Warning! Spoilers for The Deuce ahead!
The story so far: Everyone seems to be coming to a crossroads as everything comes to a head. Candy continues to work hard at making her new movie. As usual, she wants to do it on her own terms but is having trouble finding the money. Lori’s life seems to get more difficult with each passing day. She makes some major career changes to make things easier. Vinnie is still trying to cope with the death of his brother while Mike and Bobby deal with drastic changes in their lives.
A great deal of The Deuce has focused on the twin struggles of Candy and Lori. The show has always drawn parallels between the two former prostitutes. They both used porn to help them get off the streets. Both also became huge successes in the industry. Over the course of the past fifteen years, they faced a multitude of problems which they have overcome in different ways.
The penultimate episode of the series highlights what makes them different. The two have shown how strong they are. Candy through her constant refusal to take no for an answer and Lori through the resilience she has shown while others have taken advantage of her. ‘That’s a Wrap’ shows the two have a much different outlook on life, however. While both have been defined by their explicit film careers, one is more willing to embrace it.
The show also demonstrates the importance of family. Through the constant disagreements, bickering, and outright arguments, the characters on The Deuce have formed a family. Some are easy to see like the relationship between Vinnie and Mike. Others are more story driven like Candy and Lori. Then there are connections like Black Frankie and Bobby. More than any previous, the seventh episode gets across how much of a familial bond there is on the HBO drama. Nowhere is this more clear than when Candy goes to help Lori in a way she would not even help her own son.
It is also sad to watch Vinnie lose everyone that is close to him. From the death of his twin brother to the revelation Mike has AIDS, Vinnie has been constantly dealing with loss. This continues after a conversation with his former wife. The two have had an on again off again relationship since The Deuce debuted. Despite the two still being involved in each other’s lives, it was always obvious that Vinnie was happier with Abby.
Abby has always been a strange character. Her initial attraction to Vinnie was just about angering her parents. The couple has kept an open relationship that has led to strained moments between the two. It is also clear Abby is not quite sure what she wants, commenting in a previous episode how she is always “reinventing herself”. The tumultuous relationship between the two reaches its inevitable conclusion in the episode just as it seemed like both of them have come to terms with what they want in life. It is a moment that makes both more relatable.
The writing for The Deuce has been spectacular. Episode seven has a theme of people being on the same page but still going in opposite directions. This makes viewers happy to see things seem to come together for the greater good before a surprising and depressing revelation. There are a few that work especially well and will make the audience think while also shocking them.
Watching all the stories converge also adds to the episode. As the years have gone on, people’s choice have taken their lives in different directions. The plot has done a great job of tying all the stories together. This is done in a natural way that makes complete sense. More powerfully, it shows how isolated the characters are and how insular their world is.
With one episode to go The Deuce continues to tell great stories. The acting is stupendous and the storytelling is unrivaled. The show also proves that it does not take crazy twists to shock an audience. Through deep character study and by letting life unfold, the series has managed to captivate and impress its viewers.