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Sharp Objects Review (Season 1, Episode 2)

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The second episode of Sharp Objects was just as frustrating and thrilling as the first. We are teased with scraps of information and yet are gifted no answers to the multitude of questions we are left with.  

I will warn you, this series is looking to be somewhat of a slow burner, I’m not holding out hope of getting answers anytime soon. But still, despite not giving anything away, this series remains to be inescapably intriguing. 

After the body of the second missing girl, Natalie Keene is found in episode one; this episode focuses predominantly on her funeral and the wake that is held in her family home. We as the audience are aligned with Camille, who is observing her fellow mourners, taking notes and forming her impressions on the attendees, learning more about everyone around her as we are.

Camille’s venture into Natalie’s room reveals more about the murder victim; she has two lists of names on her mirror titled ‘like’ and ‘hate’ and from the football and spider memorabilia in her room she was something of a tomboy.

Camille’s half sister Amma spitefully remarks that killer doesn’t go after the ‘cool’ girls. Suspect number one at the minute is Natalie Keene’s brother, the socially awkward and slightly outcast John Keene, but that seems too obvious for now. 

Throughout the episode slowly but surely we are given a clearer insight into the community of Wind Gap as well as a sharper understanding of the complex dynamics at work within the family of central character, Camille Preaker.

In this episode the highly dysfunctional relationship between Camille (Amy Adams) and her mother Adora (Patricia Clarkson) is explored more thoroughly. The rifts and the tension at work between them is handled subtly but sharply.

We see Camille as a child at her sister’s funeral reaching for her mother in a desperate attempt for affection, only to be shunned away so that her mother can kneel at the coffin of her sister. She is left holding one of her mother’s recently plucked eyelashes, holding onto it softly in a bid to escape her own loneliness. It’s an incredibly painful scene to watch.

Camille’s careful self-harming in this episode, using a needle to delicately cut her own skin is mirrored in the meticulous act of her mother plucking her own eyelashes out. Both characters express their deep-seated emotional trauma in the controlled fashion demanded of them by the town that prizes image and decorum above all else. 

Director and editor, Jean-Marc Vallée (who also helmed last year's Big Little Lies) has done a magnificent job with this series. The editing is simply phenomenal. The quick and seamless blending of past and present makes Camille’s flashbacks almost indistinguishable from the present, perfectly reflecting how her inescapable past remains to haunt her still in the present. 

Overall, the second episode gives very little away in terms of the murders that frame the series. However, we are offered a clearer insight into the complex relationships at work in the community and the tension within them that is sure to unravel as the series progresses.

It is a slow but undoubtedly thrilling series that will continue to intrigue, fascinate and disturb you.  

Sharp Objects is on every Monday at 9pm on Sky Atlantic. Check out the preview for episode three below.

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