Anyone familiar with a 1990 film made for TV Murder in a small town, or any A series of reconstructions of a true crime on a basic cable, knows the murderous story of Candy Montgomery.
What made Hulu’s debut of a five-day limited series on Monday Candy, with Jessica Biel in the lead role, different and more interesting was, well, Jessica Biel. Achieving arguably the strongest performance of her career, Biel attracted viewers by creating a stunningly layered and troubling performance filled with arrogance, regret, guilt and hypocrisy.
Candy at first betrayed all the confidence of an alpha mother staying at home. She made a casserole for her church, took her children and one of their friends to study the Bible, and later led the class herself. In fact, her lesson on the “good little tree” was a metaphor for her challenging but everyday life. Rocking a curly hairdo and glasses like Sophie Petrillo, but flaunting around like Blanche Devereaux, Candy commanded every space she lived in and dared someone to say otherwise. (Is her body too torn for mom at the time? Yes, but it’s best to ignore it.)
Candy’s complacency soon disappeared after she left the church to stop by the Gores’ house. Christina Gore is Candy’s daughter’s best friend Becky, and the little girl stayed at Candy’s house to sleep over. Becky had so much fun with her, Candy volunteered to keep the girl the other day and pick up her swimsuit for a swimming lesson she later had. Candy was greeted by Christina’s young mom Betty (played with awkward perfection by Melanie Lynskey), and then … we didn’t see what happened next.
Instead, an hour later, Candy is shown running out of Betty’s house, jumping in the car and leaving. Candy’s forehead was bleeding, her hair was wet, her glasses were missing, and she acted like someone in a state of fugue. Even without seeing Betty’s dead body, there was no doubt that Candy had killed her. Every movement in the house stopped, and her daughter stayed in her crib and cried.
All that was shown from that moment was either Candy moving as fast as she could to cover her tracks or Betty’s husband Allan (the shy Pablo Schreiber) frantically trying to reach Betty unsuccessfully. Candy’s husband Pat (Veep‘s Timothy Simons) felt there was something wrong with his wife, but he assumed she was tired of taking care of the children all day.
The fact that neither he nor the children noticed that Candy stopped vomiting between cars after everyone left the cinema highlighted both her loneliness and her terrifying ability to deceive people around her. Schreiber’s Allan, by contrast, expressed his concern for Betty’s well-being a little too late, and it was unclear whether he thought she had harmed herself and the child or was just remorse for leaving Betty on a work trip out of town.
Anyway, it was good that Allan trusted his instincts and asked a neighbor to check on Betty because when Candy killed her – in self-defense or otherwise – the Gore’s baby was left alone in her crib, covered in feces, and Betty’s bloody and the brutalized body was left to rot just a few rooms away.
What did you think about Candy premiere? Will you keep watching? Rate the start of our survey and write your opinion in the comments.