The Deuce is one of the best shows to ever grace HBO’s airwaves. Mixing sex, violence, and drugs seems like a cheap way to titillate viewers. Instead, the drama used the ingredients to tell deep stories about life in New York City. Over three seasons, the series chronicled the birth, rise, and decline of the pornography industry. More than that, it gave a peek into the lives of those who were affected. Every one was great, but here are the best episodes of The Deuce.
‘I See Money’ (Season 1 Episode 4)
Up until this episode, the show had never focused too much on one character. By doing so, it established the show’s many characters. ‘I See Money’ changes things up a little with the majority being about Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal). The show is a twisted comedy that gives insight into the fiercely independent prostitute. The show will make you laugh, but not be because it is funny. This is the first time The Deuce showed it was something truly special.
‘What Kind of Bad?’ (Season 1 Episode 5)
Candy continues to struggle on her own. In one of the saddest scenes of the first season, Rodney tries to recruit Candy then proceeds to verbally tear her down after she rejects his offer. Method Man is at his best and viewers see there will not always be retribution. The episode also provides a sad example of how hard it is to leave the life.
‘There’s an Art to This’ (Season 2 Episode 2)
Six years have past since The Deuce began. One of the funniest cold opens of the series also parallels the lives of the characters. As funny as the moment is, it is not just played for laughs. It gives viewers a better understanding of how things have changed since the debut season. Change is clearly on its way and many are not happy. Larry Brown and Candy also have a great exchange.
‘Seven-Fifty’ (Season 2 Episode 3)
The first season gave a taste of C.C’s vicious side. The second turned him into a straight up villain. Fans of the show already knew C.C. was manipulative, insecure, and violent. But he is a pimp; that comes with the territory. By the third episode of season two, he is downright frightening. Viewers also see how much Lori wants to live her own life – and foreshadows how incapable she would be of doing so.
‘The Feminism Part’ (Season 2 Episode 7)
Abby and Vince have had a tumultuous relationship since first meeting. The second season did a great job of showing how tenuous it was. The show literally gets brighter as Vince leaves New York and the tease between Candy and her son is great. C.C. continues to get more terrifying with each episode.
‘They Can Never Go Home’ (Season 3 Episode 4)
As with everything on The Deuce, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the episode title. Some of it is obvious (Melissa, Lori) while others are not as literal. Lori was clearly looking to change her life, she just did not know what she wanted to do. She has always been almost the exact opposite of Candy. In episode three, viewers see just how different she is.
‘Finish It’ (Series Finale)
It is hard enough for a show to end with a great final episode. The Deuce delivered one of the best shows of the entire series. A cathartic hour that sees everyone reevaluating what is important in their lives. One of the most satisfying conclusions ever seen on television. The last ten minutes are astounding.