Hulu ‘Sweet’ Episode 5 Recap: “The Struggle”

“All of it simply appears so pointless,” says Sweet Montgomery in the midst of her homicide trial.

“That’s it?” says the ghost of Betty Gore because the trial wraps up.

It takes severe braveness to finish your true-crime drama with each of its lead characters—one residing and one lifeless, one the killer and one the killed—questioning aloud simply what the hell it was all about. I imply, what a slam dunk these quotes are for anybody who desires to put in writing a nasty overview, proper? Sweet, by this customary, has braveness.

And from the place I’m sitting, Sweet earned that braveness. I imply, with its pedigree, there’s an extent to which I’m like “How may it not be good? The lady answerable for like all one of the best Mad Males episodes co-created a small-town homicide present with the man who did Channel Zero and you may watch the entire thing in about 4 hours—that’s virtually the definition of excellent TV.” Its last episode sees the present at each its funniest and its darkest, its most cynical and its most sentimental. And when that last verdict rolls in, it’s as flabbergasting to us because it will need to have been to the assembled Texas crowd.


The occasions of the episode are straightforward to summarize. After a gap phase through which Justin Timberlake’s cop character walks the prosecutors via the official model of how the crime went down, we speed-run via a trial that will take up a number of episodes on an extended present. Through her showboating lawyer Don Crowder (Raúl Mendoza is a powerful bastard within the position), Sweet drops a bomb on everybody by admitting to the killing. She claims it was a matter of self-defense towards a jealous spouse, and that repressed reminiscences of her unkind mom prompted her to snap and ship the notorious 41 axe blows towards her pal. Someplace alongside the way in which Sweet additionally admits to having one other affair after the one with Betty’s husband Allan ended, although she refuses to say with whom. (Her pal and enterprise associate Sherri disappears from the courtroom when the decision is learn, strongly implying she suspects her personal husband.)

Ultimately, the jury finds Sweet not responsible. She and Allan and her husband Pat all go on with their lives: Allan remarries, to one of many native ladies on the periphery of the story; Sweet and Pat get divorced, and Sweet begins a brand new life underneath a brand new identify as a psychological well being counselor. Oh, and her lawyer, who’s instantly incarcerated for contempt of court docket as soon as the case is over, runs for governor of Texas. (It’s exhausting to think about him doing a worse job than the present asshole.)


However all this speak of the details ignores the centerpiece of the episode: Sweet’s brutal and bloody killing of Betty. The present makes use of a method that dates again not less than to Truman Capote’s In Chilly Blood: State the details, spend a bunch of time fleshing out the characters to the purpose the place the anticipation of the act of killing turns into nearly insufferable, after which let ‘em have it, rubbing everybody’s face within the horror till nobody can stand it.


And also you’d higher consider that every one 41 blows with that axe are depicted. It’s a tour de power of bodily appearing by Jessica Biel and a grasp class in gore; the few seconds once you see what’s left of Betty’s face after her eyeballs have been chopped out will stick to me for a protracted, very long time.

However—and it is a telling transfer on the present’s half—simply because Sweet is the only survivor of the incident doesn’t imply it’s solely her aspect of the story that will get represented. The filmmakers insert Melanie Lynskey as Betty into that courtroom, providing just a few temporary feedback that it appears solely we and maybe Sweet can hear. She tells Sweet “That’s your story.” When it comes out that Sweet has one other affair and she or he refuses to call the person concerned for worry of damaging his household, Betty says “One other household.” When the protection and prosecution relaxation, she says “That’s it?” And when the decision is learn, she says plaintively, heartbreakingly, “She left my child.” Then she vanishes, unable to inform her story any longer.

Whose aspect does the present take, then? Sweet’s model of the story is offered plausibly—a distraught Betty cornering her with the axe over the affair, a triggered childhood reminiscence unleashing “overkill” on Sweet’s half. However Betty’s dissenting presence can’t be ignored, nor can a climactic shot of Sweet consuming sweet whereas smirking into the digital camera. That’s not what harmless folks appear like, you realize?


There’s additionally the truth that, not less than based on the cops, they discovered a damaged sunglass lens within the Gore household storage, indicating that the battle started there; this contradicts Sweet’s in any other case believable model of the occasions, although a younger cop’s tampering with the crime scene made this proof inadmissible. Provided that Timberlake’s cop character sincerely cries over the plight of Betty’s deserted child, a present of emotion that makes his fellow Texan lawmen uncomfortable, I believe we’re supposed to present credence to his interpretation of what went down.

However finally there’s no stable floor to face on. We’ll by no means know for positive what made Sweet Montgomery chop Betty Gore to ribbons, and that is as true of the filmmakers behind Sweet as it’s for us viewers. If that troubles you, effectively, I get it.

However I don’t suppose that artwork exists to current us with solutions. Good artwork asks questions and trusts us to reply them ourselves. That’s Sweet, excellent artwork certainly, in a nutshell. To echo Betty, that’s it.

Sean T. Collins (@theseantcollins) writes about TV for Rolling Stone, Vulture, The New York Instances, and anyplace that can have him, actually. He and his household stay on Lengthy Island.

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