Without a doubt the most atmospheric show on television, Sharp Objects continues to intrigue. The sixth episode, entitled “Cherry”, is one of the HBO series’ slower instalments, but it’s every bit as important as the rest, as there’s a major development in the Ann Nash investigation. We pick up pretty much from where the previous episode left off, and Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) awakes to find herself in Richard Willis’ (Chris Messina) bed. The two flirt with each other, and there are definitely hints that this is more than just a one-night stand. This could be good for Camille. Perhaps she’s overcome her commitment issues? In spite of their happiness, Willis can’t get his conversation with Adora (Patricia Clarkson) out of his head, and thus he investigates Camille’s past, finding himself paying a visit to the rehabilitation centre we know she attended. This could backfire dramatically.
In spite of Adora telling Camille she never loved her in the previous episode, the Preaker matriarch shares a nice moment with her eldest daughter in this instalment. Camille devours what looks like cherry pie (Special Agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks eat your heart out), as Adora informs her that she’s nipping to the pharmacy. Camille asks her to bring her back some cream, and a look of genuine concern appears on Adora’s face. She enquires if the cream is for Camille’s scars, but it’s not. She requires the cream for her hands, which she hurt when looking for Amma (Eliza Scanlen). Nonetheless, Adora tells Camille not to worry, instructing her to finish her breakfast. It’s a relatively sweet moment (well, as sweet as can be for these two anyway), which highlights that their relationship isn’t completely irreparable. Or is it? The scene is nicely juxtaposed with a flashback of a younger Camille (Sophie Willis) in her cheerleading outfit, looking for approval from her mother. Adora refers to her daughter as a “plump juicy cherry”. Antagonised by the memory, present-day Camille throws her fork down – perhaps to defy her mother’s request to finish her food.
The biggest discovery this week comes when Ann Nash’s bicycle is discovered in pig excrement out at the Preaker farm. Camille finds it odd that the bike was disposed of in an area where it could be so easily retrieved, suggesting that it’s more likely this was an elaborate attempt to frame someone. Speaking of Camille, she isn’t pleased that Adora didn’t inform her of this development, which puts yet another nail in their relationship. One of the more interesting scenes in the episode comes when Alan (Henry Czerny) scolds Camille over her attitude towards Adora. He brings up Adora’s relationship with her mother, suggesting that they didn’t get along. This would make sense actually because Adora seems incapable of showing true feelings. She never shows genuine emotion. Everything is so false. Everything is about perception with her. Even her relationship with Alan isn’t real – something that we saw again in “Cherry”, as Alan sleeps on a fold-out bed in a separate room.
Willis has a drink with Jackie (Elizabeth Perkins), which proves rather revelatory — for both Willis and the viewers. We learn via Jackie’s drunkenness that Adora’s dead child Marian (Lulu Wilson) did not have an autopsy carried out, which is a bit strange. It certainly suggests that Adora gets to call all the shots – something that was insinuated two episodes ago when Chief Vickery (Matt Craven) spoke to her about cancelling Calhoun day and she refused. Speaking of Adora, a disgruntled Ashley (Madison Davenport) suggests to Camille that her mother knows more about Natalie than she’s letting on, which is an odd development. What could Adora know?
Camille gets tangled up in Amma’s antics and ends up attending a party with her sister, in addition to doing drugs. The pair roller-skate their way home, and the clever flashbacks are brought back into play, as young Camille skates down a similar road. When the two sisters make it home, they collapse in the garden, completely wasted. There are some really nice sister-bonding moments here, as Amma tries to get to know her big sister. It’s hard to know what’s going on with Amma and where her loyalties lie. She’s definitely infatuated with Camille, that much we know, but what we don’t know is why. She begs Camille to take her back to St. Louis, which is certainly giving us reason to believe the young girl isn’t happy in the oppressive town of Wind Gap. The two girls head up to Camille’s room, and the accompanying flashbacks mirror their actions, suggesting that — no matter how hard you might try — you can’t truly escape your actions.
It was a much more subdued episode for Sharp Objects this week and relied on themes and motifs rather than linear storytelling. But that’s not a bad thing, because the Jean Marc-Vallée–directed series is still as stunning as ever. With Camille not feeling at home, Amma wanting to leave Wind Gap, and Willis tracking down Camille’s past, next week’s penultimate episode promises to be quite the corker.
Contributed by Stephen Patterson
Sharp Objects is simulcast at 2am on Sunday nights or shown in a more regular slot at 9pm on Mondays on Sky Atlantic.