Warning! Spoilers for The Deuce below!
The story so far: Candy’s new movie, “Red Hot” is just about finished filming. Larry Brown seems to have found a new career and a new lease on life. As Darlene expands her options outside of the sex trade industry, Lori’s many options are entrenching her deeper in it. Vincent and Abby are trying to keep their relationship together while letting it fall apart. Vincent and Frankie are interested in new career avenues. All the while, the police and the mob are becoming increasingly involved in seemingly everything.
One of the biggest themes of season two of The Deuce has been the deteriorating relationship between Vincent and Abby. Ever since the two first met, there has always been a tug of war between the two. From Abby using Vincent to anger her parents to Vincent bluntly telling Abby he is in charge at the Hi Hat, the two constantly seem to be on the verge of breaking up. The most normal thing about the two’s partnership is the fact they are in an open relationship.
‘The Feminism Part’ brings this issue to the forefront. The two have talked about the nature of their relationship and some episodes have strongly teased secret rendezvouses the two have made with others. Episode seven shows Abby with another person and it is very jarring. Towards the end, Abby and Vincent both make comments that show how much they genuinely cares for each other, but it still displays the lack of stability in the relationship.
The flip side to Abby’s actions in the episode are those of Vincent’s. After the death of a fifteen year old that worked at one of his parlors, Vincent has decided that he wants out of the sex trade business. From the beginning, Vincent has made it clear that all he wants is to own a nightclub. The mob and his family have kept him in the flesh trade.
Vincent takes a trip to rural Vermont that gives him a new lease on life. The direction here is beautiful. The Deuce has a dark and gritty look that mirrors the nature of the show. Even during the day, the show has a dark grey undertone that makes it look like the sun never shines on the Deuce. It is as much a part of The Deuce has the pimps and prostitutes.
It seems like once Vincent leaves New York everything is brighter. The greens that highlight the scenes are no longer neon signs but lush trees and grass. The sky is bluer and there is a noticeable lack of grey. The blindingly obvious change is a welcome one that add to the dire situations on the Deuce.
The other major storyline on the seventh episode of the season involves Detective Alston and his former partner Flanagan. Similar to Vincent and Abby, the two have had a relationship that has managed to thrive despite their vast differences. Alston has always been more straight laced and by the book (though he has been willing to adapt to different situations) while Flanagan has been more of a loose cannon.
Flanagan has been more unhinged in the second season. Despite the fact he is a married man, Flanagan attempted to take advantage of Abby in the first season. He has also shown that he is willing to take bribes. In this season, Flanagan has started a torrid affair with a prostitute. Throughout the season he has been seen at the parlor Bobby runs arguing with her.
The relationship between the two has seemed like little more than background noise during the season. Flanagan has come off as an awful man and a pitiful person, but it never seemed an important part of the overall story. This episode shows that everything shown up to now has been foreshadowing leading to its inevitable conclusion. It also speaks to what kind of person, friend, and officer Alston is.
The most touching relationship the episode deals with is between Candy and her son, Adam. The scene between the two is incredibly touching and tension filled. Maggie Gyllenhaal is her usual excellent self and she beautifully portrays the emotional weight of whether she should tell her son about her job.
The Deuce has always been a show about relationships. ‘The Feminism Part’ takes an even deeper look at the show’s relationships while still progressing its many storylines. Heading into the season finale, The Deuce continues to prove it is the best show on television.