All The Times the 'Sharp Objects' Killer Basically Confessed
This post contains spoilers for HBO's Sharp Objects.
Sharp Objects on HBO has officially concluded and now you know: 15-year-old Amma (Eliza Scanlen) -- not her mother Adora (Patricia Clarkson) -- was behind behind the murders of Ann Nash and Natalie Keene, the two girls found dead in Wind Gap, Missouri. Plus, she kills another one of her peers after she goes to live with her sister Camille (Amy Adams) at the end of the series. That reveal should gut you. Still, if you've been paying close attention, Amma wasn't all that discreet. Rewatching her scenes knowing it was her all along -- or if you know the conclusion of Gillian Flynn's 2006 novel -- you'll realize that her dialogue was peppered with lines that, through another lens, make it pretty darn obvious what she was up to. Let's revisit some of Amma's most obvious moments.
Episode 1 - "Vanish"
In retrospect, the entire conversation Amma has with Camille when they encounter one another at Adora's home for the first time is incriminating. Amma brags about her dollhouse -- where we eventually learn she hid the teeth of her victims -- calling it "my fancy." But the biggest clue was when she appeared to side with her big sister against their mother, Adora, saying, "I'm incorrigible too. Only she doesn't know it." Scanlen says that line with a menace that goes beyond teenage antics. No one knows the true extent to which Amma is "incorrigible" -- so much so that she'll kill if you step in her way.
Episode 2 - "Dirt"
Amma resents that Adora is refusing to let her go to Natalie Keene's funeral. Looking back on it: Is she angry that her mother is giving other girls attention? Or is she trying to feign sadness to hide her guilt? When Camille asks if she was friends with the Natalie, she says, "Enough to be sad too, which is why I should go."
Episode 3 - "Fix"
Amma is drunk for a lot of this episode, which means she's particularly chatty and comes particularly close to fessing up to the murders. First, she arrives, wasted in Camille's room late one night. She explains her whereabouts. "Hanging with my friends," Amma says, lolling about. "They love me. They do, you know, love me. They'd do anything for me. I just ask, and they're my besties." Anything? Even kill some innocent children? Yes. Amma also confesses, that same night, that she's "not nice."
Later -- after her equally suspicious trip to the pig farm, the site where Ann's bike was dropped -- Amma is similarly intoxicated when she and her pals encounter Camille and detective Richard Willis (Chris Messina) hanging out late one night. Amma, bitter that Camille didn't spend time with her, taunts them. She purrs to the detective, "When are you going to take us for a ride?" He responds, "Well, I'd have to arrest you first." She volleys, "Handcuffs and all? Sexy." Camille gets frustrated when Amma invokes her past, trying to slut shame her. Amma puts a lollipop in her hair: "You could kill me right here and you know what? Dicky boy still couldn't figure it out." She's telling them that the killer is right in front of their faces, knowing that her youth gives her the ultimate cover.
Episode 4 - "Ripe"
Amma apologizes for her behavior to Camille in a way that is eyebrow raising. "Sometimes when I show off in front of my friends I get carried away," she says. After inviting her sister to smoke weed with her gang, she warns: "Don't tell mama." Those are the same words she says after Camille discovers she's been hiding human teeth in her dollhouse.
It's a bit more of a stretch, but it also might be worth reading into Amma's rewrite to the Millie Calhoun story. In her version -- which she's not allowed to perform on Calhoun day -- Millie teaches the women of Wind Gap to shoot and forms an all female militia. With context, it's a feminist rewrite of a sexist tale. Without, it's a document of how violence influences this character.
Episode 5 - "Closer"
Amma changes her story from when Camille initially asked her about her relationships with the murdered girls. She hung out with them "like a million years ago, seventh grade" -- which Camille reminds her was closer than she thinks. "I don't like to think about them," Amma says. "It scares me. I feel bad because we weren't friends anymore when it happened. They still wanted to like play in the woods, build forts and shit, kid stuff." Also! We learn in this episode that Amma keeps two phones. Sure, that's teenage rebellion. It's also serial killer shit.
Episode 6 - "Cherry"
Amma gets trashed here, which, again, means she's a little more honest than she would otherwise be. High on a combination of OxyContin, ecstasy, and alcohol, she and Camille end up in their front yard. Amma says she can be a "little off" and says that girls don't like her even though she wields control over them. She goes on: "Sometimes you need to be mean or hurt." Camille thinks this means Amma might be self-harming, like she does. In a way, she is. Amma allows Adora to poison her. But the lack of an object after "hurt" also implies that she directs that pain outward, onto others.
Episode 7 - "Falling"
Amma is weakened by Adora's "care" and resorts to playing with her dollhouse in her room. (She enjoys her mother's treatment, which is poisoning her.) When Camille tries to reach for one of the dolls, Amma grabs her hand. It's too close for comfort.
Episode 8 - "Milk"
As it becomes more and more likely she's getting away with what she has done, Amma, delirious, grows more audacious. Wearing a flower crown and dripping with sweat, she describes herself as "Persephone, queen of the underworld" and starts to babble about mythology like the woman in white, the figure she personified when she committed one of her crimes. At this point, John Keene has been wrongfully arrested, and the Crellin family, charming as they are, has been discussing the death penalty. Amma poses to Camille: "Would you be more sad if John died or I died?" It's dripping with dramatic irony.
The last words Amma says to Camille before she's discovered -- after Adora's already been imprisoned -- are: "I could eat you up." Then she prepares for sleep, glaring at her dollhouse. She knows everything that could convict her is right there. Now we do too.