The series finale of Sharp Objects has come and gone. Have you seen it? What did you think? How closely did it stick to Gillian Flynn’s novel?
Did you watch all the way through the end credits and catch those two standalone clips?
Here is a recap of “Milk.”
Spoiler Warning: If you haven’t seen the series finale, be warned – this article includes a .gif of the biggest spoiler of the entire series. So scroll at your own risk!
Camille has returned home to try to rescue Amma from their mother. It’s night time, and her family is having dinner in the dining room. When she enters the house, Adora tells her to join them, that they’re celebrating the arrest of John Keene. It is immediately obvious that Amma is incredibly drunk or stoned on whatever medicine Adora has been feeding her. She is slurring her words, and she can barely keep her eyes open.
Camille refuses to sit with them, but Alan yells at her to sit down. So she does.
Amma, dressed in a white gown with a crown of flowers around her head, tells Camille that she is the Greek goddess Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. Persephone is married to Hades, who runs Hell. “But she’s in charge of punishment,” Amma explains. And then she asks her sister, “Would you be more sad if John died or if I died?”
“I don’t want anyone to die,” Camille replies.
Camille tells Adora and Alan that, since she will be returning to St. Louis soon now that the cases are resolved, she would love to take Amma with her, to give her a change of scenery. Amma agrees and says that she would enjoy that. Adora, feeling threatened that Camille and Amma have already made plans to leave together behind her back (they have not), turns her focus on Amma’s health, stating that she is suddenly very feverish. She holds Amma and begins to guide her upstairs, and Amma begins to cry and says she does not want to leave the table, looking at Camille longingly to help her.
Camille then stands up and suddenly grabs her stomach, screaming in pain, yelling “Mama!” Adora forgets about Amma and rushes to her eldest daughter. They go upstairs to Adora’s bedroom, Camille allows her to help her change into a nightgown, and Adora tucks her into bed.
Adora then grabs the blue glass jar of “medicine.” She commends her daughter for letting her comfort her and take care of her. “This will be good for both of us, don’t you think?” Camille seems to agree, and she accepts every ounce of medicine that Adora gives her. In fact, she asks for more.
The next morning, John Keene is at the police station in an interrogation room with Detective Willis and Chief Vickery. Vickery tells John that Ashley gave him up and led the cops to evidence that led to his arrest. John explains that they had been having relationship troubles for a long time, and that he had settled into a rut with her – it was easier for him to stay unhappy with her than to argue with her and leave her. “And then Natalie happened,” John says, which naturally put a strain on every aspect of his life, including his relationship with Ashley.
“Natalie happened?” Willis asks, offended by John’s choice of words. John says that, yes, someone murdered his sister, but he was not the murderer. Willis asks him if he thinks Ashley made up a story to get back at John for their troubled relationship. John says that possibility is not too far fetched for him to believe.
“How do you explain the blood we found in the carriage house?” Vickery asks. “Natalie’s blood, how do you explain it, John?” Willis chimes in. John says that he is shocked that she was murdered where he lives, that it makes no sense. He says again that he did not murder her or Ann Nash, but Vickery and Willis don’t buy his story.
Back at the Preaker/Crellin home, Camille finally awakens from her drugged sleep. She sees flashes of memories of spending time with Marian in that bedroom, playing and laughing. Then she sees Marian sitting next to her on the bed.
“Get it out,” Marian tells her big sister. Camille becomes sick immediately and calls out for her mother.
Downstairs, Adora is replenshing her medicine bottles. Alan walks in, and Adora tells him that Camille isn’t feeling well. “She’s already finished a bottle, poor thing.” “Don’t go overboard. Let their bodies rest,” Alan says to his wife. Adora responds, “I will. I’m just helping nature along.”
