The Act: Season 1, Episode 6 “A Whole New World” – Recap (with Spoilers)

Dee Dee after having Gypsy.
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As Gypsy comes to realize Nick doesn’t fit her knight in shining armor fantasy, we begin to see how Dee Dee developed Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

Director(s) Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Writer(s) Heather Marion
Air Date 4/17/2019
Introduced This Episode
Emma Margo Martindale

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Momma Was Cruel: Emma, Dee Dee

Dee Dee had long struggled when it came to her relationship with her momma Emma. Cruel is perhaps one of the best ways to describe her. Not cruel in the form of drugging, hitting, and trapping Dee Dee, but knowing the wrong thing to say at the right time. Take when Gypsy was born, and Emma made Dee Dee seem like an invalid. That is what got the ball rolling and led to Dee Dee feeling insecure as a mom and, as Gypsy got older, Emma being more of a liability than asset. Especially taking note of when Dee Dee went to jail, for check fraud, she cut Gypsy off from knowing who her mom is. At least, that was my impression.

It Progressively Got Worse: Dee Dee, Emma

Emma (Margo Martindale) antagonizing Dee Dee.
Emma (Margo Martindale): We do things different now.

Particularly because Emma was isolating Dee Dee from Gypsy. The letters sent from her 6-month prison sentence went unopened. Emma began a new routine with Gypsy, and her daughter became foreign to her. So, once they regained that connection and Emma got sick, she made sure that bond wouldn’t be broken.

So as for what caused Dee Dee’s Munchausen syndrome by proxy, while there were underlying issues, we’re pushed to see Emma as one of the main causes. Making it so, even after her death, Dee Dee still felt insecure about her relationship with Gypsy and then when she got hurt playing with her cousins? Oh, that was it. From there she put her in a chair and likely that was the beginning of the end of Gypsy’s childhood – somewhere after the age of 6.

Second Thoughts: Nick, Gypsy, Dee Dee

After Nick kills Dee Dee, Gypsy sees herself as free, and for a day or two, she is happy. However, then she comes to realize that Nick isn’t capable of fulfilling her knight in shining armor fantasy. Between messing up the tickets, not being that great of a lover, and her perhaps having an addiction to her “Sleepy Baby” bills, things aren’t how they are supposed to be. Add in guilt slowly creeping up on her, and it’s leading to a lot of conflicting thoughts.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Did Emma know Dee Dee wasn’t all there or was just a mean mother?
  2. Where is Gypsy’s dad during all that we see in the past?


Judging These Strangers As Time Goes On

One of the things you have to keep challenging yourself to do is not justify certain behavior because of abuse – verbal, emotional, or otherwise. Which becomes increasingly challenging since you are pushed to show empathy. With Dee Dee being verbally abused by her mother, even if just pokes to her self-esteem, you can see how that can wear a person down after decades of it. And, as said before, when it comes to Gypsy, while the treatment by her mother is no excuse, it helps you understand how truly difficult it can be to judge someone when you know them.

For, as a viewer, a part of you feels like judge and jury since you are being presented a court case. One which already has been decided, but with being presented both sides, the sympathetic story and facts, it leaves you twisted. Well, it could potentially – I still think Gypsy’s jail time for 10 years is just. Granted, this isn’t 100% factual but with this all seeming premeditated, she is lucky it was just 10 years.

Gypsy Having Second Thoughts

I must admit sometimes there is a conflict between the story and performances which makes me unsure whether to mark something as a highlight or on the fence – Gypsy having second thoughts in a prime example. On the one hand, Joey King is really just beyond what I think I expected and shows how good an actor can be when they are challenged. Yet, I do feel the pacing of this show is getting a bit slow, and it makes me glad this is only 8 episodes.

The reason I say that is while you have to appreciate us seeing Gypsy realizing what she has done, what the real world is like, especially with Nick, it’s getting to that point where you’re (I’m) ready for this to wrap up. For, again, beautiful performance by King, but we’re starting to veer to the lane of while you want to praise the performance, you have to note the entertainment aspect is slipping. Not quickly but noticeably.

