American Crime Story: The Assassination of Versace recap: Season 2, Episode 4, “House By The Lake”, Aired Feb. 7, 2018.
Continuing with moving backwards through the timeline of Versace’s death, we meet Andrew’s first and second victims of his killing spree, one week before the murder of Lee Miglin. Jeff Trail and David Madson both have supposedly been in romantic relationships with Andrew, now having a secret love for one another. Episode 4 takes us on a rollercoaster of the death of Jeff, Stockholm syndrome, the acceptance or lack of gay relationship’s in the 90’s and the death of Andrew’s first victim, David Madson.
Being a fan of American Horror Story, another one of Ryan Murphy’s wonderful creations, I was ecstatic to see Finn Wittrock (Dandy – whom made an appearance in Freak Show) join the season 2 cast as Jeff Trail. He portrayed the character as best as he could for the 5 seconds he was given before he died and fingers crossed, we get more of Jeff in the upcoming episodes. We was also introduced to upcoming actor of 2018, Cody Fern, who portrayed David Madson outstandingly and already has the public swooning over him. We must see him nominated for breakthrough actor of 2018 for this role or the world is doing something extremely wrong!
Whilst the Versace family have taken a step back in the latest two episodes and people not having the greatest reaction to this – I think it is incredibly important to also see Andrew’s back story and all the events that lead up to Versace’s death. This show is about remembering the loss of Versace and all of the fashion and glam he and his family provided, but we also need to sit down and remember the loss of Andrew’s other victims as well. If you do your research, all of these men gave so much to the world and need the recognition they was never given over two decades ago.
The Versace family will be making a return in episode 5, but for now though, I would like to share with you four of the best moments from American Crime Story: The Assassination of Versace, season 2, episode 4:
So, here we meet victim number two. Jeff (Finn Wittrock) is a former lover of David’s (Cody Fern), leaving Andrew incredibly jealous. When Jeff appears at David’s apartment one night, this gives Andrew the perfect opportunity to take action and get rid of Jeff once and for all. As David is meeting Jeff at the building’s entrance to take him up to the apartment, David reveals to Jeff that Andrew proposed to him, however, he refused, due to gay marriage being illegal. This could easily have been way Andrew was triggered to murder Jeff, as he may have assumed the reason David refused his proposal was because he was still in love with Jeff.
When Jeff enters David’s apartment, Andrew charges and kills him by beating him in the head with a hammer. Andrew doesn’t really seem to realise what he has done and how much it had affected David, as he is so focused on making a life with David and continues to uncomfortably care for him by washing away Jeff’s blood off of their bodies in the shower.
There’s even a moment where you feel incredibly uncomfortable, but at the same time, it’s hard to not find Andrew’s actions when hiding Jeff’s body, dare I say, a little sweet. Realising David is still incredibly shook up by Jeff’s dead body being sprawled across his apartment floor, Andrew quietly wraps the body in a rug and ‘respectfully’ moves Jeff’s body himself, only requesting help from David when he really needs it. As scary as Andrew is and as sickening as that whole scene was, it’s so heart-breaking to see Andrew still taking David’s feelings in to consideration, even if he doesn’t know what a horrific thing he has truly done. You can see clearly that David has a special place in Andrew’s heart and he will do anything to make sure they stay together.
David, completely devastated, demands that Andrew and him need to call the police and confess. However, Andrew knows exactly how police investigations work and how they fail to understand gay people. Like Lee’s murder, Andrew leaves pornography and sex toys on David’s bed before the pair flee. He explains to David that as soon as the police realise this is a gay case, they will jump to all sorts of conclusions.
“They won’t see two victims, they’ll see two suspects.”
David and his father
David’s coming-out scene really had me feeling a lot of mixed emotions. After giving his father some good news regarding his archeology career, he also shares what he calls ‘bad news’ of him being gay. His dad’s response went like this:
“I won’t lie and say that it doesn’t make a difference. You know what I believe. Maybe you wanted to be told I don’t have a problem with it. But what I can say is, I love you more than I love my own life.”
So, David’s father is basically saying he doesn’t like gay people, but will always love his son. I mean, I appreciate his honesty of not being able to give his son what he wants to hear, however, saying how much he loves him anyway doesn’t completely make up for the way he worded things. It must have been incredibly hard for David to even reveal this secret, which is obviously shown when he becomes tearful and I can see him and his father have quite a close bond, which does make this scene a little heart-breaking to watch. The fact that his dad was unable to progress on accepting his son’s sexuality in the years to come, because Andrew had taken David away from him is also devastating and I can’t imagine the guilt his father may have felt for not being able to tell his son how proud he is and how much he accepts him for him. (If that would’ve been the case.)
Lies, Lies, Lies
We know Andrew is an absolute pro at lying and creating false stories up to lure in his next victims; for once, David confronts him about his manipulation and catches Andrew off guard. He recalls how Andrew fascinated him when they met in a bar one night in San Fransisco, a year and a half ago. Andrew had ordered David a drink, as he was sat alone and David admired how much people loved Andrew and his charm – once upon a time.
“I remember thinking; how hard do I have to work to live like him, like Andrew? ‘Cause I’ll do it. Except it was all a lie. You’ve never worked for anything. It was an act. Is that why you killed Jeff? You loved him. It was so obvious. But he figured you out in the end, didn’t he? It took him a few years but he finally saw the real you, and you killed him for it.”
Andrew attempts to change the subject by describing the life he promises to give David in Mexico, spurring out all these false possibilities and dreams that he believes could truly happen.
“You can’t do it, can you?” “I can’t what?” “Stop.”
As obvious as David’s future was, I still sat there for a whole 50 minutes praying and praying that Andrew would allow David to run free and live his life in peace. This wasn’t the case and my heart was shattered in to a million little pieces. In the restaurant, I wanted David to escape through the bathroom window without pondering or hesitating, but I believe that David only stayed because Andrew’s words remained with him and he was too terrified to confront the police because of the assumptions they were most likely to make. For his own safety, David stays with Andrew, making us wonder whether the connection between the two is mutual or if David is only staying because he doesn’t know what else to do.
Continuing on with their journey, David confronts Andrew over and over as to why he killed Jeff and whether or not it was planned all along to kill him in David’s presence. An enraged Andrew says multiple times that he does not want to talk about the past, however, David continuously riles him up until he is eventually held at gunpoint, no longer having convinced Andrew that they would start a fresh life together in Mexico. David’s fate is sealed when he is shot once in the back and again in the face. Andrew lays by David’s body, arms wrapped around him, for a while until he decides to get back in to the truck and escape alone.
Now all four deaths have been revealed, I have to say David’s death has been the most heart-breaking and devastating to watch. He met a man who he thought was the greatest man to walk in to his life, only to have been confronted by a monster later on. He was such an innocent man with so much potential in life, he never deserved what he had to go through and it angers me how Andrew Cunanan could be so selfish as to drag someone with so much potential as David, in to his twisted and sickening shenanigans.
It’s that time in my article where I once again have to describe Darren Criss’ portrayal of Andrew and once again, I can’t find a way to really sum up his talents. Darren is becoming more and more terrifying as the series goes on and you can’t help but be so mesmerised by his performances and how convincing he is as Andrew. All I’m going to say about Darren to finalise this week’s recap is, if I don’t see a photo of Darren struggling to carry all of the well-deserved awards that he wins in the coming months, did we ever really have a 2018?
What did you think to this episode of American Crime Story: The Assassination of Versace? Write up a comment and let us know your thoughts!
Watch American Crime Story Wednesdays at 10pm on FX
(Featured image via Ray Mickshaw/FX)