Jack Of All Trades, Master Of One On American Crime Story
And that one is lying, as 'Creator/Destroyer' paints a portrait of the (bullshit) artist as a young man in our Epic Old-School Recap.
1957, Calabria. Gianni Versace's mother fits a dress to a client as, in a corner of the shop, little Gianni watches and works on a sketch of the dress. After the client leaves, Mama confronts Gianni: she sees him observing her, and "there is no need to hide." She asks to see his notebook; seeing the drawings inside, she smiles fondly and tells him -- in English, idiotically the language in which this and the other Italian scenes take place, leavened only with the occasional "ciao" and a handful of offensive Chef Boyardee pronunciations, which we will get to -- that as a girl, she hoped to become a doctor. Her father told her that's not a job for a woman, so she became a dressmaker, and promised herself she would never tell her children what job they should do. Gianni should do what he loves, what he feels in his heart. Not how I think parents talked to their kids about their future careers in the fifties, but okay. She goes on that it will take hard work, practice, educating himself about sewing and the fabrics…she'll teach him if he wants her to. Gianni nods happily.
In a classroom, a teacher is reviewing Latin verb conjugations, and naturally she's using the verb "to love," which is both the standard and on the nose. Less standard, again, is that a language lesson in an Italian classroom would be conducted in English, which might explain why young Gianni is doing another dress drawing instead of paying attention. Walking the rows of desks, the teacher spots Gianni's sketch and snatches it up, Super-Mario-ing, "What arrrre you, a perrrrverrrt?" Fuck's sake, show. "Not a pervert, miss -- a pansy!" another kid chimes in, because we could have assumed a pervasive homophobia and claustrophobic gendering of everything in this time period, but sure, underline it, if only to distract us from the Hey Mambo caricature of Italian accents. The teacher tears his sketch in four and puts it on his schoolbook as the class continues droning the plurals. "We love; you love; they love."
At home, Mama gets Gianni to admit that he's downcast because the teacher called him a pervert. Mama sternly reassembles his drawing, tells him it's beautiful, and hands him a piece of patterning chalk: "We make it for real, yes?" He starts to trace, then stops, saying it's too hard. Mama takes his shoulders and gives him the Jimmy Dugan "the hard is what makes it great" speech from A League Of Their Own, basically, the script emphasizing that success is special because it comes from hard work to point up the contrast between the lessons Gianni learned as a child and the lessons we'll see Andrew Cunanan learning. …Just in case you didn't get it, which I'm sure you did, because the whole scene was in English. Mama tells Gianni to try again. He does, with more confidence this time.
1980, San Diego. Modesto "Pete" Cunanan is presiding over the family's move out of a modest house on the edge of town, and by "presiding" I mean he's expounding on how they can save five hundred bucks doing it themselves, a five hundred he can turn into ten thousand, while his older children heave items into a truck and roll their eyes at him. Mary Ann and her mom jeans chuckle indulgently. Pete asks where Andrew is.
Andrew and his teddy bear have parked it in a lawn chair in his room to read Brideshead Revisited. Very interesting choice, given what I remember of the Waugh, including but not limited to a barely subtextual relationship between Charles and Sebastian; the narrator on the outside looking in, at a family, at a system of inherited influence, and feeling like he could, and also must, belong to it; Sebastian's teddy bear. It's been a long time; mostly the beautifully evocative prose stayed with me, so if you've never read any Waugh, quit hanging around my workmanlike shit and go get you some Decline And Fall. Andrew finally responds to his father's calls, marching out of the room with that odd Starman gait -- the casting of Edouard Holdener as young Cunanan is stellar, and Holdener and episode director Matt Bomer have done a great job capturing certain bits of Darren Criss's portrayal, but just enough of them -- and is told to say goodbye to their squatty home. "This is not for you."
The rest of the family is then closed into the back of the truck. Andrew and his Izod shorts and his bear get to ride shotgun with Pete.
