***Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for Sharp Objects through Season 1 Episode 2 follow. Spoilers***
Old habits die hard. If as an adult you’ve ever visited home after a long while away, you may have experienced something more than nostalgic familiarity; there can be almost a reversion to every childhood behavioral pattern. Parents are always parents (while children, too) which, depending upon methodology, can be a good or bad thing. For Camille Preaker, the story back home that could provide her big career break is so utterly fraught with emotional landmines, it may instead rend her paper-thin stability. Though it’s clear distance and time have allowed Camille to build the fortitude that sometimes keeps her mother at bay, Adora’s insistence on maintaining the familial dynamic is clearly taking its toll — and not only on her oldest daughter.
Still sleepwalking through the constantly morphing reality of past and present, the Crenlin home provides Camille little rest as its occupants — both temporary and permanent — rise to the funeral day of young Natalie, whose shocking find in last week’s episode is marked by new, horrific details; the coroner explains to Detective Willis how the girl’s teeth were removed with household pliers, the force it would take. In by far the hour’s most disturbing scene, Richard attempts to replicate the act on a dead pig, perhaps understanding the strength and rage necessary to perform such a task. In only two episodes, Sharp Objects‘ pervasive bleakness courses through viewer veins; we semi-unwilling ride-alongs can’t seem to look away and in an unusual twist, it’s clear the pull is less of mystery, more envelopment in the spreading malaise.
An eyelash provides maternal connection when nothing is left; teens at home veer far from who they are outside the nest, emulating adulthood’s masks (and tasks). Gathered at the funeral, rebellion ranges from Camille’s note-taking, to Natalie’s mother raging over a family’s senseless loss, and dreams of revenge. Caught up in the town’s apparently inherent darkness, a second daughter drinks, the other chooses her weapon, readies herself to literally open old wounds. ***Allusion to Book Spoiler*** Reader or not, it’s impossible to not feel Adora is somehow involved in every bit of Wind Gap’s suffering. ***End Book Spoiler***
Is there a real Woman in White who snatches children, or is she merely a (Camille’s) phantom created in children’s heads? Post-funeral guests (a killer possibly among them) gather at — invade — the house of the dead, and Camille takes wild liberties, including freeing Natalie’s spider pet right in front of the child’s numbed father. With a town full of suspects, a changing MO and no solid clues, there’s nothing left but for everyone to sink … to drown in the darkness. Returning to her haunted mansion, Camille attempts to face down Adora — who’s “calming” Amma’s screaming fear — leads the elder daughter right back to where she left her young self off. In a mix of pain and ecstasy, Wind Gap’s “princess” takes control the only way she knows how, falls right back into the pattern of her youth.
I loved the fade from the housemaid cleaning the Crenlin floor to Amma polishing her dollhouse floor. The people in this town all follow their examples. And well, appearances are everything … especially to a woman like Adora.
When Natalie’s father says to Camille: “She stunned ants and fed them to her spiders”, all I could think of was Adora.
Speaking of, of course Amy Adams is killing every scene she’s in, and Patricia Clarkson is likewise making amazing use of every onscreen moment — whether quiet or loud. They seriously couldn’t have gotten a better pair of actresses for this series.
Songs This Hour:
Mekas, Distorted Geometry (Original Mix)
Led Zeppelin, In the Evening
M. Ward, There’s a Key
LCD Soundsystem, Black Screen
Cop: “Can we just save the Silence of the Lambs routine for another time?”
Curry to Camille: “Don’t go gentle, get what you need for the story.”
Camille: “My demons are not remotely tackled; they’re just mildly concussed.
If someone says ‘Bless your heart’, what they really mean is ‘Fuck you’.”