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Sharp Objects: Episode 7 "Falling" 

previous recaps
1 "Vanish" Spencer
2 "Dirt" Nathaniel
3 "Fix" Ilich
4 "Ripe" Murtada
5 "Closer" Chris
6 "Cherry" Nathaniel 

Major series SPOILERS after the jump (and throughout Episode 7) so get caught up before reading more... 

by Spencer Coile

“My mother did it.” 

A sentence that pierces through the penultimate episode of Sharp Objects. Much like the heat that slows down the residents of Wind Gap, the series works slowly, deliberately, yet always methodically. I’ve talked with many people who thought there were too many scenes of Amy Adams’ Camille aimlessly driving around, desperately trying to avoid the troubled past that haunts her in quick flashes. 

“Falling” is the perfect antidote to those criticisms. The episode still moves at a leisurely pace (which has never been a problem for me), but with Camille’s sudden realization of her mother’s treachery, we may finally have uncovered who killed Ann Nash and Natalie Keene.

In many ways, Sharp Objects seems unconcerned about the mystery surrounding the two dead girls, because as we slowly begin to realize, it’s about more than just two girls. Richard continues to unspool the thread that is Camille’s secretive past, leading him to uncover Marian’s old medical records and an interview with a nurse suspicious of Adora’s motives. The nurse’s diagnosis for Marian’s death? Adora has Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, a psychological disorder where she inflicts pain on her daughter… only so that she can try and make her better. 

This bombshell is not dropped in one specific moment in “Falling,” but is made evident throughout the episode – as well as the series as a whole. After all, Adora bends over backwards to take care of Amma. We’ve seen her coddle Amma, baby her, and fuss over her well-being, but now we know there is malicious intent behind these maternal moments. With every spoonful of “medicine” she gives to her daughter, the more danger she is in. 

This, too, starts to explain Adora’s apprehension toward Camille. Always willful and independent, Camille rejected Adora’s deadly care and attention. While unknowingly saving her own life, Camille has created a wedge between her and her family. In Adora’s eyes, Camille is beyond repair; no amount of doting and babying can make her as innocent as Marian was or as innocent as she wishes Amma to be. Is it twisted? Absolutely. But it adds another pivotal layer to the show’s exploration of femininity.

Meanwhile, Amma informs Camille that the police are ready to arrest John Keene (Taylor John Smith), and after being tipped off by Ashley (all she wants is her name in the paper – and who can blame her with the all-consuming malaise of Wind Gap), traces of blood are found in their apartment. This makes John the perfect suspect. Camille tracks him down at a dive bar where the two form a deeper bond built off the scars they share, internal ones, both having experienced the loss of a beloved sibling. In Camille's case it's also external. Arriving at a hotel with the intent of clearing John's head before going to the police, John instead takes interest in Camille’s scars. He takes off her shirt and pants, reading the words on her body: 

Laid… drained… cherry… sick… gone… wrong… falling… wicked…

He kisses the scars. They have sex. John discusses Natalie’s close relationship with Adora (it’s all starting to make sense now) … but it’s only a matter of time before the police find them camped out in their hotel room. And this includes Richard. As John is taken away by the police, Camille is left to pick up the pieces of the mess she made. Richard wants nothing to do with her; he calls her a drunk and a slut and slams the door in her face. For the life of me, I will not forget the look of heartbreak that runs across Adams’ face in this scene. She is already broken, and she knows it.

Still, Richard is not heartless. He leaves Marian’s medical records in her car, and upon inspection, Camille notices one name pop up several time on the reports: Jackie. Elizabeth Perkins does not have the screen time that Adams, Clarkson, or Scanlen have had, but she soaks up every moment with glee as Jackie. Of course she always knew that Adora poisoned her own daughter to death, but what could she do? She’s the boozy, rich, busybody who no one takes seriously. Jackie is equal parts endearing and pathetic. She knows everything that happens in Wind Gap, but does very little to change its rotten core. It’s strong work. We also get a fascinating power dynamic shift as we watch Camille slowly gain control while Jackie begins to crumble. 

