TV Reviews

American Crime Story Season 2 Episode 6: Descent Review

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

Synopsis: Andrew Cunanan celebrates his birthday in San Diego as his life starts to fall apart. (IMDB)

Writer: Tom Rob Smith

Director: Gwyneth Horder-Payton

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 42mins

Our backwards trajectory through the story continues as it seems like each episode goes backwards from when Cunanan killed Versace to their first meeting featured in a flashback in the first episode. The added context has been enlightening but is it really necessary at this point? It’s still sort of compelling to watch though it’s getting old and it feels like its purpose is to pad the story so it can fit within a normal 10ish episode cable season.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Gianni Versace did not make an appearance again which has probably been the most disappointing thing about this season as it has meant a lot of Darren Criss’ Cunanan and next to little of Edgar Ramirez, Ricky Martin, or Penélope Cruz as Gianni Versace, Antonio D’Amico, and Donatella Versace respectively.

This episode started with Cunanan living his life of luxury in a California mansion. He had been living with his benefactor, a man named Norman (Michael Nouri). That day was his birthday and he wanted it as big so he would look important. Madson, Trail, and Miglin were there. Cunanan was attempting to court Madson, Trail was there, and he wasn’t happy to see Miglin. Later, he gave Norman a list of demands to Norman, including a higher allowance and to be named his heir. The Norman shared what he found out about Cunanan including his real last name and details about his life for which he denied. Norman offered him a chance to finish his education but Cunanan was against the idea of having to work.

Cunanan left for his apartment and later got a visit from an angry Trail about the postcard he had sent his dad. Trail was leaving for Minneapolis but Cunanan thought he was trying to steal Madson. Cunanan then called Madson to invite him to Los Angeles. When Madson arrived, Cunanan got him a new suit and treated him to a fancy dinner but Madson thought it was too much. He wanted to see if they could take the next step though he wasn’t as sure. He wanted Cunanan to tell him the truth about his parents and just got what seemed like more pathological lying. He also lied about his time with Madson to a bartender at a gay nightclub.

After taking a whole bunch of drugs, Cunanan had a dream where told Versace what he really felt about him. To try and get more drugs, he went back to Norman’s mansion but his key no longer worked and then left as Norman threatened to call the police.

Now at rock bottom, he retreated to his mother Mary Ann (Joanna Adler) who gave him a bath because he didn’t smell right. Mary Ann was very proud of her son’s “accomplishments”. The episode ended with Cunanan leaving for Minneapolis.

Overall, this was another decent episode with more Cunanan but it’s getting old. The backwards storytelling continues to hurt the season as it’s hard to care about things that we already know the outcome of. Hopefully they will return to the present, post-Versace murder but who knows? With only 3 episodes left, it’s hard to tell where the season will end since it started with Versace’s murder.

Score: 7/10

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