Love & Death Season 1 Episode 1 Recap – What does Candy propose to Allan?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: April 27, 2023 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
Previous ArticleView all
Love & Death Season 1 Episode 1 Recap – What does Candy propose to Allan?


A somewhat tonally confused premiere lays the foundation of an all-star true-crime story that is a touch on the familiar side.

This recap of the HBO Max series Love & Death Season 1 Episode 1, “The Huntress”, contains spoilers.

On Friday, June 13th, 1980, a house in suburbia stands still, as if frozen in time. There’s an empty laundry basket on the couch, a child’s playmat and plastic rocking horse on the floor in front of the television. And, in the bathroom, there’s blood.

In September 1978, two years earlier, Candy Montgomery is singing in a church choir. Even if you didn’t know that Candy eventually kills her friend Betty Gore by striking her 41 times with a wood-splitting axe – not a spoiler, this is a true-crime series, you children – “The Huntress” makes it obvious what we’re building towards.

The question is how does a god-fearing, hymn-singing housewife, with a husband and two children, become a killer?

Love & Death Season 1 Episode 1 Recap

This premiere episode is about, primarily, introducing us to the members of Candy’s Methodist Church congregation, which includes Betty and her husband, Allan, with whom she is trying for a baby, in the least sexy way imaginable.

Jesse Plemons, who plays Allan, is an unlikely object of sexual mystery, but in Collin County, Texas, he seems to be quite the catch. Betty wants him at home all the time to take advantage of her optimal fertility window. And when he helps Candy up from the floor during a volleyball game against the church’s Lutheran rivals, she gets a frisson of excitement.

“He smells like sex,” she later tells her friend Sherry, which I think is intended as a compliment. Candy reckons the very public divorce of the church’s pastor, Jackie, has raised some concerns about the sanctity of marriage.

For what it’s worth, it’s not lost on Sherry how implausible of a match Elizabeth Olsen and Jesse Plemons are.

Why does Candy want to have an affair?

Some of “The Huntress” is about making this sudden attraction believable for the audience, too. Candy’s having an existential crisis. Her husband, Pat, mows the lawn in shorts so frighteningly short that they almost constitute an indecent exposure charge, and you can tell she thinks he’s a dork. She writes a poem about her heart hypothetically imploring her to just keep going. She smokes in her car alone after church.

Individually, these things all seem minor, but taken together they paint a portrait of a woman who is realizing very suddenly that the cultural and religious values that have formed the rubric for her entire life until this point are suddenly stifling.

Allan is in the same boat. Betty is extremely uptight, to the point she’s hilariously appalled by the movie Grease and won’t let their daughter dress up as Olivia Newton John’s Sandy for Halloween. (Although to be fair, she’s onto something – Newton-John in the leather and the red heels has been kind of a big deal in the years since.) Candy wants a bit of reckless impulsivity in her life and so, apparently, does Allan.

What does Candy propose to Allan?

Luckily Candy is up-front. She tells Allan outright that she’s very attracted to him – “Oh, okay,” he replies – and then later proposes having an affair with all the ceremony of pitching a business arrangement. They even have regular strategy meetings about how best to go about it without anyone finding out. Candy explains that she just wants to have fun, “without hurting myself or anyone else,” a line that hits the audience like that meme of Leonardo DiCaprio pointing at the TV.

Some of this is obviously supposed to be funny. Candy and Allan – though mainly Candy, to be honest – come up with a strict list of dos and don’ts for their extramarital activity which even includes a 50/50 expenses plan. There’s nothing funny about eventually killing Allan’s wife with an axe of course, but we’re a while away from that yet, so I think we’re in the clear for now, laughter-wise.

A date is set for the affair to begin. Candy packs a lunch – I’m telling you, this is hilarious – and drives out of town to meet Allan at a motel. Candy gets there first, calls Allan to tell him the location and room number, lays out lunch, slips into something more comfortable, then looks in the mirror and asks, “What am I doing?”

Allan seems to be having similar thoughts since he walks to his car like he’s on Death Row. When he gets to the motel, he keeps driving right past it, but sure enough, he ends up knocking on the room door anyway. After a nice meal, he helps load the picnic basket back up, and things get tentatively underway.

Love & Death Season 1 Episode 1 Ending Explained

You realize here, after about thirty seconds of low-impact missionary sex that both Allan and Candy seem to consider akin to a religious experience, that Allan isn’t the point for Candy. He doesn’t know what a French kiss is, and he’s got a woeful stroke. But she has a great time anyway because of the thrill. Allan could be anyone. The point is that the affair is illicit. It’s against her values, her principles, her God. She’s free from the paradigms that have dictated her entire life; finally, a fitting subject for the fanciful short stories and poems she pens in her creative writing class.

Cleverly, the episode ends by cutting from Candy’s ecstatic face in the motel room shower to her horrified visage in another shower, as blood – presumably Betty’s – washes away down the drain.

You can stream Love & Death Season 1 Episode 1, “The Huntress” exclusively on HBO Max.

Additional reading:

HBO Max, Streaming Service, TV, Weekly TV
Previous ArticleView all