Episode three of HBO’s miniseries Sharp Objects, suitably titled Fix, releases more ghosts from Camille’s past, ignites a witch hunt in Wind Gap, and toys with our emotions.

 

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Sharp Objects Recap: Episode 2

At the start of Fix, we find Camille covering for Amma who sneaks back inside the pristine Crellin home after an evening of rowdy drinking. A hazy discussion about their 13-year old selves and Camille’s lack of womanly duties ensues, grants a bit of tension all while Amma carries on about wanting to know her sister. Her derisive motives still unclear.

Fix’s present day situations regarding Camille and her hunt for a story on the mysterious murderer in town runs almost parallel to her memories of her stay in a rehabilitation facility. She develops a close relationship with her new teen roommate, Alice, resembling who we know as Amma. Alice also self harms and, like Camille, cannot ease the pain of her family’s disaffection. A bond develops between the two – one of admiration, guidance, confidence, approval, and shared rebellion.

Willis continues to press Wind Gap’s Chief on possible suspects and where they may reside, but Vickery only ignorantly suspects “mexicans” or a trucker, an outsider to the town. Willis assures him they’re crimes of passion and that 9 of 10 murder victims know their killers. As with most small town nonsense, Vickery dismisses him as an outsider himself. His town, his case. As it was obvious in the second episode, Dirt, the people of Wind Gap don’t take kindly to outsiders and that includes federal agents.

Camille is met with a very unwelcome greeting from Natalie’s mother before John Keene’s girlfriend, Ashley Wheeler, needles her way into setting up a discussion between her and grief-stricken paramour. While pit-stopping along the main roads for her fix of vodka, she spots Willis and prods him for information, but he graciously lets her know to stay out of his way.

Before Camille interviews Ann’s father, Bob Nash again, she is met by Vickery and his nagging disdain over her penchant for “riling people up”. It’s clear he does not want any further waves or speculation created within the people of Wind Gap. He seems to have his suspects pegged and sees no further prodding necessary.

Bob is still on the defense as Camille asks him questions about Ann, but their conversation pushes further into the speculation surround John Keene. They discuss the Woman in White theory, but Bob is dead set on John being the main suspect as he’s “quiet and keeps to himself”. Adora interrupts them in all of her melodramatic, soft-spoken glory as she shows up to the Nash home to usher Camille out.  She is embarrassed by her daughter’s socially inappropriate behavior. This clearly doesn’t sit well with Camille.

 

“..It’s an aggressive and intriguing scene showcasing the young girl’s inability to feel empathy or be moved by the grotesque at all.”

 

While angrily driving off her irritation with more vodka and loud music, and becoming slightly unraveled as the hour moves forward, Camille spots Amma rollerskating around town and follows her to Preaker Farms, the family owned slaughter-house. Inside one of the pen houses Camille finds Amma watching the piglets feeding and then going out back with one of the workers, a blank, yet slightly coy look on her face. It’s an aggressive and intriguing scene showcasing the young girl’s inability to feel empathy or be moved by the grotesque at all.


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Vickery visits Adora, as he is the one who tipped her off about Camille visiting Bob Nash. Adora plays the victim game, seeking sympathy for knowing those girls as their tutor and suffering emotionally for her loss. Vickery is Adora reprimands Amma for being out past curfew and warns her to stay away from Camille, as she shouldn’t want to be like her, she’s dangerous.

Camille visits Ashley and John, with Ashley happily playing the cheerleading hostess. She is clearly one of those in town who wants the 15-minutes of fame. With some he-said, she-said about Bob Nash, John goes on the defense about his closeness with his sister. He states people in town think they know everything about someone, but know nothing at all. He blames Wind Gap, that someone in Wind Gap killed his sister. Camille leaves her number after he becomes upset and has to step away.

Back at the Crellin home, Amma cruises around the porch while Adora trims the rose bushes (in her heels, I might add). As soon as Camille arrives and confronts her for interrupting the earlier interview with Ann’s father. Adora cuts herself on a thorn while bickering with Camille, cutting the argument short with an Oscar-worthy performance.

Fix’s rehab flashback shows Adora becoming upset about being unable to bring Camille roses. Thorns are considered a threat, a sharp object, to patients in treatment. Alice receives a chilly visit from her own mother as she holds a soft teddy bear. All of the scenes seeming dreamy and unreal, yet intense and dooming like the juxtaposition set between a plush bear and a thorny bouquet. Camille and Alice share a moment over being unaccepted by their families, Alice growing more and more upset. Trying to calm her and send her mind elsewhere, Camille arranges 10-minutes of earbud use with the front desk nurse so they can listen to music together, both escaping the pain.

 

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Adora continues on her dramatic act believing Amma is becoming sick with Camille being home. She mopes about how Camille makes her feel like a bad mother, like she failed to raise her right. Alan, clearly shut out from the bedroom, kneels at her feet, tends to her ‘wound’, and attempts to build up her spirit. He is clearly an enabler to Adora’s antics proving to be just as much of a failure as a parent as Adora truly is. As they share a less than intimate moment, Amma pleas for Camille to sneak out of the house with her, an invitation she declines unaware of the girl’s sure retaliation.

