Sharp Objects Episode 5 Review: “Closer”

Narrative and Story Review/Recap

Another week in Wind Gap, and in this episode of Sharp Objects, we are inching closer to solving the murders.

*Proceed with caution! Spoilers ahead!*

I must start off by saying that the huge build up at the end of the last episode was somewhat disappointing. It seems that the building of all that tension was for the sake of Camille. This episode begins with her fitfully awakening in her room in Wind Gap. She is clearly still very worried about Amma’s safety.

The success of Camille’s most recent story from Wind Gap has the town, and state of Missouri as a whole, buzzing. When she checks back in with Frank in St. Louis, she actually has a small break down. This is the first time that Frank acknowledges this assignment might have been a bad idea. Camille’s hard exterior is broken when she tearfully confides in Frank that the people at home simply, “make [her] feel like a bad person“.

Frank, as encouraging as ever, assures her that she is one of the most decent human beings he knows. Is this for the sake of getting the story, or because he actually cares for her? That is not revealed to the viewer. It is also during this exchange that he refers to her as “cabbie”. We will have to wait to see what that exactly means. She agrees to continue the story and to portray Wind Gap for what it is: Rotting America.

A huge banner is erected in the Peaker’s yard. It’s Calhoun Day here in Wind Gap! This local holiday celebrates one brave Confederate wife who single-handedly resisted Union soldiers. Amma and crew are practicing the play we saw in the previous episode. As Camille helps to run lines, Adora confronts her about suitable garb for the holiday.

The trip to the dress store turns out to be…complicated. Sadly, Camille comes off as a bit meek during this whole affair. I suppose this should be understandable seeing that she usually has control over her wardrobe and is therefore thoroughly outside of her comfort zone. This is only compounded by the presence of her mother and Amma.

It seems that everyone in the world ignores what Camille chooses to try on. She is handed revealing sundress after revealing sundress before she begins to break. Camille begs Adora to make Amma wait in the car so as not to see her scar-covered body. Frustrations boil over, and Camille bursts from the dressing room to throw a dress in Adora’s face.

Amma stares at her half-sisters scarred body in disbelief. Adora does as well. She quickly tells Amma to go to the car, and then rounds on Camille. “It is worse than I remember.“, she whispers. Here we see a perfect example of Adora’s character as a mother. She is at once extremely involved in her children’s lives while at the same time, does not truly know anything about them. Camille responds by saying, “Yeah, well you weren’t there in the end“. Implying that Adora effectively was not there for her when she needed her the most.

Could this tie back into Camille’s flashbacks of the hospital rehabilitation facility? We know that it was her stepfather that delivered the roses and that Adora threw some kind of fit in the reception area.

The bulk of the episode takes place at the Preaker’s farm for Calhoun Day. The entire town descends upon the perfectly manicured lawns, clad in their BBQ best. Calhoun Day is like some kind of caricature of a county fair mixed with a carnival, complete with pony rides and live entertainment. The event says a great deal about the people of Wind Gap: everyone is obligated to come. Look but don’t touch, especially in the house, but to the insiders and veterans, it is all a charade.

Camille spends the bulk of her time with Richard (Kansas City Detective Willis). It is clear the two are growing to like each other. I am wholeheartedly rooting for this relationship. It is the only thing we have seen that brings Camille any sense of normalcy and happiness!

The climax of the episode comes when Anne’s Dad, one of the prime murder suspects, starts a fight with young John, the other prime murder suspect. This occurs during Amma’s presentation of the Calhoun Day play. It seemed like she was frustrated all the attention was not on her during this big moment, so she turned-tail and ran away. It is unclear if this is what the show intended, but either way, Amma is an annoying jerk.

A full-out manhunt ensues. Adora is in hysterics thinking the Wind Gap killer has his/her next victim. While joining in the search, Camille sees an apparition in white in the woods. She follows the young girl to the creepy hunting shed in the woods. Sure enough, Camille finds Amma there and brings her home.

Camille and Adora get Amma settled into bed. Shortly after, in a terrifying moment, Adora invites Camille to have a drink with her out on the veranda. This conversation starts off well and then takes an upsetting turn. At first, Adora tries to apologize to Camille, although it is unclear what for, but then Camille apologizes to Adora for her article. The topic turns from Amma’s safety and how being reckless is just part of being a teenager to Richard.

Camille tries to reassure her mother that she will never get close to the detective. To which Adora bluntly responds “How can you ever get close to someone?” implying the state she is in mentally, and physically for that matter, would never allow Camille to have a “normal” relationship. This admission prompts Adora to outright tell Camille that that is exactly the reason she never loved her. Boom.

Adora just flat out told Camille she never loved her, and it was purely because it was in Camille’s father’s nature to never get close to someone. Therefore because it was in her father’s nature, it is in Camille’s nature, which she apparently just admitted to. Adora called it, “that cold nature”. She finishes speaking with her daughter by saying, “I hope that is of some comfort to you“.

The episode comes to a close with Camille at Richard’s hotel room. She jumps his bones immediately as he opens the door. For me, this moment of triumph for the two was troubled by the manner in which they almost violently clashed together. These two people very clearly want to be together, but there is still some sort of misunderstanding, and more importantly, a distance between them.

Phew! What a whirlwind of an episode! Sharp Objects continues to drill into our minds: who the heck cares about these murders? The compelling storytelling and character development stem from Camille and by extension Adora and Amma. It is becoming more clear that Adora has a larger hand to play in the murders, as does Amma, and that Camille is simply trying to survive in her home. This episode, though titled Closer, shows Camille is first and foremost regarded as an outsider in her own home and hometown. And that we, as viewers, should be examining and investigating the dynamics of this small, rural Missouri town to understand these characters as individuals.

In the next episode, it looks like Camille and Amma spend some quality time together. I don’t know about you, but I simply cannot wait! Stay tuned for next week’s episode of Sharp Objects on HBO. Check out my previous reviews to get an idea of the show as a whole, and my interpretation of the story and the characters.

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Olivia Volarich

A lover of cinema, gaming, all doggos, and volleyball. I hope to foster a sense of community and positivity with my writing and content. Always in Search of Story and Adventure!

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