Previously on Sharp Objects, “Vanish”
If last week’s episode title, “Vanish,” pertained to the missing girl whose disappearance sent Camille back to Wind Gap, then it’s fair to assume that this week’s title, “Dirt,” refers to the secrets and gossip that are plaguing its residents — even by small-town standards, it’s a lot.
Weddings and funerals are often depicted as hotbeds for whispering gossip and Wind Gap is no exception. Attending Natalie Keene’s funeral provides Camille many details about the dead girl and the family who mourns her. Natalie’s older brother, John, shows his grief openly and loudly, and the fact that the siblings were extremely close leads some in the town to refer to them as weird. Displaying grief via anger is also unacceptable as Adora takes issue with Natalie’s mother’s prayer for revenge while delivering the eulogy. With all the judgement and opinions, it’s almost impossible to win in a town like Wind Gap.
You can’t help but view everyone as a suspect in a show like this, but the downside to that is it often means characters who have no real reason to hinder a murder investigation will do so anyway for the sake of maintaining a mystery. Here, it makes characters like Chief Vickery unlikable. He’s like Adora in that protecting the town’s secrets and reputation means no one is allowed to ask the tough questions. This leaves characters like Detective Willis and Camille to push for answers from people who’d rather not talk about the possibility of the town having a serial killer.
It’s also impossible to not entertain a few theories as the story unfolds. “Dirt” reveals a falling out between the two murdered girls, but the cause is still unknown. Could the killer be someone connected to their fight? The animosity between the two girls has expanded past their deaths and appears to have been taken up by their families as Natalie’s father yells at Mr. Nash and chases him out of the wake. Camille learns Nash himself is a suspect when she catches Willis taking a soil sample from Nash’s car tires while everyone is in the church.
Because Natalie’s teeth were removed with pliers, it suggests to investigators that the killer is a man — it takes a lot of strength to pull out teeth and clearly our dainty lady hands and arms aren’t up to the task. This makes the possibility that the murderer is a woman much more likely since everyone is focusing on men. Since both girls were described as strong-willed, smart, and tough, it’s possible only a woman — and one they probably knew — could get close enough to harm them. When Camille speaks to a young boy who claims to have seen “the woman in white” take Natalie, Vickery goes out of his way to discredit the boy and chalks it up to a fascination with the town’s folklore about a woman in a white dress who lurks in the woods.
This show does such a great job illustrating the heavy, suffocating vibe in Wind Gap that it’s not at all surprising when, after just a few days back in town and under her mother’s roof, Camille starts harming herself again. She uses a needle purchased to sew up a tear in her dress to retrace old words scarred into her skin. She then leaves it sticking out of the seat in her car so she can press a fingertip against it as she drives. Frank, Camille’s editor and friend, thinks this assignment will help Camille bounce back after her yet to be explained breakdown, but it’s having the opposite effect so far. After exchanging harsh words with her mother during one of Amma’s fits, Camille submits an article and purposely includes details she obtained unethically. She drinks constantly and appears to fully commit to carving into her stomach by episode’s end. The town itself is a sharp object.
“My demons are not remotely tackled; they’re only mildly concussed.” - Camille
I’m not overly fond of the quick flashes of memory throughout these episodes. They’re unnecessarily confusing, and there’s already so much to unpack with regards to Adora being over protective of Amma, yet cold with Camille and the murder of two girls. Having to stop and rewind flashes of a girl in a black dress or a spinning fan is annoying. However, the longer flashes are a helpful supplement to the current plot. They’re always absent of sound and it makes seeing a young Camille be rejected by Adora at Amma’s funeral even more haunting and heartbreaking.
“Dirt” provided a few glimpses of the comforts of living in a small town. When Willis tells the barber that flowers left where Natalie’s body was found could be seen as a sign of a guilty conscience, the man replies, “Around here we call it being nice.” Also, Camille finds a local woman removing all of Natalie’s missing signs from around town so the girl’s mother wouldn’t have to see them; she did the same with Ann’s photos.
If you had any doubts about how much influence Adora has in the town, this episode proved it’s considerable. Natalie Keene’s funeral couldn’t begin until Adora arrived.
Camille self harms by cutting and Adora plucks out her eyelashes. Are Amma’s violent fits a form of self harm or is she just acting out?
Camille wearing — but not fitting — Adora’s clothes was a bit on the nose.
Are we really supposed to believe that word of how Amma is outside of the home hasn’t reached Adora?
Is Amma in any danger? By all accounts, the murdered girls were the opposite of Amma — at least the Amma she presents at home. When Camille says that someone is out there killing girls, one of Amma’s friends replies, “Not the cool ones.”
What’s with the sitting area in Adora’s bedroom? In “Vanish,” Camille notes scuff marks on the floor and this episode, their housekeepers goes right to the spot and begins to scrub when she enters to do her morning cleaning. At the same time, Amma is cleaning the exact spot within her dollhouse; as if she knows it’s what the housekeeper does each morning.
Sharp Objects S1E1 Review Score
Starring: Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina, Eliza Scanlen, Miguel Sandoval, Sophia Lillis, and Matt Craven