Now halfway through this season of Sharp Objects, the path to the murderer is getting warmer – literally. As the summer descends upon Wind Gap, the town festers with loss, jealousy, and fear. In “Ripe,” there is a sense of suffocation as Camille and Detective Willis close in on the killer. As a born and bred Southerner, Sharp Objects provides a sense of nostalgia. Wind Gap is a fictional town set in Missouri, but the actual shooting location is in Barnesville, Georgia. The town has a remarkable resemblance to my own home, with a “downtown” you can pass through, cobblestone streets, and a similar red train car on the corner of the road. In fact, whenever my home town is in the national news, it’s almost always for a murder or disappearance.
I remember the summers in the South were hot and humid, teeming with bugs. Summers are sticky and suffocating, and there’s always this feeling of uncleanliness. “Ripe” focuses on this aspect with constant scenes of characters sitting in front of fans, attempting to escape the hellish weather. Crime escalates in the warmer months.
Camille primes Richard on Wind Gap’s dark history and shows him some infamous crime scenes in the woods – one being where the football team “had their way” with young women. Camille then leads Richard to an abandoned hunting shed where Ann and Natalie used to hang out. The two come to a consensus that the killer knew both girls and probably watched them from afar.
Speaking of getting hot…The relationship between Camille and Richard Willis heats up. There’s a mutual attraction between the two, but it’s obvious they will never be able to have a normal relationship. Richard seems like a good guy, but possibly unable to handle Camille and the baggage she comes with. In the scene by the shed, Richard attempts to kiss Camille, but she refuses it. Instead, she places his hand down her pants. What does this say about Camille? A genuine romantic relationship may not be what she’s looking for, but she still desires physical intimacy. In a bizarre way, she’s turned on by the creepy environment. Camille finds comfort in physical pain. but this shows she’s attracted to emotional pain as well. When we’re conditioned to experience pain, do we learn how to crave it?
When Camille returns home, she finds Adora waiting. Out of nowhere, she unleashes her resentment on Camille.
“You were always so willful. Never sweet.” she seethes. At the end of the lashing, she spits, “You smell RIPE.”
In Adora’s eyes, Camille’s main fault is her lack of ability to obey. From that instant, we realize Adora is hungry for control over everyone and everything. Her love seems conditional, based on each person’s willingness to cater to her ego. Each time she is confronted, she deflects and attempts to make people feel as if they are “hurting” her. As her husband Alan (Henry Czerny) calls out her preferential treatment of Chief Vickery, she immediately blames Camille for bringing discord to her home. She then accuses Alan of trying to hurt her. Earlier than evening, Chief Vickery converses with Adora, wanting to cancel the annual Calhoun Day. Unwilling to do so, she threatens that she has the power to remove him from his position.
More than anyone else in Wind Gap, Adora is someone who should be feared. While she parades herself as an old-fashioned Southern woman, Adora uses the facade to mask something much worse. Adora has a psychological choke hold on anyone who is involved with her, especially her daughters. Adora refuses to acknowledge that her behavior is wrong and doesn’t believe she is at fault for Camille’s problems. Without being prompted, Adora constantly tears Camille down, even when Camille has nothing to do with the events at hand.
As a member of old money, Adora thrives in having control over Wind Gap. Even though John Keene is ostracized because of his sister’s murder, Adora has him fired from the family pig farm. The only two people on John’s side are his eager girlfriend Ashley (Madison Davenport), and, of course, Camille. As someone who also suffered from the loss of a sister, Camille is convinced of John’s innocence.
As Camille and John talk at the bar, he drops some crucial information. He states that Natalie and Ann were both tutored by Adora, and were close with Amma at one point. John then drops another major clue: The three girls were the only ones to play in the hunting shed. At this revelation, Camille hurries home to find Amma missing. As the episode closes, we see Amma skating about town in the dark, carefree. She turns to the camera, a menacing look on her face. The episode ends abruptly. “Ripe” has a shorter run time than the other episodes so far. It seems that its main purpose is to serve as a teaser for next week’s episode and the rest of the season.
As we’re left with a cliffhanger, I’m left to think maybe Adora’s mothering has bred something even more monstrous than herself, a murderer.
Georgia-born, (North) Carolina raised, Adriana is now based in Southern California (Migrating between San Diego and LA). As well as being a writer, she works as a film festival Marketing Coordinator. She has always been passionate about film, writing, and creating and celebrating work that champions diversity and feminism. She is also a potato enthusiast and fashion school defector.