by Conner Tighe
Warning: This review may contain spoilers for this episode and previous episodes of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.
In the latest episode of American Crime Story, Andrew’s life begins to crumble around him as he celebrates his birthday. Episode 6 takes place nine years before the murders of Jeff Trail, David Madson, Lee Miglin, and Gianni Versace. Andrew is madly in love with David Madson whom he eventually murders. He is doing anything he can to win David over, including lying his way to David’s heart. Andrew’s life is one big lie and David sees through Andrew easily. Jeff’s friendship with Andrew crumbles as they fight over David.
Flashback nine years. Andrew is living with wealthy Norman Blachford in a large mansion in California. Norman and Andrew have a mutual relationship while Norman pays for Andrew’s troubles. Their relationship fades when Andrew falls for David Madson. Andrew’s friend Elizabeth Cote, gossips with Andrew about his love for David when Jeff shows up. Andrew persuades Jeff to look like he’s in the navy so that he can impress David with his friends. David eventually shows up to the party and meets Jeff. The two begin to mingle and Andrew’s jealousy is sparked as he attempts to break them apart.
There is a conflict between Jeff and Andrew until Andrew decides to go all out to impress David. He rents a room in a luxurious hotel in California for the two of them. He shares his feelings for David, but David doesn’t return them and leaves the hotel. Andrew begins to emotionally break and he returns to his mother’s apartment. Andrew’s mother is just as odd as Andrew as she hums while giving him a bath. Andrew then leaves for Minneapolis where David lives.
Andrew’s backstory is told in an interesting way, in the sense that it is told backward. Andrew’s friends and relationships are explained an episode after we first meet them. His family life is not as great as he claimed. His dad is nowhere to be seen and his mother appears mentally unstable herself. Each episode so far has shown Andrew’s descent into depression and madness and this episode is no different. Andrew’s hatred toward Jeff is fully explained in this episode, as is his love for David.
The acting in this episode is outstanding. Darren Criss is great at showing how easily Andrew tells lies to David about his family and childhood. He commonly has a grin on his face as if he is up to something. David really tries to work things out with Andrew, and Cody Fern is particularly good at portraying this during the dining room scene in the hotel. Andrew is commonly caught staring off into nothingness during this episode. This is especially creepy given that Andrew’s murderous side has already been revealed in previous episodes. Darren Criss really gives off the impression that his character is truly insane with no real emotional attachment to humanity.
There are several fights and arguments from beginning to end in this episode. Andrew’s friends see right through his lies and realize he is fake. Andrew usually responds in anger and his rage gets the better of him. Andrew smashes Norman’s glass table and leaves the mansion. He gets into a fight with Jeff at his apartment over David. His drug dealer also begins to have trouble with Andrew’s erratic behavior. His behavior is completely unpredictable and this provides a sense of suspense throughout the episode. From previous episodes, we know what Andrew is capable of.
Featured image from Laughing Place
'The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story' Episode 6: "Descent"
In "Descent," Andrew’s life appears to be made of lies and deceit, and he will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. It’s clear he had no appropriate guidance during his childhood. His love for David drives him to go above and beyond for him, which leads to heartbreak. Because of this, Andrew shows some emotion during several scenes. This episode is tense and foreboding, and the story continues to be as good as ever as Andrew’s backstory unfolds.