Times Square, 1977. After his early successes managing the Hi-Hat and French Parlor, Vincent is now proprietor of a new mob-backed disco, Club 366, while his girlfriend Abby has brought the nascent punk-rock culture into the Hi-Hat. Vincent's twin brother, Frankie, remains a problem, "borrowing" money from Show Land, the sex emporium he manages, to pay off his debts. Candy, now a "triple threat" as a porn actress, producer and director, is looking to make more artful, ambitious adult films, over the objections of her collaborator, Harvey. C.C. pulls a con on Bernie Wolf, the director of a porn film starring Lori, to get her more money. Hoping to launch a more upscale gay nightclub, Paul looks to sever mob ties from his current bar. Alston, now a hugging detective, is approached by Gene Goldman, a civil servant appointed by Mayor Koch to clean up Times Square.
Confronted with the changing realities of prostitution and porn, C.C. doubles down on his assets, while fellow pimp Larry Brown eyes a new opportunity. Growing creatively frustrated, Candy turns to Genevieve Furie, a onetime porn director who's graduated to slasher films, for filmmaking advice. After a customer is mugged outside his bar, Paul is approached by Matty the Horse, a rival of Rudy's, who promises Paul the mob protection he deserves. Following a nostalgic road trip to Coney Island with Vincent, Abby attends a meeting of activists, and recognizes a familiar face from Times Square.
Lori envisions a sunny future in LA after attending the AFFA Erotica Awards with Harvey and Candy, who's looking to connect with west-coast producers who are willing to turn her fairy tale into reality. Paul and Kenneth approach Vincent about a loan for a new nightclub, free from mob ties. Goldman visits Alston's precinct to share the mayor's vision for cleaning up the Deuce. Frankie wins a hand of poker, but risks losing his job. Back in NYC, Ashley pushes her reform agenda on Abby, while trying to avoid C.C.. Larry Brown and Darlene learn a bitter lesson about supply and demand. Rudy sends a message to his rivals, but invites retaliation.
Ashley and Abby resolve to track down the identity of a 16-year-old sex worker killed in a recent fire. Vincent is shaken after witnessing the brutal side of Rudy's operation. Frustrated by the progress on her new film, Candy recruits new faces to help with the production. Frankie finds his dry-cleaning business a less-than-perfect fit. Larry Brown shows off his improvisational skills. Lori looks to forge a deal with Kiki while keeping C.C. in the loop.
Temporarily flush with cash, Frankie is tapped by Candy to be a co-producer on Red Hot. Lori eyes a plum role in the film, but still feels the burden of being under C.C'.s yoke. With Rudy's blessing, Big Mike and Black Frankie hit a gambling house in the Bronx. Bobby finds himself stigmatized at home and at the Hi-Hat after a surprise raid overseen by Alston. Paul encounters resistance to his elaborate renovation plans. Out of rehab, Shay is convinced to move in with a nurturing Irene. As she and Abby deliver on their promise to provide medical care to sex workers, Ashley decides to confront her past... and doesn't blink.
Candy shoots her opus guerilla-style on the streets of New York. Vincent makes a confession to Abby, along with a promise to change. Ashley and Abby help a prostitute escape the Deuce, with a little help from Vincent. Larry Brown gets a promotion. Paul celebrates the opening of his new upscale club. Bobby turns to Vincent to find work for his wayward eldest son, Joey.
Trapped by his own success, Vincent envisions an idyllic rural life with Abby. Candy is frustrated by her mob backers' misogyny and weighs telling her son, Adam, what she really does for a living. Shay reverts to form, to Irene's dismay. Joey falls in love. Darlene deals with unexpected news. Lori hits a roadblock in her quest for adult-film stardom. Alston faces a dilemma involving his old partner, Flanagan. Paul and Kenneth arrive at a crossroads.
Rudy and Matty the Horse buy Lori away from C.C., who has a back-end agenda. Abby, Dave and Loretta warn Ashley about the dangers of her aggressive activism. Goldman shares his plans for cleaning up the Deuce with Alston. Larry Brown is reunited with a girl from his past. Vincent turns to his father for relationship advice. Candy puts the finishing touches on Red Hot in advance of its premiere.
As "Red Hot" premieres, Candy, Harvey and Frankie get caught between competing investors. Vincent and Abby must deal with an unexpected loss. Lori is afraid to go to LA without C.C.'s permission. Paul turns to a familiar source to help finance Tod's dream. Darlene comes clean. Goldman and Alston's plan for cleaning up Times Square hits a roadblock.