HBO’s drama The Deuce is returning Monday for a third and final season, and just like season 2, this one will pick up after a five-year time jump, placing us in 1985. Of course, there’s always a lot happening in the gritty world of sex work, mobs, porn, and murder, and the time jump — not to mention the massive cast — just makes it that much more important to stay focused on what’s up with our favorite (and least favorite) antiheroes. In case you need a refresher, here’s where we last saw the ladies and gentlemen of the Deuce — and remember, when you see them next, they’ll be in the new world of VHS tapes.
Candy (and Red Hot) find success, but not without snags.
Red Hot, Candy’s (Maggie Gyllenhaal) film, is set to be a box office success, but there’s a problem: Harvey (David Krumholtz) and Frankie (James Franco) sold the rights to the film to rival mobsters. Candy doesn’t seem to mind, and she doesn’t have any qualms about dumping her boyfriend either, after he embarrasses her at the film premiere. But when we leave Candy, she finally starts showing some cracks after her father forbids her from seeing her son and even entering her house.
Vincent is still at the 366.
In season 2’s closing image, Vincent (also James Franco) is walking into the club. It’s a mundane moment, but he notably looks anxious, maybe even afraid. This could possibly have something to do with his feelings about Dorothy’s death, but it’s definitely a glimpse at what’s ahead.
Dorothy tries to change the game and it doesn’t end well.
Dorothy (Jamie Neumann) has an incredible arc in season 2: she chooses activism over working for CC (Gary Carr) and uses her newfound independence to advocate for sex workers’ rights. Devastatingly, she’s killed off-camera (probably by a pimp), and her murderer’s identity remains a mystery.
Loretta and Darlene quit street work.
Both affected by Dorothy’s death, Loretta (Sepideh Moafi) and Darlene (Dominique Fishback) decide to leave Larry (Gbenga Akinnagbe) on their own terms. This leaves Loretta working at the Hi-Hat, and Darlene taking a job at a clothing store, pursuing further education, and leaving Larry on an emotional but ultimately satisfying note. “Pimp is a role, so is whore. You pretended to be one and I pretended to be another,” she says. “But once you start letting a girl inside the pretend, it’s over.”
Lori also ends season 2 with freedom.
After living with fear and paranoia about her pimp, Lori (Emily Meade) breaks down in tears after Frankie shares the news that CC has died. When we see her in the finale’s concluding montage, she’s happy, she’s in L.A. — and she’s free.
The Deuce returns September 9 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.