The truck pulls up at a noticeably grander home, Benzes arrayed on the street out front. Pete takes Andrew's hand and leads him upstairs as, outside, the others haul their belongings off the truck. Mary Ann wonders where Pete is. "With Prince Andrew," Christopher snarks. "He's being given the tour," Elena adds (she's played by Isa Briones, daughter of Jon Jon, the longtime Miss Saigon actor playing Pete here). Mary Ann's smile fades, but she only urges the other kids to keep unpacking. Upstairs, Pete is introducing Andrew to the biggest bedroom, the master bedroom -- his new room. It's his because he's special. Pete wants him to remember that he's special every night before he goes to sleep, and every morning when he wakes up. If he feels special, "success will follow." Pete will need the closet "for all [his] suits," but otherwise, it's all Andrew's. The camera moves to a ground-level shot to show them surveying it in all its empty, beige-wall-to-walled glory.
Nighttime. The other kids sleep crammed head-to-foot in another, tiny bedroom. Mary Ann, kneeling by a twin bed in a spartan room, says a rosary (I think? she's holding one, in any case), then cries. Alone in his king-size bed in his king-size room, Andrew sits waiting, then clambers down to investigate a noise: Pete, raising the American flag in front of the house, up a pole lit by little spotlights. I was under the impression that this was Not Done, but according to a quick Google, it's okay to display the flag after sunset if it is lit, which it is. Pete spots Andrew watching him and salutes. Andrew salutes back. A breeze picks up the flag and blows it out straight, in reverse, obscuring Andrew from view. Nice shot comp, Bomer. I see you.
After the title card, we find father and son laying out their suits, then carefully armoring up with jacket, fancy cufflinks, neatly tied neckties, and suspenders. They're both en route to interviews, Andrew at the Bishop's School, Pete at Merrill Lynch. We cut back and forth between the paternal and filial hustles, Pete taking in the founders' wall of photos, Andrew the case of athletic trophies; Andrew contemplating his hopeful future classmates, Pete the forbidding row of dark-suited white dudes who want the same job he does. Mary Ann covers Andrew's hand with hers, though he doesn't really respond. Pete corrects his interviewers on his name, the Americanized "Pete" and not the other-sounding (and inaccurate) "Modesto"; he's told they don't call in many prospective hires like him, night-school bootstrap-pullers. As Andrew's called in for his interview, Pete says he knows there's a long line of Ivy Leaguers waiting to talk to them, but he's unique in that he came from nothing.
Andrew's asked why he wants to come to Bishop's. He chirps that it's the best school in the state, one of the best in the country. "Who told you that?", one of his interviewers asks skeptically. "My father."
Said father isn't trying to hear the interviewer who wants to talk more about business and less about his biography. Business is biography, Pete slicks, starting a showy self-selling monologue with, "My life is a tale told in dollars." Good line, but that's what it is, and he goes on about his poor upbringing in the Philippines, serving in the Navy so he could live and work in the U.S., etc. The interviewers suppress eye-rolls and thank him, as they clearly feel cornered into doing, for his service, but Pete's all, nooooo, I thank this great country, and talks about going from a 12K house to an 80K one: "Now, is that biography? Or business?" It's boring and studied, is what it is, but Pete goes on about growing investors' money and taking it to new lands.
Meanwhile, his equally studied son answers a question about what he'd do with one wish. A house with an ocean view, two Mercedes, four "beautiful children," three "beautiful dogs," and a good relationship with God. The ladies interviewing him know that smell.
"Is that one wish or five?" one of them asks gently. Andrew immediately asks if he made a mistake. No, not at all; she'll give him another crack at it. It doesn't take him long to come up with a single wish, which he delivers with that signature arrogant chin tilt. "To be special."
