Sharp Objects: Milk
August 27, 2018 10:09 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Concerned for the safety of Amma, Camille [...] gets closer to the truth behind the shocking mysteries surrounding the Wind Gap killings. [Official transcript, truncated to avoid possible spoiler; season AND show finale]

Here's Exactly What Just Happened in the Sharp Objects Finale -- The show's twist potentially sets up a second season*. (Elena Hilton for Esquire)

The Key to the Sharp Objects Mystery Is in the Music -- The show’s creators explain the clues in the soundtrack you didn’t catch, and how they got the rights to notoriously difficult Led Zeppelin songs. (Matt Miller for Esquire)
The first image we see on Sharp Objects is a needle slowly descending onto a warped record. The warbling sound of Franz Waxman’s theme from A Place in the Sun plays as pastoral images of rural Missouri drift across the screen. By the beginning of the second episode—after we’ve seen multiple gruesome murders—that needle drops again, but this time to a modern electronic track. It sounds like an entirely new song. But, if you listen closely beneath the pulsing floor drums and synth bass, you’ll hear a familiar melody. It’s “A Place in the Sun,” barely recognizable, hiding beneath a modern treatment by Jeffrey Brodsky. That's only one of the important secrets hidden in the soundtrack of Sharp Objects that music supervisor Susan Jacobs and director Jean-Marc Vallée revealed to

“A lot of people miss that,” says Jacobs. “They're like, ‘Why do you have a different song?’ It's not, it's a different interpretation.”
“It's kind of like a music supervisor's nightmare when directors go, 'What do you think about Led Zeppelin?'” Jacobs says. Even if a production can get a song, that’s the limit. Yet, she got to work crafting a pitch for the band members to approve.

“We were trying to explain the importance of what music really does and how it plays a really pivotal role in this girl's life,” Jacobs says, “and also the escapism idea of music.”

Miraculously, the band liked the idea so much they approved not one but four songs; they also gave Vallée free reign to play as much of the tracks as he wanted and even layer them over each other to make his own atmosphere. “I think I fell on the floor,” Jacobs says of when she got the call, hearing that the songs had been approved. “Like, wow, this was so unprecedented, because they rarely ever let you use more than one song, and [we could] use the songs multiple times.”

The difference with Sharp Objects was Vallée’s approach to his soundtracks, which isn’t music as background music, but rather an integral part of the story and characterization.
All of the Hidden Words You Missed in Sharp Objects (Kathryn VanArendonk for Vulture, with the final set of screencaps)

Episode soundtrack on Tunefind
posted by filthy light thief (16 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
* There is no season 2 planned, and it's a long-shot at this time -- 'Sharp Objects' Creator Marti Noxon on the Finale, a Second Season and 'Buffy' (Emma Dibdin for Hollywood Reporter)
Is a second season absolutely off the table?

It's off the table in terms of, people are going on to their next projects, and it was a pretty hard A-team to assemble. It's not hard to imagine from a story standpoint, because obviously we love these characters, but from a technical standpoint it seems like a long shot.
And HBO is pretty happy with this as a one-off:
When TheWrap spoke one-on-one with HBO programming chief Casey Bloys later on, the exec told us why the premium cabler agrees one season is enough for this TV adaptation of a beloved novel — and “Big Little Lies” got a Season 2.

“No, no,” Bloys said, to a possible sophomore season. “I’ll tell you the difference. For ‘Big Little Lies,’ Reese [Witherspoon], Nicole [Kidman], Laura [Dern], Shailene [Woodley], and Zoe [Kravitz] — they all wanted to do it again. This is very, as you know the show is dark, and Amy’s character is very dark. It’s a difficult role for an actress to play. I believe she doesn’t want to play that character again, which I completely understand. It’s a lot to take on, and without her I just don’t see. I think this is one where you gotta say, ‘We got a fantastic limited series, and we’ll leave it at that.'”
I'm not talking about the finale itself not because it's not good, but because ... damn.

And really, a season 2? What, Camille tries to bring Amma to justice? We get to see more flashbacks that lead up to Amma killing her friends? No thanks, let's just stop here.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:10 AM on August 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

Or worse, tries to stop Amma from killing again, but she's too late ... Even if Sharp Objects Is Not Just Another Dead-Girl Show (Jen Chaney for Vulture), I don't know if anyone involved really wants another season of this darkness.

More musings on the show: Sharp Objects Broke the Mystery Box (Kathryn VanArendonk talks about her searching for all the words)
Certain kinds of “mystery box” storytelling have trained us to treat hidden things like they’re always hints, to assume that they’re pieces of evidence meant to connect to some deep, secret truth. Clues and half-seen things in a mystery story — and yes, Sharp Objects is a mystery story — must be motivated by information that’s been withheld. In the mode of the mystery box, they’re not just signs. They’re Easter eggs, a metaphor that plainly suggests that the whole point is to crack them open so you can get the candy inside. If this were Westworld, Lost, Stranger Things, or even This Is Us, these little hints would be leading somewhere, either to foreshadow what’s coming, or to a cute pop-culture reference, or to some deliberately obscure part of the narrative. They are supposed to connect us to an otherwise inaccessible bit of knowledge.
But in Sharp Objects, the visuals are only a glimpse into Camille's view of the world. It's the music that are the mystery box clues.

