TV ReviewsThe Deuce Season 1 Episode 5: What Kind of Bad? Review

Keith NoakesOctober 8, 2017

If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.

Synopsis: Looking for a way out of his construction gig, Bobby tries to change Vincent’s mind about Rudy’s offer. Darlene returns from a trip home with a new girl, disappointing Abby. Roughed up by a john, Candy contemplates a change of careers. After getting busted, Paul explores the underbelly, and the exhilaration, of gay life in the city. With an assist from Alston, Sandra scores a key interview with a pimp. (HBO)

Writers: Will Ralston and Chris Yakaitis

Director: Uta Briesewitz

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 59mins

The biggest problem with the series has been its slow pace along with the lack of compelling characters. This episode did little to change this, however, it was a step in the right direction and also gave the best character, Candy, a real chance to shine.

The episode started with Darlene who, thanks to Abby, was able to go back home to North Carolina and spend time with some of her friends. She told them that she was a model in New York. One of Darlene’s friends named Bernice (Andrea-Rachel Parker) was interested in being a model in New York City so Darlene took her back with her. There she quickly learned what was really going on but was not interested in going back. Larry thought she looked too young so he traded her to Rodney for some cash. Abby was also disappointed in Darlene for coming back.

Rudy offered Vincent, Frankie, and Bobby a new business opportunity under the form of a massage parlor. Frankie and Bobby were serious about it but Vincent wasn’t interested since he was busy with the bar. He politely refused and Rudy appeared to be fine with it. Bobby volunteered to run it as he believed it would be less taxing on his health than his current line of work and he needed the money. Rudy showed them around what would become the parlor and Bobby wanted Vincent’s advice, however, he didn’t know anything.

Sandra was still working on her story about the sex trade but her editor didn’t seem as interested as she was. After some begging, he decided to give her a chance. She sat in with Alston and Flanagan while they explained what their job was like. She was looking for a pimp to talk to so they were helping her find the best candidate. Alson ended up convincing Reggie to talk to her but she had to pay him just like anybody else.

Abby went to a party with a friend and once there, she was bored out of her brain. Back at the bar, she and Reggie had an argument about him being a pimp and she refused to serve him. Paul visited a gay porn theatre and enjoyed himself until he got caught by the police. Vincent got Big Mike to bail him out. He then went to a gay party and looked to be having a good time. He found a new partner at the party and took him home to his appartment where they engaged into a threesome with Paul’s roommate.

While Candy was at work, she was badly beaten by one of her jons which made her start second guessing her choice of profession. She and Jack were also growing closer and he invited her to a party. The best scene of the series so far involved Candy and Rodney arguing about why Rodney should be her pimp and how he would’ve protected her from the beating she took. He would not leave her alone and he thought she was crazy for refusing him. The other hookers heard their argument and were shaken. Once he left, she simply had enough. Candy went to Wasserman to see if there was any work and things have changed so he can start filming so she offered herself to work for him.

The episode ends with Bobby showing Vincent was his employees have done in building the massage parlor.

Overall, this was the best episode of the season so far with a few characters emerging with Abby and Sandra. Candy is still the best character and this episode was definitely a showcase for Maggie Gyllenhaal as she provides an excellently nuanced performance. Vincent and Frankie continue to be a low point so the show. They are still worth the chance but the show would be better if it moved more towards Candy.

Score: 9/10

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