The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story S02E08 Recap

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This episode managed to do what the last episode came close to doing, but just didn’t quite achieve and that was making me feel sympathy and empathy for Andrew Cunanan. I still despise him for the human being we saw that he eventually became in earlier episodes, but this one in particular put him into sharper context than any of the others had. This was his origin story. Not only did this episode make me feel sorry for Andrew, it actually gave me someone to despise more than him; his father, Modesto.

The continued juxtaposition of crucial, similar points in the lives of Andrew and Versace are some of the best parts of this show. Especially because Versace was everything that Andrew wanted to be and likely could have been.

The episode didn’t go as in-depth into Versace’s childhood as it did Andrews, but we saw enough. I loved Versace’s mother instantly. I half-expected her to take his sketch and tear it up and berate him, demean him as a “pansy” like the boy did in his class. But she didn’t. I also loved that her immediate reaction to him telling her that his teacher called him a pervert, was to take the very thing that made the teacher call him that and encourage him to make real. I really wanted her to go to the school and rip that teacher a new one.

Andrew’s upbringing wasn’t quite so supportive. At least not in the way that Versace’s mother supported him.

I didn’t – and still don’t – understand why Modesto was so fixated on him and favoured him more than his siblings. He had three other children right there and he seemingly hated all of them. Surprisingly enough, not everything that Andrew had told David about his childhood was a lie. He did get the master bedroom, he did get the car and he had at least one lobster dinner. He was showered with any material thing that he could have wanted and spoiled well beyond rotten.

I liked how Modesto and Andrew’s respective interviews for a prestigious job and acceptance into a prestigious school, respectively, were intercut. It was clear that Modesto’s “lessons” had taken hold of Andrew in his interview when his responses to what he wished were materialistic and vain, but as questionable as his response was, his interview went better than his father’s in my opinion.

Although Modesto did get the job, I was certain that he had bombed the interview. He did not focus on what the interviewers wanted to talk about, which was how he could do the job he was interviewing for. Sure, he talked about how he worked hard to move up in the world, but now how he managed to achieve it. So I was awfully surprised that he got the job, but not surprised when it was shown that he sucked at it. I think he wanted to be a stock broker for the title and wealth and nothing else.

I thought that one of the two would fail, so I didn’t think that Andrew would get into The Bishop’s School. His father buying him a car for that achievement was more than excessive, but I didn’t buy that that was the reason; that scene did follow him failing miserably on his first day at Merrill Lynch after all. It was him overcompensating.

When he brought up that he had been the one to raise Andrew while his mother recovered from postpartum depression – which I think is clear she suffered from – I considered that that is perhaps why Andrew was his favourite. It was also obvious that he resented Mary. Despite us having seen her been unstable in previous episode, here I don’t believe that she was, as Modesto kept throwing in her face. I think that that was just him being emotionally abusive. In any case, it still doesn’t really explain for me why Andrew was looked on so incredibly highly.

As horrible at his job as he was, I didn’t think that Modesto was defrauding people. At the same time, I wasn’t shocked to find out that he was.  It felt well within his character to lie, cheat and steal. Because a lot of what Andrew had told David turned out to be true, I thought that maybe his father really had relocated to a Merrill Lynch office in the Philippines, but that revelation quickly dispelled that notion. It certainly explained why in the last two episodes Mary was living in an apartment she could barely afford and not in their luxurious home. I had wondered how she’d gone from the latter to the former.

I thought that Modesto would have been caught by the FBI – wanted it even – and that Andrew lied about him having gone back to Manila to cover that up. He did go back to Manila, though, and ended up right where he started. Karma sure did a number on him, but he didn’t seem upset or dejected about his situation. Which didn’t make it feel like he got what he deserved at all.

It was kind of heartbreaking seeing how much faith Andrew had in his father and his integrity as a man, husband, father and provider, when the truth was that he was a “dirty rat” (as Mary put it). Even more so when it he realised that the perfect man that his father had made him believe he was, never existed. That the man he looked up to was a lie and a liar, that his life was a lie. Everything he’d ever known and believed fell apart. It was only natural that he cried. Then Modesto had the gall to ridicule him for it.

Not just the crying, but for being exactly what he’d raised Andrew to be; spoiled and lazy. Modesto was so proud that he was blind to his own failings as a man and as a parent. So much so that he couldn’t even see that the very qualities he was “ashamed” of were the same ones that he had instilled in Andrew to begin with.

He never taught Andrew that anything he wanted he needed to work for an earn. He raised him to believe that anything he wanted he would just get because he was “special.” You can’t raise your child to be a certain way and then hate them for being exactly that. He absolutely disgusted me when he spat on Andrew and when he slapped him. In fact, he disgusted me for this entire episode but those two things, especially the spitting, were the peak.

Modesto was the first and only person in this series that I wanted Andrew to kill. I was so hoping that it would turn out that his father was his first victim. The Andrew in this episode, though, was not the cold, heartless killer we’d seen before so he didn’t go through with it unfortunately. Modesto broke that poor child.

Random thoughts:

  1. So Gianni is a pervert for drawing a dress? How does one even draw that conclusion?
  2. Andrew has siblings?
  3. Did this man just stuff his family in the back of a vehicle with no ventilation?!
  4. This is the second last episode. The only place we can go from here is seeing Gianni and Andrew in-utero or going forward in time to the day that Andrew killed himself.
  5. The fact that they flinched when he turned around…
  6. Andrew been doing this mooching off of older people thing forever…
  7. Okay damn, that red jumpsuit actually looks really good on him.
  8. You go ahead and dance and enjoy yourself and let your gay flag fly high Andrew! Screw the haters!

The final episode of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story will air this Wednesday at 10 PM on FX.

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An avid reader who accidentally discovered her love and talent for writing and has loved movies for as long as she has been watching them. Stumbled into film-making and found her second love because she decided to read for a degree in it on a whim - kind of.