The Act Episode 2, “The Body”, reveals the horrifying manner in which Dee Dee tries to cover up the artificial limitations on Gypsy in a compelling chapter.
Hulu Original Series The Act is a seasonal anthology series that details strange true crime stories. The first season follows Gypsy Blanchard, a young girl who appears to have a range of medical issues, trying to remove herself from her toxic relationship with her overprotective, abusive mother, Dee Dee Blanchard. Her persistence for independence leads to darker secrets, and ultimately, murder. This review of Episode 2, “The Body”, contains spoilers. You can read the review of the previous episode by clicking these words.
If you felt Episode 1 was inconceivable, Episode 2, “The Body”, deep-dives into the desperate measures Dee Dee Blanchard (Patricia Arquette) implements to keep control of her daughter Gypsy Blanchard (Joey King). The young girl feels less restricted in the second episode, showing us her taking long chugs of coca cola in the middle of the night, watching make-up tutorial videos.
“The Body” reveals that Gypsy has a new and actual medical problem. Due to the overconsumption of fizzy drinks and other sugary products, her teeth are rotting; Gypsy’s body is not used to consuming food and drink in this way, which is affecting her body. Dee Dee worries, and takes Gypsy to their usual doctor, who looks like he has remained in his job for way too long – he’s too relaxed. But the issues arise when they get given a new doctor.
The new doctor is suspicious, mostly because the medical conditions the mother is describing are blatantly not there. She tests if Gypsy can swallow before Dee Dee calls it a day and leaves in a hurry. The doctor decides to investigate in the meantime, looking for historical medical records.
The most nightmarish scene arrives when a social worker comes to their house unexpectedly; apparently, someone has complained about Dee Dee’s treatment of Gypsy – we all know this to be the doctor. The social worker does a no-bullshit tour of the house before interviewing Gypsy, who appears to talk slowly and looks disorientated – Dee Dee drugged her so she can claim she is mentally deficient.
Gypsy’s teeth get worse, to the point a rotten one falls out. Dee Dee takes her to the dentist, who starts putting her under anesthetic before revealing that he’s taking all her teeth out. Gypsy was unaware of this and began crying as she drifts off. Her depression consumes her, as she looks in the mirror at her toothless gums, unswayed by her mother’s comfort. Dee Dee is still excited to attend the “Best Child of the Year” ceremony, which her daughter has won, but of course, Gypsy is not in the mood.
At the ceremony, Dee Dee reveals her new teeth set, giving Gypsy back her confidence. Episode 2, “The Body”, then shows how close Dee Dee is to getting found out; the next day they revisit the doctor, and while Dee Dee leaves the room, the doctor explains to Gypsy that she believes she is not allergic to sugar and gives her a can of coca cola to consume as a test. She theorizes that if they can rule out her sugar allergy, they can rule out other medical conditions together. You can see every nerve in Gypsy’s body wanting to prove her allergy isn’t real, but instead, she emotionally says “my mum is my best friend”.
But it seems Gypsy is starting to get frustrated by the artificial limitations built by her mother, and at the end of the episode when her mother shouts her name from another room, Gypsy shuts the door. The gulf between them is starting to gather pace. Episode 2, “The Body”, ends with the police investigation for the murder of Dee Dee in the future, and Lacey (AnnaSophia Robb) reveals to the lead investigator that Gypsy had a fake facebook account, and may have had a boyfriend.
You can read our review of the third episode by clicking these words.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.