Andrew and Mary Ann come home, Mary Ann teaching Andrew some rudimentary Italian, to find Pete scowling at a pizza. Mary Ann's confused that he heard so soon, and says she's sorry, and Pete whips around, glares at each of them briefly, then busts out a scary ringmaster smile to say that he's joking -- he did get hired. It's Andrew he hugs, congratulating himself on his arrival in corporate America and bragging about his salary. He unveils a luxurious spread, including lobster, and announces that every night from now on, "we eat like kings." Mary Ann is also celebrating, but Pete's ignoring her to serve Andrew. Well, until a couple of the other kids wander in to ask what the commotion is and Mary Ann yodels that Pete got the job. Then Pete's like, but you didn't think I did. You believed my joke. There's no right thing to say here, which Mary Ann clearly understands, but she tries to put her hands to his face and say how happy she is. Pete swats her away and continues setting the table for Andrew, saying Andrew knew, before Pete even played his "joke." He sits down and begins loading Andrew's plate, wondering if maybe he shouldn't check Mary Ann's medication again, "see if your thoughts are confused." They don't want her going back into the hospital, do they? "Modesto," she says, and takes a breath. The older kids watch nervously. Mary Ann settles on "let's celebrate," waving the other kids towards the table and grabbing plates for everyone else outside the charmed circle. "Like kings, just like you said," Mary Ann says breathlessly. Andrew studies his father.
At bedtime, Pete resumes reading to Andrew from Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book Of Etiquette. Andrew asks if they have to read the whole thing. Yes, Pete tells him. "It's not enough to be smart. You need to fit in." He begins to read about the art of conversation -- "there are two types of conversation: polite, and real" -- but Andrew blurts, "What happens if I don't get accepted to Bishop's School?" Don't be ridiculous, Pete says, adding that they moved to that house so Andrew could be close to Bishop's, so of course he's going to get in. This failure-is-not-an-option answer isn't comforting, and Andrew stares into the middle distance as Pete digs into the topic of polite conversation.
Andrew does get in, but only after a typically self-absorbed display of snatching the mail from the letter carrier, dumping items not addressed to him on the floor, and ripping the envelope open like an animal. He's so relieved to have gotten accepted that he's weeping, a reaction Mary Ann somehow doesn't understand despite the abuse Pete's evidently heaped on her for years now. Pete comes in, snatches the letter from her, reads it, and breaks down in an unsettling mixture of victorious laughter and tears, and kneels to kiss Andrew's feet, literally. Andrew tolerates this, expressionlessly, a tear still clinging to his cheek.
Pete comes onto the trading floor at Merrill; he's feeling the pressure, having beaten out 500 other guys for the job, but feigns cockiness to a colleague. It doesn't translate to his sales call, which is more of the same hitting the Navy-service button, then following up with a self-help money-management book cliché, to wit: if the customer feels comfortable about a stock, it's probably one everyone already knows about. The customer's like, good point, but no thanks, and hangs up. Pete pretends he still on the line and performatively bellows over the din of the floor about needing to get started with the customer's financial information, a "HEY LOOK LOOK AT ME NOT FAILING" look we've seen on his son many times in the series to date. Nobody hears the ernh ernh ernh of the disconnected line in Pete's ear, but then, nobody pays Pete much mind at all.
To self-soothe, Pete comes in to undermine Mary Ann's authority while she's helping Andrew with homework, and to show Andrew the gold Datsun ZX he's bought the prince. Andrew is still a tween in these scenes, mind you, but is notably not terribly surprised that his father has bought him a car. Mary Ann's like, fuck out of here with that, he's like eleven, and Pete grits that he's "not an idiot," he knows Andrew can't drive it but he can learn to dream, which is just as important. "You can't give him a car!" Mary Ann exasps. Pete advances on her; she backs away, babbling that he should think of Elena and Chris, who are old enough to drive. Focus pull to Andrew watching from the driver's seat as Pete ask-snarls if Mary Ann has gone mad again; when she makes the mistake of asking what the car is a gift for, that getting into Bishop's is a beginning, not a goal, Pete grabs her around the neck and tells her he's trying to make sure Andrew doesn't end up like her. He releases her with a shove, and she falls between a couple of hedges. "Don't overreact," he mutters, then turns back to Andrew with his customary showman's grin.
