WARNING: LOTS OF SPOILERS COMING UP FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T SEEN EPISODE 8.
In the end, Sharp Objects didn’t surprise. Meaning that if you’ve read Gillian Flynn’s novel, HBO’s eighth and final episode, titled Milk, presented the same killer as the one in print.
But if you didn’t read the book the miniseries is based on, you need a little more than the 49-minute finale to get everything that happened at the end.
We wrapped up last week with Camille realizing it was her mother who killed her sister Marian. ‘My mother did it,’ she told her editor, who begged her to come home. ‘She’s doing it again and I need to take care of it,’ Camille replied as a way of saying she wasn’t going to leave Wind Gap with her sister Amma in danger.
The outcome of Camille’s phone call to her editor represents about the biggest divergence the show takes from the novel as it wraps things up. In the book, Curry doesn’t go to Wind Gap. But on the show, it’s thanks to him the police are warned about Adora and finally get inside her home to find Camille and Amma half poisoned, both victims of Adora’s Munchausen by proxy and Alan’s obliviousness. Yes, Alan’s only crime is being a fool.
Kansas City’s the one who finds Camille lying half unconscious and almost naked on her mother’s pristine ivory tiles. As in the book, Richard is repulsed by the scars on Camille’s body. In the show, Curry gets there right after KC, covering Camille with clothes and hugging her.
The police find a pair of bloody pliers in Adora’s kitchen that match the marks on Ann’s and Natalie’s gums. And they discover Adora was spoon-feeding her daughters rat poison, antifreeze and a variety of prescription medications. She pleads not guilty to any of the crimes she’s been charged with.
Amma moves in with Camille, and the sisters find a routine and some normalcy in St. Louis, set to the pace of ‘Plus tôt’ by Alexandra Stréliski. Amma even befriends their neighbor’s teenage daughter, Mae. They skate together. Mae sews a bedspread for one of the tiny beds in Amma’s dollhouse. Everyone seems content. But that’s not where it ends.
Amma wants to know if Camille would like her to be a writer like her big sister. Then her new friend manages to steal Curry’s attention while the two of them and Camille have dinner at the editor’s house. ‘I like this girl,’ Curry says referring to Mae, who just explained she reads his editorials and is thinking of going into journalism.
‘You’re just saying that to impress Camille,’ Amma says. ‘Kiss ass.’
Uh-oh. Mae should have known better than to create any competitive tension with Amma. Next thing we see is Mae’s mom telling Camille the girls have had an argument and she can’t find her daughter. If you didn’t read the book, it’s easy to miss that Mae disappearing means something very bad. Yes, Amma has killed her.
Camille finds something in the trash, the bedspread Mae sewed a few days back. Camille goes to the dollhouse to replace the missing bedspread but sees something she hadn’t noticed before: the ivory tiles on Adora’s bedroom floor are teeth. Human teeth.
‘Don’t tell mama,’ Amma tells Camille. Her sister and the viewers know now she is Ann’s and Natalie’s killer.
Blink and you’ll miss it
But in the post-credits sequence, the miniseries offers a few rapid-fire images of what Flynn explains in the very last pages of her book. And they may be hard to comprehend.
We see pink nails against a fence. Amma strangling Ann in the creek where her dead body will be found. Amma’s friends from Wind Gap — Jodes and Kelsey — helping her. Amma strangling Natalie in the carriage house, under the bed. The skating friends she’s inseparable from are also assisting her this time.
In the novel, Amma explains to Camille that she was friends with Ann and Natalie for a while. ‘We had fun, running around in the woods. We were wild. We’d hurt things together. We killed a cat once,’ she tells her sister, adding that then Adora got all interested in the girls. ‘I could never have anything to myself. They weren’t my secrets anymore. They were always coming to the house. They started asking me questions about being sick. They were going to ruin everything.’ That’s motive in the Crellin household.
We also see a glimpse of Amma, by herself this time, getting rid of Mae. You might miss it if you blink. The pink nails against the fence are Mae’s. In the book, Amma kills this character, called Lily instead of Mae, by strangling her with bare hands in a dumpster behind an alley. Amma killed her new friend because Camille liked her too much.
The last image from the show? Amma dressed all in white before getting Natalie to follow her through the woods. ‘She was Artemis, the blood huntress,’ Flynn writes in the book, referring to the Greek goddess of the hunt. In the end, the woman in white was Amma.
When it comes to movies, Randy is the best man to ask (he probably already watched it). He’s a sucker for good movies and is also a good critic, always know what’s up.