FX’s dramatic thriller The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story heads toward the season finale with episode eight airing March 14, 2018. The episode titled “Creator/Destroyer” begins in Italy in 1957. A young Gianni Versace sits in the corner of the room, sketching dresses. His mother, a dressmaker, looks at his sketches and tells him he must do what he loves as a profession. She offers to teach him about dressmaking.
Gianni’s love of designing clothing earns the ridicule of his fellow students. His teacher labels him a pervert after looking at his drawings in class.
At home, his mother is fully supportive of his vision. She doesn’t care about his teacher’s opinion and suggests he make the dress he’s designed. When he says it’s too hard, his mother advises him success only comes with hard work.
The timeline switches to San Diego in 1980. Andrew’s parents pack up their home and move to a bigger house in a much nicer neighborhood. Andrew, the youngest of four children, seems to have a special relationship with his father – a much closer one than Modesto “Pete” Cunanan has with his other children. As the rest of the family unpacks, Pete (Jon Jon Briones) gives Andrew a tour of the house. He informs Andrew that he gets the master bedroom, saying he’s special. “When you feel special, success will follow,” says his father.
Andrew’s siblings share one small room and his parents share another. (This truly is a bizarre family.)
Andrew and his father dress in suits and then his mother, Mary Anne, escorts him to The Bishop’s School, an exclusive school in La Jolla. He participates in the interview process to see if he’s accepted into the school, choosing his answers carefully to make the best first impression.
Meanwhile, Pete interviews for a job as a stockbroker. He’s not like the others interviewing, pulling himself up from his bootstraps while others graduated from Ivy League schools. He spends much of his time discussing his upbringing and personal history, rather than his skills. (It’s obvious Andrew’s gift for gab and embellishing stories is inherited from his father.)
Later at home, Pete tells his wife and Andrew that he didn’t get the stockbroker job and acts devastated. He quickly switches to being “on,” saying he was joking and did get hired by Merrill Lynch. He’ll make $60,000 to start, promising they’ll eat like kings from now on. His other children arrive to share in the good news, but the mood turns sour. Pete becomes angry at Mary Anne because she believed he didn’t get hired. She was too quick to accept that, and he bats her hands away when she tries to apologize.
Pete wonders if his wife needs her medication checked, saying he doesn’t want to put her back in the hospital. She tries to lighten the mood, declaring they need to celebrate.
In the evenings, Pete reads The Art of Conversation in bed to Andrew. Andrew doesn’t want to read the whole book, but his dad insists his son needs to know everything from calling cards to reading menus. “It’s not enough to be smart. You need to fit in,” he explains.
Andrew worries he won’t get into Bishop’s, but he dad insists he’ll get accepted. It’s the reason they moved to this neighborhood.
The letter from Bishop’s arrives and Andrew cries. His mom doesn’t understand his tears since he got in. His father arrives home, grabs the letter, hugs Andrew, and then drops to the ground and kisses Andrew’s feet. (Papa Cunanan takes creepy to a whole new level.)
Pete arrives at work where a co-worker enthusiastically congratulates him for beating out 500 applicants. Pete gets busy working the phones, but his potential customer hangs up and doesn’t want to buy the suggested stocks. Instead of hanging up and trying someone else, Pete pretends the man’s still on the line and acts like he made a sale.
That afternoon, Pete returns home and surprises Andrew with a new car. Andrew’s definitely not old enough to drive, but Pete doesn’t care. Mary Anne follows them outside and is shocked to hear Pete bought a car for Andrew when their two oldest children are actually old enough to drive. Pete claims he bought the car as a present because Andrew got into Bishop’s. He grabs Mary Anne by the throat, telling her he doesn’t want Andrew to end up like her.
Pete sits in the passenger seat and calls his youngest son “special.” He also confesses he thinks Andrew is his best friend. His other children aren’t special. He then explains that Andrew’s mom was hospitalized for depression when he was born, and he believes she has a weak mind.
Andrew’s already in bed as his father dresses for bed. They discuss Andrew’s future plans for employment, with Andrew suggesting maybe he’ll be a novelist. Pete sits on the edge of Andrew’s bed and reminds him that when he was small, he burned his foot. Pete picked him up and Andrew didn’t make a sound. He repeats “not a sound” as he leans over Andrew and turns off the light.
A few years later, a teenage Andrew (Darren Criss) pulls up to Bishop’s in his car, dressed in a suit and carrying a briefcase. (He fits in with the other students.) While the other students strike the same pose for school photos, Andrew acts rebellious and unbuttons his shirt, exposing his chest but keeping his tie in place.
Pete arrives at work, but now he’s working for a less reputable firm and sitting in a cubicle. He works the phones and offers a client a new opportunity to make her money back. He wants to liquidate her late husband’s pension, but her son grabs the phone and yells at him for attempting to steal a 90-year-old woman’s money. He promises to hunt Pete down, and Pete abruptly hangs up.
At home, Andrew’s mom asks about his special lady. He smells nice and she assumes it’s because of a woman. He claims the lady is older than 30, and Mary Anne’s not shocked. In fact, she thinks young men should be with older women.
Andrew meets an older man and tells him that while it’s great he buys him gifts, their relationship means more than just that to him. They head to a house party and the older man refuses to go in. He’s married and he needs to keep his relationship with Andrew a secret. Andrew’s disappointed and the man kicks him out of the car.
