Sharp Objects: Cherry
August 16, 2018 7:59 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Adora provides Chief Vickery with a key piece of evidence in the Ann Nash murder case; Richard probes for details about Camille's dark past; John's girlfriend, Ashley, looks to make news for herself; Amma bonds with Camille during and after a wild party.

‘Sharp Objects’ Episode 6: Dead Girls Everywhere (Judy Berman for the New York Times)
What’s the matter with the women of Wind Gap? While last week’s episode of “Sharp Objects” focused on the town’s shameful Confederate past, the latest episode concerns the female residents in particular. Titled “Cherry,” a word Camille scratched into her thigh as a teenager, it reveals how even the most privileged girls mostly fail to free themselves from Wind Gap’s grasp, and how that sense of being trapped shapes their lives. As Camille’s old friend Becca puts it: “We were so shiny — luscious on the outside. But on the inside there’s that dark, hard pit.”
Sharp Objects Recap: Dead Girls Everywhere (Angelica Jade Bastién for Vulture)
“I never loved you,” the whispered cruelty Adora says in the closing moments of the previous episode haunt “Cherry”.

Let’s discuss the gravity of this statement for a moment. A part of Camille has perhaps always known this about her mother. Adora’s emotional remove and icy demeanor is hard to miss. But hearing it is another story. These words bring out a hunger in Camille, a hunger so consuming she rushes headlong into trouble just to feel. By the time she’s swinging hand in hand with Amma in their grand front lawn soaked in liquor and bristling with the energy of the ecstasy she took it’s evident Camille is trying to capture a speck of joy. The kind of joy she lost in her childhood — unencumbered by self-doubt and anxiety and the nagging memories that come with living in this world for any lengthy amount of time. On some level she’s trying to prove to herself she’s not the kind of woman Adora believes her to be — diamond hard and marred by untold traumas.

“Cherry” is a powerhouse of an episode. It distills what Sharp Objects excels at: sharpened moods, spiky emotional interactions, and editing guided by the emotional logic of personal memory. It crackles and sings with such an astute understanding of mood it left me feeling as bruised as Camille does at the end. It’s a feast of visual bravura, editing ingenuity, and cunning emotional reveals. What makes “Cherry” the best episode of Sharp Objects thus far is how it cuts into the bruised underbelly of its central idea: the barbed relationships between women and how that in turn shapes their own conception of their womanhood.

She looked like a shipwrecked bride. That’s what I thought watching Camille in the episode’s opening moments, stumbling in her Calhoun Day finest amongst the lush woods with ghosts from her past puncturing the landscape as she searches for Amma. This line is from the Angela Carter short story “Lady of the House of Love.” I thought a lot about Carter throughout the episode. The way it swims through time using Camille’s perspective and the way it feels at once decadent yet tipping into rot to interrogate womanhood through the genre lens of Southern gothic brought to mind the British writer’s gorgeous prose. There are so many hidden grooves to this episode you have to rewatch it to catch the full weight of gestures or the words Camille imagines in the landscape — “bodice” instead of “police” on the side of Vickery’s SUV and “curly” carved into the wood during her dream.
Sharp Objects recap: season 1, episode 6: Cherry -- A sense of foreboding is engulfing Wind Gap as Camille descends into an even darker place, Adora and Alan act suspiciously and everyone tells porkies (Rebecca Nicholson for The Guardian)
‘It’s not safe here for you’

I know there are mixed feelings about the pace of Sharp Objects, but I’m enjoying its slow creep immensely. This episode had the hallmarks of an unfolding horror show and at times it was genuinely chilling. There is a growing sense of doom, with characters chucking ominous warnings around, as when Frank Curry’s wife, Eileen, told Camille that: “It’s closing in on you, huh?” When Camille and Amma spun around together on the lawn – Amma’s face melting into those of the dead girls – it was frightening and unnerving. Ditto for the warning at the end: was that a vision of Marian, telling Camille (and even Amma?) that she wasn’t safe here?
Songs from the episode, listed by Tunefind
posted by filthy light thief (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
FY (and my) I: Porkies = lies

Two episodes left, and it's still as uncertain and menacing as before. The "discovery" of the bike is ominous, and I really don't trust Alan, but I trust Adora even less. And then there's the ominous exchange between Camille and KC:

Camille: Why would someone hide the bicycle in a shallow pool of pig shit, unless they were stupid or trying to frame someone?
Richard: So, you think it's someone from town.
Camille: Maybe. Everybody thinks that a man is behind this and no one's looking at the women.
Richard: No, 'cause it doesn't fit the profile. Women don't kill like that, that violent.
Camille: Until they do.

