The first two seasons of HBO’s The Deuce have been some of the best hours of television today. The engaging characters, powerful stories, and great storytelling and acting rival anything on another network. Creator David Simon has said from the beginning that the show would end at the right time and it appears that is now. Can the third and final season of The Deuce live up to the lofty standards of the previous two?
Warning! Spoilers for The Deuce ahead!
The story so far: Lori finally gets a chance to live her own life after getting away from the abusive C.C. But is she ready and capable after all she has been though? Candy seems to have finally escaped the stereotypes, but at what cost to her personal life? The Martino twins seem to be getting into more trouble as their financial lives become more secure. How sex is being sold is affecting everyone’s life on the Deuce. The city wants to clean up the streets, but is it for the right reason? Things also seem to be getting worse in the criminal underworld.
As is the case with most season premieres, the first episode of the third season of The Deuce catches viewers up to speed with its cast. Some shows are able to slide right back into the story. The ensemble cast and eight years of passage since the season two finale make this an impossibility for the HBO drama. While the episode reintroduces its many characters, it also sets up what viewers will be seeing this season.
The Deuce has a larger cast than most shows. The audience can be forgiven for not remembering every character’s name and backstory. The writing does a great job of bringing back familiar faces without rehashing their past. This makes the conversation sound less forced while giving viewers an idea of what is happening. It is as if their lives have gone on since last season instead of stopping and starting when the cameras roll. When someone finally does ask someone what has been going on, it seems out of genuine curiosity instead of being just an exposition dump.
What has happened to everyone on the show? The year 1985 is about to begin. A new deadly sexually transmitted disease has many people on edge. The drug use that was treated so flippantly in previous seasons appears dangerous for the first time. There is a sense of tension felt throughout the entirety of episode three. It is clear early on the final season of The Deuce will be a somber one.
Somehow, Vinny and Abigail are still together. From when they first met, there has always been a gap between the two. Each season has seen that distance grow. After over a decade together, it seems as if things are finally catching up with them. Their agreed-upon open relationship is taking a noticeable toll and the two seem to be forcing themselves to stay together. Now more than ever, it appears as if the two are with each other more out of convenience than anything else.
Candy and Lori spent the better part of the first two seasons trying to get out of their environments. Both had different goals and paths, but the one commonality was they wanted a change. The season two finale saw both get want they wanted. It was great to see both women get what they wanted after struggling so much. Now the fight would be to stay out of the world they desperately wanted to escape.
‘The Camera Loves You’ shows the more things change, the more they stay the same. Years of physical and mental abuse have caused Lori to become a drug addict who is in and out of rehab. It is also obvious that the confident attitude she had when she first came to the Deuce has been completely destroyed. Meanwhile, Candy fought hard to succeed in a male dominated field and succeeded. Unfortunately, the changing times seemed to have made that victory a temporary one.
Candy’s story has always been one of the most interesting on The Deuce. Even though she has accomplished many of her goals, it seems as if she is once again going to be the underdog. It also appears as if the former prostitute will have to make a tough decision that may force her to compromise her principles. Candy’s son has been a big part of her life since the debut season. This does not look like it will change in the final season.
The Deuce never fails to impress. From its powerful performances to the recognizable soundtrack, the show keeps viewers glued to their televisions from beginning to end. It is the job of every first episode to draw the audience in. Calling a season premiere intriguing is more expectation than compliment. The Deuce differs in that it just not leave viewers wondering what will happen next. They actually care.