Andrew enters the party, dressed in a red leather jumpsuit. He takes over the dance floor and everyone watches from the sidelines. Finally, Elizabeth (Annaleigh Ashford) joins him on the floor. She tells him he looks fabulous.
This is Andrew and Elizabeth’s first meeting and he’s sure she doesn’t go to Bishop’s. If she did, they’d be best friends. She leans in and tells him a secret. She confesses she’s an imposter; she’s actually married. She has a boring house, a boring husband, and she’s just at the party keeping an eye on her friend’s house. She’s a grown-up, but that doesn’t bother Andrew. They instantly bond over their dreams. He even reveals he wants to seek out his heroes, including Versace.
Pete arrives at work and is immediately brought into a meeting with his supervisors. He’s accused of trading in non-existent stocks. The elderly woman’s son made this claim, and his bosses think he’s done something unethical. They wonder why he changed jobs so much and why he would want to go from Merrill Lynch to their firm. They also reveal the Feds are involved and they’re examining Pete’s entire employment history. Pete claims he has nothing to hide.
After the meeting, his co-workers stare at him as he walks through the hall. He returns to his cubicle and begins shredding his paperwork until the shredder jams. He finally sits in his desk chair and silently screams. He then pulls himself together, takes out a credit card, and books a flight out of town.
The FBI arrives with an arrest warrant for Modesto Cunanan. The receptionist warns Pete to leave now and he uses the fire exit to escape.
Over at Bishop’s, the yearbooks are out and Andrew was voted “Most Likely to be Remembered.”
Pete races home, leaving the car running in the driveway as he runs upstairs. He pries open the floor in the closet and withdraws large stacks of cash. When Mary Anne asks what he’s doing, he shoves her to the floor. Before he can leave his house, the FBI arrive at his front door. He makes a break out the back, climbing over a fence.
Andrew arrives and parks across the street, realizing the FBI are in his driveway. Andrew sees his dad carrying a large bag scurrying over the fence, and his dad grabs his car keys and races away. He warns Andrew, “Don’t believe a word they say.”
Mary Anne tells Andrew his dad emptied the bank accounts and maxed out the credit cards. The FBI continue their search of the home as Mary Anne informs Pete the house was sold weeks ago. Pete knew they were coming and left his family penniless and homeless.
Andrew packs his clothes, telling his mom he’s going to search for his father. Mary Anne’s sure Pete fled to Manila, and she blames herself for not saying something sooner. Andrew writes notes to his mom in response, just in case the FBI are listening. He believes his dad left money hidden, but Mary Anne knows that’s not true.
Mary Anne begs her son not to go, and he grabs her face and covers her mouth. He insists she’s wrong about his father.
Andrew flies to Manila and takes a cab to what’s apparently a very bad neighborhood. He arrives at the address and it’s a tiny house. He introduces himself as Modesto’s son. The man who answered the door is Pete’s brother, and he takes Andrew to see Pete in a small building behind the main house.
The door opens as Andrew knocks. He walks in and sees the sparsely decorated home, complete with a hammock as a bed. His father is there, reading the paper. He receives a hug from his dad who says, “I knew you’d come!”
Andrew asks if there’s any money and questions Pete about selling the house. Pete says there are millions, but he can’t get to them. He claims the money is out of reach.
Later, Andrew can’t sleep and wakes up his father. Pete’s adjusted to life back in Manila, but Andrew is having a hard time. He gets his dad to confess there isn’t any money and there isn’t a plan. Andrew calls his dad a liar and a thief, but Pete thinks his crime was he stole too little. He should have taken more, not just what he needed for his family.
Andrew’s ashamed of his father and doesn’t want to be him any longer. (He’s wanted to be just like his dad his entire life.) Andrew admits he did research on Manila before the trip. He also reveals he wanted to look up his dad in California’s Top 500 Stockbrokers. The book doesn’t exist and when Andrew cries, Pete calls him weak – just like Mary Anne. He yells at Andrew, calling him a sissy kid with a sissy mind. He spits on his son, telling him he’s ashamed of him. When his dad slaps him, Andrew picks up a knife. Pete taunts him, telling him to be a man and do it. Andrew can’t, crying and shaking his head no. Pete says, “You don’t have it in you.”
As he cries, Andrew’s blood drips from the knife. He’s sliced his hand gripping the blade.
Andrew returns home as all the family’s belongings are being loaded into a truck under the watchful eyes of the FBI. When he enters his bedroom, it’s already been completely packed up. He tosses his remaining belongings across the room, ripping and kicking the few items left.
Later, Andrew applies for a job at Rite Aid. When the store manager asks if Andrew’s Filipino, Andrew tries to avoid the question and then lies and says his dad owns multiple pineapple plantations in Manila.
More on The Assassination of Gianni Versace:
– The Assassination of Gianni Versace Episode 1 Recap
– The Assassination of Gianni Versace Episode 2 Recap
– The Assassination of Gianni Versace Episode 3 Recap
– The Assassination of Gianni Versace Episode 4 Recap
– The Assassination of Gianni Versace Episode 5 Recap
– The Assassination of Gianni Versace Episode 6 Recap
– The Assassination of Gianni Versace Episode 7 Recap
– The Assassination of Gianni Versace Episode 9 Recap