Sharp Objects Writer Gillian Flynn on That ‘Gut-wrenching’ Finale Twist (Hillary Kelly for Vulture)

How Sharp Objects Made Amma’s Creepy Dollhouse (Maria Elena Fernandez for Vulture)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:26 AM on August 27, 2018

Big fat no to another season, good god no, not all stories need continuation

That being said, oh man, there’s so much subtle imagery in this series... one moment from the finale that’s stayed with me is when Camille is laying in bed, doped to the gills on Adora’s “medicine”. There’s a gold watch hanging from a jewelry holder on the bedside, and in one brief shot of Camille in bed the out of focus watchband lines up perfectly with her head, so that it looks like she’s wearing a gold circlet. Like Persephone on her underworld throne.
posted by palomar at 10:26 AM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

!!! SPOILERS !!!

‘Sharp Objects’ Finale: Marti Noxon Explains the Final Line and Why They Cut the Ending Off Early -- “We were trying to convey the emotional experience of reading the book — and to me the book ended there,” showrunner tells TheWrap (Jennifer Maas for TheWrap)
While that ending is probably enough to disturb you for years to come, Flynn’s debut novel closed a little differently. Well, not differently, just with more to it. So TheWrap talked with showrunner Marti Noxon about why she, Flynn and director Jean-Marc Vallee chose to cut the book’s coda, which included Camille visiting Amma in prison and discussing her crimes.
Why did you cut the ending off early?

Marti Noxon: My recollection is that — and I don’t have the book in front of me — but those few pages, they are very short, that little coda of that part. And we were trying to convey the emotional experience of reading the book, and to me the book ended there. And there was so much more that I wanted to know about the other part. And it felt emotionally like, this story is about the legacy of violence among these women and that it really started with Adora. That everything in this story, that’s what we get to know about. So to end it sort of calling back to Adora felt like the original ending for this mystery.

Did you leave clues for fans to find if they go back for a second viewing, now that they know Amma is the killer?

Totally! I mean, part of the fun of taking this from the book to the screen is that that Amma character portrayed by Eliza is so complicated. Her relationship with Camille is so complicated. And it is in the book too. But I think because Eliza and Amy brought something to it that Gillian and myself we felt really strongly about — which is there is this side of Amma that is really loving and is looking for a protector and a champion and a sister — so that we could rest a little bit. But you know, in the end it is a whodunit, she dun it. So it’s fun to know those little bits and pieces are there.
/ !!! SPOILERS !!!
posted by filthy light thief at 11:04 AM on August 27, 2018

So I wanted to like this series, and overall there were a number of things about it that were done very well.. but Amma being the killer of her friends really struck me as a twist-for-twists-sake rather than something that was built up to properly. Her behavior, while wild/dangerous in a teen perspective, wasn't really what seemed to carry to a conclusion of the actual killings without some significant mental contortions after the fact ('well, maybe her moms behavior shaped her outlook so that killing her friends made sense to her for... reasons'). Also, one of the deaths was presented as a group killing (presumably with the assistance of her skating buds), but I find it hard to believe that in a town this gossip-laden there wouldn't be some significant finger pointing at her and her cohort earlier on, despite the baseline prejudices of the town towards the two main suspects.

Also, the physicality of how bodies were interacted with on a whole severely pulled me out in several occasions - for example, Camille has a number of word-scars all over her back, which is just logistically ludicrous. Did she tape a razor to the wall and then Baloo the Bear on it with a set of mirrors? Also, needlenose pliers are the absolute worst thing to pull intact teeth out with, especially to get them so intact as to panel a dollhouse floor with.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:49 PM on August 27, 2018 [5 favorites]

I think the mother/daughter/sister toxicity issue, tinged with jealousy, and mixed with a melange of southern sensibilities and a bucket of darkness that's always handy in that part of Missouri, is more than enough to rationalize how it might of happened. I had no trouble seeing both Camille and Amma as the two extreme products of Adora's "Love." What's hard about this is we're beaten over the head with examples of Amma's fragility, and perhaps she is, but she's also a monster which we can't reconcile. Yeah, Amy deserves some kind of an award, but so does Eliza. Amy's character would be difficult to play because of the darkness (and time in makeup), but at least she was a good though fallible person. Amma had to pretend all the time. She had to convince everyone she was vulnerable and the most probable next victim. SOooo evil. Queen of the Underworld, indeed.
posted by Stanczyk at 1:48 PM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, and of course Amma would keep killing. The dollhouse floor wasn't finished.
posted by Stanczyk at 1:54 PM on August 27, 2018

The finale really kind of ruined the show for me. I read that the showrunners said they thought the book ends right when you find out Amma is the killer, but I don't recall that to be the case. There's a lot of stuff to unpack about both daughters being damaged and one daughter turning that inwards (Camille) and one turning it outwards (Amma).
posted by MadMadam at 5:30 AM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

