Episode 3 of HBO’s Sharp Objects ended with Camille driving into the night and almost crashing her car thanks to one of her many hallucinations. Luckily, after a good shake of her head, she’s fine (relatively speaking), and as we see in the beginning of Episode 4, she makes it back to her mother’s house as the morning sun rises. But don’t think for a second that was the end of the hallucinations, they play a massive part in this episode. In fact, you could say this entire episode is all about questioning reality. In Wind Gap, as we’re learning, perception is everything, and often means more to people than the actual truth itself. Of course, there are a few exceptions to that rule, one of them being our very own Camille Preaker.
In the last episode, Camille made a deal with Detective Richard Willis. She would tell him everything she could about the town, such as previous crimes that took place when she was growing up, and in return, he would answer three questions of hers, on record, with complete honesty. Not a bad deal for either of them. Camille gets something for her story, and Richard could potentially get insight into the murders of the two girls. It could be an old grudge that set off the murderer; it is a small town, after all.
But before she meets with the handsome detective, she heads home, where her sister, Amma, profusely apologizes for her behavior the night before. She may sound sincere, but the apology never quite reaches her eyes. If there’s anything we’ve learned about Amma, it’s that she’s exceptional at playing the role of a good girl when she wants to. Adora may buy into it, but Camille is less naive. Still, Amma’s a teenager being raised (if you can call it that) by the delusional Adora, and Camille has enough sympathy that she’s able to just brush it off. Adora, however, is not so adult, and though she and Camille were going to have brunch with some of the ladies in town, Adora cancels last minute on account of the terrible cut she got on her hand from the rosebushes. Which she also blames Camille for. Adora looks for drama at every turn, and if there isn’t any to be found, she makes her own. She’s quite the master at that.
But Camille doesn’t let her over-dramatic mother stop her plans. Though a gossipy ladies lunch may not be Camille’s idea of fun, it is a great way to find out what the people in town think of what’s going on. And these ladies certainly have some strong opinions! The two names being thrown in the air the most, unquestionably, are Bob Nash, the father of Ann Nash, and John Keene, the brother of Natalie Keene. While the townsfolk think there’s always been something off about Bob, they are constantly talking about how weird and different John is. How sensitive. As one of the women points out, perhaps too sensitive. But Camille isn’t buying it. She’s talked to John and believes him wholeheartedly. And I have to side with her on this one.
Afterwards, Camille heads to the woods with Richard to show him some of Wind Gap’s old crime scenes. And it seems there’s even more murder and mayhem to this town than we previously thought. The first spot she shows him isn’t far into the forest, where years ago, the bodies of two girls were found, side by side. The girls were lesbians and found with their wrists slashed, but the knife was never recovered, and so it was named a potential murder-suicide. But what was found among the bodies was a young girl, a baby, actually. Apparently many children called her cruel nicknames as she grew older due to the fact that her mother was a lesbian. So, to prove that she wasn’t, she slept with as many boys as she could, and her nickname changed to ‘slut’.
As Camille describes to Richard, that’s how Wind Gap works. Every woman who doesn’t fit in gets tagged with a nasty label. He asks what hers was, but she avoids the question by saying there were too many to count. From what we’ve seen of Wind Gap, that could very well be true.
With the first crime scene down, Camille asks Richard her first question, and it’s a little surprising. It isn’t about the investigation or his theories or anything like that. No, she asks why he became a cop. And it’s here that we find out that Richard used to want to be a veterinarian, even started training as one. But he kept seeing all these animals coming in, battered, bruised, and abused, and eventually he stopped wanting to work with animals and instead, in his words, became more interested in “catching the animals that did that to them”. Turns out our big shot detective has a kind heart, after all.
Moving onto the second crime scene, a part of the woods called the End Zone. And yep, it’s exactly what you’re thinking. This is where the high school football team would come and, as Camille puts it, “have their way” with cheerleaders. And this sparks an all too relevant discussion between the two.
Richard: “Some people would call that rape, you know?”
Camille: “Some people would call that consensual, you know?”
Richard: “Wait, what the hell are you talking about? Were you one of the girls?”