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Season/ EpisodeSynopsisEpisode InformationTopics & Focused Characters
Season 1, Episode 8 "Free" [Season Finale]The Act ends by trying to clean up Gypsy’s image by making it seem she truly did make a mistake and didn’t realize the consequences of killing her mom.
Director(s) Steven Piet
Writer(s) Lisa Long, Michelle Dean, Nick Antosca
Air Date 5/1/2019
  • Not Guilty: Gypsy, Nick
  • Betrayal: Gypsy, Nick
  • This Is Your Life Now: Gypsy, Nick, Dee Dee, Mel, Lacey
Season 1, Episode 7 “Bonnie & Clyde”Joey King inserts herself as one of the most talented young actresses out there as she continues to damn Gypsy Rose yet make her look too foolish to hold accountable.
Director(s) Hannah Fidell
Writer(s) Dan Dietz, Robin Veith
Air Date 4/24/2019
Introduced This Episode
Vance John Ales
Kathy Juliette Lewis
Detective Crawford Adam Arkin
  • This Isn’t How Fairytales End: Gypsy, Kathy, Vance, Nick
  • Snitching On Yourself: Gypsy, Nick, Kathy, Dee Dee
  • The Truth Is Out: Lacey, Gypsy, Nick
Season 1, Episode 2 “Teeth”Someone tries to expose Dee Dee this episode, and while Gypsy is enjoying the truth, seeds of animosity are starting to bloom.
Director(s) Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Writer(s) Dan Dietz
Air Date 3/20/2019
Introduced This Episode
Dr. Chondra Poorna Jagannathan
Dr. Harley Steve Coulter
  • The Suspicious Doctor: Dr. Harley, Dr. Chondra, Dee Dee, Gypsy
  • Trying To Learn The Truth: Dr. Chondra, Dee Dee, Gypsy, Lacey, Mel
  • Animosity Grows: Dee Dee, Dr. Chondra, Gypsy
Season 1, Episode 3 “Two Wolverines”As Gypsy gets her first taste of real love, and Dee Dee a reminder of what that is, we’re reminded both are a bit toxic.
Director(s) Adam Arkin
Writer(s) Robin Veith
Air Date 3/27/2019
Introduced This Episode
Russ Dean Norris
Scott Joe Tippett
Shelly Denitra Isler
  • Anything Can Happen At A Con: Russ, Dee Dee, Scott, Gypsy, Shelly
  • A Lady Has Her Secrets: Scott, Lacey, Gypsy, Dee Dee, Russ
  • A Taste Of How Things Should Have Been: Gypsy, Dee Dee, Russ, Scott
Season 1, Episode 4 “Stay Inside”As Dee Dee continues to fail to contain Gypsy’s curiosity, Gypsy becomes acquainted with Nick. Someone who will change both Dee Dee and Gypsy’s life forever.
Director(s) Christina Choe
Writer(s) Michelle Dean
Air Date 4/3/2019
Introduced This Episode
Nick Calum Worthy
  • Interdependency: Dee Dee, Gypsy
  • Power of Attorney: Dee Dee, Gypsy
  • Meet Nick: Dee Dee, Gypsy, Nick
Season 1, Episode 5 “Plan B”Gypsy presents Dee Dee her last opportunity to make some form of amends. Which leads to Gypsy’s decision to ask Victor to do something horrible.
Director(s) Steven Piet
Writer(s) Lisa Long, Nick Antosca
Air Date 4/10/2019
  • Nick’s Life In Wisconsin: Nick, Gypsy
  • Meet The Boyfriend: Nick, Gypsy, Dee Dee
  • I Tried Everything I Could: Nick, Gypsy, Dee Dee
Season 1, Episode 1 “La Maison Du Bon Reve”Based on a true story, The Act pushes all involved past what you might expect for some and others towards a reminder of why they have had such long careers.
Creator(s) Nick Antosca, Michelle Dean
Director(s) Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Writer(s) Nick Antosca, Michelle Dean
Air Date 3/20/2019
Genre(s) Drama
Good If You Like Shows Based On True Stories

Creepy Mothers and Seemingly Innocent Children

Isn’t For You If You Feel Uncomfortable Watching A Mother Abuse Her Child
Introduced This Episode
Gypsy Joey King
Dee Dee Patricia Arquette
Mel Chloë Sevigny
Lacey AnnaSophia Robb
Season 1, Episode 6 “A Whole New World”As Gypsy comes to realize Nick doesn’t fit her knight in shining armor fantasy, we begin to see how Dee Dee developed Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
Director(s) Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Writer(s) Heather Marion
Air Date 4/17/2019
Introduced This Episode
Emma Margo Martindale
  • Momma Was Cruel: Emma, Dee Dee
  • It Progressively Got Worse: Dee Dee, Emma
  • Second Thoughts: Nick, Gypsy, Dee Dee

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