“East of Eden” rounds out American Gigolo‘s first season by tying up most of the central mystery, but leaving enough lingering plot threads for there to be a second season if Showtime like what they see.
This recap of American Gigolo season 1, episode 8, “East of Eden”, contains spoilers for the American Gigolo finale, including an open discussion of American Gigolo’s ending.
You’ll recall that American Gigolo episode 7 ended by tying its ongoing storylines together, with Julian arriving at the Stratton household and Isabelle arriving at the motel where McGregor was holding Colin to ransom. Panish, meanwhile, had been arrested carrying a cool $3 million in cash, so the American Gigolo finale, “East of Eden”, hits the ground running by addressing each of these matters in turn and then starts tying them together.
American Gigolo season 1, episode 8 recap
So, it turns out that Isabelle was buying Colin from McGregor. Their history is obvious – we saw it in the flashbacks to Lisa Beck’s suicide, in the fact that Isabelle had his current contact information, and more will become clear later – but isn’t particularly expanded upon here. McGregor is perfectly happy to hand Colin over and get out of Dodge, even though he can’t quite fathom why Isabelle wants the boy in the first place.
Julian, meanwhile, had turned up at the Stratton house to warn Richard and Michelle that Panish had been apprehended, so if they were relying on the ransom being paid they’re going to need another solution. When Isabelle messages Julian about Colin, it becomes clear that she intends to hand the kid over to Julian, but again, her motives are still a little cloudy.
Since neither Sunday nor Panish knows that McGregor has passed Colin to Isabelle, Panish pins Elizabeth’s murder on him and gives Sunday the location of the motel, which is empty and bleached clean by the time she arrives. When Sunday searches McGregor’s home she finds two guns and a knife inside a box, and recognizes his hand tattoo from a photograph, tying him to murders both 15 years ago and in the present day.
Isabelle hands Colin over to Julian, and their first proper meeting is awkward, to say the least. But Colin is still happier to stay with Julian than he is to go back home, believing that Richard ordered Elizabeth’s murder. Julian, at Michelle’s urging, takes him to “the beach house”, and flashbacks reveal that, back in the day, Julian and Michelle had attended an open house for the property, perhaps with the intention of buying it as part of their idyllic but ultimately doomed fantasy life together. Michelle had obviously held onto the house and its sentimental connection to Julian, only further revealing how much of her life with Richard has been informed by her love for Julian.
The guns found at McGregor’s house prove he killed Olga, which combined with his history with Isabelle basically proves she ordered the hit, but that isn’t conclusively confirmed. Either way, Sunday doesn’t buy the official line, which is that McGregor killed Olga because he was worried her worsening dementia would cause her to reveal details of their relationship.
Do Julian and Michelle end up together?
Richard shows a lot of vulnerability in “East of Eden”, and it’s effective to see such a powerful man reduced to a shell of himself because of his love for a son who he now knows isn’t biologically his. But Colin’s real parentage doesn’t put Richard off, and he resolves to continue to do the right thing by him. He and Michelle decide to try and push forward as a family unit for Colin’s sake, though she does spend one more sexy night with Julian before saying goodbye to him.
Julian and Michelle do not end up staying together. Seeing Colin and Richard beginning to repay their bond shows Michelle that putting her own feelings first will be detrimental to her son. She clearly wants to be with Julian, which is proven by their spending one more night together, but Colin has to come first. Julian is saddened by this but takes it fairly well since he never wanted to get in the way of her and her family, especially now that he knows Colin is his son.
Who killed Janet Holmes and Olga?
Based on the available evidence it does seem that McGregor killed them both, although the finale doesn’t offer any concrete explanations about why.
It’s a fair assumption that Isabelle hired McGregor to kill Olga. There’s a chance that she also sent him after Janet Holmes and framed Julian for the crime, but that seems unlike her given how she seems to genuinely love (or perhaps more accurately be obsessed with) Julian. However, we know that Janet was looking into Lisa Beck’s death and that Isabelle had some kind of knowledge of or culpability in it. That, to me, makes her the likeliest candidate for having arranged both murders.
In a conversation with Lorenzo, Isabelle claims to have only ever loved Julian, but in a brief flashback, we see what seems to be her drugging his drink on the day he left the villa. This tracks with the state he was in when Janet was killed, unable to remember anything. So, it stands to reason that Isabelle was responsible.
In light of all this, Sunday has to let things go. Although she might wipe her whiteboard clean, she knows something remains amiss in the details, some connection she has overlooked. But even Julian tells her to move on. And, for once, she listens. He follows his own advice, returning to work as a gigolo for one of his old clients.