Another week peeling back the layers of a killer.
American Crime Story: Versace Season 1 Episode 4 introduces us to someone who knew Andrew intimately. A friend, a person who knew thought they knew who Andrew Cunanan was.
But as the event leading up to Versace’s death play out, it’s very clear that no one knew just how twisted Andrew Cunanan really was.
While overall this series has been top notch in terms of casting and the overall look has been outstanding, isn’t hasn’t been without criticism. The pacing and general confusion being chief among them.
In the past two installments alone, we’ve been introduced to characters we know absolutely nothing about and we’re immediately expected to feel for them and their current situations. Having both episodes begin with a murder or the insinuation of one, does make the audience sympathetic but it doesn’t make it less confusing.
We’ve heard the names David Madson and Jeff Trail before in passing, but if you’re unfamiliar with the case in general, it may take a few moments to understand what’s happening when they first appear on screen.
Jeff: He took something from my new apartment.
David: Yeah. What'd he take?
Jeff: My gun.
Of all of Andrew’s victims, Jeff and David were the two h who had a relationship with Andrew. At the time of their deaths, Andrew was in town staying with David.
Through a brief conversation between David and Jeff, it sounds like a bit of a love triangle may be at play. Or just a heavy amount of jealously on Andrew’s part. Either way, Jeff doesn’t last ten seconds in David’s apartment before Andrew sneaks up and attacks him with a hammer.
It’s another brutal, brutal murder and shows again that these killings are very personal to Andrew. He wants these men to suffer.
Everything that comes after Jeff’s death is a chance for the actor playing David to shine. And he truly does.
David is shell-shocked and in a state of duress and panic for forty minutes straight. When Andrew pulled him into the shower so they could both wash the blood off their bodies, I desperately wanted David to just knock Andrew in the teeth and make a run for it.
There were several other times I just wanted David to run away or to just scream, but that’s so easy to say from the outside. David was panicked, scared for his life and standing face to face with a psychopath.
There’s no telling what anyone would do in that situation.
It doesn’t help that Andrew is a master manipulator and is able to slowly convince David that they could both be implicated in Jeff’s murder.
Or does he?
David: Are you gonna hurt anyone else?
David: I need you to promise me.
Andrew: I promise you. No one else will get hurt as long as you're by my side.
When they first set off on the run and David is given the chance to seek help while left alone for a few minutes, he chooses not to. Instead he returns to David and continues onward. It’s a puzzling thing to witness because there’s so many times you just want him to scream or yell that he’s in danger. But that moment never comes.
While running, David has a sort of epiphany about Andrew and Jeff’s death and it’s interesting to see that Andrew was able to run his con on people for so long.
We don’t spend enough time with Jeff to get a sense of who he was, but through flashbacks and almost hallucinations, we get to see David as a boy and his need to please his father.
Eventually Andrew has enough of David’s backhanded comments and unwillingness to go along with the plan and he snaps. We’ve seen Andrew snap before and even though I knew where this was headed, I desperately wanted it to be wrong.
Is that why you killed Jeff? You loved him. It was so obvious. But he figured you out, didn't he? Took him a few years but he finally saw the real you. And you killed him for it.David [to Andrew]
The episode ends right before Andrew heads to Chicago to see Lee Miglin. So, my assumption is the next week will lead us up to Jeff’s fateful trip to David’s apartment.
I’m still not sold on this style of storytelling, as at times things feel incredibly disjointed and the redundant the next. I’m saving my opinion on that until I see the series in its entirety.
Once again, we had an entry without the Versace’s. Considering the splashy casting moves and promotion has heavily involved the Versace name, they haven’t gotten nearly as much screen time as I would have thought so far.
And it feels like there is still more unfinished business with Andrew and his backstory, so it’s hard to say when they will be coming back.
Are you missing that element of the story? Do you like the standalone episodes that give us greater insight into Andrew’s other victims?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments! And remember to watch American Crime Story: Versace online so you're all caught up!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.