Connect with us


All your ‘Sharp Objects’ finale questions, explained



The HBO adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects novel is faithful to the source material in the best way. 

Some might even argue it’s few changes make for an improved iteration of the Gone Girl author’s first book. Certainly, the limited series ends on a much more ambiguous note than the book. And the abruptness of its conclusion adds to the overall artistry of the story it’s telling.

But as a result, fans were left with a lot of unresolved questions after the final episode of the limited series. And since showrunner Marti Noxon already vehemently denied there’d be a Season 2, the HBO adaptation likely won’t be answering any of them.

No matter how you slice it, Camille (Amy Adams) gets a raw deal in "Sharp Objects"

No matter how you slice it, Camille (Amy Adams) gets a raw deal in “Sharp Objects”

Luckily for the insatiably curious, the original source material offers very clear-cut answers to everything that jaw-dropping finale left out. 

Of course, there were a few notable changes made to the story during its translation for the screen. So we can’t be sure if these answers perfectly aligned with the show’s version. But here’s how it all went down in the book:

1. Who was Camille’s father?

This was a big area of speculation for non-book readers throughout the season, but the answer is a lot less sexy than the theories.

Camille’s father is nothing more than an out-of-town boy from Kentucky who a 16-year old Adora met at church camp, then never spoke to again once he left town and her impregnated. Alan was  brought in as basically an arranged marriage later, described as coming from a wealthy family who would help save the Preakers’ some of the embarrassment of having a child out of wedlock.

Joya definitely sounds like just as much of a piece of work as Adora

Joya definitely sounds like just as much of a piece of work as Adora

The most amount of detail Camille ever get about her father is from a spiteful insult from Adora during the dress shopping scene. Telling the saleslady that Camille doesn’t take after her, Adora also adds, “She has her father’s coloring, and his cheekbones. And his temperament.” Camille tries to get more information, but Adora refuses.

Adora even put a fake name for him on Camille’s birth certificate: Newman Kennedy, a combination of her favorite actor (presumably Paul Newman) and president (John F. Kennedy).

3. What happened to Adora’s parents?

In the show Alan briefly mentions how Adora’s mother, Joya, and how she used to go into Adora’s room at night to pinch her daughter to make sure she was still alive — which sounds like the kind of unstable behavior Adora herself demonstrates toward her daughters later.

Jackie heavily implies in the book that, like Adora, Joya also had munchausen by proxy (or what she calls being “overly mothered”), and often made her own daughter sick. Adora’s father barely even gets a name, dismissed as an “Alan type.”

The way Jackie describes their deaths leaves room for speculation that they were Adora’s first victims. 

They died at almost exactly the same time, about a year after Camille was born. The cause of death is attributed to “twin brain tumors” they developed from the distress of Adora’s pregnancy. 

Which is, uh, pretty suspect. 

Jackie knows all in "Sharp Objects"

Jackie knows all in “Sharp Objects”

Jackie agrees that Adora becoming a mother is what killed her parents, but adds that Camille was the first thing Adora had that Joya “couldn’t get at.” Adora also stopped getting sick after her mom died. So maybe she killed Joya in an attempt to save herself and her newborn baby (for her own twisted reasons).

4. Who bit Ashley’s ear?

In Episode 6, Camille interviews John Keene’s controlling girlfriend Ashley, and notices a sizable bite mark on the girls ear. It’s never explained.

But in the novelization of the scene, Meredith (aka Ashley) admits that it was actually Natalie who did it, further revealing that both Natalie and Ann were known “biters.” 

They were notorious for bouts of aggression. On one occasion, Ann supposedly stabbed Natalie in the cheek with a sewing needle. And the reason the Keenes moved to Wind Gap from Philadelphia was because Natalie had stabbed a schoolmate in the eye with a pair of scissors. 

Natalie bit Meredith’s earlobe one night while she was sleeping at the Keene house The little girl was screaming as if she was the one being hurt, even going as far as to swallow the chunk of Ashley’s flesh she bit off.

5. What’s up between John Keene and Amma?

Remember this bizarre pool scene?

Remember this bizarre pool scene?

Camille overhears a weird exchange between John and Amma at the pool in the same episode, which is almost identical to how it happens in the book. Amma tries to seduce John while also tormenting him about his dead sister. John is unmoved, warning her, “It’ll be your turn some day.” 

But the show doesn’t get into his motivations and the true meaning behind these words. In the book, one the truth about Amma is revealed, John sends Camille a letter explaining it all.

In the letter John says he’d suspected Amma all along. An important detail show watchers might’ve missed is that Ashley (aka Meredith) is actually the older sister of one of Amma’s friends — which is why they’re so often together in the same group.

He had moved in with Ashley after his sister’s death to keep an eye on the suspected child murderer.

6. What about the blood found in John’s room?

It's not totally clear whether or not Ashley knew who the real killers were

It’s not totally clear whether or not Ashley knew who the real killers were

This also explains how Natalie’s blood wound up in the carriage house where John was staying while living at Ashley’s house. 

At one point Ashley offhandedly tells Camille that her sister was pissed that John had moved into the carriage house, because that’s where she and her “nasty friends” (including Amma) used to hang out.

