The first three episodes of Love & Death detail how Candy Montgomery and Allan Gore began an extramarital affair and where it led them. The episodes are now streaming on HBO Max.
Episode 1 recap: The Huntress
On Friday, June 13, 1980, an empty house has blood in its bathroom. It is hinted that it’s a crime scene. Two years before the events that transpired here, members of the United Methodist Church of Lucas are singing together in a choir.
Candy Montgomery is part of the choir. She and her husband, Pat, later sit down with their friends from the church for breakfast. Their group includes Allan Gore and his wife, Betty Gore, and Candy’s best friend, Sherry, as well, among others.
Allan and Betty have been trying to have another baby for a while now. Their inability to get along suggests that their marriage is not at its best stage. Betty likes to think that Allan has been traveling a lot, and that’s the reason they are not able to get intimate.
Candy is visited by Pastor Jackie Ponder. Since they are close, Jackie breaks the news that her husband is divorcing her. Jackie worries about how she is going to lead the congregation all alone and be single after 23 years of marriage.
At the church’s volleyball game, Candy is accidentally pushed down by Allan. The moment Allan picks her up, she feels an immense amount of attraction toward him because of the way he smells. She thinks that somewhere, even Allan may have felt the same attraction.
Candy shares all of this with Sherry, who finds it hard to believe that Candy is talking about the same Allan she knows. Candy even expresses the desire to date him. Candy assumes that hearing about Jackie’s divorce may have given her this thought.
Candy is not someone who holds back her feelings. The next time she sees Allan, she lets him know that she is very attracted to him.
Apparently, Candy’s married life hasn’t been that exciting either. Pat always stays glued to the television and doesn’t appreciate her or take out the time to do stuff that would make her feel special.
Meanwhile, Allan hasn’t stopped thinking about Candy. They eye each other at various places, and finally, Allan dares to speak to her. He questions what she was thinking when she confessed that she is attracted to him.
Candy straight asks if he is interested in having an extramarital affair with her. Candy notes the awkward silence, and before she could leave, Allan opens up. He talks about the affair Betty once had and how much it hurt him.
Allan loves Betty, and now she is pregnant as well, so he thinks it’s not fair. Candy agrees; she doesn’t want to hurt his marriage or Pat either. Though Allan is reluctant, he ends the conversation by kissing Candy.
Allan eventually calls and invites Candy to meet. When Jackie hears what Candy is about to do, she warns her that this will do no good to her life. It turns out that Candy has made up her mind.
Candy does meet Allan. They talk about regular stuff, and when the topic of affair comes up, they agree to have it. To make sure that no one gets hurt, they come up with a few rules, as in the dos and don’ts they will follow.
On December 12, 1978, in a motel away from their town, Candy and Allan finally go to bed together, and the former finds the thrill she was looking for.
Episode 2 recap: Encounters
After spending time with Allan, Candy thanks him. After all, he gave her the attention Pat wouldn’t. He adores her, unlike Pat. At the church, it is announced that Jackie is stepping down from the position of minister and a boy named Ron will be her replacement.
A pregnant Betty is devastated to learn this and suspects that Jackie has been fired because of her divorce. Candy worries about why Betty is so riled up.
Candy and Allan have continued their affair and have now started sharing their personal stories with each other. Allan explains how Candy doesn’t like change or even contingencies.
On one of these dates, Allan tells Candy about the affair Betty had. Allan says that she immediately confessed. A part of him thinks that she confessed out of guilt. The other part says she was trying to punish him for traveling, and the reason she told him was to keep him under control.
Allan later tells Candy that they may have to stop meeting for a while now. Betty is pregnant, and he needs to be closer to her. This statement of Allan kind of makes Candy insecure.
Candy is thinking about Allan too much and is now falling for him, which is against the rules they have come up with. Allan assures her that they won’t let all of this get serious. Later, Allan admits that their affair has helped him strengthen his bond with Betty and that he really feels better.
Betty gives birth, and sometime later, she starts assuming that Allan is not attracted to her anymore because she is now fat. The truth is that Allan spends the whole day with Candy; he barely has the energy to please his wife back at home.
The moment Allan realizes that this affair is affecting his marriage now, he asks Candy if they should end it. He fears that he might stop loving Betty. If they can’t stop the affair, he suggests that they slow down a little.
To fix their marriage, Betty pitches Allan to come with her to the Marriage Encounter course. Candy believes that this Marriage Encounter will end their affair for good, yet Allan joins Betty.
Spending time together at Marriage Encounter works for Allan and Betty. They are able to communicate and get intimate.
While they were both away, Candy was looking after their kids. When Allan and Betty return, Candy notices how happy they are and starts feeling jealous.
Episode 3 recap: Stepping Stone
Allan shares with Candy that the Marriage Encounter was really brilliant and, in fact, a miracle. Candy wonders where it leaves them, and Allan says that he thinks he should give all of his resources to his family.
Allan is hesitant to say that he can’t see her anymore. So Candy decides for herself that she is not going to call him, see him, or bother him anymore. Allan isn’t affected by this response of her, and it further infuriates her.
Candy is hurt, not because she misses getting intimate with Allan, but because Allan was like her friend. Sherry helps Candy get her mind off Allan by suggesting that they start a business together.
Meanwhile, Betty feels like she has a lump on her right breast. The doctors say it’s not cancerous. Still, she keeps looking for one doctor who will say she should worry about it.
When Candy learns about it from Allan, she visits Betty, and during that visit, for the first time, Betty notices the spark that is between her husband and Candy; the body language says it all.
Candy had actually called Allan to learn more about the Marriage Encounter. Pat, though reluctant, agrees to join Candy for this course. Surprisingly, the course works for both of them as well.
Candy and Pat are able to communicate, and their intimate life improves as well. On top of that, when the two get together for dinner with the Gores, Candy doesn’t feel a thing for Allan.
Things go south when Pat discovers Allan’s letter that he wrote to Candy. Sherry confirms that Allan and Candy did have an affair but assures Pat that it’s over. Pat confronts Candy and comforts her. They agree to fix their marriage by going on a vacation.
Later, Candy’s daughter expresses interest in having Betty’s daughter, Alisa, spend another night with them. While Allan is away, Candy visits Betty to ask her for permission and also to pick up her daughter’s swimsuit so she can drive her to swim lessons and save Betty the trip.
Betty welcomes Candy in, and while they are alone, Betty questions Candy if she had an affair with Allan. Candy admits it, and the next thing Candy sees is Betty going inside a room and bringing an axe out.
- The premiere episode of Love & Death does a great job of introducing the kind of community Candy comes from. It is a white, conservative neighborhood where the citizens pretend to be morally upright.
- The right amount of time is given to establishing the characters and kicking off the main conflict of the show. It’s just that Candy and Allan finally starting their affair at the end of the first episode doesn’t feel as thrilling to the viewers as it should.
- The second episode explores the relationship Allan and Candy had. It is beyond just getting intimate together. They have this special friendship behind the walls, where they express their thoughts without being judged.
- Certainly, with these three episodes, the show takes a long tour to introduce the viewers to the real Candy before they can get to the part where she becomes an axe murderer. It attempts to look into what she desired in a world where she was supposed to be morally upright.
- Lastly, the creators manage to make Love & Death look more like a scandalous drama than a crime drama, even if they tease that murder is involved before the story even starts.
Love & Death season 1 episodes 1, 2, & 3
Lesli Linka Glatter
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