TV ReviewsAmerican Crime Story Season 2 Episode 5: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Review

Keith NoakesFebruary 15, 2018

If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.

Synopsis: Naval officer Jeffrey Trail meets Andrew Cunanan for the first time; Gianni reveals his sexuality to the world. (IMDB)

Writer: Tom Rob Smith

Director: Daniel Minahan

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 42mins

For a show subtitled “The Assassination of Gianni Versace”, we haven’t seen much of him through the first half of the season although this was partially due to the season’s disjointed storytelling, starting from the end and working backwards. This continued here, however, Versace did make an appearance, albeit a minor one. This episode depicted the events that led to Trail’s murder in the last episode which included Trail’s struggle with being gay while in the military and juxtaposed it with Versace’s own coming out.

Donatella was opposed to Gianni coming out publicly as it may have an adverse effect on their business. He pretty much disappeared until near the end of the episode. Meanwhile, Cunanan packed his things and got on a plane to Minneapolis to visit Madson and Trail. Before he arrived, Trail warned Madson about him but Madson still felt bad for him. A lot of the things that happened here were hinted at in the previous episode with Cunanan proposing to Madson and him refusing, using the fact that they can’t legally get married as an excuse, however, Cunanan would not take no for an answer.

Trail was upset with Cunanan after he sort of outed him to his father in a postcard. He was struggling with whether or not to officially come out to his parents. Madson thought Cunanan’s pathological lying was a cry for help but Cunanan was adamant that he was being serious about them starting a new life together in San Francisco. He then went to Trail’s apartment to put on his uniform and take his gun while watching an interview where Trail regrets saving a gay man from being beaten to death while he was a lieutenant in the navy because it was the beginning of the end for him.

Going back to his time in the navy, Trail broke up a few incidents involving gay sailors being beaten with the last being the incident he referred to in the interview. Since then, his fellow sailors began to suspect him of being gay. He took great lengths to protect himself, including cutting off a tattoo on his leg so he couldn’t be identified. Once the news made its way up the chain of command, he attempted suicide by hanging himself.

Back home, Trail went to a gay bar for the first time and met Cunanan. Sensing that he was there for the first time, Cunanan took it upon himself to make the best out of his first experience. Later, Trail told him about the interview but Cunanan didn’t think it was a good idea. Versace finally came back as the episode intercut between their interviews. Trail talked about how life in the military was meaningful to him and Gianni wanted Antonio to join him for his. Trail’s interview ended with him making that earlier confession.

On the day of Trail’s murder, he and Cunanan had an argument where Trail blamed him for what his life had become. Cunanan started his plan to get Trail to come to Madson’s apartment by calling him to tell him that he had his gun and we already know what happened from there.

Overall, this was a decent episode that did a good job at adding context to the last episode. It wasn’t as easy to get invested in Trail because his backstory didn’t really matter that much since we already knew his fate. More importantly, it spoke to Cunanan’s state of mind before he murdered Trail. Otherwise, the episode was just more of the same. This season has squandered Versace so far and this was still the case here as his coming out was not nearly as impactful as it could have been, only giving it the beginning and end of the episode. This season has been meandering a little bit as it has gone back to show Cunanan’s previous victims but hopefully it will pick things up with 4 episodes left.

Score: 7.5/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, follow me on Instagram, and also like me on Facebook.


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