by Conner Tighe
Warning: This review contains spoilers for this episode and previous episodes of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.
The thrilling season of American Crime Story continues with new information on Andrew Cunanan. New characters, brutal violence and a series of flashbacks go hand-in-hand with this episode. Andrew’s latest love interest, David, goes on a little road trip with him while they evade the cops. All the events that take place in this episode occur one week before Lee Miglin’s murder. Episode four explores Andrew’s early love life while also providing a sense of isolation with the events that occur. It becomes crystal clear how alone Andrew really is.
As usual, the opening scene sets up the whole episode with a horrific event. Andrew is dating and living with a current boyfriend, David Madson in an apartment in Minneapolis. Judging by the dialogue between the two, they are having relationship issues and it’s not clear why. The buzzer rings and Andrew asks who is on their way up. David assures him it’s Jeff. When David goes down to get Jeff, it becomes clear what has happened. Andrew has asked David to marry him and David has denied him. David is now focused on being with Jeff. When the two return to the apartment, Andrew brutally murders Jeff in front of David. He repeatedly bludgeons Jeff in the face with a hammer until he is no longer recognizable. David is left in shock staring at Andrew while their dog, Prints, begins barking repeatedly.
Andrew realizes what he has done and tries to talk to David. David is in shock and is just staring into nothingness. Andrew then takes David into the bathroom and undresses him. He puts him in the shower and washes the blood off them both. This whole scene is very well done. It provides a good sense of Andrew’s brutality. The blood along the walls and the camera angles help provide a true terror in the apartment. David eventually comes back to reality and repeatedly says, “You k-killed him. You k-killed Jeff.” Andrew assures David that it was for him and it needed to be done. Andrew’s lack of empathy and feelings gives an excellent view of his personality.
David tries to call the police, but Andrew keeps telling him that nobody will believe him. He believes the police don’t care about them because they are gay. It’s David’s apartment and he was the one who brought Jeff up to the apartment. David is persuaded and decides not to call the police. One of David’s coworkers drops by because he didn’t show up at work. When she knocks on the door, there is no answer besides Prints’ repeated barking. The owner of the building opens the door and they find Jeff’s body rolled up in a rug. David and Andrew have somehow managed to escape to Andrew’s red jeep and they speed off.
David has frequent flashbacks to his childhood specifically dealing with his sexuality. He is hunting with his dad near a lake looking for ducks. His dad finds and kills one and brings it to David’s feet. David begins to cry, and his dad tells him to stop crying and to never be sad. David is then sitting on the passenger side with his hand out the window. Andrew tries to tell him that everything will be okay. He plans on running away to Mexico with him. He also claims he knows a man in Chicago who owes him some money. From the previous episode, we know he is talking about Lee Miglin. Andrew tells David that it’s smart to stay with him because he loves him and nobody else understands them. They are all alone.
There are several times when David attempts to escape from Andrew, but he is always caught by Andrew. David falls asleep in the car and has another flashback. This time he wins an award from his school and goes to his dad to tell him. After his dad congratulates him, David tells him that he is gay. He then begins to cry, and his dad tells him to stop and that he still loves him.
He later wakes up and notices that they are parked in a field. Andrew is nowhere to be seen, so David decides to make a break for it. He is then caught by Andrew and they continue their road trip. The two argue to the point where Andrew pulls over by a lake and drags David out of the car. He forces him to get on his knees and he then pulls out his gun. David explains that he loves Andrew and they can make it work. Andrew isn’t convinced and is about to pull the trigger when David gets up and begins to run towards a small wooden shack nearby. He fires several times, incapacitating David. Andrew approaches him and fires one last shot through his head. He then leaves in his red jeep and makes his way to Chicago.
Featured image from Laughing Place
'The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story' Episode 4: "House By the Lake"
Episode four is fantastic and provides an excellent depiction of aloneness and isolation. Andrew is truly alone in the world and his one chance at love is lost because of his brutality. The violence gives a taste of horror that is familiar from Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story. The flashbacks give a great perspective on David’s childhood and life story. Unfortunately, Andrew’s killing spree is not over.