The Act Episode 4, “The Tower”, articulates well the mother’s desperation to keep her daughter in her guardianship as long as possible.
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 4, “The Tower”, contains spoilers. You can read the review of the previous episode by clicking these words.
Now that Dee Dee Blanchard (Patricia Arquette) understands she is losing control of Gypsy Blanchard’s (Joey King) reality, Episode 4, “The Tower”, sees the mother trying to relinquish that control by legal means. Unfortunately, for her to gain full guardianship, the courts must prove that Gypsy is unable to make her own decisions. In an awkward scene where the mother is trying to manipulate Gypsy into answering questions differently, the lawyer confirms she would not be granted full guardianship in court.
“The Tower” gives Dee Dee a health issue that far extends any issues Gypsy has, ironically. Dee is diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, and the doctor stresses it could kill her if she does not take it seriously. Of course, by worrying too much of her power over Gypsy, she treats the condition lazily, and at one point collapses in front of a rebellious Lacey trying to get away from her mother. The roles reverse slightly, with daughter having to look after mother Gypsy uses her mother’s constant tiredness to sneakily buy a laptop, where she signs up for dating sites, determined to look for “true love”.
At this point, The Act has naturally reached a stage where Gypsy looks more unnatural in the wheelchair, and you wonder how she can mentally continue to proceed in living this way. There are various scenes where she yearns for a man, obsessively looking at photos with Lacey. Gypsy experiences her first “dick pic” on a dating website, and hastily shuts the laptop. She finally finds someone worth talking to in “The Tower”, a man named Nick, and spends nights on Skype to him.
Unfortunately, Gypsy gets found out by falling asleep next to her laptop. She wakes up to her mother smashing it with a hammer, and Dee finally breaks; she attempts to tie Gypsy to the bed after she declares that she will buy another laptop. The whole commotion ends when Gypsy spits in her mother’s face – their relationship is well and truly torn apart.
“The Tower” ends with Gypsy explaining via text to Nick that her laptop is smashed up. She then experiences her first sexual awakening, with Nick describing how she can make herself feel better. He vows to protect her from everyone. As the episode closes, it’s useful to know that Nick claims to have a multiple-personality disorder.
You can read our review of the fifth episode by clicking these words.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.