November 20, 2018

American Crime Story: Versace Season 1 Episode 6 Review: Descent

So, I'm just going to put this out there right away: I was not a fan of this episode.

From Lee Miglin's death, to Jeff Trail and David Madson, I've been completely engrossed in the show's expedition into the past. But I was officially lost this week and not in the least bit intrigued.

Perhaps I'm in the minority though? Maybe you thoroughly enjoyed yet another peek into the fantastical, make believe world that Andrew Cunanan exists in. Maybe you thought American Crime Story: Versace Season 1 Episode 6 was a good way of culminating this part of the story.

I would have to wholeheartedly disagree with that assessment.

Let's begin with this birthday party. Jumping back in time to a year before his murder spree, Andrew seems to be living the dream. He's staying in a breathtaking mansion in California and getting ready for his birthday party.

And who's throwing this swanky affair? Norman Blanchard. Oh, Norman. It's pretty clear from the onset that Andrew doesn't just work for Norman. These two are tied together, but it's hard to tell at first if they're tied together physically, emotionally or both.

It turns out that for Andrew, his tie to Norman is purely financial.

A Talk With A View- American Crime Story: Versace Season 1 Episode 6

We've seen over the weeks that Andrew not only thinks very highly of himself, but he also believes he's owed something from the world. He's as narcissistic as narcissistic gets.

The way he approaches Norman with all his outlandish demands is incredibly insulting. And Norman just sort of takes it, but not before letting Andrew know that he's no dummy.

You've made a beautiful home. I want you to be happy, I really do. And I don't mind that you tell a few lies to smooth over the discomfort of this arrangement. Hell, I can allow you all of the lies that you want. Except for one. That I'm a fool.

Norman [to Andrew]

I wanted to like Norman but I honestly felt nothing. He was a lonely older man who was trying to help Andrew, but also enabling him in many ways. Andrew throwing a hissy fit and escaping that situation was a blessing for him.

So anyway let's circle back to the party, where Jeff and David meet for the first time and Lee Miglin makes a very awkward appearance.

A Chat Outside- American Crime Story: Versace Season 1 Episode 6

Andrew has this fixation on David that we've seen in prior episodes, but it's on full display here. To go through the effort of buying and wrapping a gift for yourself and then basically forcing your friend to present it to you, just to show some guy your friends like you is beyond weird.

Jeff handles the situation well because Jeff is a decent human being who does seem to care about him. David also seems to care for Andrew but not nearly as much as he cares about him.

Andrew: I need to get back to my party. That room is full of people that love me.
Gallo: Then that room is full of people that don't know you.

The party is odd and an eclectic mixture of people, as it seems as if most of these people are just there because Norman knows how to throw a party. When Andrew hops in a picture with Norman, Lee, Jeff and David and declares them all the people that love him, it's single-handedly one of the most awkward and chillingly sad moments of the series.

We get a small taste of the falling out between Jeff and Andrew and it's not only just about the postcard, but Andrew's jealousy. There's an ease about Jeff that easy to fall for and Andrew's worst fear is that with Jeff and David in the same city, David will soon fall for Jeff and suddenly he's the outsider seeing his two "best" friends fall in love.

David & Jeff- American Crime Story: Versace Season 1 Episode 6

Andrew being Andrew, he thinks the way to David's heart is through money. Poor David is very clearly not buying anything that Andrew is selling but he goes along with it until he just can't anymore.

But even knowing that he isn't in the same place as Andrew, David decides to give him a chance. David is inherently good. That much we've clearly seen over the past few episodes. But he's never better than when he sits pensively and listens to Andrew spin yet another tale about a childhood that just never existed.

Everything that follows the impromptu LA trip is a disaster.

Old Friends- American Crime Story: Versace Season 1 Episode 6

Tiring of cocaine, Andrew goes for something a little harder and hits rock bottom. And rock bottom is not begging outside of Norman's house.

Rock bottom is the home of Mrs. Cunanan.

It's very apparent that Andrew must have had one hell of a childhood with a mother like that. She's a doting mother and an affectionate woman, but it's all rooted in this belief that somehow her son is better than others. Her son is a star. She has the 'maybe we didn't have much growing up, but my son made it!' type of attitude.

And that's an okay attitude to have when it's rooted in reality.

Looking Over- American Crime Story: Versace Season 1 Episode 6

At this point in time, Andrew is a shell of himself. Gone is the macho bravado and confidence. Instead he's defeated and forced to rely on the one person he knows has some kind of love for him.

The only word I can think of to describe their interaction is depressing. When your own mother brushes off your pleas for help to continue convincing herself that you're better than the bitchy neighbors kid, you realize you're truly alone in the world.

What did you guys think of 'Descent'? What are you hoping to see over the last few installments? Do you miss the Versace storylines?

Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. And remember to watch American Crime Story: Versace online via TV Fanatic any time!

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