Sharp Objects Season: 1 / Episode: 5: Closer / HBO
Content Warning: Self-harm.
It’s white pride day in Wind Gap AKA Calhoun Day AKA damn, y’all cosplaying as losers and everything…again? [deep sigh]
First of all, it’s dumb because confederacy. Second of all, it’s dumb because there’s a killer among them. Remember those two dead girls? Yeah, well no one is in custody; no one has been charged; no one is safe. So, why are you throwing a party? Oh, because Adora wants to? Sounds legit.
Speaking of Adora’s unyielding nature, Camille’s still trapped in her mother’s house and in her memories of the past. She wakes up to the sound of Calhoun Day tents being hoisted and tables being set up. It’s the general commotion of jovial racism disguised as tradition. Her latest article was published just that morning and Curry, her Editor, is pleased and hungry for more. Camille’s exhaustion is palpable; she wants to go home, but her sense of duty to Curry, to the dead girls, to her willingness to endure that keeps her there.
On her way downstairs, Camille drops a water bottle (bet you 10 bucks there’s no water in that there bottle), and it rolls into a tiled room. Suddenly, young pixie cut Camille is standing outside the tiled room while Miriam, the sister who will die, stands a few feet away leaning on the railing. Inside the room, a photographer sets up equipment while Adora flutters about. “My mother was a Calhoun, we married into the Preakers,” she continues on, giving a history lesson to the photographer: where the tile came from, why, to whom it was gifted.
In the present, Camille barely steps in the room to retrieve her water bottle. The exclusion is a part of her. On the wall, the photo spread from that long ago day highlights the floor, Adora, and her sister…even though though they were both there…even though they are both Adora’s daughters.
KC AKA Dick AKA Richard is driving through town as he calls to give Camille shit about her most recent article. Seems no one is happy about the article except Curry. KC sees Vickery in the barber’s shop getting purty to celebrate the losing-est side in the Civil War and now it’s KC’s turn to get harassed about the article. It seems no one believes that Camille is a journalist, so the Chief assumes that everything that is even halfway right or smart in the article came from KC. Vickery leaves KC with a cryptic warning about Camille. “Good tree, bad apple,” he says. Good tree? Where TF you see a “good tree?” Adora’s abusive ass is a “good tree?” You mean whatever secret tree in the woods where he carved his and Adora’s initials inside of a heart? FOH with some “good tree.”
Shopping with the Girls
Back at the plantation, Adora is supervising the preparations while Amma whines about needing to run her lines. She is, of course, starring in the reenactment. Camille, fresh from her memories of the ivory floor, volunteers to run lines with her sister. Against, Adora’s protestations, they begin to run lines with Amma playing Millie Calhoun and Camille reading the part of “Yankee rapist.” [sets tv on fire].
Adora decides abruptly that Camille is not dressed appropriately, and they all must go shopping immediately. She goes off to harrass Alan into driving them as her daughters continue to run lines. Camille, disturbed by John Keene’s revelation that Amma was good friends with the murdered girls, asks her little sister about it. I want to believe Amma when she says she feels bad about it because though they used to be friends, they weren’t when they were killed. Ann and Natalie still wanted to play and build forts, and Amma wanted to play at being a woman.
Just then Amma’s secret second phone goes off with a link to Camille’s most recent article. Instantly, Amma is transformed to Adora 2.0, pissed that she didn’t know about the article first. That made the car ride to the dress shop awkward as Amma texted and plotted, plotted and texted.
At the store, Adora wastes no time in telling the sales lady that Camille took after her father: color and temperament. She’s always trying to explain her daughter away. Inside the store, Adora picks out spaghetti-strapped dresses for Camille to try on. Still petulant and an asshole in general, Amma tells Adora about Camille’s newest article. Now, everyone is pissed.
The dress-shop lady takes Camille to a fitting room. On the way, Camille asks her to bring another long-sleeved dress into the fitting room. That dress never arrives. Camille asks again for the dress she requested. By this time, she’s in her underwear in the fitting room alone. She realizes that her clothes are gone, so it’s just her and the two dresses Adora picked out. She asks for the dress she chose again.
Adora asks her to put on the dresses, to stop being difficult. Camille asks Adora to send Amma to the car. She doesn’t. Camille asks Amma directly to go to the car. She doesn’t go. No one listens to her. She comes out, frustrated, and throws the dress at Adora, and we see her: covered in self-inflicted scars from her ankles to her collar bones. Amma is transfixed. Adora stares.
When the spell is broken, Adora waves Amma away and tells her, finially, to go to the car. Camille knows her mother’s coldness and asks ” is this what you wanted,” and we all know it is. Adora, missing no opportunity to lower the bar, says she’s happy Amma saw and that this too was all from Camille’s father, this spite. She calls her daughter “ruined” and still I’m wondering what “good tree” could Vickery possibly have been referring to?
