Sharp Objects recap: season one, episode five – Closer

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Spoiler alert: this blog is published after Sharp Objects airs on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic and Now TV in the UK on Sunday night/Monday morning. Do not read unless you have watched episode five.

‘It’s honest, it’s refreshing, it’s timely’

Let’s begin with that scene. Sharp Objects can be a taut and nasty show, as concerned as it is with violence and dirt and secrets and shame, but from the moment Adora asked Camille to join her for a drink on the veranda, it was obvious that the episode had been a little too sunny until this point. In a conversation approaching intimacy, Camille thanked her mother for not telling Richard about her problems (although we know she did). Adora began to apologise, and talk about Camille’s mysterious father. “That’s why I think I never loved you. You were born to it, that cold nature. I hope that’s some comfort.” Reader, I gasped. With parents like that, no wonder Camille is hitting those Evian bottles.

After last week’s frantic finale, everything was set back to whatever approximation of normality Wind Gap can muster for Calhoun Day. Alan did not shoot anyone, that we know of. Amma didn’t get run over, although she did end up in the hunting shack, as a result of a bad trip. Camille continues to have visions of Amma as a dead body. It felt as if this week, they tried to be a family – even Amma calling Camille a bitch felt like a kind of sisterly affection. But with all the talk of Camille’s father (“all spite”), it was clear that it would not hold.

Writing an article, published on Calhoun Day, that implied Wind Gap was responsible for the deaths of Natalie and Ann was a bold move by Camille, but, at the same time, a vulnerability has emerged from beneath her black uniform. She may not know anything about her father, but Curry continues to take a paternal role, and when she’s sitting there in her white Little Bo Peep dress on the phone to him, she shows a rawness previously hidden by tough talk and distance. (“Whenever I’m here, I feel like a bad person.”) The scene in the changing rooms was powerful and distressing. Adora decided that the scars were an act of “spite”, just as her father was spiteful. Amma, who oscillates between petulant child and precocious teen, seemed ashamed of the scene she had caused, and is it naive to think that when she asked Camille to stay, she meant it? By the end of the episode, Camille seems desperate for any kind of intimacy she can find, and makes her way to Richard’s. But, lights off, it’s on her terms. “We do it my way, OK?”

Henry Czerny as Alan.
Henry Czerny as Alan. Photograph: Home Box Office (HBO)

Who’s the killer?

Alan suspiciously drove away from the clothes shopping trip, although obviously he was back in time for Amma to be hurried off to the car. Nobody is stepping forward to take Alan’s crown as chief suspect, but while Bob and John fight it out, there’s obviously something going on with Ashley, the cheerleader from hell. This week muddied everyone’s intentions, and I have no idea who knows what, or what they want from one another.

Notes and observations

  • A week without Led Zep! The Preaker/Crellin clan listened to Perry Como’s It’s Impossible in the car, while Camille drove to Richard’s to the sound of Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Pa’lante.
  • I loved the detail of Amma’s pupils dilating on stage. What was it about seeing Richard with Camille that made her run off?
  • No wonder Amma had a bad time, though: the celebratory play about “our founding paedophile” Zeke Calhoun features a performance of a gang rape, in addition to its upbeat musical numbers.
  • I also loved Patricia Clarkson chewing on that ivory floor scenery. It’s supposed to last for ever, she purrs, but “things fall apart real quick”.
  • The Southern Home magazine spread, framed on the wall, features Marian with Adora, but not Camille.
  • When Jackie said, “Those Crellin girls sure do like the boys with badges”, I’m guessing she was referring to the Chief and Adora, as well as Camille and Richard?
  • What is going on with Jackie? Those looks she’s aiming at Adora’s back are deadly.
  • We found out, in flashback, that the drama teacher was one of the boys in the woods with teenage Camille.

Quote of the week

“She’s delicate. A rare rose, but not without thorns.” Adora vamps it up while warning Richard of Camille’s “recent episode”.

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