HBO’s Sharp Objects
Episode 6: “Cherry”
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
Written by Arielle Blejer & Dawn Kamoche
* For a recap & review of Episode 5, “Closer” – click here
* For a recap & review of Episode 7, “Falling” – click here
Out in the woods of Wind Gap is where the demons in Camille’s (Amy Adams) mind fully exist. Same place where she was able to track down Amma (Eliza Scanlen) recently. She wakes up the following morning in bed with Dt. Willis (Chris Messina). He’s continuously curious about her and he’s not pushy about her boundaries, either. Something she’s probably not at all used to in her life.
Adora (Patricia Clarkson) gets a curious call. She tells the person on the other end: “Don‘t do a thing until I get there.” Mysterious. There’s so may unsettling things about Camille’s mother, not the least of which is her sixth sense of being able to tell when her daughter has been engaged in sexual activity. Like she can smell it. I also can’t help be curious about Alan (Henry Czerny). He’s pent up, sexually frustrated due to his wife being distant and physically isolated. His bedside table is littered with golden era pornography from the 1960s. The Crellin house is one weird place.
In the middle of Dt. Willis checking into Camille’s mental health history, he gets a call from Chief Vickery (Matt Craven), who’s already over on the farm with Adora, as well as Bob Nash (Will Chase). In the lake at the farm, a bike is dredged up. Looks like it belonged to Bob’s daughter.
Now the cops are going to look into the farm workers. one of whom is John (Taylor John Smith). At the moment, John is by the pool with Amma and her friends. Coincidentally, Camille arrives at the same time, as does Ashley (Madison Davenport)— the two women are having a meeting. It’s a bit awkward. Ashley calls Ms. Preaker “a legend” in Wind Gap. Then she talks a bit about John. Being around a cheerleader only seems to take Camille back to her youth, one still shrouded in mysteries.
“Couldn’t you just take a bite out of her?”
“Like a plump, juicy cherry.”
Dt. Willis goes to see a Dr. Hafia (Ravi Kapoor), at the facility where Camille was staying. He’s really crossing one hell of a boundary, whereas before he seemed to be respecting the ones Camille had been setting down. He’s using his power to look into a personal relationship. If she finds out, it’s going to do nothing for her mental state. She’s already got issues with men and power.
On the phone, Camille talks with Frank (Miguel Sandoval) back home about the “shallow pool of pig shit” where the bike was recently found. She wonders if it was someone trying to frame another person. She also starts wondering if the killer could possibly be a woman. Later, we see more of the tight leash Adora has on Alan, ordering him to talk to Camille. He does, reluctantly, and ignorantly once he actually gets talking to his stepdaughter. Alan blames Adora’s behaviour on her own mother, too. It’s a cycle of blame, that house. So much abuse, in so many forms.
At a get-together, Camille sees the old cheerleading squad and women she hasn’t seen in years. She really doesn’t fit in anymore, if she ever did in the beginning. She has to put up with a lot of Southern belle bullshit about “what women were made for” and all those aspects of internalised misogyny. She then runs into Kirk (Jackson Hurst), he tries offering an apology for “that day in the woods.” Clearly the football players raped Camille. It was always suggested cryptically, and now we know for sure. Worse is the typical ‘now that I have daughters’ routine many men pull, as if they didn’t already realise women were human. Sickening.
Simultaneously, Dt. Willis gets more sly info about Camille from Jackie (Elizabeth Perkins)— once a friend to the younger woman, now revealing herself as just like everyone else in Wind Gap. He’s no better, digging into his new flame’s background behind her back. That whole town has her wrong, so getting info from people there won’t do him any good.
“Dead girls everywhere”
Camille winds up at a party with Amma and the girls, where Ashley and John are also partying. A decade throwback while the music plays. The place gets a bit hostile when John is openly called “murderer” and Ashley nearly knocks Amma out. We keep witnessing the deviousness of Ashley, who only wants to be in the papers, she doesn’t actually want to help. She does tell Camille if she wants to know more about Natalie, talk to Adora. Hmm. There’s more behind mom. Upstairs, Camille sees Amma engaging in risky behaviour between the drugs and alcohol. She gets fairly fucked up on drugs, too. This does nothing to aid her fragile mental health.
We learn someone supposedly identified John as having dumped the bike at the farm. This makes Chief Vickery believe the case is ready to be closed, letting Dt. Willis know his time in Wind Gap has come to an end.
After Camille comes home from her night out with Amma, she feels more memories flooding back— of her dead sister, of all the tortured past within that home’s walls, and everything else ugly in her personal past weighs on her mind. The two sisters go pass out Camille’s room together, which conjures up the memory long dead sister Marian (Lulu Wilson). Marian’s ghost lets Camille know: “It‘s not safe here for you.” (Perfect use of this song over the end credits considering we just saw a surreal ghost.)
One of my favourite episodes. For those of us who’ve read the book, we already know the secrets and how they pan out. Even so, the writing keeps us on edge. The pacing of the episodes is SHEER BRILLIANCE! “Falling” is next and it’s the penultimate episode. Buckle up.