You Should Be Sorry
Back at the plantation, Amma offers Camille a half-assed apology and a long-sleeved dress. This asshole. Outside, KC is arriving to the festivities. On the veranda, Jackie and the ladies are sipping drinks and gearing up for the day. She exchanges a few coded word with Adora who is playing the gracious hostess, and I mostly just wish these two would get to scrappin’ because Adora needs an asswhoopin and Jackie has some as-yet-unexplained rage in her towards Adora.
Inside, Camille is back on the phone with Curry, and it’s obvious how much Wind Gap and the people in it, particularly her abusive as mother, erode her. Still, she’s staying to finish the story.
All the players are at Losers’ Day: Adora, Amma, Vickery, KC, Bob Nash, John Keene (and overbearing girlfriend Ashley Wheeler), randos from Camille’s high school days. What could possibly go wrong?
Bob Nash makes a vague threat towards KC in the “I want justice for my daughter and you aren’t trying hard enough” way. Ashley Wheeler is pissed that Camille’s article wasn’t a fluff personal interest piece that would get John back into the good graces of the whole town and threatens Camille with the ominous “I know things” threat that everybody seems to fling at Camille all the time. The sadly aged high school randos, now pathetic good ole boys, make some creepy AF suggestion that they go somewhere and have sex. KC finds Camille at the tailend of that exchange and the two walk off to “enjoy” the party.
Mommy Dearest Strikes Again
Adora senses her daughter’s happiness and immediately begins plotting to ruin it. As soon as Camille and KC go there separate ways, Adora invites KC in to tour the house. Note: this is unusual. Inside, Amma, Jodes, and Nathan are “playing” at the dollhouse which means taking pills right before their performance because everyone in this town makes good choices. Adora sends Amma away saying that Camille wanted to run lines with her backstage.
Meanwhile, Jackie tells Camille that Adora is with KC, and Camille immediately tries to get back to the house to run interference. She tells Amma that she can’t run lines, but she’ll be right back. She runs into the old cheerleaders who are weird in a flashback to high school kind of way. They invite Camille to a “pity party” the next day. I’ll take things that don’t sound like any fun at all for 500, Alex. Inside the house, Adora is showing KC the ivory floor and insinuating that Camille is unwell despite Adora’s excellent parenting.
By the time Camille gets to the house, KC is exiting, and it’s time for the re-enactment of the gang-rape of Amma’s great great grandmother. On stage, Amma (who is high AF), sees Camille talking to KC instead of focusing her attention, laser-like, on Amma. Jackie notices this jealousy. In the audience, Camille is trying to find out what Adora said, because she knows she said something.
Ls on Stage, Ls in the Audience
Then, Bob Nash and John Keene get into a fist fight because of course they do. Of course. On stage, Amma freaks out either from the drugs or the lack of attention or both and she…runs away. [sigh]
Cut to Adora wrapped in Alan’s confederate jacket crying those uncut white woman’s tears like “oh woe is me, how could anything bad possibly have happened today?” Because Vickery told you. Because Camille told you. Because ongoing murder investigation. Ugh.
So now they have to send a search party to look for her, but of course Camille knows where she is: creepy hunting cabin. Cut to Amma in bed being doted on and cared for by Adora. I hate both of them so much. So very much.
Adora, grateful, asks Camille to have a drink on the veranda. We’ll ignore the fact that it’s a porch you bougie MFer and just skip straight to the suspicion because Adora is being decent. She says she wants to apologize, and Camille says no. What? Wait? Why? Oh, poor sweet deeply damaged Camille, let this trick apologize. But no, instead, Camille apologizes for the timing of the article and says she’s worried about Amma’s mood swings and acting out. She thanks [flips table] Adora for not telling KC anything about her, and Adora counters with he’s gonna find out as soon as you two do the nasty. Thanks, mom. Camille says that she “never gets close,” and my heart breaks more for her.
Then, Adora says that that is what she wanted to apologize for: Camille’s nature, which she got from her father. And that nature is why she never loved Camille. What? That’s not how apologies work, Adora.
Cut to Camille driving through Wind Gap and drinking and then knocking on KC’s hotel room door. She turns off the light and won’t let him touch her body which I guess is a kind of Braille that she doesn’t want him to read. Even as she pulls him inside of her, she hold his hands above her head.
I Need Answers
Who is Camille’s father? What happened in that hunter’s cabin? When exactly did Amma stop hanging out with Ann and Natalie (and why?)? Why does Alan put up with Adora’s unending shit? When is Camille going to find out that Curry is dying of cancer?
If you or someone you know struggles with self-harm or substance abuse, please seek help by contacting the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1–800–662-HELP (4357). For additional resources visit www.hbo.com/sharp-objects/resources.
Need to refresh your memory? Check out our recaps of Sharp Objects here.
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