by Conner Tighe
Warning: This review may contain spoilers for this episode and previous episodes of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.
Andrew’s childhood is explored in this new episode of American Crime Story, along with Gianni’s. The opening scenes include background on how Gianni got into the fashion business due to his mother. Andrew is seen coming from a wealthy family, but with a dark secret. This episode is one of the slower ones but provides some excellent insight into Andrew’s abusive childhood.
Taking previous episodes into consideration it’s confusing as to why Andrew’s mother is the way she is. In this episode it’s revealed that Mary Anne, Andrew’s mother, suffered from depression during his first few years. His manipulative father, Modesto, is verbally and physically abusive to her. He strives for Andrew to become educated in almost every subject. There are several different scenes in the episode that can be linked to Andrew’s behavior in past episodes. His neglect towards his mother is learned by his father.
The episode at first is sweet and calm but the atmosphere quickly turns tense when it is revealed that Modesto has been having his customers invest in fake stocks. The FBI catches on and attempts to take him in and he quickly hurries home. He has money prepared for this situation and steals Andrew’s car to get to the airport, then makes his way to Manila in the Philippines. The emotional toll this has on Andrew and his mother is understandable but incredibly sad.
It’s learned shortly afterward that Modesto emptied every credit card and bank account in the family, so Andrew and his mother are left to fend for themselves. Mary Anne treats Andrew as good as ever as she prepares meals for him, but Andrew only responds in negative ways. Modesto always told Andrew that his mother had a “weak mind” and Modesto’s treatment towards Mary Anne rubbed off on Andrew.
The atmosphere takes a turn, however, when Andrew first meets Elizabeth at a party. Andrew is dressed very flamboyantly and is met with judgmental eyes. He begins to dance while “Whip It” by Devo plays in the background. Elizabeth quickly joins him and the two become good friends. Elizabeth seems to represent the hope and good in Andrew’s life. She is curious about Andrew and wants to understand him. The party scene as a whole is a good example of the prejudice and hate towards the gay community in the ’80s.
Andrew attended a private school in California which was supposedly the best in the state. He is seen standing in line for pictures and making a scene because there is no originality in anyone’s poses. A guy then turns around and tells him to shut up. Andrew then walks up to the picture guy and unbuttons his own shirt to look different than everyone else. This scene seems to have no impact on the episode, but it says a lot about Andrew’s character. His struggle with being different has made him into a stronger person. He has learned to ignore people’s comments.
Andrew is misunderstood and alone in his world. He strives to live up to his father’s expectations regardless of his absence but takes the initiative to go find him. He then makes his way to Manila and finds him living in a small shack-like house. This scene is particularly tense and powerful due to the acting of Darren Criss and Jon Jon Briones. The two are initially happy to see each other, but then it turns dark. They engage in a verbal argument until Modesto slaps Andrew. Andrew then picks up a nearby kitchen knife and holds it in a defensive stance. Modesto urges him to stab him, but Andrew cannot. He begins crying and leaves. The acting by both Criss and Briones is well done, and the relationship between their two characters is shown in its true form here.
Featured image from Laughing Place
'The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story' Episode 8: "Creator/Destroyer"
Overall, this episode provides spectacular views on Andrew’s life. The conflict within his life is revealed through emotional scenes with intense acting. The change in mood of the episode is consistent and leaves the audience wanting to see more. His motives seem to be making more sense as the show progresses.