Sharp Objects, based on the Gillian Flynn’s(Gone Girl) first novel, has every traditional trope. Main character with a troubled past. Small town littered with secrets. And of course, a murder. The first episode of this show avoids traditional pitfalls and sets up what seems to be HBO’s next big hit.
Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) is a reporter for the St. Louis Chronicle. Like many a small-town girl in a big city, she ran away from the town, its inhabitants, and her past. Wind Gap is filled with whispered gossip that travels to the doorstep of her mother’s home. It’s apparent that Camille’s mother, Adora, is among the elites of Wind Gap. Her home shows signs of wear but still manages to give off affluence. As Camille says, there are two types of people in Wind Gap: trash and old money. She’s trash from old money. From the moment Camille appears on screen with Adora, it’s easy to pick up on their disconnected relationship. Something has happened to drive them apart. Adora urges Camille not to rile up the townspeople by asking the wrong question, which is exactly what Camille intends to do.
As Camille goes down the path to shed light on this mystery, she must also unlock mysteries of her own past. The episode opens with a dream sequence that features two little girls running up the stairs of Adora’s home and poking Camille with a paper clip, which awakens her. Although this scene was confusing at first, it really set the tone. Camille is often in a dazed and drunken state and the visual language of the show gives the audience that same level of confusion. Words often hop off the screen and a scene abruptly transitions into another scene. The phone with the cracked screen that Camille uses to blast her Led Zeppelin playlist is a constant reminder that there’s more to Camille’s story than we know.
Not going to spoil this episode, but midway through it really takes off and transforms into something I didn’t expect. The ending is deliberately silent and calm but brings in all the big ideas of the episode. I didn’t know what I would think of this show at first, but I’m all in. Wind Gap is an interesting little town and I’m intrigued by its mystery. I also want to know why and how Camille became the person she is today.
So if you’re looking for TV’s next most talked about show, it’ll definitely be Sharp Objects.
[Catch this 8-part miniseries on Sunday at 8 pm Central]