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‘Sharp Objects’ Episode 7: Welcome to the Dollhouse

‘Sharp Objects’ Episode 7: Welcome to the Dollhouse

Amid all these perverted visions of caretaking, “Falling” offers a brief, troubling, yet honest image of two broken human beings taking care of each other. Camille finds John drinking at a humble Mexican bar as the hour of his arrest approaches. (It’s worth noting that Vickery doesn’t even think to look there.) His grief seems to have given him a detached perspective on his impending imprisonment for a crime he didn’t commit: “A brother misses his sister so badly he wants to die,” is how he describes his situation.

At a cheap motel, Camille allows John to look at her scars. “Go ahead, Camille — prove you’re not dead,” John dares her as they’re leaving the bar. They have each lost a sister who meant the world to them, and they have both been scapegoated when they should’ve been comforted, so she doesn’t need to explain why she spent years hurting herself. It’s wrong on so many levels that she sleeps with the 18-year-old brother of a dead girl whose murder she’s investigating. But Camille does look more alive than ever when she and John are together. Like her carved-up body, the moment is ugly and beautiful at once.

What happens in its aftermath, however, could make your stomach turn. It isn’t a surprise that Vickery and Willis show up to arrest John, or that the detective is shocked and devastated to find Camille half-naked in bed. But I didn’t expect to see Willis turn so cruel. He accuses her of blaming the mess that is her life on Marian’s death (when he should know, by now, that having a mother like Adora and growing up in a town like Wind Gap can be sources of endless trauma). “You’re just a drunk and a slut,” he snarls, before leaving documents that prove Jackie tried to look into Marian’s death on the front seat of her car. It’s excruciating to watch her beg him not to leave her, but it makes sense: Willis represented what may have been her last chance to live a normal, happy life.

Camille passes her anger on to Jackie, who drunkenly admits to knowing what Adora was doing to her kids. In her own defense, Jackie mixes Camille a bad Bloody Mary and asks why Camille drinks it every time Jackie tells her to. The implication is that everyone’s first instinct is to take the path of least resistance in awkward situations, as she did when faced with Adora’s crimes.

By the end of the episode, Adora is in Camille’s cross hairs — and perhaps even in Vickery’s. Driven by an obligation to save Amma from Marian’s fate, Camille denies Curry’s plea for her to return to St. Louis. Going into next week’s finale, the question is: Does Amma need saving?

Reporter’s Notebook

• John’s mother made him read a book, he tells Camille, about how “denial is good for men.” Vickery and Alan, the latter of whom obviously sees what Adora is doing but has long since abdicated his responsibilities as a father, could be its cover boys.

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