Even if you believe Candy Montgomery killed Betty Gore in self-defense, the fact remains that a woman lost her life as her starving toddler cried out for her, covered in feces in a crib for 12-plus hours.
This is one of the messages that Hulu’s limited series Candy, which came to a horrific end Friday, aims to drive home. When the jury found Candy not guilty — in real life and on the show — it felt like she was the popular girl in high school who murdered the National Honors Society president and got away with it. Or, the cool mom killed the Karen-like mom. At the end of the day, Candy was beloved, Betty wasn’t, and that was that.
The producers of Candy, however, created a few dramatic asterisks to give Betty a form of justice she didn’t receive in reality. For instance, when Jessica Biel’s Candy told her side of things on the witness stand, the ghost of Melanie Lynskey’s Betty looked on in disapproval and said, “That’s your story.”
What was even more chilling is that Candy was shown swinging the axe over and over, and the sound of the metal chopping through Betty’s body was more gross and disconcerting than the zombies loudly feasting on flesh on The Walking Dead. It was like a bat hitting a watermelon, combined with bare hands squeezing rotten fruit, and the bloody visual and Candy’s animalistic groans were just as unnerving. And that’s the point.
Candy talked about how Betty had driven her to murder in order to save her own life, and as a result, the wife and mother argued her life was ruined and that “it hurt.”
You know what else hurts? Getting murdered by an axe, never seeing your parents or daughters again, and dying for a dumb reason. The tears of Betty’s mother punctuated all of this and the drama deserves praise for not making things tidy and overly simplistic — for Betty or Candy.
It wasn’t easy feeling sympathy for Candy, because she got to live, change her name and become a mental health counselor. After the trial, she and her family moved away and she eventually divorced her husband Pat. That said, Candy suffered a lot of sexism and slut-shaming on the stand, from the prosecution and the judge. Amazingly, the jury saw through the court’s gender bias and in some ways overcorrected things by letting Candy walk away scot-free.
Allan quickly remarried, Betty’s parents adopted her daughters, and 42-years later, we’re still talking about this disturbing but fascinating case… with an HBO Max/Elizabeth Olsen miniseries still to come!
What did you think of the Candy finale? Was justice served? Grade the season in our poll, and drop your thoughts in the comments.