Camille: “If I say yes, you’ll think less of me or you’ll feel sorry for me.”
Richard: “No, I’d think those guys took advantage of someone too young to make an informed decision.”
Camille: “Typical. A boy has sex with five girls and they’d put up a statue in his honor.”
Richard: “Yeah, double standards exist…but “having your way with somebody,” that sounds criminal. Literally.”
Again, this all comes back to the idea that in Wind Gap, perception matters a lot more than truth. And it also points out the stigma that still exists, and why movements like #MeToo are so important.
Which brings us to our second question. Camille believes John Keene is innocent, but she isn’t so sure about Bob Nash, so she asks if the dirt on his tire trucks were a match for the murder scene. It wasn’t. That doesn’t mean he didn’t commit the murder, necessarily, it just makes it a lot harder to prove if he did.
And finally, onto the third crime scene. The same old shack that we’ve seen in previous episodes, specifically in flashbacks with Camille. We don’t know what happened to her in that shack, but we know that there was explicit pornography in there. We know that it’s something that she often thinks about, and we can guess that someone probably did something, against her will, in there. As it turns out, Richard already knows about this place. This was Ann and Natalie’s hangout spot. It may have different decorations on the inside now, but it’s still just as creepy, and we now have more questions than we do answers.
Richard picks up on Camille’s change in attitude, hard not to spot as we watch the color drain from her face, and asks her if something happened to her in there. She dodges the question, same as usual. But, unexpectedly, this fairly serious exchange leads to an interesting turn of events. Camille walks towards Richard, who then tries to kiss her before she pulls away. Instead, she drops her bag, unzips her pants, and guides his hand down. He leans into her, and she him, as she gasps in pleasure. Countless images flood her mind, from the crime scenes she’s encountered to blood dripping on the floor, to her time in the shack. While we’re extremely excited to see what happens between Richard and Camille, we can’t help but have so many questions.
Richard drives Camille home, where she now allows a few kisses to be shared between the two of them. Though it’s clear she’s still struggling with trust issues, she’s slowly opening up. But as she says goodbye, she sees the Police Chief leaving her house. What she doesn’t know is that he was there visiting her mother, warning her that one of her daughters is dangerous, and one is in danger. We can assume who he means, but the audience knows that the reality is quite the opposite of what the Chief and Adora believe. It’s one of the many reasons, in fact, that the Chief and Richard are struggling working together. The Chief refuses to see the bad in Wind Gap and its people, he refuses to accept the help of the big city detective. And until he does, the case will suffer.
When Camille arrives back inside the house, she’s met with accusations upon accusations from Adora, who’s ready to blame her daughter for everything she possibly can, no matter how ridiculous or untrue. So, she decides to head out to the bar for a drink, and who should she run into shortly after she arrives, but John Keene. He buys her a drink and they end up bonding a little. He still can’t believe everyone thinks he killed his sister, and she tries to offer some comfort by telling him that she doesn’t believe that at all.
We find out that Natalie had a bit of a troubled past. In the town they used to live in, she once got mad at a girl for stealing her pencil. She took it back, and proceeded to stab the girl in the eye with it. Camille promises not to put that in her story, so John keeps talking. How Natalie and Ann were so close, but he always thought they’d end up killing each other, they were always fighting. It was Amma, of all people, who kept them from tearing each other apart. Camille sits up, alert, at this. Amma never let on that she was close with the two girls, but as John tells her, she was best friends with them. In fact, the three girls would always play together in the shack in the woods.
At this news, Camille runs frantically to her car and drives home. When she doesn’t find Amma there, she quickly drives back into town, searching for her sister, all the while imagining the worst. We watch as she plays out the scenario in her head. Walking into the shack in the dark, stumbling upon the dead, mutilated body of Amma. But in reality (or at least, we think it’s the reality), she finds her rollerskating around town in the middle of the night. Safe, but startled.
It’s also notable to mention that back at the house, Adora’s husband walks into their room to find Adora lying unresponsive on the bed, and he seems to be a bit frantic.
What does all of this mean? What’s real? We’ll have to wait until next week to find out.
Sharp Objects Airs On Sunday Nights On HBO.