Still catching up? Read our review of episode 3 here.
Somewhere near the beginning of Sharp Objects’ fourth episode (‘Ripe’), Camille Preaker has lunch with some of Wind Gap’s most esteemed ladies. These ladies that lunch, she hopes, will help her find out a little more about public opinion concerning the recent child murders and uncover a clue or two. It’s effectively a knitting circle, a place for spoiled rich women to sit around and gossip.
Gossip may seem like a rather poor tool to rely on while trying to untangle such heinous crimes, but it’s all Camille and the audience really has to work with – if you don’t count the fractured flashback memories or the wisps of clues that seem to blow in and out of shot frustratingly, that is. Wind Gap is a town of well-guarded secrets, a place that even Hercule Poirot might well leave empty handed from. It’s also a town in which no one speaks openly about anything. Even the local saying ‘bless your heart’ is deceptive. It’s used by locals in a more than slightly passive-aggressive way – it basically means ‘F-you’…
Camille hasn’t always appreciated gossip though. Part of the reason she was driven to leave her Missouri hometown was due to the salacious rumours about her ‘love life’, something which has only been mentioned – but not explored – before now. Here, though, we’re firmly led to believe that she may well have been raped in a wooden shack in the forest – something she alludes to with Detective Willis during a quid pro quo Q&A session there. Disturbingly, a matter of seconds later, he’s trying to kiss her. She pushes him away but, almost with a sense of duty, then shoves his hands down the front of her jeans. It’s not quite the big romantic start between the chemistry-sparking pair some viewers may have hoped for.
While ‘Ripe’ isn’t exactly overly concerned with propelling the plot in a forward direction, a few clues do flutter out of the bushes. Natalie’s brother John, still cut up about his sister’s death, confides a few things to Camille in a fine scene at the bar. But as he does so, his cheerleader girlfriend finds a mystery bloodstain under his bed…
John reveals that not only did his sister have a nasty streak (we’d call stabbing a girl in the eye with a pencil pretty nasty, wouldn’t you?), but that she was friends with Camille’s half-sister Amma. It seems that everyone knows everyone in this small town.
Also causing more than a little suspicion this week is the cuckolded figure of Alan, the de facto patriarch of the Preaker household. When he’s not floating around the house listening to music and fixing Adora drinks, he’s having his sexual advances spurned by her or being jealous at the frisson-filled conversations that his wife has with Police Chief Bill Vickery. Towards the end of the episode, he turns somewhat and demonstrates a hint of an angry – maybe even violent – side. He’s one to watch. Could he be behind some of the horrors of the Preaker household…?
The gossip lunch turned up a few clue morsels too. Camille found out the families of the murdered girls were at war with each other and a theory was floated that the killings could be reciprocal revenge murders. Unlikely, but interesting.
We’re enjoying this ethereal and odd little crime drama from the mind of Gillian Flynn and the directorial chair of Big Little Lies’ Jean-Marc Vallée, but we still can’t help but feel that a little more attention to the plot and story and less on the atmosphere would help push Sharp Objects from quirky little style piece into unique but powerful crime drama.
Did you tune in for Sharp Objects episode 4? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!