But before she hits that particular version of rock bottom, she maybe makes a love connection with a divorcee in a record store. We know where this is going, right? Some kind of idealized romance that falls apart when he discovers who she is / what she does? Maybe not; hell, Candy is so inside her own head by now, she can’t even summon up the nerve to walk out the door for a “real” date without the aid of some liquid courage. (Also, a moment of respect for how Gyllenhaal fills up the little pause before answering the future heart-attack victim’s “you up for a date?” question at the bar. There is a lot happening in that beat.)
In episode three, we saw the beginnings of a friendship between Darlene and Abby, via their casual literary conversation at the grand opening of the Hi-Hat. That warmth is temporarily sidetracked when they first meet again, in the bathroom of the bar; it’s an odd scene, in that its slightly hostile tone matches neither the earlier scene nor another interaction later in the episode. It honestly feels a bit like they forgot to go back and rewrite it after tinkering with the bookend conversations, but Darlene’s response to Abby’s question about why she does what she does (“I’m just trying to understand”) is priceless: “You don’t need to understand.”
And our Vinnie is continuing to make his mob minder Rudy happy; we have an early scene where Rudy announces, “Vincent, I got somethin’ big on my mind, and I got the feeling that you’re the guy for it,” but won’t explain further (“When the time comes, I’ll let you know… it’s gonna be good, and you’re gonna make real money”). An accompanying scene later in the episode places him in an under-construction storefront that explains little more: “What am I lookin’ at?” “Your future.” Hmmmm.
Yet the best scenes in “I See Money” are the low-key, conversational ones: the quiet chit-chat between Vinnie and his bartender Paul, a holdover from the establishment’s gay-bar days, doing his part to bring pronoun awareness to the straights (“Dora prefers ‘she’”); the sex workers discussing how to deal with periods; the pimps talking about how to deal with those women discussing how to deal with periods. As is often the case with Simon’s work, it’s a series about work, and workers have shop talk. By this point, it feels less like dialogue than eavesdropping – we’re getting to know these people, the streets they frequent, where to go for a cheap bite, where not to show up after midnight. The phrase “world-building” is overused in today’s popular culture, but it’s appropriate. We’ve stopped thinking about the period details and the real-life analogues, because The Deuce is achieving an inner life independent of those frames.
Oh, and also:
Listen to film editor Jason Bailey discuss “The Deuce” every week on “The Deuce Rethread” podcast, via the DVR Podcast Network. Subscribe here.