Camille realizes she might be losing control of herself and her memories. Detective Willis realizes he’s losing control of what is happening to the town. Wind Gap attempts to keep control, utilizing their currency, gossip.
On Sharp Objects Season 1 Episode 2, “Dirt,” the town comes into full focus, in all of its ugliness in the face of something truly ugly. As the young girl’s funeral commences, the town begins to show its true colors, both in general and in regards to Camille. Detective Willis attempts to try to find the reason being the truly ugly act of murdering the young girl. Camille has to dig through her own past to discover that her present is just as ugly as it was, no matter what. The entire town continues to try to keep their version of control.
Touch to Control
The idea of physicality is focused upon in the beginning of the episode, the flashbacks coming to Camille in the ways of human touch, a way to control someone or dictate to someone. As she attempts to bury the past, the detective is forced to dig it up, even the uglier parts of it, those images coming back to them both in the same fragmented way. The overbearingness of Camille’s mother, Adora, seems to signal that, despite not in her physicality, she is domineering in other ways. She has to keep control.
Despite the killer controlling the town, propping up the young girl in order to scare their small little world, the people find themselves at odds with their own ability to reconcile the reality they face and what it means; their views of the world are misaligned, specifically Adora. Camille’s desperation for control seems to stem from her memories, and her frustrations that her current sister is all too familiar. At the same time, from almost another world away, Camille’s boss seems to want her to solve her issues and to fix what’s wrong with her, he too wanting her to find her own sense of control, and also wanting to help lead her, a way of controlling.
Gossip to Control
Camille’s dress seems to symbolize her need to pull herself back together, and at the same time, signals her past self being torn apart; scars on her arm seem to indicate a furthering of imbalance in her, the deep-rooted issues of losing her own sister. The small town’s only way to control things seems to be gossip, the only way to circumvent the reputations of the people around them is to have the truth become insignificant. As someone who seems to struggle with her own reputation within the town, Camille finds herself whispered about and talked about blatantly at the home of the dead girl’s family.
Rather face the ugly realities of their world, they cling to their societal normalities and their judgmental biases, including the blatant disregard and unawareness of anything outside of their little world. The homophobic crowd runs rampant. Camille’s need for control extends to the little spider in the room of the dead girl, freeing it so that it won’t starve; her humanitarianism seems to only extend to things outside, not herself, and that seems to stem from the cutting words of her mother.
Learn to Control
And as Camille sorts through the gossip and the town itself, Detective Willis sorts through the facts, trying to piece together the misshapen pieces of the puzzle. Camille figures out that a child was there when the young girl was taken, and that she was taken by a woman in white, seemingly part of a kind of mythology. Each person in the episode is suffering through their own kind of control, however small or large it is. As the detective experiments on a pig’s head for how to do what has been done to the little girl, he seems to understand the sense of control that the killer would have had to lose, that they don’t seem to exhibit the same patterns that anyone else would. Despite seeing like he’s lost himself, Willis is trying to come to grips with reality, something that no one else, perhaps other than he and Camille, will do. Maybe it’s why they drink, and so often together.
Gossip to Control: Slut-Shaming Edition
The difficulty of the town seems to be in discovering fact from fiction, as their means of communication seems to be only chatter. Just as her mother does, Camille won’t reach through the barrier of emotion to reach out to her mother, but would rather each suffer independently. The woman taking down the missing signs even exhibits the same wish for control; despite not knowing what to do with the posters, she wants to take them down, and to do away with them. In the same way, the sheriff is trying to fix a stop sign to no avail, in the hope that he can stop whatever is coming and that he can stop the deaths; he is wishing for his own control.
As the detective and Camille get to know each other, even in the most uncertain of ways, she with folklore and town vernacular and he with the male family member suspects and their mysterious alibis, more rumors seem to spill out about Camille from some unapologetically self-absorbed men. The gossip is fodder against her, something she seems impervious to, despite the self-destructing she is doing.
Harm to Control
The implosion of Camille seems imminent, with an explosion of her family happening first, Amma seeming to be the bridge. The title of the episode is revealed, as if commemorating the control the gossip has over a person. Someone, probably Camille herself, believes her to be just as the gossips of the town have alluded to: she’s dirt, a fallen woman, as the way her mother sees her. Camille’s grip on her own control is wavering, and it seems the only way she can bring herself back to it is by harming.
What did you think of Sharp Objects Season 1 Episode 2? Will what happened to Camille that created these rumors and housed all this self-hatred be revealed? Is her situation similar to these murdered girls’? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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