With every episode that passes, HBO’s Sharp Objects gets a little darker. Or in the case of Episode 3, a lot darker. And I want to put a trigger warning here in case you haven’t seen the episode. This is the most difficult to watch yet, particularly during its final scenes.
Episode 3, titled ‘Fix’, alternates between two different timelines. We’ll start with present day, where Amma is being more reckless than usual. Despite the curfew, she’s out drinking in the dark with her friends when the Chief of Police catches them and tells them to go home. But Amma’s so drunk that she crashes the cart into her mother’s rosebushes. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it), it isn’t her mother that wakes up, but Camille, who leads her inside and sobers her up. Camille’s sister is definitely pushing her luck this episode, and the more we get to know her, the more we can’t stand her.
The next day, Camille wakes up to a call from her boss. He likes what she’s written up so far, but he wants more. He wants to know what the people of the town are thinking. If kids are playing outside. He wants it to feel personal, which for someone who hates Wind Gap as much as Camille does, sounds a little like torture. But its her job, and maybe by talking to people, she’ll get some leads on who the killer could be. As she leaves the house to head off into town, she sees Amma and Adora in the living room, Adora running cold water through her daughter’s hair and wiping her face after she confesses that she was sick three times in the night. Camille can’t resist an eye roll, and neither can we.
Meanwhile, Richard seriously disagrees with the police’s theory on who the killer could be. They believe an outsider is responsible, but he is certain it was a crime of passion. Someone had a grudge against those two girls, why else would they go to all the trouble of pulling their teeth? If it was random, they wouldn’t have been mutilated like that, and he’s determined to prove that. And Camille is desperate to learn anything she can. She puts her best face on as she flirts with him, but that sexual tension between them has dispersed since the last episode. He’s here to work, to find out who killed those girls. And he won’t give Camille any details for her to add to her story. But don’t worry, that changes by the end of the episode. More on that later.
Camille was hoping to get some information from Richard, but the fact that she failed doesn’t deter her. She moves on, heading back to Bob Nash’s house to talk to him some more, and he’s a little more willing to open up this time around. His anger and frustration is clear, that the police think he could have killed his daughter. He’s extremely agitated, volatile, even, but not towards Camille, towards the rest of the town. Something is definitely off with this guy, but I’m not so sure he’s the murderer. I think there’s something else going on. But before we can find out more, Camille’s mother bursts in, ready to raise hell against her daughter. Bob tries to defend Camille, but Adora won’t have any of it. It’s here that we learn Adora used to tutor Ann. It turns out she wasn’t lying when she said she was close with her, and according to Bob, she always got along well with Ann. Adora chastises her daughter once more for coming and bothering Bob, and shuns her out of the house.
Screaming in her car, hitting the steering wheel as she drives around town, she comes across Amma, rollerblading by herself. She decides to follow her, no doubt to make sure she stays safe, but also out of curiosity. Amma heads down to Preaker farms, where it seems she visits on the regular. She’s quite taken by the pigs, particularly the ones who have just given birth or are just about to. It’s…odd, to say the least. But earlier in the episode, she was talking about babies and how she finds them adorable. Maybe, in her own way, she’s trying to get a taste of motherhood?
After this little detour, Camille heads over to interview John Keene, who is currently staying with his girlfriend, Ashley. John was Natalie’s brother, and the two were said to have been extremely close. He’s sensitive, quiet, and keeps to himself, and he’s been taking his sister’s death incredibly hard. Ashley, on the other hand, is a popular, social cheerleader. She is the one that convinces John to talk to Camille, and while she claims it’s because she thinks it’ll be good for him, her ulterior motives are obvious. She wants her moment in the sun, and she wants the rumors about John to stop. Everyone is saying he was too close to Natalie, and that he was the one who killed the girls. Me, I’m not so sure, and neither is Camille.
