'American Crime Story: Versace' premiere recap: 'The Man Who Would Be Vogue'

One episode in and we’re already head-over-heels in love with this season.

American Crime Story is back. The show, created by FX’s love-child Ryan Murphy, has returned to document (erm, maybe not) the accounts of the assignation of Gianni Versace that took place in 1997.

The ‘erm' is in reference to the fact that The Versace family has seen the show and called it a “work of fiction.” While it’s possible they might be saying this to make sure they don’t come off in a negative light, as sometimes happens with properties that are based on true series, it’s going to be pretty much impossible determining what is true and what is exaggerated.

That means we’re going to treat it more towards the side of fiction. However, don’t let that stand in the way — Murphy did incredible work telling the story of O.J. Simpson in season one, and we have no reason to believe that season two won’t be right up too par.

The season opens with what is easily the most impressive segment of the episode. Done in a very Murphy-like fashion, we see a sweeping scene that shows Gianni Versace (Édgar Ramirez) waking up and walking through his fortress-like palace. Outside, standing by the beach is Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss). He’s wearing a backpack that contains nothing more than a copy of the novel The Man Who Was Vogue (which is where the episode finds its name) and a gun.

Something is off about the whole thing. Cunanan takes the gun out into the ocean and starts screaming, while Versace leaves his home to pick up some magazines. Cunanan returns backs to shore, stops in the bathroom to vomit and then sets off in another direction.

That’s when it all goes down. Cunanan watches as Versace returns home. He quickly decides to take-out his gun and seize his opportunity. Versace recognizes him, but only too late. Bam. Versace is dead.

Versace
credit: YouTube

That’s when we cut to the opening credits — at which point, we’re already so seeped into what’s going to happen this season we can't move.

Jump back to 1990, seven years before the murder took place. Cunanan wakes two of his friends up to brag about how he just met Versace last night. Jump to another flashback and we see this first encounter. 

While living in San Francisco, Cunanan found Versace in a homosexual nightclub and began working his way into having a conversation with him. While his first attempts were utter failures, he eventually finds success when he brings up his mother’s Italian heritage.

Cunanan tells the story entirely different to his friends, however, setting up the fact that’s a radical liar who likely lacks a consciences.

Even still, Cunanan was able to get close enough to Versace that night to receive an invitation to an opera in which Versace designed all the costumes. Cunanan shows up, and after the show, he has a very flirty kind of conversation with Versace.

Versace
credit: YouTube

Then we head back to 1997. A crowd has gathered around the murder scene — which consists of puddles of blood and a deceased pigeon. A tourist manages to get past the police barricade and soak a magazine page in blood, while Versace himself is rushed to the hospital.

Cunanan, meanwhile, high-tails it to his pickup truck to plan his escape. He spends a moment briefly freaking out over what just happened, before changing into a completely red outfit.

But he’s might not get too far with the police right on his tail. They found Cunanan’s information after the truck he’s in was reported missing, at which point we learn that Cunanan has already killed four people. The FBI, however, has failed to take any of these reports seriously. Until now, that is.

Inside the mansion, Versace’s sister Donatella (Penelope Cruz) has arrived. She interrupts an interrogation with Versace's partner Antonio D’Amico (Ricky Martin) — who claims to be Versace’s one true love — before kicking the FBI out. Donatella is obviously here to take control of the business now, and she doesn’t look like someone you want to mess with.

Versace
credit: YouTube

She’s also remorseless A.F. During the interview, D’Amico revealed that he had been seeing Versace for fourteen years (even despite the fact that they constantly slept with other people). Donatella, however, immediately kicks D’Amico out of the family, saying it was his job to protect Versace and he failed.

Just like the police have failed at catching Cunanan. They found his motel room, alright, but Cunanan isn’t there — a random guy named Ronnie is. Obviously, Cunanan was two steps ahead of them the whole time, and they’re all out of leads.

Where the show is going next is anyone's guess. We’re likely going to see more of Donatella taking charge as well as the hunt for Cunanan. Hopefully we’ll see more interactions between Cunanan and Versace as well, to see how this event spiraled into absolute chaos.

Make sure to check out American Crime Story: Versace every Tuesday night on FX.

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