich is seen in a restaurant (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A Subway sandwich is seen in a restaurant (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Forget about a rooftop murder. The most pressing mystery on Peacock's "Poker Face" concerns a popular food item — specifically one that consists of veggies, sliced cheese, meats and condiments in between two or more slices of bread.

If you guessed sandwich, you're correct! Although, the specific kind of sandwich we're dealing with here is a Subway sandwich.

To recap, episode two of the murder mystery series, titled the "The Night Shift," introduces us to three important characters: Damian (Brandon Michael Hall), a TikTok famous Subway employee who enjoys making an assortment of off-menu sandwiches; Sara (Megan Suri), a convenience-store clerk who's friends with Damian; and Jed (Colton Ryan), a loner mechanic who harbors a crush, albeit creepily, on Sara. One night, while the trio work their late night shifts, Jed invites Damian and Sara to watch a meteor shower on the roof of the auto shop he works at. Only Damian shows up, allowing the two to have a sincere chat about Jed's crush. But as we know, good things don't last forever and the night ends with an abrupt murder. Simply put, one man is standing on the roof and another is lying face down on the ground. 

This isn't a classic whodunit situation as we know who the murderer is from the get-go. However, what we don't know is what's in Damian's special Subway sandwich, which we see him make just moments before chaos. We only get a few shots of what looks like a Footlong topped with cold cuts and slices of cheese. There's also a brief recipe, courtesy of Damian. To start, slice a loaf of Italian herb cheese bread. Then, add chipotle and garlic aioli — Damian even tells his TikTok fans that he is "so excited about the different aioli permutations" — and tessellate (or decorate) with triangular slices of cheese.

Per the aforementioned clues, Damian's sandwich seems to be a mesh of three new Subway sandwiches: the MexiCali, which contains Baja Chipotle sauce on toasted Artisan Italian bread; The Great Garlic, which contains provolone and Subway's new creamy Roasted Garlic Aioli; and The Boss, which contains cured meat in toasted Italian Herbs & Cheese bread.

Each sandwich was introduced in Subway's "Subway Series," which the fast-food company said is "the most significant menu update in its nearly 60-year history," per Axios. The updated menu features 12 new sandwiches, including the three sandwiches and additional offerings in four categories — Cheesesteaks, Italianos, Chicken and Clubs.

What makes Damian's sandwich so "special" is its creativity and uniqueness. Putting together a sandwich with all the ingredients your heart desires is kind of similar to that one Starbucks trend, in which customers created custom drinks with random milks, creams, syrups and flavorings. Plenty of food-service-employees-turned-TikTok-creators have tapped into this fascination to go viral. Take for example Milad Mirghahari, a Subway employee and sandwich artist who attained more than 6 million followers for posting POV videos of himself making sandwiches.

In 2022, The New Yorker's Jacob Sweet wrote that there was something so transfixing about watching his go-to order of Subway's Cold Cut Combo be made close up:  

"And, although I had requested each ingredient and watched someone assemble them, step by step, I had never experienced the construction from the other side of the glass. When I saw Mirghahari's videos, I was transfixed. Sure, it's epistemologically interesting to watch the show 'How It's Made' explain the origins of a stretch limousine, but I probably will never ride in one. The highly processed and objectively mediocre Cold Cut Combo conjures up my happiest childhood memories."

At first glance, Damian's sandwich looks like your typical Subway sandwich. But according to "Poker Face" showrunner Nora Zuckerman, the entire meal is one giant prop.

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"Fun fact about #PokerFace episode 2: we got no money from Subway. It looked so real people pulled over really excited about their town's new Subway," Zuckerman tweeted. "Once set dec added the meats and cheeses it also smelled exactly like a Subway. Our team was that good."

Even though there's no real Subway on the show, the recent feature is a good look for the fast food company, which has been marred by scandal in recent years. In 2021, Subway came under fire for its tuna salad and sandwiches, which had no actual tuna in them.

It's unclear whether the "Poker Face" episode helped boost Subway's recent sales. But one thing's for sure: viewers are intrigued and they're hungry. After all, a mystery is always better than a scandal.

By Joy Saha

Joy Saha is a staff writer at Salon. She writes about food news and trends and their intersection with culture. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.


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