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TV Review: Sharp Objects (Season 1, Episode 4)

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HBO’s miniseries Sharp Objects’ winning streak of excellent episode after excellent episode finally came to an end this week. Sadly, episode 4 of the psychological drama was nothing more than a filler episode, laying the foundations for next week without actually furthering the plot in any way. 

Following last week’s journey into Camille’s past, this week’s episode focuses heavily on her present, specifically her blossoming relationship with Detective Willis. Camille takes Willis on a tour of Wind Gap’s crime scenes in exchange for information about the case and in turn reveals more of the twisted history of this sinister town.

Gang rape, suicide and homophobic persecution are some topics that Camille casually drops into conversation about the town’s history, to Detective Willis’ and the audience’s horror.

Camille details how a clearing in the woods was colloquially called the ‘endzone’ as it was where footballers took that week’s ‘lucky cheerleader’ to have ‘their way with her’. This revelation is made all the more disturbing when Camille reveals the girls were usually in the ninth grade when this occurred, making them approximately 14 years old. 

Flashbacks heavily imply that Camille was indeed one of these girls, yet it’s her tone of normality when speaking about this that is truly disturbing. Camille talks nonchalantly about the regular instances of gang rape as if they were commonplace.

Her impassiveness to such horrific behaviour reflects Wind Gap’s seeming attitude of turning a blind eye to anything untoward or any kind of threat to the town’s perfect image. Is Camille turning into her mother? Or have years of trauma simply made her numb to it?

Although Camille’s revelations are no doubt interesting, they give us nothing new in terms of character or plot development. We already knew that Camille was a troubled character with a traumatic past, and Wind Gap having a dark and disturbing history and a warped moral compass is hardly new information.

It seems that this week’s episode serves only to bide time until the second half of the series, when questions can finally begin to be answered.

All other characters continue as they have done. Amma continues her streak of sinister sweetness by apologising to Camille and then coquettishly flirting with her music teacher,

John Keene continues to deal with the nasty gossip surrounding his supposed involvement in the murder of his own sister and Adora once again acts erratically and continues to place blame for her dysfunctional family entirely on Camille. 

It is only in the final two minutes of the episode where we are given a new piece of information. Camille finally learns from John Keene that her sister Amma regularly played with Ann Nash and Natalie Keene (the two victims) in the hut in the woods that Willis believes the girls were snatched from.

It is a strong indication that perhaps Amma murdered the girls or at least knows something about who did, but at the minute it seems too obvious. Although it would hardly be surprising, Amma is shaping up to be the textbook definition of a psychopath.  

Whilst this week’s episode offers very little in terms of plot development, the one thing that redeems it is the budding relationship between Willis and Camille. It is refreshing to see Camille connecting to another character in a way that is absent from contempt or hatred.

However, as much as their relationship is heart-warming, it is hard to get behind it. It seems doomed from the start, given Camille’s traumatic past and self-destructive tendencies and instead of enjoying this relationship we are forced to watch with baited breath for its inevitable demise.

Overall this is not a terrible episode; in fact, compared to most things on television it is up there with the best, but in terms of this series it is the worst by far. Seeing a series as wonderful as this resort to boring and non-substantial filler episodes is rather disappointing. But given the excellence it has already served up I can forgive one bad episode, let’s hope next week however, it is back on form, which I’m sure it will be.

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

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