by Conner Tighe
Andrew Cunanan’s story unfolds in American Crime Story’s latest episode. Episode 5 details the events that lead up to Jeff Trail’s death, which was seen in the previous episode. The prejudice against LGBT+ people that surfaced in the military during the late ‘90s is seen in this episode as well. Andrew’s soft side is shown in this episode and the ending packs an emotional punch. The Versace family returns and Gianni decides to make a courageous decision involving the media.
The beginning of the episode involves Gianni, Donatella, and Antonio discussing Gianni’s decision to come out to the public. Gianni believes that the world deserves to know not only the truth about him, but also Antonio’s involvement. Donatella isn’t convinced and believes that the Versace company will lose its business and financial support. Antonio and Donatella become tense with each other over this big decision, and Gianni eventually breaks the tension. Donatella attempts to convince her brother to rethink this decision, but he is convinced that this is the right thing to do.
It is revealed later on in the episode that Andrew, Jeff, and David were all friends at one point in time. Andrew decides to come visit Jeff and David, which creates problems between the three. Jeff is reluctant to see Andrew and allows him to stay in his apartment while he goes to stay with his pregnant sister. Andrew later arrives at Jeff’s apartment and goes through his belongings. He uncovers Jeff’s military uniform and a video that reveals Jeff outing himself as gay. His voice and face are disguised, but he states that everyone will know he is gay and his career in the military will soon die if it already hasn’t.
Jeff’s life in the military is then shown along with his struggles during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” period. He finds a man being beaten to death by other soldiers and jumps into the mess and saves him. Later on, Jeff is told that gay people are being identified by tattoos on their bodies in their unit. Jeff later attempts to cut his tattoo off his leg but doesn’t go through with it. The soldiers in his unit begin to look at Jeff differently and treat him differently. Jeff later thinks about attempting to commit suicide. Jeff’s struggles are shown very well along with this time period in the military. Homosexuals were discriminated against in the military and often struggled to hide their identity.
Time flashes forward now as we observe Andrew and David’s relationship. Andrew comes to David’s apartment and reveals an expensive watch to him. David is confused and refuses the watch, but Andrew then gets on one knee and proposes to David. David repeatedly tells him it’s against the law for two men to marry, but Andrew isn’t convinced. He tries and tries to get David to marry him. David eventually tells Andrew that he doesn’t want to be with him.
While Jeff is at his sister’s, he talks to her about coming out to their family. She wants him to, but Jeff thinks it will ruin his relationship with his parents. Jeff then changes the subject and tells his sister how excited he is to become an uncle. Meanwhile, Andrew stalks David’s daily activities and his “friends” that come to stay with him. Andrew’s obsession with David is very powerful and he feels this need to protect him. He is deeply in love with David and is willing to do anything to keep him.
The next day Jeff returns to his apartment and finds that Andrew has gone through his stuff. The two engage in a heated argument. Andrew attempts to calm Jeff down and Jeff screams in his face. Andrew then silently picks up his belongings and leaves the apartment. As of right now, we are confused as to why Jeff hates Andrew so much. Later on, it is revealed that Jeff met Andrew at a gay bar and the two were inseparable at one time. Jeff tells Andrew that he is going to talk to the press about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Act. Andrew tells him it is a bad idea and it will ruin his reputation as an officer in the military. Jeff tells him he feels a need to do this and leaves.
Jeff attends an interview with the press and talks about his struggles in the military as a gay man. Gianni and Antonio are also at an interview and Gianni decides to reveal his sexuality to the press. Jeff leaves the military and comes to David’s apartment. As we saw in the previous episode, David goes down to get Jeff and is later killed by Andrew. Jeff’s sister gives birth to a girl and the family repeatedly leaves voicemails at Jeff’s apartment. The camera pans around Jeff’s apartment and leaves off on the image of Jeff’s military uniform.
Featured image from Laughing Place
'The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story' Episode 5: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
Episode 5 is by far the most difficult to follow due to its frequent flashbacks and flashforwards. The emotion that is felt is incredible and genuinely touching. Andrew’s love for David is put into perspective and so is the anti-LGBT discrimination in the military during this time period. This episode isn’t as engaging as previous episodes, but leaves you with an emotional attachment to Jeff and his family.