Welcome back to 25YL’s weekly coverage and analysis of HBO’s limited series, Sharp Objects. While I have not been the writer to cover the first two episodes for the site, I’m really excited to be pitching in here for this episode as well as future ones. In full disclosure, I’ve never read the book and have avoided spoilers like the plague. If you’re like me and are going in blind, let’s have some fun trying to figure out where this story is taking us.
Sometimes I forget Sharp Objects is a limited series. I easily get pulled into this world—the characters, the setting, the mood, and the music. Then my television critic of a brain kicks in and says, “Wait, this reveal or plot advancement is happening too early!” Case in point: this week, we got to see Camille’s connection to the music of Led Zeppelin explored. In a normal television series, the viewing audience likely wouldn’t have learned that until the following season. The backstory here is yet another prime example of the psychology of this series being both cruel and captivating.
It was quite obvious that we were supposed to connect Camille’s reluctance to get close to her younger sister to an inevitable tragedy with Camille’s roommate at the hospital. As a viewer, you knew this story wasn’t going to end well. Despite the impending doom hanging over our heads, I know I was captivated. I wanted to see how close Camille would get to this girl who shared her penchant for self-harm before the likely outcome would happen. Seeing Camille, someone who has obviously been through a lot during her life, get close to Alice and truly bond over their shared pain made you hopeful that Camille might be able to one day let her guard down again. Or was this loss, a loss that perhaps was like losing another sister, the one that put her guard up for good?
Speaking of sisters, Amma’s character took major steps forward this week. The hinting at her instability is over, and it’s all out there now—except to Adora, who continues to treat Amma as a baby doll of sorts. More on Adora later. Amma’s wild side seems to have a nice blend of both crazy and perhaps even psychotic as the show continues to push this group of teenage girls as possible suspects in the murders of Ann and Natalie. Seeing Amma get in Camille’s face, stick her lollipop in Camille’s hair, and antagonize Detective Willis really positions her as (perhaps) the show’s top villain. No scene was more off-putting, however than Amma watching the pig. There are numerous ways this can be read, and let’s face it, with Adora as a mother; Amma is bound to be a little crazy. But is she murderous? That’s one of many questions the show wants us to be asking ourselves this week.
Detective Willis and Camille finally thawed out their icy beginning a bit and had a nice bonding moment drinking in the parking lot. Romantic tension was teased, but my gut says they’re both too broken for that. A partnership in the town of Wind Gap, where the odds are stacked against both of them, is certainly what they both need. Here’s hoping we see their friendship continue. (Side note: Chris Messina is so good in this role. Can’t say enough good things about him.)
Adora continues to be both a lightning rod and a thorn in Camille’s side, even going as far as to interrupt Camille’s conversation with Bob Nash. Why is Adora trying so hard to keep Camille from uncovering truths? Is she hiding something (Amma’s involvement), or protecting herself from having to relive feelings from both Marian’s death and whatever harm Camille went through as a child? Or could she actually be trying to protect Camille? Does Adora believe that Camille getting too close to this case could cause her increased mental anguish or perhaps even mortal danger? It might sound like a long shot at this point, but my money is actually on Adora believing that she’s helping her daughter in some way we can’t comprehend yet. Or maybe I just really love Patricia Clarkson. If she doesn’t win all of the awards for this series, I riot. Speaking of Adora, what was up with Alan at the end of the episode? Another example of self-harm in the series? Can’t wait to learn more about his character.
The final topic I wanted to touch upon today is how the town of Wind Gap seems to feel about the women that live there. The idea of the murderer being female has been laughed off by both Bob Nash and Chief Vickery. There have been jokes made about how all women are good for is gossiping. There seems to be this idea that a woman’s pain has to be silenced (Camille), that an adolescent can’t mature at their own rate (Amma), that girls either have to be cheerleaders or tomboys. But most of all, in Wind Gap, the way things have always been should be how they remain. Nobody should rock the boat. Even Bob Nash appears to be lying about his wife still being in the picture, perhaps lying to cover up the fact that he’s doing “a woman’s work” by taking care of the children and folding laundry. Could this town’s suppression of both pain and emotions be the story? Self-harm, violent behavior, and more all stemming from the fact that girls, in particular, are told to act like everything’s okay when it’s really not? How will this town react if the killer is female?
Thanks for checking out my look at Episode 3 of Sharp Objects. We will be back next week to look at Episode 4 and as always, publish multiple articles daily looking at a wide variety of both television and film that you either already love or that could be your next favorite.
For more Sharp Objects episode analysis and new articles every Tuesday visit: 25YL: Sharp Objects