Love & Death bears a gigantic shadow of competition to Starplus‘s Candy, launched a year earlier. For those who knew the crime, it is somewhat repetitive to review the same story, for those who discovered the crime with the version starring Jessica Biel, ditto, in the end, the HBO version of the story of Candy Montgomery engages only those who didn’t know anything about this tragedy. Which is a shame, because Elizabeth Olsen looks great.
Most of the problem is to do with the pace of the story is dragged. The construction of how the relationship between people around the Church is all fine, as well as the problems of each couple and the affair between Candy and Alan Gore, are all well constructed, even more than it was in Candy. Not having the concern to characterize the cast with the real characters is a little more confusing, but tolerable. What gets heavy is using the soundtrack to compensate for that, something that has lessened now that we’ve reached the trial.
But let’s go back a little. In the last two episodes, in which we saw the crime and now the start of the trial, it confirms that Love & Death proposes to follow the story as told by Candy in her testimony, who claimed to have defended herself against Betty Gore but who went into a psychotic break when she was terrified and attacked her with 41 axes in order to escape with her life. As Candy was a well-liked woman in society, at least way more popular than Betty, the shock that she was a calculating killer is kind of proven in this HBO version, something none of the others before it bought. Here is the big difference between the two series that somehow explores the character’s sympathy.
Although the choice is strange, I respect that. After all, the American Justice acquitted her on top of all the arguments we are following, public opinion is that she always left the shadow of guilt on her shoulders. Betty was alive but helpless during 40 of the 41 axes, and Candy didn’t call the police, didn’t turn herself in when they started investigating neither did anything a scared person would have done. Candy Montgomery is still an open question and that seems to be what the series aims to reinforce. But at a pace that is quite discouraging…