The first half of Sharp Objects has been spent exploring the characters and Wind Gap itself.
Warning! Spoilers for Sharp Objects below!
The story so far: The longer she remains in her hometown of Wind Gap the more vivid Camille’s memories of her childhood become. Last week gave disturbing insight into Camille’s high school. As more clues are discovered, there is still little more than theories about who murdered two young girls.
With Sharp Objects more than halfway over, it came as no surprise when ‘Closer’ started by spending more time on the mystery that brought Camille back to Wind Gap. The first half of the season has been spent exploring the characters and the town itself. This has not impacted the show negatively as Camille, her mother Adora, and half sister Amma are easily some of the best written characters on television. The town has set an oppressive atmosphere and tone that is perfect for the story being told. That being said, it is clear that the mystery is secondary in this unsettling tale.
Which is not to say that the earlier episodes of the show have downplayed the murder. Sharp Objects has been centered around the investigations into the grisly killings. Theories have been tested out, suspects have been interrogated, and clues have been examined, however the show has put its focus on its strong characters.
The episode begins with Willis and Sheriff Vickery having another discussion about the case. Throughout the miniseries the two have had a contentious relationship that continues here, but there is also a more open exchange of information. There is still a strong distrust that seems to grow as the episode proceeds, but there has been improvement since the first episode.After the initial conversation between the two lawmen, the episode proceeds to become the most tension filled of the season. ‘Closer’ take place in one day, a town holiday known as Calhoun Day. Wind Gap has always given the impression that it is lost in time and the fact is hammered home here. Calhoun Day is a celebration of when town founder and Confederate officer Zeke Calhoun valiantly fought off Union soldiers.
The celebration speaks volumes about Wind Gap. There is a ridiculous play, Confederate flags are everywhere, and people use the term “Yankee” openly and disparagingly. Scariest of all, Calhoun had a “child bride” which only seems appropriate for the seedy Missouri town.
There is never a moment when the episode doesn’t have viewers on the edge of their seats. At every moment it seems like violence is going to erupt. This is undercut with a deep sexual tension that implies no one is safe. Everything happens against a backdrop of drug use and suspicious glances. The sense of unease lasts from the innocent beginning to the harrowing end.Patricia Clarkson puts on an award-worthy performance as she somehow becomes more manipulative, sinister, and helpless. Adora navigates the town’s treacherous social circle like a successful politician plays a Washington fund raiser. All the while, she never seems to lose composure or control of any situation. She is so good, there is a moment it seems she can either seduce or kill a person depending on what she wants.
Sharp Objects continues to impress with careful storytelling and character building. ‘Closer’ uses methodical pacing to deliver the most nerve-racking episode of the season. Tempers, passions, and suspicions are also starting to rise as Wind Gap refuses to divulge its secrets.