The Deuce: “I See Money”

This show has certainly been no shortage of dramatic moments so far in the first three episodes. And HBO continues to keep the shocks coming in episode four “I See Money.”

Vinnie (James Franco) has opened the Hi-Hat and sees immediate success. As commented on in the episode, Vinnie has the personality to appeal to different kinds of people and the ability with his bar to bring them all together.  To be a haven for the outcasts.  But when the inner workings of the deals between him and Rudy (Michael Rispoli) become threatened, you have to wonder if they have enough power to keep the people in line.  I still don’t fully understand how the deal is working, though I better understand that is to help pay off his brother’s debts. If anyone could like, provide a diagram or explain the situation to me like I was 10, that would be super helpful.  Because like I said, still don’t completely get it. But that might not be the only trouble Vinnie’s got on his hands. Looking at you wifey (Zoe Kazan) and Abby (Margarita Levieva). Girl trouble is certainly gonna be brewing up like a storm.  Oh boy!

Candy/Eileen (Maggie Gyllenhaal) has a hell of a time too. Last week we saw her continue with her interest in getting behind the camera.  She wants out of the life.  She has a son she’s working for, and this isn’t the kind of life to have around a kid.  But at the end of the day, pro or not, she’s still a mom.  After a traumatic incident on the job, Candy goes to see Ruby ‘Thunder Thighs’ and talk about a girl they used to know.  This scene was absolutely beautifully acted and filmed. Because, and maybe I missed it, the way they were talking about the girl they both knew, you couldn’t discern whether she had gotten out or if she was dead. Which really hits home the drive for Candy to get out. She can find a way out of this life, or it is eventually going to kill her.  Also possibly trying to get out is Darlene (Dominique Fishback). Abby quickly befriends her and sees that she’s smart. Darlene loves reading, and Abby is quick to chat her up about books and get to know her.  Abby wants to help her get out, but I think Abby’s good-natured gesture is not well thought out.  If anything, I think Abby might be putting a target on her back for the pimps. It will be interesting to see how that shakes out, but I don’t see it going well.

After seeing the main section of the Deuce become a no-go zone for cops, you have to wonder what the motivation is behind it. Cop Alston (Lawrence Gilliard Jr) is starting to ask questions, and even wants to test the order. At a time where cops were pretty across the board considered crooked, he seems like a genuine guy looking for answers.  I have a feeling that even if he finds the answer, he may not like it. But in his time working the streets he picks up Sandra (Natalie Paul) and realizes she isn’t what she claims right away.  When you can tell a prostitute by her shoes, that is just plain impressive.Could he end up providing Sandra a cop-side scoop on her story? Or will it be more pleasure versus business?

Vinnie’s capability to bring people together is part of how the Hi-Hat is a great place to socialize.  But it is also a melting pot of the people around.  Pimps, prostitutes, people who identify as LGBTQ.  The marginalized in society who are on the fringes and looking for a place to belong.  Vinnie’s attitude and bar help make that happen.  It is also great to have female voices represented by females.  As a writer and female, I find it incredibly difficult to write the opposite sex.  So for them to make sure it was best represented by having the female voice and perspective, is part of what makes HBO programming so absolutely fantastic.  They get it.

Now get next week’s Tease.

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