The realization that Adora is monster is no surprise, but the extent of her evil leads Camille to break down in her car. 

“My mother did it.”

She knows and now we know. Camille may have always been an unreliable narrator, but the truth behind her “sad story” (as Richard puts it) comes into focus. She has survived a great deal, and rather than run back to St. Louis per her editor’s request, she will return home. Whether it’s to save Amma or to finally confront Adora, all we can hope is that the finale packs the emotional wallop that “Falling” did. 

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Reader Comments (13)

Meh. This is turning into an ABC movie of the week.

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJono

Terrific episode with a lot more plot momentum. It's definitely a slow burn, but the investments in characterization from the early episodes pay off here. I kept telling Camille to not have sex with John Keene, but you can't deny the connection between these two hurt people. Next week's episode looks to be very Southern gothic.

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Loved this episode! So much happened, all the threads are coming together and Adams is just riveting. I like that we also finally spent some quality time with John, who we've mostly seen from a distance in bits and pieces. That actor is low-key fantastic. You want to hug him and slap some sense into him at the same time, which is pretty common with teenagers.

Can't wait to see how it wraps up.

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Amaaazing episode! That last scene was haunting!

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterArghavan

When late-story revelations happened in the book, they came too fast and didn't sit well with me. In this series, though, the slow burn of the episodes - almost asking the audience to force truth out of the slow moving characters - is paying off in spades. Every actor brought their A game this episode and it was thrilling to watch. I'm excited to watch the finale play out.

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

This is a great series, but I think it telegraphed Adora as the villain early on. It's certainly a major breakthrough for Camille... but I've been expecting this revelation for a couple of episodes already.

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDoctor Strange

i've always thought amy adams was either good or very good. very good in junebug, arrival, enchanted, and others. but never before have i watched and thought amy adams was GREAT. i think she is GREAT in sharp objects. blown away by her in this.

(patricia clarkson i always knew was a goddess on earth.)

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCharles O

I have to say ... I feel ripped off. It took 7 hours for Amy to remember that her mom used to try and dose her and constantly did dose her sister? Forget about Camille being clueless, Amma, the sheriff, Elizabeth Perkins, no one else in this small town bothered to say this out loud to Camille or the detective? No! Refund!

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterWriters Guild

Sorry, but I don't understand this kind of review that only describes everything that happened on the episode. It seems pointless because the audience already seen the goddamn thing. I think a review is way more interesting when the writer tries to analise the whole thing instead of just describing as if the audience was stupid to understand it for its own. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

August 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterFabio

@Writers Guild - It's an incredible metaphor for the unhealthy relationship dynamic between the controlling and manipulative mother and the willful, independent daughter. You don't always realize the damage, pain and hurt your parent has caused you until years later, when you look back and try to pave your own path in life. Camille can't pave her own way because she doesn't know how, and her sister didn't even make it to adulthood to even try. Camille barely got out alive, you can't say that a child should know right away if he or she is being hurt by their parent. If we all knew, we'd leave our parents the second we were born because they're just people. Adora, obviously, is another level of evil, but when we become adults we're actually lucky if we even consciously realize just how much pain our parents have caused in our lives, and I think that's what this show demonstrates through miraculous story telling.


August 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJess K.

I love this show! Adams Clarkson Messina and Perkins are in their top game, the teens are truly revelations. Im really expect a great ending.

August 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLuis de la Garza

Sorry but the writer could have shortened the whole thing to two hours. It's maybe a problem with the source material, but unless all the town is being blackmailed, the story falls apart. One character could have pointed out that Amma is often hospitalized just like her dead sister. With a tighter timeline you can experience it in real time. This was several aimless days of Amy before anything interesting happens, with characters that were not very well defined. C

August 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterFaye

I don't remember Jackie having such a key part in the novel, and i'm glad they developed that character, especially when that part is infused with so much nuances by the great Elizabeth Perkins.

August 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterClement_Paris

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