Maybe it's because Camille knows the true viciousness of women, as seen in this episode in both her "friends" and her mother. But those are just words.

Until they're not.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:09 AM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

This show is so well done. I think what strikes me as most unnerving is how there is a semblance of events moving towards a resolution based on investigative efforts, while also seeming like there is a flow to things that is irresistible and grounded in disfunction. For example, when Camille got into the car for the ride home. I felt the horror of the possibilities while also knowing things about myself that could be compelled inappropriately, even while self-aware and to my own detriment, given just the right disfunctional circumstances.

Camille's boss sent her under the guise of "facing her demons," but you don't get the impression that she's in a place where she can face them to change things through an act of the will. She's being carried along by a stream of substances, broken relationships, and addictions, and you get the sense that she's a watcher trying to make sense of things, almost as if it's all a dream that reveals true things that are repressed when awake -- and this one is heading towards somewhere unpleasant.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:48 PM on August 16, 2018

Camille quotes something, Amma says, “Machiavelli.”
Camille: How do you know that?
Amma: You know how I know.

I am now envisioning that one of Adora’s perversions is doing something to Amma while quoting Machiavelli.

The look on Elizabeth Perkins (Jackie) face at the comment about a poisoning. Hmm. Which leads me to an (unspoiled) theory that Adora, with or without others, has engaged in a sort of Munchausens by proxy with Marian, and possibly Amma.

And Alan? Well, did you notice the glimpse of his album covers – all scantily clad women?And the song playing while Adora scolded him for not handling Camille? (“Call Me Irresponsible.”)

Richard to the sheriff: The more I know about you, the less I want to know,” and the sheriff responding something like: “That’s Wind Gap for ya.”

What was the carving on the tree as Camille was searching for Amma? And the signs hanging in the wild party house: One about family that also had the word “chaos” on it – was that one of the imaginary words?

(Speaking of the wild party, I got quite a reaction on twitter for my live-tweet: “Just your typical party, with guys dressed like punk Mormons, while you open-mouth kiss your sister to pass her some Ecstasy.”)

The use of colors on this show: Camille in black, the stereotypical “bad guy” color, while Adora and others from the town are in white and pastels.

The director’s free-wheeling style is very effective in some instances, but his insistence on natural lighting made the important night scene, with the high Camille and Amma, a little too dark. (Ditto on the moody sound editing - I sometimes think I've suddenly gone quite hard-of-hearing.)

Re: the director’s style, as documented in various interviews: In one cast interview I saw, Amy said the young actor Eliza Scanlen would turn to her and ask (Amy imitating her Aussie accent): “Is this NORMAL?”

Speaking of Scanlen, she continues to blow me away. I look forward to seeing her in other projects.
posted by NorthernLite at 5:06 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hmmmmm, NorthernLite...the Munchausen by proxy theory is interesting.
posted by pearlybob at 6:01 AM on August 17, 2018

What was the carving on the tree as Camille was searching for Amma? And the signs hanging in the wild party house: One about family that also had the word “chaos” on it – was that one of the imaginary words?

Yes - that sign read "Some Call It Chaos & We Call It Family"

Here's the link to Kathryn VanArendonk's amazing screencapping of hidden words for The Vulture, though she notes that "Credit also belongs to the community at r/sharpobjects, who go through the show with a fine-toothed comb and spot even more previously unseen things."

This week there were more hidden words than in the past, many about womanhood and femininity. My favorite is the OPEN sign that reads OMEN for a moment. I would buy that sign, if I had anywhere to put it. In reality, I would be more likely to buy and hang the Family Chaos sign in our home ;)

Also, if you were wondering what Alan was reading, it's the Bible, specifically the King James translation of Proverbs 11, around verse 17, but the other adjacent verses also hold portent for this series:

16 A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.
17 The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.
18 The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.

