SHARP OBJECTS HBO: recap & theories

This is four white porcelain dolls on a bed in a bed in a room. Three dolls are on the bed which is adorned with white bed sheets and a cloth material folded at the center of the bed. The fourth doll is in a wooden chair facing towards the audience. This represent the eerie feeling of the characters in "Sharp Objects" and also, the use of dolls to accentuate horror.
Dominika Roseclay

The positioning of suspects is very important.

The latest episode of Sharp Objects delivers precisely what the title denotes. The fifth episode “closer” provides a hint of closure to some unanswered questions that were teased throughout the 8 part season. This is the first episode that has a semblance of  a story-line and a narrative.

The town is celebrating Calhoun day, a dark confederate celebration that is beloved by both the town and Adora ( Patricia Clarkson). The day celebrates how Mille Calhoun, the wife of a confederate leader, kept from disclosing the where about of her husband during the civil war in the U.S between union and confederate soldiers.

“It’s how she reacts that everyone in this town just loves,”she tells him. The price of this loyalty, was that she was rape and violated by union soldiers, all the while staying mute about her husband.

The symbolism in this episode of Sharp Objects is very telling and inches closer to clues of characteristics of the killer, ideas about their motivation and who is protecting them. It also reveals that maybe Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) is getting closer to the answers or at least unknowingly getting nearer to the killer.

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The pointed history of Mille Calhoun, (Camille’s great great great something) a victim of her husband who was a well-known a pedophile, suggests that perhaps the killer may similarly be motivated by power and has pedophile tendencies known to the community. Still, the fact that this history is tied to Adora’s family suggests that maybe the killer is closely connected to the Perkers and Amma (Eliza Scanlen).

Emma plays Mille with enthusiasm, a portrayal that could suggest that perhaps the accomplice of the killer, perhaps the woman in white mentioned by the little boy in the episode ‘Ripe,’ is complicit in the crime and could at one point in time, had also been a victim like Mille, and is willing to absorb any violations to protect him.

It’s already clear that every detail and symbol used in Sharp Objects should not go unnoticed so it’s important to refresh on points that may have slipped by quickly without much attention. Let’s start from the beginning, the conversation between Detective Willis (Chris Messina) and Chief Vickery (Matt Craven) was very tense and foreshadowing. Though the defective was firm is saying that everything would be fine under his watch. He still suggested that William keep an eye on Camille, perhaps too quickly, since in the end the other sister was the one to cause trouble. And yet, that conversation provided so much incite into the possible failings of police in their investigation, maybe a hint to how the killer goes unnoticed for so long?

Then once at Calhoun guest are all watchful of each other. Jackie O’Neill (Elizabeth Perkin’s) Adora’s best friend is positioned at the veranda with some friends with a great view to gossip and observe the behavior of the other guests. She has the perfect positioning to observe as Adora entertains as the hostesses and is quick to observe when surprisingly Adora invites Detective Willis into her house, a move which is a first according to Jackie.

The conversation that follows between Adora and Willis suggests two things of significance. First that Adora always sees Camille in a negative light, and therefore may be unreliable when forming a picture of Camille strengths and weakness. Perhaps her image of Camille should always be taken with a grain of salt because it seems that the weaknesses she sees in Camille could potentially be strengths that could help to solve the case. Second, like in ‘Ripe’ the theme of roses with sharp thrones is repeated, this time with patience and authority. Adora, takes her time to explain the metaphor through Camille by exposing that she seems sweet and delicate but is also deceptive in how harmful she can be. Could this also be a hint into who the Killer’s accomplice is?

As the play starts the positioning of suspects is very important. Bob Nash (Will Chase) is seated within eyesight of chief Vickery,  John Keene (Taylor John Smith) is standing further away with his loyal girlfriend, and another character is highlighted which could mean an introduction of a third suspect. The teacher Mr, Lacey (Jackson Hurst) seems quite chummy and overly playful and focused on Amma as the play goes on. It was so weird, his wife takes notice with nervous and cringed glances as she watches her husband watch his student. She also takes notice when he initiates a conversation with Camille, a fact which is fishy because it seems she’s not comfortable leaving her husband alone with other women. Perhaps she’s afraid of what he’s capable of.

While the cops are focused on Bob and John who break out fighting, Amma, high from a supplement she took earlier with a play mate, begins to get agitated on stage and runs away. When she is found later by Camille, she looks bloody, scared,  and still agitated in the shed which has been the focus of so many dangerous incidents.

Fast forward to their home, Camille tries to connect with her mom and warn her about her fear with Amma’s behavior and its potential connection with something more sinister, but Adora is quick to brush her comments aside and instead infringes more emotional abuse, telling her that she never loved her because she felt a coldness from her. This conversation highlights the sub-theme of the show which is that the women are ignored and undervalued in the town despite having something useful to say. As Camille is left to collect herself and seek relief with Detective Willis, after such a traumatizing encounter, I’m left wondering what else is being missed because the women are being ignored and admonished for daring to speaking?

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