John had no idea that he was sleeping in the exact room where his sister had been brutally tortured and mutilated by Amma and her accomplices (which included Ashley’s little sister).

7. How exactly did Amma kill the girls? Did she have accomplices?

Those who stayed for the after-credits scenes saw flashes of these gruesome details. But the full picture is even more chilling.

As mentioned above, yes: Amma’s friends did help her execute the murders. 

They tricked Ann by telling her that Adora (who had taken to tutoring the girl) wanted to see her, then lured her into the woods with the promise of a tea party first. While grooming Ann by painting her nails and shaving her legs, she started to sense something was wrong and tried running. But Amma chased her down, then strangled her with a clothesline while the other girls held her down.

This explains why Amma and her friends were always so flippant about the murders

This explains why Amma and her friends were always so flippant about the murders

Amma was the one who pulled out both girls’ teeth for the “ivory” floor in her dollhouse, and the book notes that little girls’ teeth are actually much easier to pull out than an adults’ (or a pig).

Natalie’s murder was almost the exact same, except they held her in the carriage house for 48 hours, playing dress up and torturing her.

8. Why did Amma do it?

While detective Richard failed to suspect a female could have committed the crimes, the motivations he attributed to the murderers were pretty much spot-on for Amma. She felt powerless, needed control — and also inherited some pretty fucked up ideas about hurting people as a way to care for them from her mother.

But Camille gets Amma’s reasoning directly from the horse’s mouth when she visits her in prison in the book. Amma explains that she had actually been friends with Natalie and Ann for a while, the three of them running wild around the woods and hurting animals together. 

Amma and her gang left Natalie on display for the town to see

Amma and her gang left Natalie on display for the town to see

But then Adora took an interest in the girls. And they started to ask prying questions about why Amma was sick all the time. Finally, Ann bit Adora one time. And that sealed both their fates.

9. Did Adora know about Amma?

This is actually left much more unclear in the book, but there are several moments in the show that indicate Adora did know (or at least suspect) that Amma was the killer. 

In retrospect, her overbearing gestures — controlling Amma, demanding she stay off the streets, warning her to stay away from Camille (the reporter investigating the murders) — were all attempts to protect Amma’s secret, but under the guise of worrying about her own daughter getting killed.

But Adora had no direct involvement with the murders. And in the most fucked up way possible, she shows her toxic love for her daughter by trying to take the fall for their deaths.

Amma is willing to let Adora poison her, if it means Adora keeps protecting and loving her

Amma is willing to let Adora poison her, if it means Adora keeps protecting and loving her

10. What exactly happened to May, Amma’s last fatal friendship?

It’s easy to assume what happened to May (or Lily in the book), the friend who Amma makes after Adora is arrested and she’s living with Camille. 

But a key difference from the other murders is that Amma kills May/Lily all by herself, hitting her over the head with a stone before strangling her with her own bare hands. Another creepy detail left out of the show is how Amma collects the poor girl’s hair, braiding it together to recreate the rug from Camille’s old room for her dollhouse.

Like the other girls’ relationship to Adora, Amma turned against May/Lily because she started to suspect that Camille liked her better.

11. What happens to Amma? And Adora?

While Amma’s friends get lighter sentences for coming forward with their testimonies, Amma is found guilty of first-degree murder and it’s said she will remain locked up until her eighteenth birthday (and likely longer).

Adora is the Woman in White, but Amma is the Huntress in White

Adora is the Woman in White, but Amma is the Huntress in White

Adora is found guilty of murdering Marian, and also locked up — though there’s mention of a potential appeal and an Adora supporters fanclub that creates a website. 

Alan sells the house for a place closer to the prison, and writes to his still beloved wife on the days he can’t visit her in person.

12. What happens to Camille?

The book ends on a much more depressing note for Camille.

She never hears from Richard ever again. And the truth about Amma all but destroys her. She starts cutting again, on the few spots she still has left on her body.

Her editor Curry and his wife Eileen take her in as their own, keeping all sharp objects away from her and take care of her in the kind of purely nurturing way Adora never could. But she never fully recovers, and is left constantly worrying that she carries the sick disease shared by Adora and Amma.

Camille deserves better

Camille deserves better

13. Was the woman in white real?

As the final image in the credits scene reveals: Yes, the woman in white that little James Caprisi claims to have seen luring Natalie away into the woods was totally real.

But unlike Camille imagined, it wasn’t Adora. Amma apparently wrapped herself in a white sheet, powdered her whole face white, and got Natalie to follow her by telling her it was all part of a game. Camille’s mistake is understandable, though, because her mother does put on a white nightgown every time before she “nurses” (read: poisons) her daughters.

But Amma wraps a white sheet around her in Grecian getup that she claims makes her Artemis, the blood huntress. This behavior is in line with her playing dress up as Persephone, the Greek goddess who is kidnapped and held captive in the underworld by god of death, Hades. But for half the year, Persephone’s mother Demeter is able to bring her back to the world of the living.

So the legends are true. But they’re much more disturbing than anyone dared to imagine. 0439 c06e%2fthumb%2f00001

Continue Reading
Advertisement Find your dream job