(Emphasis original)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:48 AM on August 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

That hidden words link is wild! Apparently I'm Mr. Magoo when I'm watching this show.

I'm also a bit unclear about what we're supposed to be gleaning from Camille's once-per-episode phone calls to her editor and his always-in-the-room but mostly mute wife. If there's any vital information being conveyed in those scenes, it's going straight over my head.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:17 AM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Apparently I'm Mr. Magoo when I'm watching this show.

You have to pause the show a LOT to catch all those references. Most notably, I saw none of the words on the train from last episode, and even in the screencaps, I can barely make them out. And this episode? Yeah, nothing. Some of them are in (or out of) focus for a very short time, while others are fairly small and not near the focus of action, so if you're paying attention to central characters, you don't see the gorilla playing basketball.

If there's any vital information being conveyed in those scenes, it's going straight over my head.

I think it's mostly enhanced set-dressing, to portray the world as viewed by Camille, one where she's being judged and found lacking at all times and from all places. But I could be wrong and there could be some deeper meaning.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:43 AM on August 17, 2018

BODICE > POLICE was really quick, but I caught that on the cruiser.
posted by emelenjr at 11:43 AM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I saw a twitter thread saying Sharp Objects is a noir: Camille is the jaded, hard-drinking, seen-it-all detective, the detective himself is the love interest, Amma is the femme fatale and Adora is the mob boss. Ha! (Didn't know whether to post a link, because I disagree with thread writer's overall assertion that a noir - versus a procedural - isn't good tv.)

Also, I've seen many allusions to twists/MacGuffins not to mention much further darkness coming at the end of the story. Why do I get the feeling "Cherry," will end up having been the "fun" episode.

Also, I might have seen a spoiler earlier this week, not sure (long story)- but I haven't knowingly said anything spoilerish.

(Oh gawd, I'm not going to have the willpower to stay unspoiled another 10 days & two episodes, am I?)
posted by NorthernLite at 12:41 PM on August 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ Post the Link ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ
posted by riruro at 2:16 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

This story as noir.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:48 PM on August 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

More thoughts:

Violence, often sexual, against women, is part of the core of this chilling story. The Millie/ Camille rapes. Amma portraying Millie. The father of a murder victim proclaiming he's glad his daughter died *rather* than being raped.

And on a rewatch, I even felt a violence in the way Amma approached Camille and squeezed her mouth open for that sexualized "game."

Plus in an earlier episode Alan barged into Adora's room in a way that felt very much to me like he was going to force himself on her.

Thinking of that led to this - was Adora also a "lucky" cheerleader, and Camille was the result. Is that why she doesn't love Camille?

(Or what if there's an even more bizarre twist, that Alan was one of those rapists.)

How does this tie to the two girls murdered recently? I don't know. But I do think they weren't killed by the same person. Detective Dick told Camille that already. Different MOs.

I'm reluctantly returning to Amma's involvement. Amma got Natalie (who had her own history of violence) to kill the first girl, then either Amma & some others killed Natalie, or Adora was involved to protect Amma.

Or Amma will be another victim of her mother, who also killed the other girls.

Anyway, some females were involved. :) (Early on I'd thought Jackie too.)

That's made this intriguing so far. There are two mysteries. What's going on within this family. And how they relate to two unsolved murders.

(Note: I really do other things besides think about Sharp Objects. ;) )
posted by NorthernLite at 7:45 PM on August 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

Maybe because I've read the book and don't really care about plot development, but I love this pacing. I think the series is richer and more enjoyable than the book, which I don't have strong memories of aside from the whodunnit part. At the end of this episode, the whirling in the yard left me chilled and a little scared.

That hidden words link is wild! Apparently I'm Mr. Magoo when I'm watching this show.

Reading that link is one of my favorite parts of this show. I catch about a third of the words, but I love the screencaps and reading the context.
posted by gladly at 5:09 PM on August 19, 2018

« Older Mystery Science Theater 3000: ...   |  Charmed: Charmed (1998-2006) F... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments