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‘Palm Royale’ cliffhanger ending explained by the cast and creators

Maxine throws a party — and it’s one killer event.
Kristen Wiig in "Palm Royale."
Kristen Wiig in "Palm Royale."Apple TV+
/ Source: TODAY

Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Season One finale of “Palm Royale.”

All season has been leading up to this: the Beach Ball.

The Season One finale of “Palm Royale” was filled with high fashion, an emotional musical performance by Maxine Dellacorte (Kristen Wiig), as well as lies, betrayal, attempted murder and... perhaps an unexpected death?

Co-hosted by Maxine and Evelyn Rollins (Allison Janney), the ladies spared no expense to celebrate the 50th anniversary gala and impress guest of honor, President Richard Nixon.

Throughout the 10 episodes, viewers saw how Chattanooga-native, former beauty pageant contestant Maxine made it her mission to infiltrate the Palm Beach high society and become one of them, despite her humble beginnings. With her husband Douglas (Josh Lucas) by her side — and his wealthy and incapacitated aunt Norma Dellacorte's funds and fashion — she almost got away with it.

Ricky Martin and Kristen Wiig in "Palm Royale."
Ricky Martin and Kristen Wiig in "Palm Royale."Apple TV+

It hasn’t been an easy ride if you add Maxine’s love-hate relationship with bartender/pool boy/Norma’s caretaker Robert Diaz (Ricky Martin) and torn-then-repaired friendship with Linda (Laura Dern), who happened to be Douglas' ex-fiancée.

Amid the hoopla of the Beach Bash, many shocking secrets were uncovered, hearts were broken and viewers were left with a wild cliffhanger.

With many questions left unanswered, stars Kristen Wiig, Josh Lucas, Kaia Gerber, Amber Chardae Robinson, as well as creator Abe Sylvia explain the ending of “Palm Royale.”

What happens at the end of 'Palm Royale'?

In the finale episode, titled “Maxine Throws a Party,” she and Evelyn join forces to throw the annual event.

Upset that the two have taken over her annual event and that Maxine and Douglas are trying to take her money, Norma (who is clearly recovered after suffering an embolism) asks Robert to marry her so that she can leave everything to him when she dies. However, she tells him that he has to choose between her and Maxine.

Astronaut Grant decides to leave after kissing Maxine and not having his feelings reciprocated. With invitees eager to meet the spaceman, at the request of Maxine, Robert suits up and pretends to be him.

Dinah's husband, Perry, gets released from jail and surprises her at the Beach Ball. It turns out, Perry is wearing a wire because Nixon wants to get a jump at the next election and wants him to get close to Dinah's top donor/fiancé Axel Rosenhips.

Evelyn discovers that Norma is back in good health and might be up to something, including getting rid of Maxine. Maxine confronts Norma and tells her she is turning her house into a nightclub.

Norma’s life story is recounted at the Beach Ball, but some things don’t add up. Robert asks Axel why things didn’t work out with him and Norma back in the day. Axel shares how after Norma’s dad died she found her boarding school roommate dead at the bottom of the stars. “Agnes was diabetic,” he says. “They didn’t live long back in those days, at least not without a lot of money.”

Axel continues by sharing how he followed Norma back to Palm Beach but she cut him out of her life. “She was a completely different person,” Axel says, which leaves Robert disturbed and pondering about who the real Norma is.

Mitzi, after confiding in Norma, tells Maxine that she is pregnant. Maxine tells Mitzi she should tell the father of the baby that he needs to marry her and take responsibility.

Things start to unravel right before Maxine’s performance of “Is That All There Is” when she’s on stage and sees Mitzi go up to Douglas, who turns out to be the father of her child. Norma mischievously smiles while on the side of the stage.

Maxine breaks down as she shares her life story and how she fell in love, before calling out Mitzi and Douglas for their affair.

Robert then goes up to Norma and tells her, “I can’t believe I considered spending my life with you, Agnes.” She asks why he called her that.

As President Nixon starts to leave, Mary pulls out a gun from her hairpiece and is about to shoot him. Linda, who was trapped with Virginia at her house, tries to stop Mary. Instead of shooting Nixon, the bullet hits Robert.

As guests frantically run out of the party, the Secret Service grabs Maxine, Norma stands up from her wheelchair, Linda is found with the gun at her side and Robert is seen on the floor.

Did Robert die at the end of ‘Palm Royale’?

A shocking moment for viewers is when Robert gets unexpectedly shot. The last shot is of him lying on the floor. But is he dead?

