Sharp Objects: Season 1 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card for Sharp Objects.
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Sharp Objects, once it gets into its groove, reminds you why mini-series make for the best method to do book adaptations.


Network
HBO
CreatorMarti Noxon
Noted Cast
CamilleAmy Adams
Young CamilleSophia Lillis
AdoraPatricia Clarkson
AmmaEliza Scanlen
MarianLulu Wilson
Frank CurryMiguel Sandoval
Natalie KeenJessica Treska
Ann NashKaegan Baron
Chief VickeryMatt Craven
AliceSydney Sweeney
AshleyMadison Davenport
JohnTaylor John Smith
Bob NashWill Chase
AlanHenry Czerny

Summary

Amy Adams as Camille.

In June 2017, Camille Preaker finds herself assigned to a missing girl case. One which follows the murder of a girl, the summer before, in a 2,000 person town called Wing Gap in the state of Missouri. Which just so happens to be Camille’s hometown. One that holds her estranged little sister, Amma, her mother Adora, and step-dad Alan. People who haven’t heard from Camille in quite some time so her popping up, well, considering the circumstances, Adora finds it troubling.

If only because Adora is the unofficial mayor of the town thanks to her pig farm being the town’s largest employer. Making it where very little happens without her knowing. I mean, even the chief of police, Chief Vickery, seems to check in with her before anything is said and done. Well, that and Adora can barely stand Camille. Yet, when it comes to little sister Adora? Oh, she latches onto Camille like a new toy to play with.

But rekindling family ties isn’t why Frank sent Camille to Wind Gap. It was to investigate the murders of Ann Nash and Natalie Keene. Both who find themselves well connected to many in the town. For if it isn’t the off-putting nature of Ann’s father Bob, or Natalie’s brother John, there is the mysterious Jackie, as well as Adora, Alan, even Amma too. Not to forget, John’s fame-obsessed girlfriend Ashley.

All of whom Camille interacts with and investigates. Churning out one article after another to Frank as she also deals with her own demons. Many of which, through detective Richard, she confronts with caution but also a teasing nature. Making you wonder if Camille herself could be the killer.

Episodes & Synopses

Sharp Objects - Episode List

Season/ EpisodeSynopsis

Season 1/ Episode 1 "Vanish"

Sharp Objects, like many an HBO mini-series before, reminds you why the network is the anti-Netflix by focusing on quality over quantity.

CreatorMarti Noxon
Director(s)Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer(s)Marti Noxon
Air Date7/8/2018
Genre(s)Mystery, Drama
Noted Actors
CamilleAmy Adams
Young CamilleSophia Lillis
AdoraPatricia Clarkson
AmmaEliza Scanlen
MarianLulu Wilson
Frank CurryMiguel Sandoval
Natalie KeenJessica Treska
Ann NashKaegan Baron
Detective WillisChris Messina
Chief VickeryMatt Craven

Season 1/ Episode 2 "Dirt"

As Camille’s relationship with townspeople, and her mother, gets further established, so does her similarities to Natalie.

Director(s)Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer(s)Gillian Flynn
Air Date7/15/2018
Actors Introduced
EileenBarbara Eve Harris
JackieElizabeth Perkins

Season 1/ Episode 3 "Fix"

The investigation into the deaths of Ann and Natalie begin to gain traction as Amma and Adora become more suspicious.

Director(s)Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer(s)Alex Metcalf
Air Date7/22/2018
Actors Introduced
AliceSydney Sweeney
AshleyMadison Davenport
JohnTaylor John Smith
Bob NashWill Chase

Season 1/ Episode 4 "Ripe"

A handful of reveals continue to bring the Ann and Natalie's murder to the forefront and give some oil to get your wheels turning.

Director(s)Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer(s)Vince Calandra
Air Date7/29/2018
Actors Introduced
AlanHenry Czerny
GaylaEmily Yancy

Season 1/ Episode 8 "Milk"

We learn who killed Natalie and Ann, in spectacular fashion, as well as how and why? Leaving you overwhelmed and surely pledging your undying loyalty to the killer's actor and Gillian Flynn.

Director(s)Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer(s)

Marti Noxon

Gillian Flynn

Air Date8/26/2018
Characters Introduced
MaeIyana Halley

 

Season 1/ Episode 5 "Closer"

Mr. Lacey becomes the latest we need to keep our eye on as the Calhoun Day pageant shows how rooted in f***ery Wind Gap has always been.

