If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: Vincent balks at getting in deeper with Rudy, as expansion fever hits Frankie and Bobby. Candy gets a taste of directing, and enjoys the red-carpet perks of a major premiere. Alston finds himself in limbo at his precinct. Abby changes up the Hi-Hat’s clientele; Sandra faces editorial and legal hurdles; Barbara and Thunder Thighs connect with the wrong sort of clients; Vincent settles a score. C.C. encourages Ace, a former pimp, to get back in the game. (HBO)
Writers: David Simon and George Pelecanos
Director: Michelle MacLaren
Running Time: 70mins
The more things change, the more they stay the same. This season has featured different characters on different paths and this episode made these paths a little clearer.
The episode started with Frankie setting up his booths. Black Mike showed up and was treated to some cartoons in his booth. Rudy christened the parlor’s new VIP room. Vincent did not want to be part of the business meeting that followed with Bobby and Frankie. He had to go to the bar and when he got there, it was full of people and a band was playing music. Abby and Paul had the idea to bring in the band. Vincent supported their idea. He also suggested that he and Abby move in together. She thought that meant an exclusive, romantic relationship but he assured her otherwise and she accepted.
Rudy then showed them his next business venture which was a lease on a three story building where they would have a story with more booths, a parlor, and a VIP floor. Vincent was showing signs of dissention and this new venture was a tipping point, leading him to bow out and call out everyone else. At the bar, Vincent called out Bobby for his relationship and Vincent’s sister told him that his ex-wife Andrea showed up at her house beaten up. She had been beaten up in his old house in front of their children.
Vincent’s dissention with the mob continued when he was pulled into mob business that was happening in the backroom of the bar because they needed a quiet place. He was getting uncomfortable with it until they decided that they would not kill a man who stole from them. He then went to a bar where the man who beat up his ex-wife was and beat him up himself.
Wasserman took Candy to a business meeting where they learned what types of pornography made the most money. Candy offered her insights on what to do next. He later brought in a housewife that was looking to become a performer. Wasserman was also invited to an X-rated movie premiere and invited Candy to go with him. Candy also revealed that she had a gay brother named Patrick (Dennis Flanagan) who she hadn’t seen in a long time. He was institutionalized for being gay but Candy assured him that the world was changing.
On the day of a film shoot, Wasserman’s car broke down, leaving everyone else at the studio. He told them to call it a day but since they were all there, Candy took the initiative and put everyone to work in his place, including Darlene who was in a film for the first time. She directed until Wasserman showed up. Since she was doing a good job, he let her finish
The pimps split Reggie’s girls amongst themselves and discussed his management style. C.C. spoke to a former pimp and mentor named Ace (Clarke Peters) at a bar. They were discussing the times and C.C. tried to convince Ace to come back to the business but his time had passed.
Washington didn’t like the direction the editor was taking her expose she had been working hard on. She did not have enough for the editor to do what she had wanted. He wanted named sources or physical evidence. Alston warned Flanagan about what was about to happen with the new captain. He believed that there was some serious house cleaning about to happen and he didn’t want himself or Flanagan getting caught.
Alston followed some corrupt cops and stole their journal from their car. The book was not enough for Washington because she needed Alston to tell her what it was. McDonagh was watching them so he let him know that he had his back and if he knew of anything going on then it would have to go through him. Flanagan had tipped off McDonagh about Alston’s involvement which led to an argument with Washington.
Larry asked Barbara (Kayla Foster) to do a transaction for him since she would not attract suspicion from the police. Barbara made the exchange, however, the person she was meeting was an undercover federal agent. She was going to be in trouble unless she gave up Larry. Unfortunately for her, Larry wasn’t interested in bailing her out.
Ruby (Pernell Walker) still took to the streets but wasn’t getting much attention until Alston showed up with a well-timed lighter. On the way to movie premiere Candy saw her get into a car with a client and after she was done with him, they got into an argument and he pushed her out of the window. The movie being premiered turned out to be Deep Throat. C.C. and Lori tried to get in but they didn’t have any tickets so they were refused.
Ruby’s death caused a disruption at the bar, leading it to close early. Abby questioned Vincent’s motives in getting revenge on his ex-wife’s abuser. Vincent then choose a song at the jukebox which played during a montage of Barbara going to prison, Larry eating alone, Washington looking at her published story, Alston sitting alone, people gambling at the parlor, C.C. spending time with his women, Wasserman and Candy directing another scene, Vincent waking up, and with Bernice accepting another jon at the parlor and Darlene feeling remorse for putting her in that position.
Overall, this was a great season finale which took the story in an encouraging direction as it gave characters their own paths to take. For the longest time, the show has lacked compelling characters as their end game was unclear but at least we know where they’re going so it will be interesting to see where they are next season. Ultimately, it will still be Franco and Gyllenhaal leading the way which is fine.