Wednesday, April 3, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Act' - Dee Dee's Health Compromises Her Ability to Control Everything About Gypsy in 'The Tower'

Hulu's The Act - Episode 1.04 "The Tower"

Gypsy's getting older and Dee Dee is forced to new legal maneuvers to keep control of her "little girl." But Dee Dee's limited by her own health problems, and Gypsy goes to greater lengths than ever to connect with men and experience a sexual awakening.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Hulu's The Act.

"The Tower" was written by Michelle Dean and directed by Christina Chow

This is the first episode of the season not to feature any teases of the tragic outcome of this entire story. It doesn't spend any time in 2015 with Dee Dee being murdered and the neighborhood not knowing what happened to Gypsy. That may be because the show is quickly capturing up to that point in time. This hour is set entirely in 2013. It revolves around Gypsy celebrating her 18th birthday and what that means for Dee Dee's control over her. Now, it's easy to remain skeptical about Gypsy only being 18-years-old. It's more likely that she is actually 22. Everyone notes how strange it is that her Medicaid card and the information given by Dee Dee don't line up. And yet, everyone is also willing to believe her when she says that it is a clerical error. It's no big deal whatsoever. However, Dee Dee couldn't delay the inevitable forever. She may have been able to shave four years off her daughter's life to keep her a baby for as long as possible. But for the last few years, Gypsy has really been questioning her life and everything her mother has ever told her. No, she doesn't try to run away. She continues to stay committed to this family. That is presented as an active choice on her part as well. There are plenty of moments where she is defying her mother and her orders. That only increases the torture Dee Dee is willing to inflict though. As such, all of the psychological ramifications are playing out in unexpected and surprising ways. Dee Dee is now faced with her own health crisis. It presents as being real and genuine too. She has become a type 2 diabetic. She needs help regulating her blood sugar and getting the insulin she needs in order to survive. Dee Dee can use that as a tool to further keep Gypsy in line. She presents it all as a story where she needs her daughter's help because she would be helpless and lost without her. That's how she has always presented this relationship. Gypsy saved her from a tragic life. She has purpose because of everything that has happened with her daughter. And yet, it's all one big scam. Gypsy is completely aware of that as well. But there are still those chilling moments where Gypsy's first instinct is to get into her chair before doing anything else. She is conditioned to act that way. She understands that she doesn't need it just like all of the other things that have supposedly been keeping her alive. But she continues to put on the performance. Her mother can be so cruel and demeaning in so many ways. She's also incredibly smart with her manipulations. She keeps all other influences away from Gypsy. She lashes out at Lacey for showing Gypsy an online dating site. She keeps Gypsy's father out of the picture and in the dark about her condition. And then, she fakes a health crisis in order for Gypsy to sign the documents granting her mother power of attorney over her. It's not the same thing as guardianship and being able to make every decision. But Dee Dee still sees herself as being in control. She isn't though. She can't handle everything that Gypsy is doing and experiencing. Gypsy is more than capable of going out and buying a computer for herself. She forms this entire online relationship with Nick. He immediately presents as a creepy guy. And yet, a strange connection forms between them because they can relate to having these identity crises that no one else could possible understand. They are both psychological in nature. They have both festered for many years. But the show also wants the audience to be unnerved by Gypsy's sexual awakening and just how far she may be willing to take things with Nick right away. That could only hint at dark things in the future. Perhaps pertaining to the infamous night in which Dee Dee is killed and Gypsy is missing.