Sharp Objects “Dirt”

Gillian Flynn, author of the novel this mini-series is based on, wrote this episode and that gives her a chance to do something she couldn’t or wouldn’t with her novel, namely show other points of view.

See, Flynn’s book is told entirely from Camille’s somewhat drunken (at best) perspective.  If she isn’t present for something, the only way the reader finds out about it is if someone else brings it up.  That happens here.  Richard Willis, the police detective who wasn’t raised in Wind Gap, and something of a love interest for Camille until he finds out too much about her, can go off and look into some of the clues he picked up from the previous episode, namely how the corpse that Camille and the cops found of that young girl is missing all her teeth, and look into what it would take to remove the teeth.  And that involves a pair of pliers and a pig’s head, and it isn’t easy to pull teeth, even from a dead animal’s head.

That said, Camille is still looking into things, telling her editor lies about permission she wasn’t granted to look around the victim’s bedroom during a post-funeral gathering, interviewing the handful of children she finds hanging around outside, and trying to take notes during the aforementioned funeral.  “Trying” is the key here since Adora, sitting next to her, keeps taking her pen away.

Really, much of what I saw in this episode, even as Camille hears about a “woman in white” that led one victim away, as told to her by a young boy in a gun whose methhead, cancer-ridden mother didn’t see any harm in, was Camille seeing what kind of women her mother and younger half-sister are.

For Adora, there’s a really telling scene where Camille, coming down for breakfast just before the funeral, opts to just have an apple.  As soon as she picks up a knife to slice it, Adora intervenes and has the maid/cook do it instead.  Camille lives in a cluttered apartment and drives a beaten-up car.  She isn’t rich the way her mother is, and she doesn’t care as much about appearances as Adora does.  Adora says she helps people, young girls, including the victim.  What does that mean?  It’s hard to say.  She’s also too quick to browbeat Camille for being drunk when, well, Camille didn’t seem that drunk at the time…you know, considering how much Camille can get black-out drunk.  If she’s awake, she isn’t that drunk.

As for Amma, when she isn’t having seizures in the living room, she’s a huge liar.  She dresses differently at home, never says where she’s actually going, and isn’t above talking trash about people when they aren’t around.  Granted, it seems like everyone in Wind Gap is a massive gossip, but these are the two women that bookend Camille.  There’s Adora, a somewhat cold woman who only cares about appearances, and Amma, a chronic liar.

Now, Camille has her own problems.  She’s not the most honest, and she’s clearly troubled by a death from her own past while drinking herself to death.  And for the sake of her job, she goes to the one place where she arguably became what she is:  a high-functioning alcoholic.

Stuff like that is potentially more interesting than whatever happened to those dead girls.

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