So, is Amma's M.O. more clear in the book? Did she work with the other girls? I was thinking that she could've been working besides Adora, but the discussion about the book here indicates 'no'. I loved the show up until the reveal...
posted by codacorolla at 5:53 PM on August 28, 2018

IIRC (and it's been a while since I read it), in the book, the codependent relationship between Amma and Adora was clearer; Adora started doting on each of the dead girls when Amma acted up/pulled away, and that triggered Amma's violent reaction; she manipulated her friends into helping. And I think it was more heavily implied that Adora's mom also had munchausens by proxy and that maybe Adora killed them after she had Camille? I definitely recommend the book if you liked the show but felt there were unanswered questions. The book explores so many dimensions of the cycle of abuse and the often overlooked ways it manifests among and between women/girls.
posted by melissasaurus at 5:29 AM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Vulture wrote up the differences between the book ending and the series ending. I didn't like the book when I first read it, but after the series, I want to go back to it and see if I find more there.

I really loved this adaptation. Once I got used to the flashbacks being literal flashes of Camille's memory during the present day, it felt like a very genuine experience of someone returning home to a place that never felt like home. The hidden words never being clues, just Camille's point of view, were satisfying too.

The abruptness of the ending suited me because of the flash of Amma's violence. The series doesn't really show the anger that Amma has the way the book does.

I loved that the mystery had nothing to do with the men in the story. The rage was between mothers and daughters and sisters, and there was no secret father, nothing between Alan and the Chief that needed explaining.
posted by gladly at 12:06 PM on August 29, 2018 [9 favorites]

Jesus, I think I breathed twice in the first half of this ep. then with the deus ex machina and total time shift I first assumed that the montage etc was some sort of edge-of-death hallucination and we would snap back to her still on the floor. The tooth-floor made me literally gasp, one of two literal jaw drops this show has provided, the other being him calling her a drunken slut. I wonder if there’s an argument to be made for Adora “treating” Amma in order to try as keep her weak, understanding what she is capable of?
posted by Iteki at 2:50 PM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

TLo had two of a three-part costume deep-dive up but HBO asked them to take it down because it was giving too much away? But ... it's over? And there are all sorts of deep dives about aspects of the end, specifically, on Vox and Vulture and other sites? I don't get it.
posted by rewil at 2:41 PM on August 30, 2018

HBO's relented, so the posts are back: Part 1: “Vanish” and Part 2: “Dirt” and “Fix.” Part three to come.
posted by rewil at 11:30 AM on August 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

I think that even had I not been spoiled a few days before the broadcast (thanks, stupid podcast guy), I think I would've understood the last couple minutes. And I'm willing to suspend disbelief on whether Amma & Gang could be the killers.

Anyway, that Ep. 8 dinner scene alone was the stuff of nightmares. (I will never eat by candlelight again.) The quick fast forwards thru Adora's trial/Amma's relocation threw me off a little, but then again, time jumps always do.

Summing it up- yes, the show had its faults. But overall this series set a disturbing mood that's hard to shake.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:11 AM on September 1, 2018

('well, maybe her moms behavior shaped her outlook so that killing her friends made sense to her for... reasons'). Also, one of the deaths was presented as a group killing (presumably with the assistance of her skating buds), but I find it hard to believe that in a town this gossip-laden there wouldn't be some significant finger pointing at her and her cohort earlier on,

My friend, who I watched the show with, guessed early on that Amma was the killer. I, from the start, guessed it was Adora and also that Adora had MBP.

So, watching it through the lens that it could possibly Amma, there were hints along the way that definitely supported this. The most obvious one is that the show constantly challenges the idea that it's a man. The woman in white, as well as both Amma and Camille making points to say that it could be a woman. Also, the conversation Camille has with John - he talks about how Adora was involved with both girls, tried to save them. Both of these points, cleverly, could point to Amma and Adora the same. We've seen how Amma has jealousy issues, the scene in the boutique was especially viscous against Camille. Amma repeatedly talks about how she feels like bad things are going to happen and she can't stop them - that's just guilt. The clue that solidified it for me, though, was the conversation between Richard and Vickery, after interviewing John. They're talking about Camille's dark past, and Richard says that if you listen to everyone, everybody in town has a dark past. Vickery responds "well, half of that is true", and Richard says "Yeah, but we're looking at the wrong half". Amma and Camille are half sisters.

I, personally, think Amma is set up as creepy, controlling, and manipulative enough to be the killer. Her forcefully making Camille kiss her and take drugs, the way she plays Adora against Camille, the conversation in the dark on the lawn about sometimes you have to make people like you and sometimes you have to make them hurt. I didn't really agree with the fact that she killed her new St Louis friend, I think that cheapens it a bit. But I will say the reveal at the end, with the teeth, was still very shocking and very disturbing to me. (And appropriate, in a way. The show definitely fixated on the floor.)

Overall, I enjoyed it. (as much as you can enjoy watching someone else's trauma.) I did have to take a break in the middle of the season, too much hit too close to home. I thought it was beautiful and intriguing. I'd put it at the top of my list, with the caveat that southern gothic is one of my favorite genres.
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:53 AM on January 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

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