He hops into the passenger seat all, "Let's play!" Neither of them acknowledges what just happened. Pete muses that, while he loves the other kids, they aren't special like Andrew, who is the best friend Pete ever had. Andrew blinks, discomfited, and if this is what it was between them, it goes a long way to explaining how Andrew became what he did: inordinate pressure to live up to his father's ideals, no ability to manage normal setbacks or disappointments, set against/apart from the siblings who could otherwise integrate his expectations but understandably have little use for the little one-percenter in their midst, and taught that the way to meet any challenge to your version of reality is to cow the challenger, not to adjust your own thinking. Pete is still talking, poisoning Andrew with tales of Mary Ann's post-partum depression cast as a "weak mind." Pete looked after him when he was an infant. "I was your mother and your father." He fiddles smugly with the radio as Mary Ann comes around to Andrew's side of the car and rests her hands on the windowsill. Without looking at his mother, Andrew rolls up the window against her, nearly catching her fingers in the mechanism.
At bedtime, Andrew works a Rubik's cube -- a comparatively unsubtle signifier, for this show -- and asks if Pete always wanted to become a stockbroker. Pete half-answers that he took the opportunities that came his way; he's "the world's greatest opportunist." It's the only way to get ahead, he says mostly to himself, taking off his pants. Andrew says he likes reading, and stories: "Maybe I could write books!" Pete snorts that if someone gives him a million dollars to write a book, that's one thing; otherwise, no. He turns off a bedside lamp and sits in his underwear beside Andrew, whose grip on the Rubik's cube has tightened. Pete pries it out of his hands and croons that, when Andrew was little, he burned his foot on a heater. "I picked you up, and kissed you better. And you didn't make a sound." Pete reaches for the other lamp's switch. "Not a sound." Click; darkness.
If the implication is that Pete molested Andrew, a theory I haven't seen elsewhere (although some sources suggest Andrew was assaulted by a priest, during his time as an altar boy), I'm even happier than I'd otherwise be to linger on the next shot, a mouth-watering row of vintage Benzes in the Bishop's parking lot accompanied by the opening strains of the Bangles' version of "Hazy Shade Of Winter."
When the guitar kicks in, we're told it's 1987, and Andrew wheels into a parking spot in the Datsun and alights, in slo-mo, slinging his blazer over his shoulder with a little Foley whoosh. It's picture day at Bishop's, and Andrew's being a noisy theater kid in the line for the photographer, wake-up-sheeple-ing showily to his schoolmates about all doing the same thing for their photos. A football douche wheels around to eye-roll, "Shut up. F**." Andrew is unfazed by this, unbuttoning his shirt and snitting, "If being a f** means being different." He brushes to the front of the line and seats himself in front of the camera, tie still tied but shirt open. "Sign me up!" He strikes a pose. "Take a photograph, my good man!" he shouts at the photographer, cocking a hip. Sixteen: it's exhausting. Not least for the 16-year-old.
Pete stews in the car, then goes in to his current office, a boiler room operation running out of a repurposed furniture store. A wan piano line follows him into a cube warren to his desk. His cubicle wall is festooned with pictures of Andrew, and Andrew only. He gets on the phone, using the same patter that clearly didn't work at Merrill, only this time he's apologizing for "world events" fouling up their last trade and selling the client on liquidating her late husband's pension. The client, hooked up to an oxygen tank and frowning silently as she listens, is in her nineties, and her grandson comes upon the conversation and is not having it. Pete hangs up hastily when the grandson gets to the threatening part of the kiss-off. He wrenches his jacket off, his eyes darting, looking for a way out…or up.
Mary Ann puts down a plate of food and asks when she gets to meet Andrew's "special lady." She's no fool, she knows Andrew doesn't "smell this nice" for her. Andrew, leafing through a Vogue, weighs whether to scandalize Mary Ann, then asks what if "she's" "older than thirty"? Mary Ann pours him a glass of milk and says a young man should "always be" with an older woman. She teaches him how to be a man, Mary Ann adds, asking how they met. "Babysitting?" Andrew lies.