“Well, we’re not saying he does,” creator Abe Sylvia tells “This is a classic soap opera cliffhanger.”

Ricky Martin in "Palm Royale."
Ricky Martin in "Palm Royale."Apple TV+

Sylvia points out that in the last shot, Robert is still breathing.

What happens with Maxine and Douglas?

Sylvia says that they’re planning to address the couple’s “complicated future” in a potential second season.

“I think like a lot of marriages that go through hard things, where one partner has been basically awful to the other, it’s not so easy to just walk away from a 20-year relationship that is based on love,” he says. “I hope what we’ve built, between Kristen and Josh’s characters, a complicated relationship that people can actually really relate to.”

Kristen Wiig and Josh Lucas in "Palm Royale."
Kristen Wiig and Josh Lucas in "Palm Royale."Apple TV+

Lucas also tells that he believes Douglas is still “head over heels in love” with Maxine.

“I think he absolutely loves her. I think he’s confused as to why she would want to go back to this place that he thinks is awful,” he says. “But then once he realizes he has staff and he has access to money that he hasn’t had, it becomes just a great challenge. A fun challenge for him. But, I think he totally loves her.”

When asked why he thinks Douglas was unfaithful, he laughs as if caught in a lie. The actor chalked it up to “a lot of alcohol and a crazy night.”

What does Mitzi's future look like?

Gerber tells that Mitzi “genuinely loves” Maxine and doesn’t want to hurt her and “wishes her situation was completely separate.”

“I think in this situation, Maxine is the person that she would have wanted to go to for help and advice,” Gerber says. “That’s maybe why she feels so isolated and therefore is making decisions that she doesn’t even fully understand.”

Kaia Gerber in "Palm Royale."
Kaia Gerber in "Palm Royale."Apple TV+

Gerber hopes that Mitzi pulls through this difficult situation.

“I hope she’s OK. I have so much empathy for her. I hope she’s learning her lessons, and unfortunately, she’s learning the hard way. It really devastated me to have to leave things like that between Maxine and Mitzi,” she says, adding that Mitzi really loved Maxine in her own way.

The actor and model said it “broke her heart to see these two people who we see really caring about each other and trying to lift each other up ... and you see them hurting each other. I think that was a very painful thing. So I hope that there is an opportunity for (reconciliation).”

Who is the real Norma? Who is Agnes?

Sylvia says the big Norma/Agnes reveal has been a long time coming.

He points to the ninth episode where Norma tells Robert she needs “help with certain tasks, but that she expects discretion, and it’s surrounding the care of her diabetes. She didn’t want anybody to know that she had a weakness.” Her diabetes is brought up later in the episode where Robert tells Linda that Norma is diabetic.

In episode eight, he says, Axel asks Norma why she ghosted him and that she became “a completely different person.”

“Everything really has for the last three episodes been leading up to this revelation that only Robert has put together because of the intimate knowledge he has of Norma and her diabetes,” Sylvia explains.

“So when Axl says, ‘Yes, Agnes, she was a diabetic, they didn’t live long back in those days. At least not without a lot of money.’ I think Robert isn’t completely sure of himself until he says ‘Agnes’ to Norma. She says, ‘Why did you call me that?’ and then, ‘Oh my gosh, that secret might die with Robert.’”

Carol Burnett and Ricky Martin in "Palm Royale."
Carol Burnett and Ricky Martin in "Palm Royale."Apple TV+

Sylvia noted the ironies of Norma's secret because throughout the entire season, Maxine has been trying to fit in and feels like an imposter.

“But Norma is the biggest impostor of all,” he says.

Why didn't Virginia get arrested by the cops?

Virginia finds Linda locked inside the library in her house after Mary locked her in there. As she opens the door, she gets locked inside as well. Linda asks her why she didn't get arrested along with the rest of their feminist group.

Robinson tells that Virginia has worked very hard to be where she is."

“And those friends in high places come in handy throughout the season. I can’t give away too much about that. But I will say that she has connections,” teased Robinson.

Amber Chardae Robinson in "Palm Royale."
Amber Chardae Robinson in "Palm Royale."Apple TV+

The mystery continued with Sylvia simply adding, “You have to wait and see.”

However, when pressed, he teased, “Virginia, just like everybody else on this show, has secrets — and we’re just getting started.”

Will there be a Season 2 of 'Palm Royale'?

While “Palm Royale” has yet to be renewed for a second season, Avebe says the show has “always been intended to be an ongoing series.”

“We have big dreams for where we can take this and all these characters,” he says. “We’re very hopeful. We have a rabid and excited fan base, so I really hope we get to do more.”