Love and Death Episode 5 Review: Beginning to Understand a Maniac

The latest episode of Love and Death begins to pull back the curtain on Elizabeth Olsen's Candy Montgomery
Elizabeth Olsen HBO Max Love and Death

The latest episode of HBO Max’s Love and Death is currently available to stream, and once again, picks up right where the last one left off. In the fourth episode, we saw the murder of Betty Gore (Lily Rabe) and the subsequent investigation that was launched, ending with Jesse Plemons’ Allan Gore confessing to having had an affair with Candy Montgomery (Elizabeth Olsen), which perfectly set up this week’s episode.

Overall thoughts on Love and Death Episode 5

Jesse Plemons HBO Max Love and Death
Jesse Plemons in HBO Max’s Love and Death.

Episode 5, titled “The Arrest”, focuses on the downfall of Candy Montgomery, from regular Texas, church-attending woman, to a straight-up homicidal maniac in the eyes of the people. Plemons once again takes a backseat and has only a couple of scenes with the police as they question him.

After bluffing him by reading him his Miranda rights, the focus is quickly shifted toward Candy. Why? Well, the police have very little evidence that she did it; the only real information they have is that she had an extra-marital affair. And therein lies the theme of this episode — to this little community, having an affair is almost as outlandish as butchering someone down with an axe.

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Writer David E. Kelly (helped by director Clark Johnson this week) continues to push our boundaries as an audience to see how far we are willing to go with this character, before finally pulling the curtain and revealing what’s really going inside her head. It’s not that they approve of the murder; in fact, in the grand scheme of things, the murder is quite insignificant, as evidenced by the fact that it wasn’t even shown on screen. What matters to them is the reaction, both by the character, which we saw in the previous episode and certainly once again in episode 5, and by the town and everyone around her, which we start to see in this latest installment.

To say that Olsen is once again magnificent is kind of redundant now, but in “The Arrest” we also got to see more from Patrick Fugit as Pat Montgomery, as well as a new player, Tom Pelphrey as Candy’s lawyer, who almost co-leads the episode. If you haven’t seen it yet, and have been enjoying the show so far, definitely give it a chance, and send us your thoughts to our social media! If you have seen it already, let us discuss further…

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Love and Death episode 5 spoiler discussion

Elizabeth Olsen Krysten Ritter Tom Pelphrey HBO Max Love and Death
Elizabeth Olsen, Krysten Ritter, and Tom Pelphrey in HBO Max’s Love and Death.

There are many interesting things in how this episode was approached from a writing perspective. After kicking off the series with three episodes where the story felt a bit too diluted, episodes 4 and 5 really started to narrow down the focus. Jesse Plemons was taken out of the main picture, and it’s now clear that this is Elizabeth Olsen’s show, with a few side characters.

The path for episode 4 seemed pretty clear, we start with the murder and we end when the police start to suspect of Candy. But that isn’t as clear for episode 5, as we are now focusing on Candy’s arrest and trial, both in the court of law and in the court of public opinion, but how can we split it across several episodes and still make it compelling and structured?

There’s obviously so much more to come in the last two episodes of the series, but revealing Candy’s childhood trauma at the end of this episode was the perfect booster we needed to understand her. It’s not that she’s now redeemed, but we as an audience need at least something to grasp in our understanding of the characters.

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Keir Gilchrist HBO Max Love and Death
Keir Gilchrist in HBO Max’s Love and Death.

As other people start to question why she did what she did, we start to get answers, which worked quite well for the structure of the show. Right before we got to this, I was starting to question where this episode was going. It was pretty clear that there is a lot of story left to tell, and how were they going to wrap up this episode in a satisfying way but still leave the door open for so much more to come? Past its halfway point, the story was beginning to lose me and the narrative was almost drawing circles, until the point where we go mee the psychiatrist.

The theme of the episode resides in how Candy was immediately seen guilty by the police and pretty much everyone when the allegations of extra-marital affairs surfaced. It was mostly noticeable with the police, as they arrested Allan when he confessed to the affair, and then immediately did as much with Candy when she did the same.

Love and Death is definitely no Succession or The Last of Us, but for someone who enjoys David E. Kelly’s work, I’m quite fascinated by it and the approach that they gave to this true crime story. What are your thoughts on the series so far? Are you enjoying it, or are you almost tapped out at this point? Let us know on our social media, and stay tuned for next week’s recap!

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