Review: 'Sharp Objects' episode six 'Cherry' is a cocktail of shocking revelations
The latest episode of 'Sharp Objects' is a lot more about Amma and the women of Wind Gap than it is about Camille Preaker
'Sharp Objects' is nearing the end and you can already see the clouds of confusion slowly clearing. The fog surrounding Wind Gap's secrets is slowly lifting and the pond suddenly seems much shallower than we thought it was. 'Cherry', the sixth episode in the eight-part miniseries, is a cocktail of revelations in a show that is so used to being as intense as neat bourbon. So far, the show had, in each episode, showed us something different to think about while focussing on Camille Preaker's scars. The latest episode, however, is a lot more about Amma and the women of Wind Gap than it is about Camille.
A remarkably short but impactful character was that of Camille's childhood friend Becca. Portrayed by Hillary Ward, Becca is like a fly in the milk in Wind Gap. In spite of being bullied by Camille and her friends, she attends those pity parties that these women throw. She says, capturing everything that 'Sharp Objects' has told us so far about its females, "We were so shiny — luscious on the outside. But on the inside there’s that dark, hard pit."
She's quite refreshing at first and then you realize that she shares the same sense of entrapment as the rest of the privileged lot. What seems like a liberal, sensible life is really just an older version of Becca trying to please her classmates as they deal with their own frustrations by hurting her and each other.
Vickery and Adoras conveniently find Ann's bicycle drowned in the pond of the slaughterhouse. This is the first piece of physical evidence of the murders. As far as the criminal is concerned, there is one thing that we know for sure: The killer walks among them and, if we were to pick up the hints in Camille's dialogue, it could very well be a woman.
While the investigators believe that only a man could carry those teenage girls to the woods and pluck out their teeth after murdering them, we know from that these women don't really have to lift a finger. 'Cherry' especially shows us that.
Alan is wrapped around Adora's finger even when she treats him so miserably. Even though he himself doesn't really mind Camille's presence in the house, when he is asked to "let her know" how he feels about it by the matriarch of the house, his wife Adora, he does so — and quite cruelly while he is at it.
In the short and bitter argument between Camille and Alan, he mentions how she reminds him of her grandmother Judy. Adora's cruel mother who would "pinch her in her sleep" and say vicious things to her. Alan goes on about how that should make Camille feel sorry for Adora and treat her well.
Alan's train of thought and nature is pitiful and almost feels like he lives on his own glasshouse. Actor Henry Czerny hits it out of the park as a man who is in denial of his problems. Alan believes that Adora's pain is prickly while Camille's is rebellion. In some ways, I think that Alan never really grew out of being the prim and proper Southern boy who married the prettiest woman in Wind Gap. As he grew older, it was perhaps his only victory and he held on to whatever affection she threw his way with his dear life.
You see, every woman here knows her way with manipulation. They are the real players here. These women hold up a mirror against the reality of it all — how crimes against women like abuse and rape are justified and often perpetrated by women themselves. If Adora had found the time to look up from her spotless reflection, things would be different. Patricia Clarkson is maddening as Adora Crellin. In 'Cherry', she is desperately trying to cover her tracks, going to the point of chasing snoopy Camille away. This means one thing — the trail is getting warmer and Adora feels cornered.
On the other hand, Jackie's character is finally opening up a little. This woman is full of secrets like the rest of them, but she doesn't put her eggs in any one basket, if you notice. She's always the know-it-all about everyone but there's very little we know about her. One thing I'm almost certain of is that she knows who the killer is.
Amma's superb skills of transforming from a snake to a teen is even more prominent in 'Cherry'. She's seen a major shift recently. Earlier, we would at least see her in Adora-approved clothes, but now we don't. I think it's a subtle hint towards the character itself — she isn't hiding in her shell anymore. We see her experiment with drugs and she is exceedingly sexual. I finally know why she is trying to bend them as much as she can. "When you let them do it to you, you’re really doing it to them,” she tells Camille.
She is like a two-headed snake — you could see her as broken or you could see her as a master manipulator. That's the thing with Amma — she treads between the two faces ever so gently, you can't really tell if she's Camille's friend or foe.
Like Camille's flashbacks, 'Sharp Objects' has moved away from the ghosts of the past to a more gripping reality. It's just as grim, if not grimmer, than nostalgia but, at least, it's finally moving forward. The next episode 'Falling' will see Camille crossing a line in her investigation and possibly opening another Pandora's box. Richard coaxes Jackie to offer up info about Marian Preaker’s death after their drunk tete-a-tete at the bar. Adora takes pains to keep an ailing Amma under her roof and in her care.
Written by Gillian Flynn & Scott Brown; directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, 'Sharp Objects' airs every Sunday on HBO at 9 pm.