Gypsy is a new series on Netflix, and I honestly do not know what to say about it.
I knew right from the beginning that this would not be everybody’s cup of tea since there is lots of talk and thoughts, rather than action. But, I do like that especially when directors are telling us how they see people and their way of thinking and behaving.
Thus, the series starts with Jean (Naomi Watts) talking about double identities and how we are never who we say we are, etc. In that, Jean does have a second identity, Diane. Throughout the series, these two identities threaten to clash and Jean/Diane is in danger of getting caught, so the series shows how difficult it is to be fake and live two different personalities. One simply has to choose who they want to be, and how they want to live their lives rather than living the social expectation and then being genuine in a fake identity.
Jean/Diane is a cognitive therapist and we get to meet a few of her patients. However, she does not only act as their therapist. She also heavily meddles into their lives by using her fake identity to approach family members who are subject of therapy and then advising patients accordingly. Thus, she speaks positively about her patients to family members to try to reconcile them and help patients. But, with this she fails in being a good therapist because she does not help people get back on track with their emotions but actually controls them and meddles into lives to achieve outcomes she wants to see happening. In a few instances, advises given to patients or family members are not for the benefit of patients or relatives but simply to hide her fake identity and meddling. Thus, the series is also about professional boundaries.
Jean/Diane also develops a romantic affair with Sydney (Sophie Cookson), former girlfriend of her patient Sam (Karl Glusman) who came to therapy when Sydney left him. This is the part where the series fails the most, for both actresses fail to show true attraction to each other. Naomi Watts is even less successful than her colleague, and in a few scenes where she is supposed to be seducing Sydney she actually looks weird rather than sexy.
The series is ultimately about power and control, but also about mental issues because Jean/Diane personally has issues with commitment so severe that she still has her rented apartment even though she is married and has a nine-years-old daughter. That daughter is facing issues of her own, but Jean/Diane is nowhere near in majority of cases to help, as she is too preoccupied living her fake identity and meddling into lives of her patients. In addition, her marriage is always on the edge due to preoccupation with living Diane’s life more than Jean’s life, and the way she is portrayed (e.g. with stealing prescriptions for pills, etc.) it seems as if Jean/Diane has a serious mental issues and the issues with self-control, self-confidence and commitment. Not quite what you would expect from a person who should be helping you heal.
This series is thus a thriller that explores mental health, power and control, but also sexuality as Jean/Diane explores her own sexual boundaries when living her fake identity and starting an affair with Sydney. I enjoyed the series at first but towards the end I started to dislike Jean/Diane, as it all became to selfish and too sick, especially when her former patient leaves the hospital and they meet with Jean/Diane telling her how she always cared for her even though she took a restraining order against her and made her look like a liar. Now Jean/Diane again wants to continue the relation with Melissa while at the same time one family member, whom Jean/Diane developed relations with finally discovers who she really is…
The series is interesting and in some instances deep. There are some really good thoughts about how people behave, who they are and who they say they are, double identities and faking, etc. But, at the same time, we do get annoyed with Jean/Diane and we feel sometimes that the series could develop faster. It is painfully slow in some parts, and quite frankly it could have been made in six or seven episodes rather than 10. While there could have been more story and more development, the failure of this series is not so much in directors and writers as much as in acting for Jean/Diane is simply not convincing enough.
Thank you for reading.