Later, he puts a Samantha Fox tape into the stereo and blasts it while guzzling from a flask and dancing self-consciously around the master bedroom he's still occupying. He goes through a few shirts in the closet, then comes upon an outfit that makes him twinkle.
Cut to Andrew emerging from the house in a black raincoat, which he's clutching around him to hide what's underneath. He climbs into an older man's Benz coupe, and is greeted with a smooch, but refuses to show what he's wearing underneath. There's a gift for him in the glove box, a bottle of cologne, and Andrew stagily announces that he knows the guy buys him things, but that's "not what this is about" for Andrew. The guy's like, Andrew, chill out, and asks where they're headed. To the IMDb and Google image search, in my case, because the screener I'm working with doesn't have end credits and the guy playing his boyf cannot be Michael Badalucco, yet really looks like him.
Y'all tell me who this is, it's driving me nuts. Andrew, meanwhile, isn't telling Fauxdalucco where they're going, and Faux isn't happy when he finds out it's a house party. It'll be fun, Andrew tries to shrug, but Faux isn't about it; he's married. "We're a secret." Andrew doesn't want them to be a secret anymore, and Faux has to tell him how shit is, namely that their thing is "strictly on the side." Did Andrew think it could be more, Faux asks kindly, just as a couple of dingles on their way into the party pound on the hood, at which time Faux has had enough, and hands Andrew some cash and tells him to get out, now. Andrew ignores the money and stalks into the party, whipping off the trench to reveal a red pleather sweat-suit/suit situation underneath. As Devo orders him to "whip it, whip it good," Andrew does so, sending the trench into the bushes next to the driveway, and stalks into the house, where he finds the dance floor and grimly and immediately dominates it, driving the other partygoers to the sidelines with his big movements. As the friend we saw in the first episode, the one who tried to sell Andrew on being with a nice guy like him, tells another friend that he's gearing up to ask Andrew out and worries that he doesn't have the right look, Andrew continues dancing, not-that-surreptitiously checking to see who's watching him and why.
The friend, Jerome, watches him with an eloquent combination of terror and turgidity. Elsewhere in the room, Lizzie Coté comes upon this performance and pulls a "well will you look at this guy" face, but the longer she observes, the clearer it becomes that he's drowning out there,
so she plunges in to join/save him, telling him he looks fabulous. "What, this thing? This little thing?" Later, on the couch, they bond, although she has a secret to share. "Can we only ever speak in secrets?" Andrew asks, probably not entirely joking. Lizzie reveals she's an impostor -- a married lady the owners of the house, the DeSilvas (hmm), asked to keep an eye on things. He's fine with that, saying he gets on far better with older people; they can still be friends. She confides that she missed this whole scene thanks to being home-schooled, but Andrew can't wait to get out of school. What will he do? Seek out his heroes, he says: Basquiat, Keith Haring…Versace.
At Pete's job, a secretary who seems to have a crush on him gets up to tell him, "They're waiting for you." In a conference room, Pete tries to joke with his three interlocutors about whether he's getting promoted, but it's actually about an accusation from the grandson that he took Nana's life savings and, well, just took it, telling her he'd lost the money on a non-existent stock. That's illegal, Pete is reminded, and his protest that it's just a misunderstanding doesn't go over well either; there have evidently been quite a few of those over the years, not to mention his frequent job changes, and the fact that guys don't tend to come to this outfit from Merrill "voluntarily." The feds are on the case now, and the company is cooperating, because they have nothing to hide. Does Pete? He says that he does not. He walks as casually as he can to his cubicle, then begins frantically shredding, crumpling, etc., although it seems like if the issue is that the equities didn't exist, he should be creating a paper trail saying they do, not destroying spreadsheets that are irrelevant in that case, but what do I know. The shredder jams on him anyway, and when he realizes his colleagues are prairie-dogging in his direction, he sinks into his chair and freaks out quietly to himself, trying to come up with a plan. What he lands on: booking a flight for that day.