Director(s)Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer(s)Scott Brown
Air Date8/5/2018
Actors Introduced
Kirk LaceyJackson Hurst

Season 1/ Episode 6 "Cherry"

With Ann’s bike being found, Richard digging into Camille’s past, and Camille haunted by every dead girl she knows, we draw closer and closer to getting pertinent answers.

Director(s)Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer(s)Dawn Kamoche, Ariella Blejer
Air Date8/12/2018
Actors Introduced
BeccaHilary Ward
KatieReagan Pasternak

Season 1/ Episode 7 "Falling"

As all signs point to one character, there remains the question of – not why they did it, but more so how?

Director(s)Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer(s)Gillian Flynn, Scott Brown
Air Date8/19/2018

Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs

Episode 2

My demons are not remotely tackled. They’re just mildly concussed.
— Camille

Episode 5

Good tree, bad apple.
— Chief Vickery

Episode 6

You can live a shallow life without copping to being a shallow person.
— Camille

Episode 7

“Your health is not a debt you just cancel. The body collects.”
—  Adora

I never thought she was bad. She was just completely herself.
— John

Highlights

How It Leads You To Think Anyone & Everyone Could Be A Suspect

Adora noting she is ready for Camille to leave.
Adora: I believe she’s outstayed her welcome.

There is truly nothing better than a good mystery. One which lays the foundation of all the who’s who before diving into why they can bring themselves to not only kill someone, but pull out their teeth. As well as the heinous things we see were done to Ann and Natalie. But, what makes this show especially interesting is everyone seems valid.

Bob Nash could have very well snapped considering he was raising a bunch of kids himself and was struggling. John, well, between Ashley manipulating him or maybe something weird happening, there are so many explanations. Adora got close to both girls and considering how she could get away with anything, who was to say she didn’t have a long line of girls killed once she got bored of them? Alan, being someone who is a kept man who didn’t do anything, maybe he had a relationship with them and when they threatened to tell, he killed them?

Heck, even Camille, she may not come around often but who is to say, among all those scars, weren’t names (Well, Camille outright says there wasn’t, but many scars were inspired by things said so close enough)? Maybe things the children, or their parents, said to her so she got revenge? Then with Amma, seeing as she flips her persona depending who she is around, who is to say she isn’t a crazy lunatic with a gang behind her willing to kill for and with her?

Camille’s Interactions with Amma and Adora

Amma trying to run her game on Camille.
Amma: I’ve never had a sister.

While the mystery, in the latter half of the season, drives the show, the initial hook is Camille interactions with Amma and Adora. With Adora, there is this weird, contentious relationship. One that delightfully has southern charm interlaced with arsenic that makes, no matter how kind the word or phrase, it being clear that Adora has very little love for Camille.

Then with Amma, her Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde routine is both weird and comical. For the way she acts when alone with Camille, or around Adora, is often this sweet girl. The former belief of how 16-year-olds, way back before Rock n’ Roll tainted the youth and made it so sin was in. Yet, there is also this dark side. A form of Adora if Adora didn’t sugar coat and have some feign attempt at pleasantries. A side to her which makes it seem she is in a constant hunt and unsure if Camille may join her or become prey.

Wind gap isn’t just a location but Culture

Wind gap easily could just be a place of a lot of haunting memories. Be it of Camille having a train ran on her as a child, horror stories which came before Ann and Natalie, alongside high school. However, it is greatly expanded by noting Calhoun Day, the sexism and racism of the town, as well as how the town is segregated. Making it so the town really has a life of its own rather than is simply where Camille is and where bad things happened just to her.

Jackie

Jackie at Calhoun day.

There is nothing more interesting than a character who moves about with very few cares in the world and seems to know everything. That is who Jackie was and with her also being one of the few who were consistently kind to Camille, she especially drew attention to herself. Yet, while nothing more than just a thorn in Adora’s side, competing for social status, she was one of the few characters, who didn’t seem necessarily murderous, who knew how to waltz into a scene and take attention from everyone else.

Amma

Amma's pupils dilating.

