‘The Deuce’ transforms into Times Square in Season 3 finale as Vince bids lonely goodbye to 42nd Street in Episode 8

‘The Deuce’ transforms into Times Square in Season 3 finale as Vince bids lonely goodbye to 42nd Street in Episode 8

Spoilers ahead for 'The Deuce' Season 3 Episode 8

It took three decades for a street-side prostitute who depended on her wits to survive, to come out victorious and become a celebrated feminist porn auteur. Candy Renee aka Eileen Merrell  (Maggie Gyllenhaal) started out as a prostitute who would give fellatio for $20 in a motel, and she progressed into a celebrated porn actor.

Her love for filmmaking and the fascination she held deep within her to tell stories that mattered then led her to make a film about the existential crisis of a working woman in the 80s, who is forced to feel like she has a price tag attached. When the right man with the right price chances upon her; she has no choice but to concede. 

In these three decades, she met some great people. From her days as a prostitute to the days as a filmmaker, the people she chanced upon and crossed paths with had their own story to tell. We met Frankie, his twin brother Vince (James France), Vince's live-in partner Abby (Margarita Levieva), Candy's street mates Lori Madison (Emily Mead),  Ashley (Jamie Neumann), Darlene (Dominique Fishback); the pimps who tried to get her to work with them; especially CC (Gary Carr) and Candy's partner Harvey Wasserman (David Krumholtz).


The show is narrated by Vince, and so his friends Big Mike (Mustafa Shakir), Paul Hendrickson (Chris Coy), Paul's boyfriend Todd Lang (Aaron Dean Eisenberg), his mob connections Rudy Piplo (Michael Rispoli) and Tommy Lango (Daniel Sauli) added so much flavor to the show over the season. Such vibrant characters, all of them painted in detail to tell a story; their story and how all of their tales fit into this street corner popularly known as the Deuce.

A still of Eileen and her boyfriend Tom in 'The Deuce' episode 8. (Source: HBO)

The last season of 'The Deuce' has so far been a gut-wrenching experience because the creators are not here to write in a happy ending for all of their characters. The show is essentially about how one man outlives his fellow people and sees his neighborhood transform into something entirely foreign over four decades. So, the final season was packed with many goodbyes we were not ready to bid. Todd's death was one of the most heartbreaking scenes of this year. 


A still of Paul Hendrickson in 'The Deuce' episode 8. (Source: HBO)

We then saw Lori commit suicide, Big Mike died in the cabin that he retreated to in the middle of nowhere after contracting HIV and Frankie got shot. Vince experienced people close to him leave one after another.

The last episode of the show only tied it all up together to show us that this was no fairytale and these characters we have watched grow in leaps and bounds do not drive away happily ever after into the rainbows either. Vince and Abby break up, but there is a beautiful acceptance at the end of their relationship that portrays maturity.


Eileen drowns in so much self-doubt and is conflicted about the terms and conditions that come with being in love that she almost gives up on her dream project. It takes a lot of convincing from her partner Harvey to get her to work on the film again.

When her film, "without all the f*****g" was released, no one came to watch it. The public did not pay attention until much later when the film was remastered and re-released. Her obituary, that Vince chances upon in the epilogue, sites her theatrical release as a great arthouse film in hindsight.

All of this is about acceptance, of change and of luck. And it is with this obituary that Vince begins to let go of everything from his past. He walks through the streets he once knew like the back his hand and he sees the ghosts of the Deuce in the present Times Square and it's unsettling to watch this man grow old in the company of no one he is familiar with. 

A still of Melissa and Reg getting married in 'The Deuce' episode 8. (Source: HBO)


The epilogue of the show puts one's own life into perspective, to be honest. Often times, we do not notice how quickly time flies until one day we experience the death of someone who is close to us.

The fact that our time is finite and change is constant is something that is driven into each of the character's endgame in the show, and that includes supporting characters. Be it Melissa (Olivia Luccardi) and Reg (Calvin Leon Smith) deciding to get married in the face of Reg's illness, or Loretta deciding to stay single despite finding a man she loves; it seems like each characters' way forward is decided based on how little time they all have together. 

'The Deuce' transformed into one of the busiest streets, Times Square, over the years, but for Vince, parting from the place that saw his best and worst years is a bitter farewell he bids with a heavy heart. All good things come to an end, and so did this show, leaving us deeply unsettled.


Share this article:

 the deuce season 3 finale episode 8 review recap vince lonely 42nd street hbo ending eileen