Fix has, by far, more of the horror-based elements of the series so far. Camille visits Marian’s bedroom where we get quite a good scare, sending her running to the local bar to make nice with Willis. They discuss how John is too sensitive to kill the girls, they were not molested, which is odd for this type of crime, and how Willis is a pariah because he is “not from here”. Welcome to the party, pal. Camille strikes up a deal with him: she will guide him through Wind Gap’s crevices and he will answer three questions.

Camille takes Willis to one of her local hangouts by the train tracks where he presumes she was popular with the boys, like a preacher’s daughter leading them on by being a tease. It’s a bit of an eye-roll moment for him. They play the questions game before Amma and her hooligans show up to drunkenly harass them. Amma taunts Camille and Willis both with such childish exuberance its borderline cringe-worthy. Think Alicia Silverstone in The Crush meets Lolita. Amma muses about how Camille was “the hot ticket” and how “all the boys wanted her”.

Smartly, Camille decides to go home alone speeding off into the night thinking about Alice’s suicide. The girl was unable to deal with her family’s lack of support that she decided to take her own life. She was able to get her hands on draining liquid left out by the janitors while Camille took a phone call retrieving her ear buds. Camille finds her body in a puddle of bloody carnage exploding into an act of severe body mutilation with a toilet bowl screw. The scene is eerie, slow, and sad set silently to Alan’s classical music all building up to a sudden stop as Camille races down the ghosts of her past, coming to an instant halt in the dead of night.


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Side note: Can we take a quiet moment to just appreciate the excellent use of Led Zeppelin as a coping mechanism throughout this series so far?

Thank you.

 

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Analysis

I am thrilled that this episode kicked the horror knob up a notch. Between that unexpected jump scare of Marian in bed to the sad bloody mess of Alice’s death, Sharp Objects is turning out to be more horrific than its previews let on. It may have been a mistake suggesting it to my mom after all. Not only has this episode cranked up the intensity, but it is full of relationship analysis enticing viewers to draw their own lines on the board consisting of the Wind Gap townspeople, especially Camille and her Crellin family.

The introduction of a new memory, that of Camille’s stay in rehab and the tragic experience she endures when her younger roommate, a fellow self-harmer, commits suicide. There is a strong comparison made between Camille’s relationship with Alice to the one she has with Amma. We see Camille taking on the big sister role by sharing her feelings, care, and rebel spirit with Alice, the consequences loosely resulting in her death. Surely Camille wears that guilt beneath her sweater daily, even more now that she has reconnected with Amma.

More comparisons can be drawn in regards to the long-lost sister and the undercover wild child, being that each reluctantly wants to let the other in, but resist for fear of how dangerous the other really is. Adora’s parenting techniques are made to be significantly different as a mother to 13-year old Amma than they were to 13-year old Camille, and how each of the girls share a rebellious spirit as well as how that affects the town’s attitudes towards them. I can write about the relationships and interactions between the three, as well as how they’re all important to the plot, enough to print in a book. What can be further dissected is the way the men in town view them, but I’m not even to begin going down that road of presumption, deprecation, and ridicule for this episode’s review. The true significance of Fix lies very much within Camille, Adora, and Alma and it is very simple as indicated by the episode’s very title.

 

Every rose has its thorn and Fix is full of them.”

 

Fix shows that Camille found a kinship in Alice, as she did with Marian and that she is trying to rebuild with Amma, but she is both scared of the girl (and who wouldn’t be? She is kind of rotten) and what the consequences of that relationship would be. Camille could not save Alice or Marian. Could she save Amma or does she need to be protected from Amma? Who would suffer in the end? The same applies to Adora and the way she treats Amma differently from how she treated Camille. She was a little more careless in her motherly duties to Camille and now detests the person her older child is, so she tries a different approach by smothering Amma in an attempt to raise the perfect daughter. Though Amma succumbs to being a crude brat now and then, she often resorts to confiding in Camille wanting a relationship or so it may seem.

Every rose has its thorn and Fix is full of them. If the symbolism was not more transparent our fingers would be bleeding at their tips. Camille is denied the thorny roses Adora and Alan bring her in rehab, Amma crashes the family golf cart into her mother’s rose bushes in the garden, and Adora cuts her hand while tending those roses in the garden. It’s a goldmine of symbolism suggesting that beautiful things can have dangerous blemishes, all that appears perfect can have undetectable defects, and what looks harmless can be tragically fatal.


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These three central characters, these women struggling with their archetypes’ inevitable flaws, are ultimately just trying to right the wrongs of their existence. Episode three is an analytical focus on how each of them are trying to fix the others. If you think this flower of a show has wilted in any way, please keep a firm grasp on the stem, but not too tight! The sharpest of thorns is about to cut very deep.

What does all of this have to do with the two murdered girls? We have not forgotten them. All the connections will begin to come to fruition next Sunday with Sharp Object’s fourth episode, Ripe, on HBO.

 

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