TV: Sharp Objects S1 E02-E04 (2018) - Reviewed

As we’ve now reached the halfway point of Sharp Objects, the miniseries based off of the Gillian Flynn novel of the same name, I feel as though a murder mystery show like this would be slightly less puzzling and beginning to show its cards. To its credit, the show has managed to stray away from both, adding layers upon layers to its rich, visual, at times claustrophobic storytelling technique. 

What you immediately notice upon tuning in to Sharp Objects is its manic and distorted editing style, which you’ll either love or hate, perhaps both simultaneously. It’s jarring, and sets a specific tone for the series as well as its lead, Camille (Amy Adams), whose world and mind is equally fractured. You might have thought that the editing was just an added touch to the pilot. You would be wrong. 

Episode two, entitled Dirt, deepens the mystery of both the serial killer and the town of Wind Gap, picking up where episode one left off with another dead body, a girl named Natalie, who was found propped up in an alley with all of her teeth missing. As Camille begins talking to the various people of the town, including the neighborhood children, she’s told that the “Woman in White” took Natalie, which is both effectively creepy and the first time I noticed that Sharp Objects could, in fact, be True Detective season three, terms of style and tone. 

True Detective introduced the idea of the “Yellow King” early on, and here we have the “Woman in White,” both of which are stories, or a series of stories that came out in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Let’s call a spade a spade: both of these tales are creepy as fuck and offer a deeper layer of understanding within the shows they’re mentioned. In this instance, the “Woman in White” serves as both town folklore in Wind Gap, and as a possible inspiration for the story of Sharp Objects itself, as “The Woman in White” is considered to be among the first mystery novels as well as an early example of detective fiction. Whether or not this all pays off – is the “Woman in White” real or imagined? – is anyone’s guess, but it adds a fascinating angle to the story of a town that is much more sinister than we originally assume it is. 

Episode three, entitled Fix, gives us more backstory on Camille’s recent stint in a psychiatric facility, where her roommate meets a tragic end, to put it mildly. We’re locked, side by side, in uncovering Camille’s past at the same time that we’re learning more about the possible Wind Gap killer, whom Richard (Chris Messina) believes to be a resident of the town, despite the protests and disbelief of the police chief (Matt Craven). 

Episode four, entitled Ripe, starts to bring things into focus a bit more, with Camille and Richard’s twisted relationship deepening as they agree to start solving the mystery together. They affectionately refer to their tour of previous crime scenes as a date, which is at once absurd, hilarious and downright fucked up. That might actually be an apt way of selling the series, as it exists within many genres all at once, and yet is none of them at the same time. 

I’m curious to see where this goes, and have not been as emotionally attached to the outcome of a show like this since True Detective season one. It’s tough to write about, because to describe what you’re watching does a disservice to the artistry on display in every episode. Sharp Objects deserves you undivided attention, demanding it with each quick cutaway and every breathtakingly composed singular shot.

--Matt Giles