TV Reviews

The Deuce Season 2 Episode 9: Inside the Pretend Review

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

Synopsis: As “Red Hot” premieres, Candy, Harvey and Frankie get caught between competing investors. Vincent and Abby must deal with an unexpected loss. Lori is afraid to go to LA without C.C.’s permission. Paul turns to a familiar source to help finance Tod’s dream. Darlene comes clean. Goldman and Alston’s plan for cleaning up Times Square hits a roadblock. (HBO)

Writer: David Simon

Director: Minkie Spiro

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 70mins

Airs: Sundays at 9pm on HBO Canada (Canada)/HBO (United States)

In this season finale, Frankie’s backroom dealings catch up to him, the ghost of C.C. continues to haunt Lori, Bobby finally sees what’s going on, Darlene takes a big step, and another main character dies.

This episode started with Lori not looking so good. She was at the New York premiere for Candy’s movie “Red Hot”. Candy arrived fashionably late and became the talk of the party. The movie was set to have a big opening and Candy even made into Variety. Lori’s uneasiness continued since she was still worried about C.C.. Meanwhile, Candy’s relationship with her editor ended after some remarks he made in front of his old friends.

The advent of VHS would prove to be lucrative for the porn industry. Candy was also invited to promote her movie on a late night talk show where she would only be asked misogynistic questions and be the butt of a few jokes. . Lori was unwilling to go to the premiere of Red Hot in L.A. without C.C.’s permission. To try and calm her down, Frankie told her that C.C. was dead and wasn’t coming back. This appeared to have the opposite effect as she started crying.

Wasserman was confronted by the mobsters who Rudy sold 115% of Red Hot to. He was angry but Candy seem unfazed as her name was getting out there regardless. With the success of her movie, she wanted to take her son Adam on vacation liked she promised though she was stopped at the door by her parents who forbade her to go near him or back to their house. Candy’s late night appearance revealed herself to rest of the world which put a target on Adam who got beat up for it.

Vincent spent some quality time with Andrea and his family. We haven’t seen her in a while but she was doing good. They talked about life and he now was where she was when they were together. Meanwhile, Alston found Ashley’s decomposing body and Black Frankie conspicuously performed a hit on Carlos (Gino Vento), one of Rudy’s problem guys who worked at Bobby’s parlor. Abby just happened to be looking for Ashley as she was giving her the money envelopes that Vincent was getting from Rudy. After what happened to Carlos, Bobby was worried that he or Vincent could be next. Vincent appropriately called him out on his timing.

While working at a clothing store, Darlene got recognized for her other work and promptly got rid of her admirer which led to her telling the truth to her friend from school. Meanwhile. hearing the news of Ashley’s demise led Loretta (Sepidah Moafi) to attack Larry who was already confronting Darlene about going behind his back and making money without him. Larry denied it but this incident was enough to convince Loretta to stop prostituting and get a job at the Hi-Hat. Darlene also made a stand and left Larry who surprisingly seemed okay with it. Her hope was that they would never have to see one another again.

In other news:

  • When Abby got the news about Ashley, she was devastated. Vincent made sure that Ashley was properly buried but also noticed that the underage girl they had buried had no headstone.
  • Alston made his requests in exchange for shadowing Goldman. The police brass just wanted a heads up if something were to happen. Alston was also promoted to sergeant.
  • Rodney completed his master plan to rob a pharmacy but failed miserably, leading to Maddix getting shot and turning the sleazebag officer into a hero.
  • For his troubles , Frankie got sent back to the peep show.
  • Paul wanted to help his friend Tod (Aaron Dean Eisenberg) with his dream of starting his own theatre group. He asked Tommy for money for the last time but getting out wasn’t going to be easy.

The episode ended with a final sequence of everyone moving on, ending with Vincent disappearing behind the dancers in his nightclub.

Overall, this was a good season finale that set a few more characters on the right path. The editing was a little wonky here as different scenes felt cut off and the transitions were awkward. It was a shame that they chose to kill Ashley off-screen and give Rodney a whole subplot since Ashley was a much much better character. Same goes with Lori whose C.C. anxiety and subsequent cure felt rushed. At least half of the episode should have been about Candy and her movie since more could have happened with it but at least it gave us the shot of a battered Adam watching his mom walk away after getting shunned by her parents. Seeing Andrea was a surprise, however, Vincent or Abby didn’t go too much further which was also a shame. Darlene left Larry and so do Larry in a way as he appeared to give up pimping. With C.C. and Larry and Lori and Darlene moving on, there are no longer any main pimps or prostitutes in the series. With so many characters, it was already difficult to satisfy everyone but this episode did a good enough job. Ultimately, it will be interesting to see where these characters go come the third and final season.

Score: 8.5/10

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