Wind Gap is a small town. And people who don’t fit in don’t work well in small towns. If you’re different, you’re the first to be shunned, and that’s exactly what’s happening with John. When Camille is talking to him, she brings up Bob Nash, and John’s tone changes from upset to angry. He clearly has a grudge against the man, and the way he’s talking, maybe Ann, too. Ashley interrupts before he can say too much, but she’s also willing to vouch for him. You see, John had no alibi for the night Natalie was taken. He was simply driving around. Doesn’t sound too great, right? But now, Ashley is saying he spent the night with her. He tells her to stop, but she keeps going, saying she doesn’t want people thinking her boyfriend is a baby-killer. Now, whether he wanted her to stop talking because she was telling the truth or a lie is uncertain, but surely we’ll find out soon.
John gets too upset to keep talking, so Camille leaves her name and number and shows herself out. When she gets back home, her mother is trying to save the rosebushes that were damaged by the cart crashed by Amma. But somehow, Adora finds a way to blame this on Camille as well. She shakes her head and says that her daughter can’t own up to anything, sarcastically saying nothing is her fault. The irony of it is that in Adora’s mind, everything is Camille’s fault. It just goes to show how delusional she can be.
That night, Amma comes into Camille’s room and asks if she wants to go out and party. Camille tells Amma that she needs to stay home. She is the same age as the girls that were taken, she shouldn’t be out partying. Amma promises to, but then she starts asking if Camille is a bad influence, if she’s dangerous. That’s what Adora claims, that’s what she warned Amma about. And when she sees the scars on Camille’s wrist, she’s almost, dare I say it, gleeful. Like she’s excited to find out a dark little secret about her sister. It’s quite twisted, and afterwards, Camille needs a drink. So, she heads down to the bar, where who should she run into, but Detective Richard Willis. She buys him a drink and they make a deal. If she gives him all the info she can about this town and the people in it, he’ll answer three questions, straight up. After the bar closes, they sit on the hood of his car, drinking and talking, even flirting, and that’s when Amma shows up. This girl sure does know how to stick her nose where it doesn’t belong.
She and her friends skate up to where the two are sitting, and they start taunting and teasing them. Richard tells them to go home and is about to help Camille into the car when Amma starts asking him if he knows about Camille’s past, and all the fun she used to have with boys. She shoves her lollipop in Camille’s hair and starts pushing her a little, asking if she wants to hit her. It’s all incredibly twisted, proving yet again that Adora is worried about the wrong daughter. Eventually, the kids leave, and Camille walks back to her car, done with her sister’s antics, ready to get out of this town. As she drives off into the night, down a long, winding highway in a trance, we see the word ‘Fix’ carved into her arm. She is covered in scarred words, as we’re starting to see.
Outside of the present timeline, we see a lot of Camille’s history in this episode. We learn about her time in a mental ward, one that she checks herself into after her cutting starts to get out of control again. As she checks herself in, the nurse gives her tissues to press against her recent cuts, which are literally dripping blood. She ends up bunking with a young girl, who also suffers from depression, and they bond quite a bit during their time together. She loves music, and at the time, Camille never really listened to it. Most of the songs she listens to in her car, now, are ones that this girl introduced her too. The friendship is sweet, and one night, when she’s having a particularly rough go, Camille convinces the nurse to let her take headphones back into the room for a few minutes, for a slight reprieve. Things seem to be getting better. Until one night, Camille walks back into their room to see her lying on the floor, blood pouring from her mouth, a bottle of bleach in one hand. Camille runs to the toilet, puking and crying. And out of shock and pain, she takes a screw from the toilet lid and begins dragging it across her skin, over and over again. The nurses come in and literally have to pick her up, carrying her away from the bloodied room. She looks back, sobbing and screaming, feeling a pain no one should have to feel.
Three episodes in, and we are no closer to catching the killer, which begs the question, is this show really about the murder of two little girls? Or is about Camille, a woman who has been through hell and back, fighting multiple addictions, depression, and it seems PTSD? I think the latter is much more likely, and if so, hopefully Camille will be on the road to recovery soon enough.
For more on Sharp Objects, including previous episode recaps, visit our official Sharp Objects page.
Sharp Objects Airs Sunday Nights On HBO.