– Spoilers ahead for episode III of Sharp Objects –
If you are going to have a weak episode in a mini-series, you should put it at #3. If 1 and 2 have done their job the audience is already invested, this is the part where the episodes start to blend and having it in the early middle allows the audience to keep guessing while the creators are allowed to experiment without worrying about tying certain elements together yet. What did we learn this episode? More of the same. Mommy Meddler Adora is more closely entwined in the community than Camille thought and Amma her half-sister misbehaves staying out past curfew and is a real mama’s girl. The amount of times Amma and Camille run into each other is notably suspicious. How big is this town?
The main story thread this week is a flashback into Camille’s days of hospitalization for self-harm. I guess I’m glad this was put on-screen since this was necessary story element before the main plot in the book and was discussed by nosy critics as an important plot point yet any viewer unfamiliar with the source material likely would have to guess. A lot of assumptions come with the scars on Camille’s back about the degree of treatment she might have received. After viewing this episode I wonder if the mysteries surrounding her scars were better left preserved since there is not much meaningful knowledge to be uncovered. A heretofore unseen character is included in flashback, a younger girl Preaker shares a room with in a ward but since this is an HBO drama, like Sela Ward in Westworld or Ian McShane on Game of Thrones, the writing is on the wall for this character’s fate. The time the show spends on her isn’t enough to give her tragedy proper weight and the level of self harm in this ward only serves to show how sloppy this show plays with its realism. Our protagonist in her immediate grief using a screw loose from underneath the bathroom toilet in her room to cut herself is such a jarring logistical overlook trading story for realism that it took me out of the moment. At least Gone Girl’s leaps were either pointedly humorous or cleverly served the theme making for a stronger atmosphere. It’s a disadvantage of director Jean Marc Vallee’s abstract style that better fits TV better compared to Fincher’s endless detail. There was another fair point I was going to make about the town (like is this place just a few streets and a slaughterhouse?) but I have since forgotten. If you have anything to add be sure to comment below. I’d love to hear it.
I’m annoyed the show isn’t entertaining suspects the audience is most likely to think of. The best stories don’t give you time or reason to question why the most logical thing isn’t happening, but here we see Camille conduct an interview on a male suspect coached by a jealous Queen Bee so crazy she wears her cheer uniform outside of school (my type of girl) answering questions for him. This show isn’t subtle but our hero makes nothing of this in her perpetually hung over state. We’re too busy checking in on the two male investigators giving implausible theories on how two of the apparent 5 men in this town somehow committed a crime of passion. Investigation 101 – do not draw theories because it negatively impacts perception of evidence. Perhaps Amma is right when she declares how dumb Detective Willis is. Speaking of which, I was on the right track mentioning back in episode 1 the trajectory of Camille & Richard’s relationship, but we’ll have to tune in next week to see if anything changes.
Rating: A bit shaky, boring to an outsider, still hopeful despite worst episode
- HBO and writers today are cynical and hate kids. The kids on here are just as awful as they are on 13 Reasons Why + The Leftovers. Also if toxic femininity were a thing this episode would be the example. There is so much discouraging teasing and shaming and gossip going on it is sad people cannot just be happy. C’est la vie des femelles.
- No standout end credits song this week. I note how boring the opening credits to this show are. Tumbling Lights ought to be the theme since it was used so much in promotion and ends the pilot.
- Why cut back at the end to Allan, who I’ve learned is actually Camille’s step dad, listening to his record collection, is he plotting some sort of Revenge or listening to an Impossible Mission tape? He probably has more to do with the story.
- I dread the inevitable flashback rape scene for Camille, I wonder if the show would be restrained enough to leave it as is to a few suggestive flashes but probably not. I hope when they do a major flashback we get to spend some significant time with young Camille giving Sophia Lillis more screen time to shine considering how she is lit and matches up to Amy Adams making her a striking presence, she was also one of the better parts of IT.