[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Love & Death Season 1 Episode 7 “Ssssshh.”]
Love & Death has come to its conclusion, and with it, the delivery of a brutal murder scene as Candy Montgomery (Elizabeth Olsen) was confronted by an ax-wielding Betty Gore (Lily Rabe).
Taking the stand in her trial, Candy recounts the events that led to Betty’s gruesome death, and in doing so, viewers are shown the sequence of events as recited. What began as an affair between bored housewife Candy and Betty’s husband Allan (Jesse Plemons) quickly transformed into a Texas tragedy.
In Candy and Betty’s community, Olsen says, “adultery is almost a greater sin than murder.” Perhaps that’s why Betty pulled out an ax? Or maybe it runs deeper. Snapping in self-defense, Candy manages to gain control of the weapon before swinging it several times in Betty’s direction, making a direct impact on her skull before ultimately chopping with abandon.
Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter, she reveals, “Lily was six months pregnant when she was filming that scene.” Despite being pregnant in real life, Glatter says, “Lily just went for it, and Lizzie just went for it. And they both supported each other through that. It was brutal.”
Rabe echoes Glatter’s sentiments, sharing, “We shot that sequence over a number of days sort of towards the end of my time on the shoot. So I was quite pregnant by that point. It was really quite profound. Betty thought she was pregnant at the time of her death. And so it was really something to be shooting that scene.”
Overall, Glatter points out that to “swing an ax once is really intense,” and that Candy did it 41 times during the course of her defensive attack on Betty. “We didn’t show 41 blows hardly, but it’s very upsetting because it’s two women, it’s two housewives, two mothers in a laundry room in the most brutal kind of up close and personal fight.”
“As someone who has directed a lot of action and killed people in horrible ways, this was the most intense thing I’ve ever done,” Glatter says.
Rabe is no stranger to working while pregnant as she tells us, “This was my third time being pregnant and working. But it was really remarkable and difficult. I just felt so connected every second to her maternal instincts as a person with children.” Rabe also reminds us that Betty “believed that she had another [child] on the way” when she was killed.
In order to achieve the sequence in the manner that they did, Glatter credits choreography with helping her and the actors perfect each heart-pounding moment. “They knew exactly beat by beat what was going on, both physically and emotionally,” she shares. At the end of the day, Glatter says it’s her job “to create the safest space for them to be able to work in.”
The horrible incident really boils down to a single decision, one that would change the course of the Gore and Montgomery families’ lives forever, and that was the short-lived affair between Candy and Allan. “I think she lives a life of validation and that she just wanted that from another man deeply,” Olsen tells us.
See how Candy copes with that in the final episode of Love & Death, out now, and let us know what you thought of the brutal ending, below.
Love & Death, Streaming Now, Max