The Deuce Season 2 Episode 9 ‘Inside the Pretend’ (Season Finale) Review



The season two finale of ‘The Deuce’ cements its status as one of HBO’s best shows.

Warning! Spoilers for The Deuce below!

The Story so far: C.C. does not take his new business arrangement with Lori well, leading to a shocking conclusion. Lori’s career is taking off, but the mental abuse from C.C. and her increasing dependency on cocaine are starting to take their toll. Dorothy’s crusade to save the girls on the Deuce has turned off those closest to her and made her some dangerous enemies. Vincent gets advice from his father that only serves to complicate matters. Candy is struggling with how to tell her son about her job as her directorial debut is about to hit theaters.

After last week’s startling ending, few characters on The Deuce know what has happened to C.C. There are theories floating around, but no one can prove anything. Obviously, the person most affected is Lori. The two seasons have spanned six years and during all that time, Lori has been with C.C.

Emily Meade once again plays a wide range of emotions magnificently. We see just how much C.C. has affected Lori’s life throughout the show. Even though she is not sure of his whereabouts, she is living in absolute fear. Meade does such a great job of playing the role that she makes C.C. seem even more frightening just through her performance. The look in her eyes, her broken way of speaking, and even the way that she talks demonstrate how much C.C had truly broken her down. It is terrifying and sad.

Sadness has also been a big part of Candy’s story. From the very first episode, she showed that she was different than the others working on the Deuce. She chose not to have a pimp, stood up for herself to anyone who gave her problems, yet sometimes did things she did not want to in order to get what she wanted. She is the closest thing to a hero on the show.

Candy’s ongoing journey to better herself has been fraught with emotional gut punches. She has been on a clear path that looks to promise success, but every step forward has been met with dignity crushing repercussions.  The season two finale of The Deuce is no different. Red Hot is well on its way to being a crossover success. Naturally, the viewer is only able to bask in Candy’s success for a short time before the dominoes begin to fall. This time however, the bad news is hurting everyone associated with Candy.

At this point, it is no surprise that Maggie Gyllenhaal put in another great performance. What was slightly different was Candy’s reaction to all the bad news. Over the course of the past two seasons, Candy has proven to be able to conquer adversity. In the first season, Candy would deal with her problems, but it would usually be in a blunt manner and come with self destructive behavior. Season two highlighted Candy’s creativity and determination.

This gradual change in character reaches its natural apex near the end of the season finale. As everything is going down in flames around her and those closest to her panic, she is the calming force. Life has constantly spit in Candy’s eye while shaking her hand and now she is used to hearing the bad news. She is not pleased with what is happening, but she also knows what she can do. This change in character has slowly been happening before the viewers eyes over the course of the past two season. This is excellent writing that makes an already strong character and story even stronger.

Season two of The Deuce will go down as one of the greatest in television in history. The main theme of the season has been relationships and power. Over the course of nine episodes The Deuce beautifully told a myriad of stories that dealt with both perfectly. HBO offers a lot of great programs, but The Deuce makes a strong argument for being the best.

 

The Deuce S2 Finale 'Inside the Pretend'
Is it good?
The season two finale puts to rest any question as to whether this is one of the best shows on television. There are no better characters or stories anywhere on TV today.
Great character development in Candy. It has been a subtle progression over the last two seasons and is fully realized here.
Montages can be cheesy, but the closing one here builds excitement for the final season
Strong performance from Meade
Manages to have a sense of finality while also building excitement
Some may find the surprising death of a major character anticlimactic
9.5
Great