The Love & Death finale offers a disturbingly full account of Betty Gore’s death, and settles on the jury’s verdict of Candy, even if it’s still a little unclear where the show itself comes down on her story.
This article contains major spoilers for the ending of Love & Death Season 1 Episode 7.
The finale of Love & Death is titled “Ssssshh” because Candy Montgomery’s entire defense rests on that whispery intonation.
It seems ridiculous. We’re expected to buy that Candy being shushed unlocked a homicidal rage she had been containing since she was four years old. But the jury was expected to buy it too, and — spoiler alert — they did. How did we get here? Is there any truth to the defense’s testimony? Was Candy insane? Was she calculated? Did she tell the truth, after all those lies?
The end of Love & Death shows us some things we haven’t seen before, including the murder of Betty Gore in clear and disturbing detail, but it still can’t settle on a side. Here’s what happened.
Love & Death Season 1 Ending Explained
The bulk of “Ssssshh” revolves around Candy’s testimony, since it includes the much-anticipated details of the killing, which we see in full versions of the flashbacks that have been presented only in snippets thus far.
What triggered Candy to kill Betty?
Despite being called to the stand in Episode 6 while still high on prescription pills, Candy is coherent. She expresses, clearly, that she had no intention of killing Betty Gore. She recounts the sequence of events accurately, at least according to what we saw in Episode 3. She had never seen the axe until Betty carried it into the living room. She didn’t fear for her life until Betty tried to take it by force.
While Candy and Betty wrestle, Betty strikes Candy multiple times. At several points, the situation seems to de-escalate, only for Betty to resume the attack. It’s only when Betty shushes Candy that she begins to strike her, again and again, forty total times, until she’s dead and unrecognizable and her blood covers Candy from head to toe.
This is later described by Dr. Fred Fason as a disassociative event. She snapped as she did with Allan when he shushed her in that diner. The repressed memories and feelings cut Candy off from reality. What started as self-defense became a psychotic break, and in the aftermath of the killing, she tried to retain a sense of normality because she couldn’t reconcile what had happened with reality.
The prosecution isn’t buying this, obviously. They remind the jury that Candy lied, again and again, to her friends and family and the police. She chopped a woman to pieces with a wood-splitting axe. To justify that act of violence as a response to being shushed is, the defense claims, an insult to the jury and the court.
Is Candy found guilty?
The jury finds Candy Montgomery not guilty of the murder of Betty Gore.
This, though, doesn’t mean she’s innocent. As Pat astutely points out, the jury is unable to find Candy innocent, and this is evidenced by the masses outside the courthouse, all waving placards that call Candy a “Scarlett Harlot” and an adulterer. It’s mentioned outright at one point by Don that while the public might be able to forgive murder, Candy will always be seen as the woman who had an affair with a married man.
This is why Pat suggests they leave for Georgia, to begin their life anew. After saying goodbye to Sherry and — rather incredibly — to Allan, Candy does just that.
Where is Candy Montgomery now?
We’re informed by title cards that Candy and Pat divorced after relocating to Georgia. Pat still lives there.
Allan Gore, true to form it seems, married the church’s organist Elaine Williams shortly after Betty’s death. They got divorced. He eventually married a third time and now lives in Maine.
Don Crowder, after his star-making courtroom turn, ran for Governor of Texas in 1986. He killed himself in 1998.
Candy, with no sense of irony, went on to work as a family therapist in Georgia. At one point she practiced alongside her daughter, focusing on depression.
You can stream Love & Death Season 1 Episode 7, “Ssssshh”, exclusively on Max.