Wednesday’s finale of Hulu’s hard-to-watch, harder-to-look-away-from The Act took us back to the fateful night that Gypsy’s plan to do away with her mother was, er, executed. Did you think the episode was killer? Before you grade it, let’s review the evidence.
‘I’LL PROTECT YOU, AND YOU PROTECT ME’ | After “Free” began with a flashback to 1997 during which Dee Dee suggested that, while sleeping rough, Gypsy look at the stars, not the Spanish moss that she mistook for ghosts, we returned to 2015 for her and Nick’s arraignment. Though Gypsy pled not guilty, she was rattled by the possibility that, if convicted of first-degree murder, she could face the death penalty. Poor, simple Nick, on the other hand, wasn’t worried at all, not so long as the two of them stuck together like Bonnie and Clyde. “What happened to Bonnie and Clyde in the end?” asked Gypsy. Alas, Nick didn’t know. “They wouldn’t really do it, would they?” Gypsy later asked her lawyer. “Execute me?” They might, the public defender replied, unless Gypsy could sway public opinion by appearing sympathetic. And, though the defendant was certainly used to putting on a show, she wasn’t willing to contact her father for help obtaining the telltale medical records that Dee Dee’s power of attorney had made impossible to access. “I don’t have a dad,” Gypsy insisted. She’d had a mother. “I know that she did bad things, but she cared about me. And she loved me, at least. He didn’t.” In that case, the lawyer basically said, Gypsy had better begin wrapping her head around the likelihood that the state of Missouri was going to reunite her with Dee Dee.
‘YOU’RE ONE OF THE HEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN HERE’ | Following a visit with the prison doctor, who marveled that Gypsy was one of the few inmates who’d ever gained weight behind bars, she and Nick locked eyes across the yard. He still appeared to be happy as a clam; it was like he was at summer camp, not doing time. And he was excited to tell Gypsy he’d found out what happened to Bonnie and Clyde: They’d stuck together just like he and Gypsy were going to, and died. Gypsy was quick to note that dying wasn’t on her wish list. “But we’ll stick together, though, right?” asked Nick. “That’s why I saved you.” Luckily for Gypsy, he was pulled away by a guard before she had to admit, “Yeah, about that… ” Back inside, Gypsy called Lacey, who was on the fence about paying her a visit, and then, reluctantly, her father. “I know that you don’t even know me, but… ” she began. She had to ask him “one little tiny favor.” Back in Dee Dee and Gypsy’s old neighborhood, sentiment was decidedly anti-Gypsy. As movers packed up the Blanchards’ belongings, one fella at Mel’s cookout cracked, “If you ask me, she deserves the chair, and I don’t mean no damn wheelchair!” While Lacey might not have been eager to visit Gypsy, she was nonetheless uncomfortable with all the smack talk. Her mom didn’t get it. Gypsy and Dee Dee were “emotional vampires, sucking people dry,” snapped Mel before rushing across the street to retrieve a blender she’d loaned the deceased before it was hauled off.
‘THAT’S HOW SHE MADE YOU A PRISONER’ | In jail, Gypsy was excited that she had a visitor… till she saw that it wasn’t Lacey, it was her father. She hadn’t asked him to come, she reminded him. She just wanted her medical records… which he quickly used to show her how massive and far-reaching Dee Dee’s lies had been. “At least she was there,” Gypsy shot back. “You… left.” Which was true, but he’d also sent a check every month and tried to visit, only Dee Dee had said Gypsy couldn’t handle it. Finally, he produced pictures of himself with a younger Gypsy, including a shot of them at a Special Olympics event that she’d have sworn he hadn’t attended. And for the first time in her adult life, Gypsy realized that she had indeed had a father. At a subsequent court appearance, her lawyer was able to use the medical records to sever her trial from Nick’s. At that, his smile vanished. “But I did it for Gypsy,” he cried. Gypsy wasn’t thrilled, either: She seemed to expect to get off scot-free; instead, she was informed that she might get out of prison while she was still young if she agreed to a deal.
‘I CAN’T BE YOUR MOM, GYPSY; YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN NOW’ | Though Lacey never did pay a visit to Gypsy, Mel couldn’t resist. “I’m still the same old Gypsy,” said the inmate, trying to put her visitor at ease. But Mel wasn’t having it. “I don’t know who the old Gypsy was,” she replied before asking some tough questions. For one, why didn’t Gypsy just walk away from Dee Dee? “I trusted her. She was my best friend,” the young woman replied, “up until she wouldn’t let me grow up.” Gypsy tried to put a smiley face on the situation, suggesting that everything happens for a reason, but again, Mel wouldn’t let her resort to BS platitudes. “There is no goddamn reason this happened to you,” she said, adding that she couldn’t be Gypsy’s replacement Dee Dee. “Sometimes we can’t make things better, we just gotta live through ’em.” Now Gypsy would have to decide who she was. “Do you even know?” asked Mel, finishing with a line that Dee Dee and her own mother had used against one another: “Sometimes the only way out is through.” From there, we flashed back to the night of Dee Dee’s murder, and were shown bit by bit exactly how involved in the crime Gypsy was, from providing the knife to cleaning the blood off of Nick when the deed was done.
‘WELCOME TO THE REST OF YOUR LIFE’ | Before Gypsy left the little pink house for the last time, she gave us a disturbing sign of how easy and habitual it was for her to put on an act: Though Nick was almost catatonic following the killing, she turned her voice all the way up to “elated” and snapped him out of it by embracing him and saying as if they were headed to Disneyland, “I’m so excited that you’re taking me on an adventure!” In response, he pulled down his pants and had some more of that quick, awkward sex with her that seemed to be his go-to. “Are you sure you still wanna do this, babe?” he asked once they were all set. “I’m ready to go,” she answered. But the last shot of The Act suggested that she hadn’t been and perhaps never would be: In her prison cell, Gypsy imagined herself leaning on her mother’s shoulder. (Before the closing credits rolled, title cards informed us that a year into her incarceration, Gypsy had pled guilty to second-degree murder and was now serving 10 years… with plans to start her own family when she got out. Nick had been found guilty of first-degree murder and was serving life without parole.) So, what did you think of The Act’s last act? Grade it in the poll below, then hit the comments.