What’s important about her encounter with the john who tries to rob her before busting her up is the decision of director Briesewitz – one of this season’s many female directors, a wise and certainly conscious decision when tackling such a male gaze-y subject – to show the beginning of the violence, but then to remain outside of the door he closes. She knows that what’s important isn’t the visceral impact of the attack, but its aftermath: the shot of Candy caking on her make-up afterwards, or the hard sale she gets from Rodney, who tut-tuts, “You keep expectin’ better but you keep getting’ worse.” It’s the most emotionally and morally complicated scene of the series to date, delving into the psychology of protection and presumed retribution that fuels the pimp/prostitute dynamic, while allowing both Method Man and Maggie Gyllenhaal to act up a storm. Look at how he puts that handkerchief up to her cheek – and how she initially leans into it. Watch what she’s showing, and trying to hide, when he reduces her to tears, then puts on her brave face and walks away.
At any rate, that encounter is apparently what it finally takes for her to swallow her pride and go back to pornographer Harvey (David Krumholtz), albeit only in an on-camera role (initially, at least). And it turns out he’s putting film in the camera these days, thanks to a change in community standards: “Apparently New York has none.” From everything I’ve read, the change-over really was happening this quickly; the sense of all bets being off, in this mid-to-late 1971 period, enabled the ramp-up to Deep Throat a scant year later.
And Rudy will be there for it, apparently. The mysterious business he wants Vincent to take on is a “massage parlor,” which he’d like him to make “classy but simple,” which I think is what we all strive for in our decorating choices, really. He’s absolutely uninterested – his incongruent conservatism is becoming one of the show’s subtle but successful character threads – but when presented with the option of it being an opportunity for poor brother-in-law Bobby, well, family is family and all that. What could go wrong?
A few more stray observations:
Listen to film editor Jason Bailey discuss “The Deuce” every week on “The Deuce Rethread” podcast, via the DVR Podcast Network. Subscribe here or listen here: