The A and B plots intertwine in an episode that finds the series seemingly gathering some momentum.
This recap of American Gigolo season 1, episode 3, “Rapture”, contains spoilers.
American Gigolo has made no secret of the fact that Julian Kaye was groomed as a child – but it has risked making the lifestyle seem appealing. That’s a problem, obviously. But one mustn’t confuse the depiction for an endorsement. The show – and the audience – know that Julian was being manipulated and exploited, but so much of the story occurs from Julian’s perspective that it only makes sense to filter his earlier years through that lens. “Rapture”, for instance, starts with Olga teaching Julian to drive. And if you solely judged the situation by the smile on his face, it’d be hard to consider him a victim.
American Gigolo season 1, episode 3 recap
But this is the point. Just because being pimped out to married women as a teenager has some upsides doesn’t mean it isn’t a deeply predatory and unethical and illegal thing, which is why Julian, with the benefit of hindsight, doesn’t know how to feel about Olga, even after learning that it was probably her who framed him and cost him 15 years of his life – even standing at her graveside with Isabelle and Lorenzo. Olga’s death, even after all this time, is a significant turning point in Julian’s life. For the first time, the most significant figure in his life, for better and for worse, is gone.
But Olga’s death also presents another problem – Julian is the most likely suspect. And since she presumably instructed Guy to leave the Lisa Beck file in Julian’s car, she had something to tell him that now she’ll never be able to. Julian’s only hope is to piece things together for himself, visiting the old school he and Lisa presumably attended together, and flashing back to the time he spent with her at Olga’s villa, where we assume something awful happened. Lisa Beck took her own life, but the exact circumstances of why are clearly important to what’s happening now.
“Rapture” is also the episode in which the B-plot intersects with the A-plot. So, when one of Stratton’s men, Panish, tracks down Colin and Elizabeth to a seedy motel room while the former is out getting burgers and milkshakes, a tussle ensues and Elizabeth ends up dead, her neck broken. When Michelle arrives by using records of financial transactions provided to her by Elizabeth’s husband, Chris, she finds the corpse, tries to clear any evidence of Colin’s presence, and then begs Stratton to call the police. He won’t, though, since there’s a risk of Colin himself becoming the prime suspect (and indeed of Panish’s involvement being exposed, which is why he advocates for keeping the matter contained.)
As it happens, Elizabeth’s death is discovered by Sunday anyway, while Panish goes around throwing money at people – the motel staff, Chris Shannonhouse – to ensure their silence. But what Sunday does find at the crime scene is a picture Colin had of his mother, Michelle, kissing Julian. So, naturally, Julian is implicated in yet another crime scene. When pushed by Sunday, Michelle admits that Julian was a prostitute she “used” once or twice, and when Sunday calls Julian to ask him if he’s ever heard of Michelle, he shakily confirms the story. But the news rattles him. The idea of Michelle describing him as essentially a plaything upsets him; makes him feel, understandably, like the only authentic relationship he ever had was also a ruse.
With all this swimming around his head, Julian indulges in the high-quality coke and suits that Lorenzo dropped off for him earlier and climbs into his swanky convertible, ready, one assumes, to return to work. But he’s being watched by McGregor.
Our recap of American Gigolo season 1, episode 4 (link will go live once the episode airs.)