'The Deuce' finale review: Larry Brown emerges a true gentleman
'The Deuce' season 2 finale, 'Inside the Pretend' leaves us a parting gift — Larry Brown. This isn't the man we first met but he's definitely the man we want to see next season
"Pimp is a role, so is whore. You pretended to be one and I pretended to be another. But once you start letting a girl inside the pretend, it’s over. Ain’t it?"
HBO's 'The Deuce' wrapped up its second season over the weekend. A phenomenal second season, it turned the dingy allies of New York into the well-lit parlors full of peep shows. It did so with elan, taking its own time and revealing its dirty secrets with no remorse. The exploitation was immense and so was the crimes, but in the midst of it all emerged a flower we never thought we would see — a pimp named Larry Brown.
Tall and somewhat handsome, Larry's character arc is probably one of the most interesting ones on the show so far. Sure Vincent and C.C. (may his soul rest in peace) had some nice slow, but shocking twists as well but in the last half of the season, Brown surprised us — and beautifully so. Brown, portrayed by the incredible Gbenga Akinnagbe went from being a pimp who was violent and aggressive with his girls to a man who found the sensitivity in him to let Darlene go her way.
Remember the times he would wait for Darlene on the streets in the wee hours of the morning so that he could collect his share? This one particular scene in the first half of the season where he's waiting outside dressed in his bell-bottoms as Darlene finishes up with a regular really established his character's range of rage. Of course, Dominique Fishback as Darlene is a marvel in the scene, with her innocence never leaving her side, but it is really Larry Brown that we remember.
Brown was introduced to us as the same old stereotypical pimp, who collected girls from the station and intimidated them into working for him. Morally, there wasn't much depth with him but there's no denying that he actually was one of the good guys in the bad bunch. His character really turned around and caught our eye when he showed interest in evolving — he wasn't one of those who was just trying to desperately hold on to what was fading away. Unlike his colleagues C.C. and Reggie, Brown decided to get with the times and there's something very attractive about a fighter. His career aside, we saw him struggle with opening up and we think we can vouch for almost all fans when we say, we were definitely rooting for the dude.
The series finale upped this charming quotient even more. You'd expect him to lash out when he catches Darlene sneaking out as she thinks he's fast asleep, but instead — he goes and shows us a side we never thought we would see. He lets her go without a fight and is actually wishing she gets what she deserves. He's genuinely happy for Lori too. While the rest of the world is poking fun at these women in porn, there is Larry Brown, comforting his co-worker as she cries terrified of her pimp.
underrated character on the deuce pic.twitter.com/AHdK7iAFHi— Sophie Weiner (@sophcw) October 26, 2018
The season finale also lets us on the sweeter, softer side of Brown and his ambitions to do something different. As he's learning new things, his mind is becoming more and more open to new possibilities. He's finally wrapping his head around the fact that he can be someone else and stay in touch with who he really is — and it's completely okay. It's a stark contrast from the 'role' Brown played as a pimp — a man hard enough to break rocks.
This absolutely isn't the man we first met but he's definitely the man we want to see next season.