Thursday, February 15, 2018

My Review of The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story - Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Written by Tom Rob Smith
Directed by Daniel Minahan

Jeff (to Andrew): "You destroyed me. I wish I had never walked in that bar. I wish I had never met you."

Last week the focus was on David Madson (Cody Fern), so it was only fair that for this week's episode, we went backwards and put the spotlight on Andrew's first victim, Jeff Trail (Finn Wittrock) as his life took one hell of a bad turn upon meeting Andrew two years prior to his death along with his Navy career coming to a messy end in itself.

Focusing on the Navy aspect first, those scenes were genuinely uncomfortable to watch. Jeff did the right thing by standing up for a fellow officer who was being tormented and beaten for being gay but by doing this, he inadvertently exposed his own sexuality and while he didn't receive beatings like the officer he saved, Jeff had come to the realisation that his career was over.

The fact that he volunteer to speak on the side of things with his image blackened and voiced distorted meant that he knew on some level that he was never going to progress in the Navy. Andrew in a moment of clarity, even pointed out the risks Jeff was making with that video and it was clear that prior to his death that Jeff craved to go back to his old life again.

Jeff's meeting with Andrew felt low key but it was easy to see why the pair of them were drawn to each other. However like David, Jeff had also become aware of how much of a fantasist Andrew truly was and had done his best to avoid contact with him until the night of his death. Even David had to make it abundantly clear to Andrew that he had no desire to marry him as well during a night out with David's work colleagues.

The episode nicely builds back to the final moments of Jeff's life and while there are some liberties taken with the juxtaposition of Jeff's sister going into labour as he's being killed, again the show has to be credited for putting more focus into Cunanan's other victims and while Cody Fern stole the show last week as Madson, Finn Wittrock indeed was excellent here as Trail.

As for the Versace segment of the piece, Gianni was back this week as we went back to when he decided to come out with Antonio for an interview for The Advocate magazine, despite Donatella's reservations. This of course cut into Jeff's own public outing as well, showing the contrasts between both of Cunanan's victims and the lives they lead.

- The episode mostly got things right, except for Jeff already being an uncle and his sister giving birth the day before he was murdered by Andrew.
- Andrew was a regular in the Flicks bar that he met Jeff in this episode.
- UK viewers will be able to watch the series from February 28th on BBC2.
- Chronology: June and November 1995 as well as April 1997, San Diego and Minneapolis.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell was another powerful episode. A sublime performance from Finn Wittrock as Jeff Trail but unlike the last two episodes, there was also a sizeable focus on Gianni himself as we saw Cunanan's anger over his rejections from both David and Jeff manifest in the worst way here. With a break next week, it'll be interesting to see how the final four wrap up the season.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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