“It hurts me that you don’t trust me to do the best for you.”
Said by Adora only an episode ago, the real meaning of this line comes to light in the season finale of Sharp Objects.
Throughout the series, I’ve been constantly amazed at how well Jean-Marc Vallée depicts pain. No matter how different the characters are, Vallée showed his audience that they were clearly being tortured by something. For most, it was the fact that two little girls were brutally murdered while in the “safety” of their hometown. For others, it was the town itself. The dull, claustrophobic nature of a town where everyone knows everyone.
Adora and Amma, however, would much rather do the torturing themselves. Adora tortures with her “love”, Amma tortures to keep love singular and individual to her. Vallée somehow makes murders even more unsettling by revealing that two murderers have been in plain sight the whole time.
If it was revealed that the murderer was just someone passing by through Wind Gap or someone that the audience was shown during the last episode, that would be one thing. But Vallée lets his audience get to know the murderers, without even knowing it. The “who” and “why” of the crime have been answered since the first episode: Adora’s constant need to suffocate her daughters with affection and love, Amma’s incessant acceptance and allowance of Adora. It’s obvious that something is wrong with both of these characters, but the severity of these issues doesn’t become obvious until the last episode.
I know some may not have enjoyed it, or probably felt like it was too slow, but Vallée put so much detail and expression into the show. Instead of just keeping it focused on a murder, Vallée shows his audience all sides. He shows how this singular event effects characters and how their reactions to the event are so different yet so real. With whodunnit television shows becoming more popular, I hope that more and more of them will start to resemble Sharp Objects. A show that pulls no punches, that allows its audience to sit with characters and understand them, and one that portrays much more than just a murder and who did it.