Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 2, 2019)
Based on a novel by Gillian Flynn of Gone Girl fame, 2018’s Sharp Objects offers a “limited run” series from HBO. This Blu-ray set includes all eight of its episodes, and the plot synopses come from the HBO website.
Vanish: “Troubled reporter Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) is sent to her hometown to report on the suspected murder of two young girls.”
More impressionistic than one would expect for this sort of tale, “Vanish” starts the series on an unusual note. This airy tone makes it a bit tough to take for the episode’s first half, but it tightens up as it goes and leaves optimism that future shows will become more consistently interesting.
Dirt: “Camille searches for clues at the funeral and wake for Wind Gap’s latest victim.”
With “Dirt”, we continue with the vague flashback structure of the first episode, but like the second half of “Vanish”, it pursues its overall narrative fairly well. Although the looseness can slightly frustrate, I appreciate the natural way “Dirt” allows matters to develop.
Fix: “Camille relives a recent tragedy while Amma (Eliza Scanlen) flaunts her wild side out of Adora’s (Patricia Clarkson) watchful eye.”
The saga of Camille’s family lends a more than slight Tennessee Williams air to Objects, an interesting flavor for a series about a serial killer – nominally, at least. Three shows into Objects and I suspect it prefers to focus on character topics more than crime drama. “Fix” pursues those elements with melodrama but it still advances matters.
Ripe: “Scenes from her past trigger Camille. She and Richard (Chris Messina) get closer.”
A burgeoning romance between Camille and Richard always seemed inevitable, as that’s how stories like this operate. Much of “Ripe” follows similarly semi-trite areas as well, so it doesn’t operate as one of the series’ best episodes, though it concludes in dramatic fashion.
Closer: “Calhoun Day is in full swing and despite Chief Vickery’s (Matt Craven) warnings to Adora, tensions begin to spill over.”
With its odd quirks, the celebration of “Calhoun Day” gives the series a little room for much needed levity – but just a little, as most of the show concentrates on the usual dark drama. “Closer” focuses more on the dynamics within the town than anything else, so expect more of that form of drama.
Cherry: “Chief Vickery uncovers key evidence while Amma bonds with Camille during and after a wild party.”
After a few shows that minimized the murder investigation, “Cherry” develops that side of the narrative in a more dynamic manner. Of course, it still works on character elements as well, but the movement of the criminal story makes this the most compelling show in a while.
Falling: “Richard attempts to dig into Camille’s past while Adora tends to a quickly ailing Amma.”
As we hurtle toward the series’ finale, “Falling” intensifies the personal drama. Some of this leans toward soap opera, but the show still manages to ramp up the material in a satisfying manner.
Milk: “Concerned for Amma’s safety, Camille puts her own life at risk as she gets closer to the truth behind the mysteries of the Wind Gap killings.”
Objects wraps up with a ton of action, as the killer goes down in a massive gunfight.
Nah – just kidding. “Milk” keeps matters as low key as the rest of the series, which makes sense – it’d be out of character for Objects to suddenly turn into something with a different orientation. The finale finishes matters in a fairly satisfying way, as it concludes events well.