Ah HBO. We are one week past the finale of the new HBO miniseries Sharp Objects, and I’ve finally sat on it long enough to be able to talk about it. I love HBO for these types of shows in particular. They come out of nowhere and blow you away. They’re also not afraid to show you the more dour aspects of life. Sharp Objects stars Amy Adams as Camille Preaker, a reporter in St. Louis, Missouri who is tasked to return to her hometown of Wind Gap to report on a new missing girl. The previous year another girl went missing and wound up dead, and her boss thinks it’s a good idea to send her specifically because he believes she’ll have more insight and leverage with the small town people. Camille is suffering from some pretty severe alcoholism, and it’s definitely a small character in itself. She is literally always drinking. Which points to her assumed traumatic childhood that you see untangle as the show goes on.
Alrighty, this is very much a slow burn, depressing, twisty who done it. Like I’ve said above, HBO isn’t afraid to show the more dour aspects of life, and it really shows in this show. Whether its parents abusing their children, alcoholism, addiction, murder, and rape. Not light subjects. But these the features of our life whether we want to admit it or not. Camille reluctantly goes back to her hometown, to report on these missing girls. Her family life with her mother is utter torture. She connects with her younger sister Amma for the first time (we’ll get to Amma in a little.) She meets and is fond of a detective from Kansas City who was put on the case, played by Chris Messina. As this story unfolds, we learn more about Camille, her mother Adora, her step-father Alan, and her younger sister who died when she and Camille were young. The second girl’s body is found early in the show propped up in the middle of town in a window frame. This obviously horrifies everyone. And it’s not like the previous girl who went missing, who was found in a creek in the middle of the woods. Camille has to push through her own family drama, talking to people who weren’t very nice to her in her own school years, and people who may know a little more than they’re letting on. Most of the show is focusing on trying to find the killer of this latest girl, Natalie Keene. Now let’s get to the real meat and spoilers.
Many people suspect the killer is Natalie’s brother John, but its just a diversion. The show tries hard to mask who the real killer is 10 minutes before the final credits roll. One of the most terrifying parts of this show is Camille’s mother (Adora) and Stepfather (Alan) played by Patricia Clarkson and Henry Czerny respectively. I don’t know how common Munchhausen syndrome by proxy is, but it terrifies the living hell out of me. And if you don’t know what it is, its what Adora was doing by making her daughters sick by giving them small doses of poison to keep them sick so she can care for them. It’s what killed Camille’s younger sister Marian as a child. Adora gave her a little too much, and she finally succumbed to the poison. In addition to that, Adora is tormenting Camille at every turn with insults, passive aggressiveness, and mental torture. No wonder Camille isn’t your happy go, lucky protagonist.
Now you think towards the end, its Adora who has killed these young girls. But plot twist, it’s actually Camille’s younger sister Amma. And truth be told, on reflection, the clues were there. I can’t imagine growing up in Adora and Alan’s house, but you can see why these girls haven’t turned out quite so “happy ending.” It’s definitely a compelling and shocking twist. But with the slow burn of the show, you were kind of expecting something to happen. Especially in the last episode. It wraps up the whole Adora poisoning her children about halfway through, and you kind of get the idea the show isn’t entirely over. In the final ten to fifteen minutes, the mother of Amma’s new friend in St. Louis talks to Camille about her daughter not being home yet and is worried. Camille assures her she’ll talk to Amma and make sure she’ll come home. But in the mid-credits scene, you see Amma killing her new friend. It’s disturbing, to say the least. You also see Amma killing the two other girls in Wind Gap with the aid of her two close friends.
Now while this was a shocking twist, I can’t help but think of some issues. The show tries very hard to get you to think its a grown man who kills these girls. The detective said its usually someone close to the victims, which it was, but they were pointing to the brother. They also focus on the second girl’s teeth being pulled out. Which the detective tries himself on a dead pigs head. He found it very hard to do. Now I’m not saying its impossible for a woman to pull someone’s teeth out, but after making it seem so hard for a grown adult man to do it, it makes me question whether Amma was able to do it herself. Also, how she was able to perfectly prop another girls body up in the middle of the city without anyone seeing and without leaving any traces. It’s very minor nitpicks, but to me, flaws nonetheless. Also, I keep bringing Alan’s name up because even though he wasn’t poisoning his daughters, he had to of known about what was going on. I don’t know if you’re a parent or not, but I don’t think I can just silently watch my spouse poison and essentially killing our children. Just seemed a little unbelievable is all.
But with that being said, I would have to say Sharp Objects is a strong recommend for me. With only eight episodes, it makes the town of Wind Gap feel like a character in itself. Much like how True Detective season one made Louisiana feel like a character. You really feel for these characters, and know where they’re coming from which makes for great TV. Amy Adams as Camille has also set in stone for me how good of an actor she really is. If you have HBO, please check it out.