Hulu’s The Act
Season 1, Episode 7: “Bonnie & Clyde”
Directed by Hannah Fidell
Written by Dan Dietz & Robin Veith
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “A Whole New World” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, “Free” – click here
Gypsy Rose (Joey King) and Nick (Calum Worthy) are going back to his home on the bus. She’s excited to meet his mom. She’s also excited for the new Star Wars. They arrive in Wisconsin and Nick’s mother, Kathy (Juliette Lewis), comes to pick them up. Immediately, it’s not quite what the young lady was expecting.
Kathy’s not overly welcoming. She starts asking about Dee Dee (Patricia Arquette), prompting the runaway daughter to have flashbacks. Back at the house, Gypsy meets Kathy’s man Vance (John Ales) and gets a brief tour of their home. Nick brings his girl up to his “cluttered” room, which has a messy “system” that’s more of just an assigned hierarchy of his laziness. She tries to make the best of it: “It‘ll be ours.” But it’s harder and harder the more she sees. And she has a disparate view of mothers. While her own was a terrible, cruel person, there remained a level of care— despite Dee Dee’s horrible actions— that doesn’t exist for Nick with Kathy.
What we see emerge is the bad influence of Dee Dee over her daughter. Because Gypsy learned, between all the Munchausen’s abuse, how to deceive and how to pull the wool over peoples eyes. She knows nothing else except how to lie. This is her mother’s legacy. On top of that, poor Gypsy’s seeing visions of her mother, as the guilt creeps up through the roots of her damaged psyche.
“You just have to believe what you say
and they will, too.”
The guilt eats Gypsy up. She feels bad for leaving her mother, dead, where nobody will find her for a long, long time. Nick suggests they use Facebook to prompt somebody into going over to the house and stumbling onto the corpse. Gypsy goes subtle, then Nick just types: DEE DEE IS DEAD! She gets a better idea, typing what’s still up on Facebook to this day: THAT BITCH IS DEAD! This immediately gets people talking, like Lacey (AnnaSophia Robb), who, of course, calls Mel (Chloë Sevigny).
Also, there’s no dramatising in this scene when Gypsy plays her part— police confirmed she wrote the post. But she forgot to turn off the location, which brings about the beginning of the end. While Nick and Gypsy try not to worry, he lets slip to her he was once arrested and police took his computer. She didn’t know anything about “a misunderstanding” with the cops. He was, in real life, arrested for masturbating to porn on his laptop while in a McDonald’s for nine hours. He and Gypsy were already in contact at the time.
Cops are now searching the Blanchard home.
At the same time, Gypsy and Nick find the knife they dropped in the mail has been delivered to Wisconsin. He’s more concerned about “chicken night” at the dinner table than getting rid of the evidence of the murder he committed. She wants to get it done, now, but he says it’s too dark. He’s utterly fucking clueless. She’s continually disappointed about their “happily ever after” not materialising. Nick’s habit of finding rocks to pick up interrupts their argument, another casual sign of his mental issues.
That night, cops find the two of them in Wisconsin. A SWAT team and the sheriff surround the house, ordering everybody outside. Vance and Kathy come out, hands up. Upstairs, Nick and Gypsy hide in the closet— such a sad, misguided moment showing just how naive they both were, to believe they could go on and be like “Bonnie and Clyde” on the road together. The cops are also piecing together the reality that Gypsy is, in fact, not disabled in any way, and she walked into the house with Nick willingly. They soon have the two lovers in custody.
At the police station, Detective Crawford (Adam Arkin) tells Gypsy that Dee Dee’s dead. She pretends not to have known. She cries. The detective asks her a few questions, wondering if she was involved in the murder. He sees through the act and tells her not lie because he already knows the truth. She lies again, claiming she had no idea Nick was going to kill her mother. She doesn’t forget to ask if she’ll get to see the new Star Wars.
Then there’s Nick, who admits to stabbing Dee Dee. He tries to pass it off as something he’d only have ever done for him and Gypsy’s relationship: “I saved her.” He talks about the “voices” in his head. He’s also still under the delusion he and Gypsy will “have a life together,” completely oblivious to the reality he’ll be going to prison.
Kathy doesn’t help paint a nice picture of Gypsy. She’s completely taken aback by the young lady’s lack of emotion. “That girl is a beast,” Kathy tells the cops, believing her son was led into this heinous act due to his mental illness.
Back home, people are finding out “things are not always as they appear.”
Remember: nobody yet knew the vicious extent of Dee Dee’s own actions. Father Gore doesn’t condone murder, though, all the same, can anybody TOTALLY blame Gypsy Rose for what she did? Maybe it was the worst way to gain freedom. Yet very few of us can say we know the pain of what this young woman experienced at the hands of her mother. She had her entire life, her youth, her sexuality, her autonomy robbed by Dee Dee. She never had a chance to live.
“Free” is next time— the finale.