Thursday, February 08, 2018

My Review of The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story - House By The Lake

Written by Tom Rob Smith
Directed by Daniel Minihan

David: "You can't do it, can you?"
Andrew: "Can't what?"
David: "Stop!"

For the second week running, the show decides to rest the title murder of the piece in order to focus on two of Andrew's earlier kills and like last week, it's an interesting direction that pays off and results in easily the best and most harrowing episode of the series so far.

Going back a month earlier from Lee Miglin's death, we're now in Minneapolis where Andrew has been involved with both Jeff Trailer (Finn Wittrock) and architect, David Madson (Cody Fern) and sensing that both men are becoming increasingly weary of him, he arranges it so that David is forced to witness Andrew's pretty violent murder of Jeff within the first ten minutes of the episode.

The tone for this episode almost took a horror style route with the way Andrew arranged to have David witness seeing Jeff being killed and I even thought we were going to have a moment where David's poor dog Prince was also going to end up on Andrew's kill list as well. Fortunately the dog actually survived the episode when Andrew took David captive and was forced to flee from the latter's apartment.

If last week's episode was successful in giving audiences familiarity with both Lee and Marilyn Miglin, then this episode does one better with David. Not only do we actively fear for the guy during his forced road trip with Andrew but we have both his landlady and co-worker give us insight into the kind of man he is along with flashbacks with his father (along with detectives later talking to his parents).

It would've been easy for this show to have portrayed Andrew's non famous victims as an afterthought but kudos to the show for now doing that with them. David's fate is treated with the utmost of seriousness as he goes from being passive to Andrew's increasingly erratic behaviour to finally getting the chance to call Andrew out on the fantasist that he is.

The death of David itself is pretty bleak, encompassing the last few minutes of the episode as his attempts to reason and escape from Andrew end up being rather futile. Cody Fern gives a pretty powerhouse performance throughout the episode and while this episode might have killed off both David and Jeff, it seems that we're not done with them yet as the trailer for next week indicates.

- The show mostly got David and Jeff's backstories, including the thing about the buzzer right.
- Again no Gianni, Antonio or Donatella for this episode but they're all back next as are David and Jeff.
- Aimee Mann was singing in that bar that Andrew and David were in before the latter's death. Nice cameo there.
- Chronology: April 1997 Minneapolis.

House By The Lake in some respects reminded me of that Six Feet Under episode, That's My Dog, despite the events here actually being true and far worse than said episode. With some truly excellent performances from Darren Criss and Cody Fern, this is easily the best and most harrowing episode from this season so far.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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