‘Sharp Objects’ Recap: Ripe

TW: Self Harm, Alcoholism, Sexual Assault

“Shit, still in Wind Gap,” Detective Richard Willis (Chris Messina) mutters as he wakes up in his sweltering hotel room. Yes, Willis, we are still in Wind Gap and we’re now halfway through Sharp Objects. The fourth episode in the series is a kick to the face, addressing sexual assault, sexual tension, and the festering pain of the Preaker-Crellin family.

Adora is still whimpering about her hand, which she cut while trimming her roses. The small flesh wound is now being used as an excuse to have her husband, Alan, cut her breakfast and to cancel her social engagements. This means Camille must go meet Jackie (Elizabeth Perkins) and friends alone. The older women are just as gossip-focused as the rest of the town; No one is safe from their sharp tongues. 

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Elizabeth Perkins in Sharp Objects (2018)

Later, Camille takes Detective Willis through Wind Gap’s woods while brandishing a bottle of liquor. As they weave through the trees, Camille takes him on a tour of the town’s crime scenes, revealing the town’s dark and twisted past. As she tells him about the two women found with their wrists cut, she says, “Every woman gets a nasty label if they don’t conform to the rules of engagement.” But, she won’t reveal her labels. She does reveal, however, that she was taken advantage of by the football team. She then takes Willis to a rundown shack full of porn, which triggers Camille. To avoid talking about her pain, she unzips her pants and puts his hand down her underwear.

As she kisses and gets intimate it with Willis, disturbing memories flood her mind – from her sexual assault to when she found Natalie’s body. It’s difficult to watch, but it portrays a harsh reality of how memory functions for those who have been sexually assaulted.

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Amy Adams and Taylor John Smith in Sharp Objects (2018)

Later, over whiskey, John Keene reveals some key information about his sister, and murder victim, Natalie. She was a troublemaker, stabbing a classmate in Philadelphia in the eye. She was also close friends with Anne and, surprisingly, with Amma. He tells Camille they all used to play in the previously-shown hunting shed.

Amma (Eliza Scanlen) continues to be an absolute scene stealer, manipulating everyone around her. Her light touches, her giggly apologies, the ribbons in her hair – she uses every part of herself to her advantage. As Camille discovers her relationship with the two dead girls, suspicions begin to swirl and Amma’s intentions are starting to be questioned. Vickery said one of Adora’s girls is dangerous – it just might be Amma.  

The way music functions in Sharp Objects continues to amaze me. The episode begins with Vickery’s wife popping in a cassette tape as she makes breakfast. It’s a seemingly normal scene – she’s just making her husband breakfast. But with the events unfolding in Wind Gap, the music feels like a weak band-aid over the building tension. Music is now also used to manipulate as Amma plays a record and dances with her mother. Camille watches the two dance, which triggers memories of Adora brushing Amma’s hair. She sees how much Adora loves Amma and hates Camille. Even as the show ends, the music builds to Alan getting drunk, taking off his jacket, and demanding sex from his wife. Music is no longer just being used as a coping mechanism for trauma – it’s being used to build tension between characters as they slowly fall apart.

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