This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
Warning: contains spoilers for Sharp Objects 1-7
Who killed Natalie Keen and Ann Nash? If the TV adaptation hasn’t diverted from its source material, anyone who’s read Gillian Flynn’s 2006 novel already has the answer to this question. (Saying that, HBO hasn’t released episode eight to reviewers ahead of broadcast, so there may even be some surprises ahead for those in the know.) If that’s you, we ask you please not to spoil things for the rest of us ahead of next Monday’s finale.
Acknowledging that the whodunnit is only a secondary element of this evocative portrait of dysfunction and damage in a town sick with secrets, here’s an amateur rundown of the likely suspects…
After episode seven, Patricia Clarkson’s beautifully turned out, wealthy matriarch was left as suspect number one. We learned that it was Adora who killed her young daughter Marion through a slow process of poisoning. Munchausen by proxy is a psychological condition whereby sufferers deliberately cause illness in others in order to gain attention or status or comfort by caring for somebody sick. With her blue bottle, Adora murdered Marion, and now has a second potential victim in Amma.
Did though, Adora also kill Ann and Natalie? She was very close to the victims, and had fought physically with them. She owns the pig farm where Ann’s bike was found. She’s fastidious about nail polish, and Natalie’s body was discovered wearing it when she would never have applied it herself… We know Adora is a murderer, and that her victims are young girls, but poisoning-while-appearing-to-care and strangling are two very different modus operandi. As our own Aliya Whiteley points out in her episode seven review, it was made clear that pulling the girls’ teeth would have taken a great amount of physical strength, something that the slim, birdlike Adora doesn’t seem to have.
Right now, Amma is so weak from Adora’s poison she wouldn’t be capable of pulling a cracker, let alone pulling the teeth of her dead classmates. A few episodes ago though, Sharp Objects took pains to present Amma as a possible killer. She hated the victims, and boasted about being able to control her peers. “My friends do whatever I want them to do”, she told Camille. Does that stretch to murder? Natalie and Ann were independently minded, so perhaps they wouldn’t bow to Amma’s controlling nature. We also know Amma has a secret, hedonistic life, and access to the pig farm where Ann’s bike was discovered.
A rule of murder mysteries is that the eventual killer must be someone who’s been there from day one, otherwise it just isn’t playing fair. Alan Crellin, husband to Adora and father to Marion and Amma, has been in the background doing remarkably little for weeks. He listens to records and mostly stays out of the widening gyre of Adora and Camille’s relationship, and his younger daughter’s waywardness. Does Alan, like Adora’s friend Jackie, know that his wife poisoned their daughter? Does he know what’s happening to Amma right now? Did he kill Natalie and Ann to punish Adora or twistedly, to help her?
The town of Wind Gap and Chief Bill Vickery may believe that Natalie’s older brother John killed the girls, but Camille doesn’t, and we believe her. In episode seven, John and Camille shared a few drinks, their pain, and a bed, and he told her definitively that he didn’t kill his sister. John is clearly damaged and suicidal, but he doesn’t appear to be the murderer.
“Women around here, they don’t kill with their hands,” said Ann’s father Bob, a one-time favourite suspect in the double murder. He was talking about gossip, but in Adora’s case with young Marion, he seems to have been spot on. Bob Nash, whose temper we saw evidence of at the town celebration, was an early favourite of Det. Willis for the killings, but he’s been downgraded for weeks now.
Chief Bill Vickery
He wouldn’t be the first police chief in a US drama with something to hide,but it’s difficult to see him as the killer. Bill and Adora have something going on, and he’s clearly in thrall to her influence, but does he know that she killed Marion? Is he protecting her?
Ashley Wheeler is desperate for fame, however she can find it. She latched onto reluctant boyfriend John Keene, throwing herself under the spotlight of the victims’ families, and time and again has courted Camille for press attention. She first cleaned up the blood—later proved to be Natalie’s—she discovered under the bed she shares with John, then in episode seven, told the police about it in the hopes of getting on television. John’s sister Natalie had taken a chunk out of her ear in the past. It’s highly doubtful though, that Ashley’s an evil genius who’s kept the police guessing all this time.
She certainly drinks enough to do something she’d regret, but Jackie’s repeated requests for information on young Marion’s health reveal her to be a woman who cares about the truth and not a killer. Jackie’s crime is silence—the curse of Wind Gap.
Detective Richard Willis
Really? Nah. Chris Messina’s there to solve this thing.
Here’s an interesting if ludicrous one. The murders were the instigating incident that drew Camille back to her home town of Wind Gap, ergo, she couldn’t have committed them. Camille’s alcoholism and hallucinatory flashes though, do make her an unreliable narrator. Through her perspective, we’ve seen both Camille and her mother dressed as “the woman in white” thought to have ushered Natalie into the woods where she was killed. We’ve seen dead Amma. We’ve seen countless flashes of young Marion and Camille’s self-harming rehab roommate after her suicide. Did that poor girl really drink Draino, or could Camille have followed in her mother’s footsteps, and poisoned her?
Sharp Objects concludes on Sunday the 27th on HBO.
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