However, no one matched Eliza Scanlen when it came to stealing a scene. Using whatever personality it took, with a bit of wickedness in her smile, there was always a reason to feel uneasy about Amma. Especially when she decided to show off what power she, a mere teenager, had over the town and how much she loved and soaked up any and all attention. Add in the type of family she had, which was screwed up to say the least, and it really pushes you to understand why Scanlen will likely benefit the most from this series. For the twist of her being the killer, and those end credits scenes showing how she did it, pack the biggest punch you may ever see from a young actress for quite some time.

Low Points

Camille’s High School Friends

When it comes to Camille’s past, while Sophia Lillis and Lulu Wilson do a fine job of setting up what haunts Camille’s memories, as well as Sydney Sweeney in episode 3, when it comes to Camille’s high school friends? They all fall flat. Between not revealing much about Camille or being compelling enough to seem like additional murder suspects, in the long run, they just exist. Similar to how children characters exist to show two people used to love one another, and had sex, Camille’s high school friends seemingly existed to prove she used to be someone far different from who we get to know.

On The Fence

It’s A Wood Burning Oven Kind of Show

The dead body of Natalie Keen.

When the show begins, as noted, the murder of Ann and Natalie are one of the last things on your mind. For it really isn’t until episodes 3 or 4 that the show decide to switch from building up characters and relationships to having you care about the murders. But, it should also be noted, it also isn’t until the mid-point of the season where this show escaped being another HBO program that seems dedicated to shock and gore over emotion.

For between seeing inside Natalie’s dead body, Camille’s scars, and seeing Alice, Sydney Sweeney’s character, kill herself, it does seem to lean towards you being traumatized by imagery than understand Camille, or another character’s trauma. Yet, with time, the violence gives way to seeing Camille’s vulnerability and damage to her psyche. How desperate, in a way, Amma is to be seen, feel empowered, yet vulnerable enough where people will still find themselves walking right into her web. Making it so, by the end, your eyes may be locked on the screen due to what people go through but sometimes your vision isn’t clear for just seeing Camille be so passively dismissed by Adora, or dealing with trying to heal from generations of trauma, will have you in tears.

Somethings Just Don’t Get Answered

Camille getting ready to check the shed and see if her nightmare is about to come true.

A lot of questions, which may be answered in the book, aren’t in the show. First and foremost, what happened to Camille’s father and has she ever sought him out? He did leave Adora, for reasons she doesn’t seem to desire to harp on, but it seems Camille didn’t get to interact with him since. Leading you to wonder if she ever tried to connect and get answers? If that maybe is part of the reason she decided to become a reporter, to gain sources to find him, or if she really doesn’t care?

There is also the question of what is the source of Camille, so extensively, cutting herself and her alcoholism? Depending on the perspective, it could be when a train was ran on her (or rather, multiple guys, and just her, had an orgy – maybe against her will maybe not), if not Adora’s emotional or mental abuse. It is never made clear. All we know is she started cutting in high school, it got worse in college, and now her body is covered in them. Which, one could say, is so, as Willow Smith said in Red Table Talk so the pain wasn’t just mental and emotional but physical as well, but it isn’t clear if their reasons for self-harm were the same.

Alongside those, there are lesser questions worth asking like if Vickery and Adora ever had a thing, how big of a stink did Jackie really make Marian’s condition, alongside whether it was Amma who mangled Ashley’s ear? On top of whether Alan’s obsession with music was to drown out his guilt from knowing what Adora did to her children but liking the lifestyle she provided. After all, between being a domestic or the pig farm, among the few jobs available, which would you really choose?

Overall: Positive (Watch This) – Recommended

Amma as she pretends to be the girl Adora thinks she is.

Just typing this up and reminiscing gives me chills. For between Scanlen and Adams, what they do and their reaction to what happens to them gets to you. It isn’t something, like with most media, once it is done it is over. Those characters linger and stay with you, and if triggered strongly enough, you find yourself flashbacking and your hairs standing on ends. That is the effect Sharp Objects can have.

Hence the positive label and recommendation. For with Amy Adams, we get a vulnerable, touching character, whose trauma, and struggle to cope, is heartbreaking in many ways. Especially considering her interactions with Patricia Clarkson’s character. Then with Eliza Scanlen, truly she is a force to be reckoned with. Just that scene watching her eyes dilate, something rather simple, feels like you were being put on notice with how far the actress was willing and able to go to craft a character who was meant to make you feel uneasy without coming off over the top about it.


Has Another Season Been Confirmed?: Nope, if anything, it has been said this will be a one season program.


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About Amari Sali 3443 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

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