The FBI -- not the SEC? You know what, who cares. It doesn't matter which agency "should" show up to handle the Pete situation; the point is, one of them is coming in the front door, and Pete, tipped by his crush at the front desk, is bolting out the back.
At school, Andrew is basking in his yearbook triumph:
He's thrilled. His friend teases him that nobody cares about yearbook awards. "Says the man that didn't get one," Andrew shoots back, but he's not mad. The friend looks at Andrew's real page, not the semi-shirtless Most Likely To Be Remembered snap, and asks of the caption, "Apres moi, le deluge?" "After me, destruction," Andrew translates, shrugging that it sounded cool.
Pete screeches up to the house and dashes inside, then upstairs, where he pries up a board in the closet and grabs a Ziploc of cash and passports from underneath. Mary Ann comes in to ask what's happening, and is shoved to the ground once again as Pete dashes towards the front door…only to find the FBI already there, announcing a warrant for his arrest. Back up he goes, out what I guess is an upstairs porch door, and over a side wall into a neighbor's property. Outside, Andrew pulls up and gets out down the street, frowning at the FBI cars and commotion, as Mary Ann opens the door to the agents, who demand to know where he is. She just stares at them. Andrew, walking back to the car, sees Pete hurdling a fence. "Dad…?" Pete grabs Andrew's car keys, tells him not to believe a word they say, and takes off in the Datsun. Andrew watches him peel away, completely unable to incorporate this turn of events into his understanding of the world and his life.
Mary Ann is telling Andrew the extent of Pete's deluge: he emptied the bank accounts, sold the house out from under them and transferred the money…he knew the feds were coming. Andrew stares into space, in forlorn shock…
…then does the same at the ceiling in the master bedroom that night, before getting up and packing. He's going to find Pete, he grimly tells Mary Ann, who wails that he's gone -- he fled to Manila, "like a dirty rat." She goes on that she knew he was stealing, and should have said something, but Andrew quickly writes a note and holds it up to shush her: "They're listening." He scribbles that "Dad has money hidden," with "hidden" underlined, and she has to tell him that there is no plan, no secret stash. Pete left them, left them with nothing. Andrew isn't going to believe that, and when she starts screeching that he can't go, Pete's dangerous, she's scared, he clamps a hand over her mouth and tells her she's "wrong about him." He pushes past her…
…and after the break, he's getting a cab at the airport in Manila. The driver's like, you sure you want to go to this address? Maybe a nice hotel? Andrew's sweatily insistent, even when they pull up to a nondescript and overgrown address on a dirt road; he doesn't even ask the driver to stay, just gathers his nads and knocks on the front door. His uncle answers. He's thrilled to meet Andrew, but Andrew's focused on finding Pete, so Tito directs him through heavy underbrush to an outbuilding, just as overgrown…with metaphor, what with the palm fronds and mosquito netting obscuring everything, nature too strong to keep at bay. Andrew knocks the door open and steps hesitantly inside his father's lair, which is sizable and well kept under the circumstances. Pete is behind a newspaper, and gets up to hug Andrew, laughing, "I knew you'd come." Andrew relaxes into his embrace.
Pete puts down a plate of chicharrones, apologizing for their frumpiness, "but with a cold beer…" Andrew is rigid at the table. "Long flight?" Pete asks. Andrew nods. Pete says Andrew must have questions. "Mom says there's no money," Andrew blurts. Pete grouses that Mary Ann has "a weak mind," always did, and explains selling the house by saying he had to move assets "out of reach" so the feds wouldn't get it. "So, there's money," Andrew confirms. "Millions!" Pete says. Andrew's like, great, so…where is it? "I told you," Pete says, beginning to darken. "Did you?" Pete glares. "Out of reach," he repeats. "Oh," Andrew says, his face falling. Pete exclaims with a salesman smile that he's so happy Andrew's there.
