***Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for Sharp Objects through Episode 3 follow. Spoilers***
Three hours into HBO’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s debut novel, I find myself asking the same questions I did at a similar point in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Season 2. “Misery porn” loves company, I guess?
Having read the book, I knew coming into this series it would likely be a difficult watch and while Sharp Objects‘ central story greatly varies from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, the unpleasant subject matters may leave readers similarly and strongly affected. All of this to ask, what are we willing to put ourselves through in the name of great acting, and … why? Though I contemplated quitting Handmaid (the series) I did eventually find my way through — and frankly, I’m still not certain anything plot-wise was gained after a whole new set of (non-book) episodes was added. At least in Wind Gap, the entire town isn’t trying to keep Camille down; half the time she’s her own greatest enemy. Readers know, there’s more to the story than meets the eye, though that’s not necessarily a selling point for watching more.
With “Fix”, encompassing desperation continues to spread through the Crenlin house, oozes out into the garden across roses crushed by secret nighttime exploits, not unlike the dreams of all who enter. The blackness is as thick as (Engineered) goo, dripping down the front porch steps and making its way off property as it swallows a drunk Amma whole, having spat out spent her older sister long ago. Despite attempts to cut through the stuff choking her from the inside out, Camille never truly has much chance of succeeding — maybe she can slow its viscous swelling or perhaps she’ll simply drown, leaving us exhausted on the floor beside her.
Desperate for connection, a rescued (“Don’t tell mama”) Amma just wants to know her sister, even as she bemoans her abandonment. Another equally (to Marian’s death) devastating flashback reveals the beginnings of Camille’s affinity for Led Zeppelin, adds to the crushing realization that everyone she’s close to disappears… scars upon scars upon scars. Coincidentally, Alice — the rehab friend Camille quickly loses — is played by Sydney Sweeney, who also played The Handmaid’s Tale‘s Eden
Smothering Amma while simultaneously shunning Camille, Adora’s daughters are each left devastated in their own ways, desperate for the idea of a connection that neither can quite flesh out. Speaking of, it’s clear we’re meant to be rooting for Detective Willis to succumb to Camille’s particular charm (that hair!) but for some reason, their dirty dance is being withheld.
Investigational asides, including Camille’s encounter with John’s (victim, Natalie’s brother) impossibly perky and helpful girlfriend, only seem to lead back to Adora’s despising arms, and it all feels like a vicious circling back to the Crenlin house and a darkness that threatens to swallow us all.
Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson continue to be absolute perfection, but this miniseries is getting to be a slog. That said, While I got through Handmaid’s Tale, and appreciated it for the performances — again, is it worth it? I just don’t know.
I can’t figure out what Adora’s husband, Alan sees in the woman, or what relationship they actually have. Does he even have a purpose, other than to be some sort of calming force in the house?
Can we at least get to the inevitable Willis/Preaker fuckfest right quick, so there’s a measure of pleasure somewhere in this series?
Music This Hour:
Led Zeppelin, Thank You
M. Ward, There’s a Key
Alexander Streiliski, Concerto in D minor BWV 974 II
The Acid, Feed
Snoop Dog, I Love My Momma
Led Zeppelin, In the Evening
Amma to Camille: “You love dead girls.”
Camille’s response to Curry’s “Don’t be afraid to get a little personal, like how does it feel to be home?”: “It’s like a gift every day.”