If there’s ever a genre that is unforgiving towards unnecessary dawdling, which takes up time that is best saved for crucial revelations, it is true crime. There was nothing holding Love And Death back from overspending its time on scrutinizing why Candy and Allan’s affair happened in the first place. Yet, it’s this very tactful decision not to linger around the “why” for too long that made it possible for Love And Death to devote all the tricks up its sleeve to what a true-crime fan would be on tenterhooks for–the bewildering trial that exonerated an axe-murderer. And Candy Montgomery’s infamous trial is what Love And Death is here to treat us to this week.
Why Did Don Reveal That Candy Killed Betty?
Having no experience in dealing with criminal cases might have made Don reluctant to take on the murder trial the entire country had its hawk eyes on, but from the looks of it, Candy was right in choosing her representative in court. The same sense of community that has been the church’s backbone for all these years has really lit a fire under Don. The smartest move made by the shrewd lawyer is admitting that his client did, in fact, strike Betty Gore 40 times with an ax and murder her. In admitting the truth to fight the prosecution’s claim, Don not only charms the jury with a mind-boggling revelation, but he also gives Candy’s defense a fighting chance at swaying the jury in her favor. Considering the amount of evidence that the prosecution has brought to bear against Candy, it would practically be impossible to win the case if Don didn’t take the route that he did. So, he refused to fight the losing battle and instead focused on building a case that might prove that Candy’s blood-curdling violence was an act of self-defense. It wouldn’t be an easy road, but it’s the only road that doesn’t have a clear dead-end in sight.
How Was Candy Coping With The Trial?
I don’t know the level of similitude Olsen’s Candy shares with the real-life Candy Montgomery, but her representation, at least in Love And Death, is strikingly in tune with the time and place of the terrifying ordeal. Being a Texan housewife in the 80s, there’s scarcely any identity left for Candy outside of the role of a mother and a wife. Even on the days of her trial, Candy finds it best to cook a meal for her family if it means that she can convince herself that everything is fine. And “fine” is what she claims to be even when Robert comes over to pick her up for court. Masking the acute dread she holds inside with freshly baked rolls, sincere graces, and dinners brimming with denial, Candy prefers holding on to the little traces of normalcy that her family still grants her. But the truth, however wretched it may be, is like water that would invariably find the cracks to seep through. And Candy’s life, no matter how desperately she may want to hold it together, has shattered beyond repair. She’s been drugging herself into becoming a zombie just so that all the gruesome details of her own crime don’t get to her. So, when her daughter tells her that she’s practically become a Halloween monster her friend wants to dress up as, Candy knows that she will always live with the repercussions of what she has done.
How Was Don Turning The Tides?
No one, including the people that drove for hours to see the spectacle that Candy has become, could ever expect that her lawyer would find a way to lay down a strong case in her defense. But Don’s been proving to be quite wily with the way he’s been catching the prosecution’s witnesses off guard. Reaping the benefit of Allan being under oath, Don scores a home run in establishing that Candy had no motive to kill Betty Gore. Albeit unintentionally, Allan also helps Don prove that Betty isn’t of a stable mind and that she could even have been considered suicidal. Don mops the floor with the detectives who showed up to make the jury aware of how nightmarish the crime scene was and, instead, they end up agreeing to the claim that it could not have been a premeditated murder. Despite Don doing the absolute best that he can, there are still two consequential elements standing in the way of Candy eluding life in prison. The first roadblock in her path is the unaffected and zombie-like impression Candy’s making on the jury due to the Serax she’s taking for her nerves. And the second is the ghastly details that the prosecution has been saving to present as the traumatizing showstopper that would shock the jury into going against Candy.
Will Candy Be Able To Make Her Case?
It’s nearly impossible not to be fascinated by the Candy that Love And Death has created for us. This is no damsel in distress. The Candy we see is an intriguing paradigm of a warrior who’s terrified of stopping and catching a breath lest she lose her momentum. She’s impressively stern about what she will and won’t allow as she heavy-handedly protects the system she has contrived to avoid going to prison. There’s not to be any court talk in her home. But that’s also so she can have a life outside of the deafening cacophony of the court and the press. And it’s not just Candy’s character that Love And Death is staying true to its timeline with. The picture-perfect 80s American family values are the most apparent in Pat, the long-suffering husband who is so set on shielding all that he’s built with Candy that he’s ready to overlook the monstrosity that his wife is capable of when push comes to shove. But most essentially, what stands out about Pat is the undying love he has for his wife. Instead of being terrified of her, Pat is relieved that the murder didn’t happen the other way around. Candy could have died, too, that day. And there’s nothing more that Pat wants than to safeguard his family.
Don’s given the case his all as a lawyer and a reliable friend to Candy. There is, however, a disturbing observation to be made about all the help that Candy is receiving from her friends and her community. Even when the circumstances are this dire and demanding, people are more likely to advocate for the social butterfly than the cold, aloof one, even if the latter was butchered with an ax. Candy’s best friend, Sherry, is ready to battle the world if it dares to raise a finger against her friend. And that too, when she barely knows anything about what actually happened in the Gore house. It takes pastor Ron just a nudge from Don to get his face on TV and declare that God and his servants are with Candy Montgomery. It’s quite disconcerting to see the helpless state of the deceased’s father, watching his daughter’s killer get closer and closer to getting away with the murder. Had Betty received the kind of love and care, and most essentially the right treatment for her mental health, that she needed, she would still be alive and well.
When the time comes for the prosecution to whip out their most consequential weapon, the pathologist, the courtroom falls silent to the sight of the excruciating death that Betty Gore fell victim to. It’s not easy to take the jury’s mind off it once they’ve seen all the slices and gashes that were inflicted on the 30-year-old pregnant woman. It’s even harder for Don to present his case to the jury when drugged Candy sits with a stoic face, even at the mention of Betty’s eyeball that was pushed into where her sinus was supposed to be and the half of her face that was turned into mush. What comes close to getting a win for the prosecution is the pathologist testifying that Betty was alive the whole time that Candy was going at her with the ax. The defensive wounds, the gaping cranial crack that proves that Candy wiggled the ax out of Betty’s skull to hit her cerebellum with even more ferocity–how is Candy ever going to dig herself out of this hole? Don making it a point to persuade the jury to find some sympathy for the killer just because Betty wasn’t conscious through her butchering is simply not going to cut it. And when the dreaded time comes for Candy to walk to the witness stand and make her case, she proves Don’s fear right and appears to be completely out of it. Don’s already made the grave mistake of starting off on the wrong foot with the judge. There’s no way he’s going to be able to charm the peeved judge into granting them a day so that Candy can be ready to address the court. And if Candy were to be given only 10 minutes to get her bearings straight and speak for herself, she should surely botch up her defense. This, perhaps, is why Don would eventually bring out the big guns and call in Dr. Fred Fason to testify that Candy was triggered into doing what she did.