Andrew's not; he can't sleep. He gets up and turns on the light next to Pete's bed; Pete startles awake, into a defensive posture, and says he's not surprised Andrew can't fall asleep. His "body remembers" the heat there, but Andrew isn't used to it, didn't grow up in it, playing in it. Pete doesn't move his gaze from Andrew's as he says that you can pretend you belong somewhere else, "but the body knows." There's no money, is there, Andrew grunts. Pete allows that no, there isn't. "No plan. No…millions," Andrew snarks, and is told to watch his tone; Pete's still his father. "My father. My father," Andrew muses, and here's where the dialogue gets rull stagey and over-externalized, so I'll boil it down: Andrew calls Pete a thief and a liar; Pete delivers a monologue about his "real crime," that he didn't steal big enough, that if he'd stolen hundreds of millions they'd have given him a corner office but the grubby amounts he took meant he didn't get it, didn't belong (and this is not a bad insight; nor is his note that, actually, going to America with nothing and making it big is a lie too; this is just a little Death Of A Salesman in the execution, and in a way that's landing more "needed another draft" than "homage" to me).
"I can't be this," Andrew says bleakly. Pete is offended that Andrew doesn't want to be him, but Andrew points out that he bragged to his friends about Pete -- and it turns out everything he said was a lie, and he can't "be a lie," he just can't. He's nothing but, of course, and nothing about that is going to change for him, but it's how badly he wants to be a true thing, one of substance, that turns everything upside down for him and his victims. Andrew then delivers a monologue of his own, not terribly credible in my opinion at least as far as 1) how people are with damaging information they've found or 2) how kids deal with their parents' humanity, about going to the library to research Manila and finding out that not only is Pete not in the top 500 stockbrokers in California; that list, as I posited in a previous recap, isn't even a thing. Criss acts it very well, but is told to pair it with a bit of business chopping up some fruit or something that's a little much, and mostly an excuse to get a knife into the scene. Pete doesn't respond to the accusation, turning Andrew's tears around on him instead and calling him weak, like his mother -- who, Pete bitterly notes, didn't care that he stole "as long as there was money." Why didn't Andrew bring up the book earlier? Because he thought there was money. He's not upset that Pete stole; he's upset that Pete stopped. Not a bad point, but not one Pete really has standing to make, either. Pete must have not finished that polite-conversation chapter, though, because he snarks that now Andrew has to work, "a sissy kid with a sissy mind!", and punctuates it by spitting in Andrew's face. Andrew doesn't get to come there and judge him; he judges Andrew. He's ashamed of Andrew, his "special sissy boy."
Andrew couldn't get from one street to another, never mind from the Philippines to America. "And back again!" Andrew snits, and gets slapped across the face, so he grabs the knife, but Pete has his number: "Do it. BE A MAN! FOR ONCE!" Andrew flinches away from him; he's clinging to the knife, the blade slicing into his palm, his face a childish mask of pain and paralysis. No, Pete smugs as Andrew sobs. "You don't have it in you." Blood drips onto the floor, and Andrew drops the knife and whispers that he'll never be like Pete. Pete stares at him, utterly disgusted.
Back in San Diego, Andrew arrives to find the house getting packed up by a collection service. He slowly counts out the cab fare with a bandaged hand, reluctant to part with what's left of his money. Looky-loo neighbors watch the movers. Andrew heads inside, ignoring his mother, to find the master bedroom emptied, except for the bare-mattressed bed and a few stacks of books. He stands at the window for a moment, then attacks the books, strewing them about. The Amy Vanderbilt undergoes an especially vicious attack, as he rips it apart and hurls the pieces around.
At the pharmacy, Andrew asks for a job application. Mercado asks if he's Filipino, and presses him on his family name and where they come from; Andrew is barely polite, but that doesn't stop the quizzing, and when Mercado asks what Pete does with his days, Andrew lies blandly that Pete owns "multiple pineapple plantations." Mercado is skeptical, but merely says, "Is that so." "As far as the eye can see," Andrew says.