‘Sharp Objects’ has set a high bar for itself.
Warning! Spoilers for Sharp Objects below!
The story so far: Wind Gap comes to Adora’s Southern plantation style home to celebrate Calhoun day, a town holiday that celebrates founder Zeke Calhoun. The revelation that he had a child bride feeds into the sexual tension of the town. Camille and Detective Willis seem to be getting closer, but Camille still has things about herself she cannot tell him. The townspeople seemed to have decided that John Keene murdered his sister and Ann Nash. All the while, Amma continues to cause problems for the family.
Every episode of Sharp Objects seems to end with Patricia Clarkson’s performance being the highlight. Adora receives less screen time in ‘Cherry’ since the premiere episode. Despite being seen less than any part of the miniseries, Clarkson may have her most memorable performance.The show starts with Adora’s horrible admission from the previous episode. The words were spoken with no contempt and were delivered in a callous manner that foreshadowed Adora’s actions. The family matriarch delivered harsh commands throughout the entire hour, but at no time did she seemed bothered. Adora simply needed things to be taken care of, and whether that was kicking her daughter out of the house or rushing to a crime scene, she continually delivered her orders without emotion.
The strength seen in these small doses is astounding. Adora has gotten to the point where she can say anything and it will not be shocking. The irony is the words are delivered with such a lack of caring they end up being stunning. There is not a better or more contradictory character on television than Adora Crellin.
There is one drawback to the strong performance, though. The entire cast of Sharp Objects has been incredible. Amy Adams has been unbelievable while Chris Messina’s rocky start lasted all of one episode. Clarkson is operating on another level, however, and at times she overshadows her co-stars.
One of the themes of Sharp Objects are the long lasting effects of family and since the beginning the viewer has watched as Amma has tried to get to know her half sister better. Initially, the younger girl seemed like an innocent child who was unfamiliar with the world and was the one untarnished thing about Wind Gap. As the miniseries has progressed, it is clear that Amma is just as corrupted as the rest of the town.The most recent episodes have dealt with Amma’s and Camille’s tumultuous relationship. Amma decides she wants to bond with her reluctant older sister. Much like the previous episode, the moments are filled with tension. The two spend an entire night with each other and though little is said, Amma’s motivations and philosophies are given more insight. It’s also clear that Amma is nowhere near as confident as she lets on and Camille has deep concerns about her younger half sister.
These moments are also where Sharp Objects makes some missteps. The drug-induced moments the two sisters spend together shed some light on the lengths they will go to escape their unhappiness, but they are also out of character for Camille. She has been a responsible older sister the entire series, but in ‘Cherry’ she halfheartedly puts up a fight. The moment is delivered in a style that is typical of the show, but still comes off as odd.More striking are two revelations that are dealt with in a rushed manner. The mystery takes a turn that is straight out of any generic mystery. Considering there are only two episodes left, it seems pointless. Even more surprising is Camille’s throwaway line about what happened to her. She had vaguely admitted to what it was and there were some disturbing flashbacks, so it was not much of a mystery, but there was an ambiguity around the whole incident that seemed to promise more. Camille’s blunt admission of what happened adds a new layer to her character, but it is also anticlimactic considering things had been built up so well that even episode titles were unsettling.
Sharp Objects makes some decisions in ‘Cherry’ that seem to go against the nature of the show. There are moments that are rushed and the natural slow pacing of the show was replaced with a drug induced dream like state. Despite these choices, the episode was still a captivating watch.