Back upstairs, Camille gets out of bed, wobbly and shaky. Amma, who is also still drugged, sees her and tells her that walking can be difficult if you take the medicine, and that crawling is easier. Camille asks her if she can walk. Amma says, “Yeah, I’m not so bad right now. She’s got you to care for.” Camille instructs Amma to get in touch with Detective Willis however she can and to tell him what is going on. “And if anything happens to me,” Camille says, “you tell him mama took care of me. You understand?”
Amma tries to leave the house, but Alan sees her and stops her, thinking she is in a fevered state and unaware of what she is doing. He sends her back upstairs to her room.
Later that night, Adora has drawn a bath for Camille. She is still feeding her medicine, and although Camille throws up occassionally, she continues to accept however much medicine her mother gives her. “I’ve waited for this for so long, for you to need me,” Adora tells Camille, with a smile. “Of my three girls, you’re most like me…Marian was a good girl, but she needed constant attention, always stuck to my side.”
“You killed her,” Camille says. “She was a very sickly child. She died,” Adora responds.
Camille demands – as best as she can in a drunken stupor – that Adora tell her what is in the blue medicine bottle and to tell her the truth about Marian. But Adora smiles and says, “You’re asking me to lie. I can’t.” And after telling a story from her own childhood, about how her mother, Joya, used to punish her, Adora tells her daughter that everyone has a difficult childhood. “At some point, you have to forget it…move on. Anything else is just selfish.” And then she pulls a curled up Camille by her hair to get her to lie down in the tub.
Adora leaves Camille alone in the bathroom to get more medicine. Camille allows herself to slip under the water’s surface. Memories flood her vision – we see a 15-year-old Camille in the woods, Camille and John lying in bed together at the motel…and then the doorbell rings. And Camille hears it.
It’s Detective Willis who has stopped by to check on Camille. Alan turns up his stereo very loudly to drown out any noises from upstairs. Alan then greets Willis at the door, and Willis asks if Camille is there. Alan says that she is out with girlfriends. Willis turns to leave, and as he is walking back to his car, he sees Camille’s Volvo parked in the driveway. And as he drives away, he tries calling Camille, over and over, and she doesn’t respond. (Adora has Camille’s phone and sees his calls coming through.)
At this point, Camille has gotten herself out of the bathtub and walked to Amma’s room, to see if she made it out of the house to get Willis. She sees Amma in her room, who tells her she could not find an opportunity to leave. She hears Willis close his car door and drive away, and a despondent Camille turns around, goes back to Adora’s bedroom, and collapses on the floor.
Memories return to her almost immediately – memories of her and Marian playing in the bedroom, playing the hallway, running in a field, always laughing.
Adora returns to her bedroom with more medicine and sees the collapsed Camille on her floor. Before she can ask her what happened, blue and red police lights fill the room. Cars screetch to a halt outside, and car doors slam shut. Adora races out of her bedroom, screaming for her husband.
Camille still sees memories of her sister. She is 15 years old, like she was when we first met her in episode 1. She is lying on the ivory bedroom floor, and her sister Marian is with her. Marian leans over and kisses her sister on her forehead. 15-year-old Camille looks over at her sister, who smiles at her, and present-day Camille smiles back.
Detective Willis rushes into Adora’s bedroom and finds a barely-conscious Camille on the floor. Her boss, Frank Curry, is also there with Willis. Together, they call an ambulance and search the house for Amma, who they know is also in trouble.
Downstairs, Chief Vickery deals with Adora’s pleas to leave her house, that Camille is mentally unwell and cannot be believed about anything. A cop calls Willis over to a planter in the hallway and shows him a pair of pliers that were hidden near the blue glass jar of medicine that Adora frantically stashed earlier when the police arrived. Upon this discovery, Detective Willis places handcuffs on Adora and reads her her rights.
Adora is taken to jail.
