The Act season 1 premiere recap: La Maison de Bon Rêve

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The Act — ” ” — Dee Dee Blanchard (Patricia Arquette), Gypsy Rose Blanchard (Joey King) shown. (Photo by: Brownie Harris / Hulu)

The Act gives us a story based on true events. A little dramatic, a little horrifying. If the first episode of The Act teaches us anything, it’s that you will be hard pressed to trust anything you see.

The first episode of The Act opens with a phone call to 911 on June 14, 2015. Lacey is calling for help after finding some concerning posts on Facebook and not being able to get in touch with her neighbors.

As the discussion with the dispatcher continues, Mel is pounding on the neighbor’s front door, calling out to Gypsy and Dee Dee. But she gets no response. She eventually climbs in a window, still calling out, as police sirens pull up to the house.

The Act then flashes back to seven years earlier. Gypsy and Dee Dee are in the middle of a television interview in their new home, provided to them by Habitat for Humanity. Dee Dee talks about how receiving the house was like a Disney movie or a fairy tale, especially since they were left homeless after Hurricane Katrina.

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There’s an odd moment when the reporter directly asks a question to Gypsy about making new friends. Dee Dee cuts her daughter off, answering in her stead. After prompting from the reporter, she lets Gypsy speak, but only after Dee Dee shares a look with Gypsy.

Gypsy then makes sure to say her mother is her best friend.

After the interview, Gypsy turns to her mother and asks if she was “good.” To which, Dee Dee says she was perfect.

The opening credits roll, showing various pictures from Gypsy’s childhood, including hospital stays. When the episode rejoins the action, Gypsy is sitting in a sink as her mother re-shaves her head. Gypsy wonders what it’ll be like if it grows in.

As they talk, Gypsy hopes that they’ll be able to actually stay in this house. Their last house was owned by the government, so they had to leave. Dee Dee assures her that this house is theirs forever and there are no hurricanes in Missouri.

During this, Dee Dee has prepared a medication concoction that she then injects into Gypsy’s stomach via a long tube.

At night, Dee Dee and Gypsy share a sweet moment where Dee Dee says that she protects Gypsy and Gypsy protects here, like angels.

After leaving her daughter to sleep, Dee Dee opens a closet door to a closet full of medicine bottles. She sifts through and finds some she decides to take, including one with “sleepy baby” written on it by hand.

It’s morning now and the episode shifts briefly to Lacey and Mel’s house where Lacey is trying to convince her mother to visit the neighbor’s house with them. Mel is uninterested, saying that just because they were on tv, it doesn’t mean they’re special.

Over at Dee Dee’s house, Lacey is invited in. She explains that she volunteers at a hospital giving makeovers to little girls and asks if Gypsy would like one (after all, Lacey needs the practice). Dee Dee hesitantly agrees.

As Lacey and Gypsy talk, they start to bond. Gypsy talks about how she likes to go to conventions where she can dress up as Disney princesses and Lacey talks about her boyfriend, Luke. Gypsy reveals that she used to be able to walk when she was younger and her dad, who is no longer in the picture, used to make fun of the way she walked. She says she doesn’t really remember, but that’s what her mom says.

Just outside the bathroom where Lacey is finishing with Gypsy’s makeup, Dee Dee stands and listens. She seems particularly interested and worried when Gypsy asks Lacey if the two of them can be friends.

Later, Dee Dee hands Gypsy a wet cloth and tells her to scrub the makeup off of her face, much to the dismay of Gypsy. Dee Dee says she’s too young to be wearing the makeup. She reminds Gypsy that she’s not like other girls and that she’s special. Gypsy reluctantly removes the makeup.

Another day. Children are outside playing and Lacey and her boyfriend are washing her mom’s car. Dee Dee takes Gypsy over to say hi and meets Mel in the process. Mel is a bit brash and rude, but Shelly (who is sitting on the porch with Mel) invites Dee Dee to sit with them.

As they talk, Dee Dee talks through all of the illnesses Gypsy has, including paraplegia, epilepsy, anemia and a heart murmur. It’s the reason, she explains, that she can’t practice “tough love” like Mel says she likes to. Gypsy can’t fend for herself. Shelly is amazed by Dee Dee strength and Mel says Gypsy is lucky to have Dee Dee.

Everything comes to a screeching halt when Lacey tries to let Gypsy have some of her Coke. Dee Dee rushes over, stopping them. She says Gypsy is allergic and having too much could send her to the emergency room (which would be the seventh time this year—and it’s only the summer).

Back home, Dee Dee reviews the dangers of having too much Coke with Gyspy—describing in excruciating detail the pain and reaction that could come with making that mistake. Gypsy apologizes and Dee Dee promises that they’ll find something tomorrow to do that’ll cheer them both up.