Last week, we talked about how the men of Sharp Objects grossly underestimate the women. We also talked briefly about the diminishing importance of who killed Ann Nash and Natalie Keene. Both of these concepts are cemented in a stunning fourth episode, which finds Camille taking Richard Willis on a tour of Wind Gap’s murder sites. Small town murders, especially gruesome, inexplicable ones, are almost always accompanied by claims from locals about how this kind of thing just doesn’t happen here. Camille’s quid-pro-quo tour with Richard (a crime scene for a question about the case) confirms the inaccuracy of that sentiment; Wind Gap seems like the kind of place where plenty of ‘that’ kind of thing goes down, especially if you don’t fit the town’s definition of decency.
Sharp Objects has a wonderful way of introducing elements that seem slightly off and then increasingly dwelling on them, just long enough to let the light shine on the unsettling wrongness of it all. The girl sitting on the seat on the landing of the Crellin-Preaker house, the blood beneath John Keene’s bed, his girlfriend’s desperate intensity, Adora’s peculiar fragility and its effect on the household. Take Chief Vickery’s social call to Adora last week. He repeats it this week and it’s clear that neither Amma nor her father Alan have any desire to have him in the house. There’s something off about the way he interacts with Adora. It’s not overtly sexual, it just feels wrong, even before he tells Adora that one of her daughters is trouble and the other is in trouble. Amma and Camille are still elusive enough for us to be unable to determine which one fits into which description.
Adora is becoming clearer all the time, that veil of silk and chiffon pulling back to reveal a viciousness that is particularly shocking in this episode. When she disgustedly sniffs at Camille and tells her she smells “ripe”, Patricia Clarkson delivers the word like it’s a blade, clearly not the first time she’s diminished Camille with carefully chosen, vicious words. Adora has only ever seen Camille’s difficulty to love and be loved in how it affects herself, never pausing to think how or why Camille has ended up that way, in much the same way, she’s never even considered that she’s not the only one who lost Marian, dismissing Alan and disappearing into her victim role when he confronts her about it.
While showing Richard around the darker areas of Wind Gap, Camille shows him the place where the football team would gang rape a “lucky cheerleader”. Well, Richard calls it rape, but Camille defensively protests that when it was her turn, it was consensual. Despite her argument about promiscuous men being heroes and promiscuous women being sluts, she’s not at all convincing. This return to Wind Gap has dragged Camille’s demons back to the surface, demons she’d supressed with alcohol and self-harm. Maybe this was the point of the assignment, to get her to confront everything she’s run away from. When Richard tries to kiss her, she stops him and instead pushes his hand down her pants. But by the time he drives her home, she kisses him tenderly, maybe suggesting a barrier has been breached, and maybe Camille is ready to let someone get close. But whatever romantic notion is raised there is shattered by Adora’s words. Once Camille is through the door, the humiliation and disappointment descends. It’s hard to believe that Adora isn’t all too aware of the damage she causes her daughter.
We end with a strange montage that is hard to decipher. Is Amma really dead or is that just Camille’s fears manifested? And why does Richard briefly appear right in the middle of it all? Personally, I don’t believe Amma’s dead, but the potential of another young girl’s body at Camille’s feet might just push her too far over the edge.
Bob Nash – I almost left him out this week. Pretty sure he’s totally innocent and Richard’s snooping turned up no evidence to the contrary.
John Keene – The blood under his bed doesn’t look good, does it? But I get a funny feeling it’s misdirection. His meeting with Camille in the bar uncovers the fact that Ann and Natalie were constantly at each other’s throats and Amma was the peacemaker. If that’s true then that makes Amma the next victim, if she’s not already dead.
Adora – Definitely still not getting a pass on this. Wouldn’t be surprised if she’s involved along with someone else.
Jodes and Kelsey – This one might be a bit leftfield, but if Ann, Amma and Nancy were friends and two of them (very possibly three) are now dead, that would make Jodes and Kelsey either potential targets or suspects. They’re unspeakably cruel, even more so than Amma, so they warrant a place on the list.