Tuesday, September 17, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Deuce' - Candy Brainstorms New Ideas While Also Growing Closer with Hank in 'Morta di Fame'

HBO's The Deuce - Episode 3.02 "Morta di Fame"

Frankie takes his amateur porn business to the next level and ends up in a confrontation with Rudy. Candy's new beau Hank is not shaken by her past. Abby and Loretta take care of Shay when she shows up to the Hi-Hat in bad shape. Lori is advised to be more compliant after she dares to stand up for herself on set. Alston is tasked with finding the mysterious owner of a prime piece of Midtown real estate. With the future of his businesses up in the air, Paul worries about his partner Todd's health. 

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's The Deuce.

"Morta di Fame" was written by Carl Capotorto and directed by Susanna White

There is a lot of anxiety in this world right now. Part of that comes from this being the final season and the audience likely knowing that many of these characters may not escape from their current circumstances. Lori's agent, Kiki, tells her that nothing lasts forever. She has to be saving now so that she can live comfortably when she can no longer shoot porn. She has to accept every offer that comes her way. The drive to create content is all about the money that can potentially come in. That just also means Lori has to be willing to do some degrading things without the ability to speak her mind. Candy sees the value in bringing a feminist perspective to porn. And yet, she is very isolated in that regard. Right now, she can only rely on Harvey as someone to bounce ideas off of. He's not going to finance her next movie. He has to make the switch to commercial products. The type of films that aren't exciting but will likely sell well. Candy needs some kind of inspiration in the work that she does. She is seeking that thrill. But she may be pushed out because it's not something the business is all that interested in at the moment. Lori literally has to run away from her latest job because the police show up. Vincent also has to close down his bar for a night because the police are called. This is a very precarious life that these characters are living. It can all be destroyed in a moment. All it takes is one anonymous call from a complete newcomer to this world. It doesn't matter that Joey is struck with inspiration and actually has some standing as a young adult now trying to make his mark on the world. He sees a potential business opportunity. He may be embarking on some criminal endeavors on Wall Street. But that mostly just shows how he has corrupt morals just like everyone else in this world. He just has to be smart enough to get away with it all for as long as possible. And yet, time may be closing in on all of these characters. That's clear to the audience because of the circumstances surrounding the final season. We know these are the last glimpses of these characters and this world. It's completely unclear if Shay will be seen for the last time here. She provides a valuable perspective into the current state of hospitals. She has long been an addict in failing health. But now, it's more dire than ever before. She has Abby and Loretta to look after her and ensure that she gets the care that she needs right now. But when Abby returns to her room later on, Shay is gone. She could have just left once more. She breezes in and out of this world at random. Or she could be dead. That's the tragic fate that is all too common in this world. That's especially present in the gay community as they are truly living in the uncertainty of the AIDS crisis. They don't know how long they will be healthy. Paul hopes that Rudy and Vincent are sympathetic to his dwindling profits. They do understand. But Paul also wants Todd to not overextend himself with work. There is the fear that anyone could die at any moment. That isn't invigorating to Paul. In fact, it's terrifying. He could lose so much. He has support but it's an overwhelming sense of paranoia that is consuming the world as well. Alston and Gene may have big plans for revitalizing the neighborhood. And yet, that has only made a small amount of progress in between seasons. Life continues to go on in the Deuce the same way that it always has. There is the sense that things are changing and getting more dangerous on the streets. But Alston and Gene haven't managed to improve things. So instead, it's mostly up to the characters themselves to make choices that may lead them down better paths. For Frankie, he sees the value of his amateur porn business. However, he's trying to make a deal with a gangster who sees no problem with selling child pornography. That's horrifying and Frankie didn't even know. Meanwhile, things may be looking up for Candy because her new guy, Hank, isn't afraid of her past. She is very upfront about her history to let him know exactly what he's getting into. She has been through this routine before with seemingly nice guys mostly just wanting to fetishize what this relationship could be because of her connection to porn. Only time will tell though if Hank is a good influence on her. Things do seem to be moving pretty fast between them.