At the halfway point in this limited series, we’ve jumped a bit forward in time. A couple of years have passed and Gypsy is turning “18”. She was actually 22, but Dee Dee insisted she was 18. Even Dee Dee’s lie to keep Gypsy underage had run its course.
Dee Dee gives Gypsy a pair of guinea pigs for her birthday. We don’t see them a lot in the rest of the episode, so it seems strange to only have them in the beginning. I don’t know if they’re going to show up later, since if my math is correct they will still be around when Gypsy escapes. I still think they represent an interesting piece of symbolism. Gypsy is almost Dee Dee’s pet. Dee Dee doesn’t want Gypsy to escape her cage. I liked the guinea pigs, I just wish that they didn’t abandon that plot thread.
As Gypsy learns about Lacey’s new boyfriend, whom she met through online dating. Gypsy saved money in secret to buy her own laptop. Then, she created her own facebook account and online dating profile. Gypsy meets the person who would change her life forever: Nick Godejohn. We see Gypsy’s first experiences with her sexuality as a 22 year old woman. She goes into online dating with naiveté, not knowing what to expect. One of the first messages that she gets is an unsolicited dick pic. While talking with Godejohn, he sends her a pornographic image to explain his sexual desires. Even in Gypsy’s escape, she struggles to get agency. She has no control either way of how she experiences sexuality.
Dee Dee’s abuse escalates further in this episode. Now,there is no way for Dee Dee to pretend that Gypsy is a minor. Now she needs to find a new way to maintain legal control over her. Dee Dee wants to prove that Gypsy is mentally incapacitated and unable to make her own decisions. Gypsy manages to avoid it and prove that she is competent, but Dee Dee doesn’t give up. She eventually gets Gypsy to sign over power of attorney to Dee Dee. Gypsy doesn’t know what power of attorney is and what signing the document would mean for her. Dee Dee takes advantage of this to manipulate her daughter. Dee Dee convinces her that if she doesn’t sign it, Gypsy would be on the hook for all the lies that Dee Dee told. It’s a terrifying scene that had me completely enthralled.
The Act gets darker and darker with every episode. It is pulling no punches when it comes to how toxic Dee Dee and Gypsy’s relationship was. This episode shows how Gypsy’s desperation for freedom drove her into a toxic relationship. That being said, the problem isn’t with his sexual fantasies. He doesn’t take Gypsy’s feelings into consideration before throwing pornography in her face. It’s an unhealthy relationship from the beginning, and things are only going to go downhill from here.