The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Sends Chills Down Our Spines In Its Premiere

Ever since it was announced that the next American Crime Story season would be about the murder of fashion legend Gianni Versace, the world has been on pins and needles waiting for it to premiere. With a powerhouse cast featuring Édgar Ramírez as Versace, Ricky Martin as his lover/partner of 15 years Antonio D’Amico, Penélope Cruz as Donatella Versace, and Darren Criss as his killer Andrew Cunanan, the hype surrounding this series has been huge.

The wait for this series ended Wednesday as Versace finally premiered, and the wait was definitely well worth it. Versace wasted no time getting down to the thick of things and setting up a series that will rock us to the core. For those expecting Criss to be anything like his Glee persona, prepare to be in shock as from the moment he is shown as Cunanan, you cease to see Criss and forget that he was ever America’s Teenage Dream. He’s that good.

So what went down during its premiere episode “The Man Who Would be Vogue”? Let’s discuss!

A Cold OpeningThe series dives right into the last day of Gianni Versace. Versace starts his day off by having breakfast, taking a stroll around his gorgeous house, saying goodbye to his partner Antonio D’Amico as he heads off to play tennis, and getting his favorite magazines from his local newsstand. Andrew Cunanan, on the other hand, starts his day off sitting by the beach, contemplating life before walking into the ocean, screaming out into the void. Shortly afterwards, the would be killer is then seen throwing up as he braces himself to do what we now know to be one unspeakable act of horror. Cunanan then makes his way to Versace’s house, where he spots the designer opening his gate to return home. Cunanan then takes out a gun from his backpack and shoots Versace down.

We’re Going Back To StartWe are then taken back to the year Cunanan first met Versace at a gay club in San Francisco in October 1990. With this particular flashback, we get to know quite a bit about Cunanan, the wannabe social climber. He immediately gives you the impression that he’s “that guy” at the party — the one who shows up uninvited, then proceeds to inject himself into strangers’ conversations, which in this case was Versace’s but to his luck and credit, his boyish charm works on Versace, earning him a date to the opera. Cunanan presented a completely fictitious backstory, one that made him approximately 100 percent more Italian than he actually was, which totally appealed to the famed designer.

After scoring his date, Cunanan shares his luck (with greatly exaggerated and made up details) with several of his friends the next day, which make us question what exactly went down since we are seeing all of this through his eyes, giving us a glimpse inside of his crazy brain. While sharing his story with Elizabeth and Phil Cote, a straight married couple, he calls Versace the F-word but later on while talking to a fellow gay, Cunanan refers to his meeting with Versace at the opera as a date. “You tell gay people you’re gay and straight people you’re straight,” the friend states. Cunanan goes on his date with Versace (still trying to figure out whether this was real or not), and the two share a moment, which no doubt will go back to haunt him later.

Back To The FutureFlashing forward to the day of Versace’s murder, Antonio, while washing his hands, hears the gunshot and races towards the sound to find Gianni bleeding to death. After what seems ages, the police finally show up, without an ambulance though, which comes much later. Versace is then very slowly taken to the hospital, where he flatlines and is pronounced dead at 9:21am. The hunt for his killer begins, and the world is told of his death. D’Amico is questioned later on that same day about his relationship with Versace by an apparently homophobic cop, who doesn’t hold much respect for Versace’s and D’Amico’s relationship. The police seemed far more interested in details about Versace’s sexual behavior than the details surrounding his untimely demise.

After D’Amico’s questioning, the spotlight then turns to Donatella’s arrival and reaction to her brother’s death, which was shocking in itself. Most of her mourning breath was spent belittling her brother’s lover. When Antonio broke down in tears, her response was, “That’s not what I need from you right now.” Donatella later berated him for not protecting her brother, which she called his one job (ouch, low blow, too soon).

The episode finishes up with Cunanan still on the loose, buying newspapers with the headlines all about Versace’s murder and his involvement in it.

Instant Reactions/Questions:

Darren Criss must have watched American Psycho while preparing for this role. His Cunanan gave me some serious Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman vibes.

Not really digging Donatella’s treatment of Antonio at the moment.

Speaking of Antonio, Ricky Martin is doing a beautiful job showing his grief and pain.

The music in this episode is A+.

Did anyone else feel a stabbing pain in their hearts when one of the magazines Gianni picked out had a picture of Princess Diana, who would later die less than a month after Versace?

Quote of the Night:

“I tell people what they need to hear.” – Andrew Cunanan.

Check out the promo for next week’s episode below:

Erika Negrón Rivera
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