At the hospital, Camille and Adora are recuperating and having blood drawn. Willis informs them that the pliers they found at the Preaker home matched the marks on Ann’s and Natalie’s gums and that he expects Adora will be charged with their murders, in addition to Marian’s. He then explains that Adora was hoarding pills and was combining them with rat poison and antifreeze to make her concoctions. “Munchausen moms tend to use the same poisons, once they find one they like,” he says.
Willis then apologizes to Camille for how he treated her at the motel when he found her with John. He turns and leaves.
The last fifteen minutes of the episode seem almost like a dream sequence. Camille is back in her apartment in St. Louis, and Amma is living with her. Camille is still wearing long-sleeved… everything, but she is no longer in dark gray and black all the time. We see her and Amma in a courtroom, and the judge asks Adora how she pleads. “Not guilty.” Later, we see Camille drive Amma to the prison to visit her mother, who is now decked out in orange prison garb. We don’t hear their conversation, but it is obvious that Amma misses her mother terribly.
Camille and Amma have befriended another mom-daughter family living in the same apartment building, and we see Amma teaching Mae (the daughter) how to roller skate. Mae helps Amma decorate her dollhouse – the same one that is modeled after the Preaker/Crellin home. They take fabric from Amma’s bedspread and fashion a smaller bedspread for the dollhouse bed. There is lots of laughter.
Camille, Amma, Mae, and Mae’s mom are all invited to have dinner with Camille’s boss Frank and his wife at their house. He is reading her final draft of her experience in Wind Gap and almost cries at Camille’s brutal honesty about her family. “As for me, I’ve forgiven myself for failing to save my sister and given myself over to raising the other,” Frank reads out loud. He tells her it’s beautiful and to file it immediately.
At the dinner table, the conversation primarily revolves around what Amma and Mae want to do when they grow up. Mae says she wants to get into either politics or journalism. Amma says that the only reason she is saying that is to “suck up” to Camille. Camille laughs along with everyone, but she notices that Mae has written “CALL MOM” in ink on her left hand. Camille is confused by this. Is this a message to her, or just a reminder for Mae?
The next day, Mae’s mom knocks on Camille’s door. She asks where Mae is, and Camille says she thinks the girls are at the park or the pool. Her mother says she thinks Mae and Amma had a “fight,” probably about boys or nail polish or something equally as devastating, and she is worried about her. Camille assures her that she’ll send Mae back home as soon as she sees her.
Camille then goes to the kitchen for coffee, and she sees the dollhouse-bedspread in the trashcan. Thinking it was thrown away accidentally, she retrieves it and goes to Amma’s room to place it back in the dollhouse. She removes the roof of the house and places the fabric on the bed. She then notices a figurine sitting on the dollhouse window sill of what would be Adora’s bedroom. Camille kneels and leans closer to get a better look. Inside Adora’s bedroom, Camille notices something on the floor. She picks it up to get a better look.
It is a tooth.
She looks at Adora’s ivory bedroom floor more closely and notices that the entire floor is made of human teeth.
Amma enters her room, sees Camille holding the tooth with a look of horror on her face, and says to her sister, “Don’t tell mama.”
If you watched through the end credits, you saw two more scenes. The first one shows Ann Nash being murdered at the creek, then Natalie Keene being murdered in John and Ashley’s home, and finally, Amma’s new friend, Mae, being strangled outside of the apartment building. And Amma is revealed to be the killer of all three girls.
And the second scene at the very end of the credits showed Amma, dressed in white, turning and walking into the woods, confirming young James Capisi’s “woman in white” account that he gave to Camille in episode 2.
For those of us (myself included) who have not read Flynn’s novel, Vanity Fair wrote a great article that helps fill in some gaps and answer some lingering questions you still may have. What happens to Amma? How does Camille handle this revelation? What about Adora? Alan? John Keene? Why was Natalie Keene murdered in John and Ashley’s home, of all places? Do Detective Willis and Camille have a chance to rekindle their relationship?
I hope you enjoyed the series. I very much enjoyed watching it and recapping it for you.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the online bookstore to purchase a certain book…