We're certainly no closer to finding the killer (or killers) of Ann Nash and Natalie Keene in the second episode of "Sharp Objects," but the number of suspects continues to grow.
Amy Adams continues to turn in a mesmerizing performance as the tortured Camille Preaker, returning to her home town of Wind Gap, Missouri, to investigate the murders. There, she has to battle a suspicious town and an openly hostile mother, whose never recovered from the death of her own daughter when Camille was young.
But it was even before Marian's death that Adora -- Patricia Richardson in a brilliantly tortured performance -- treated Camille like a second-rate daughter. Adora adores the pretty things, and Camille was too much of a tomboy for her to ever connect with her. After all, what would society think? And isn't image everything when you live in a small town whose main economic factor is pig farming? Of course it is!
As you would expect from a small town, these murders are both shocking and exciting at the same time. There's a twisted and perverse thrill bubbling throughout the tiny community because, quite frankly, interesting things don't happen too often in Wind Gap and other small towns like it, much less the double-murder of two little girls.
To add a little flair to it, at least one witness mentions seeing a "woman in white" luring one of the girls into the woods. This ties into a local legend of a "woman in white" who steals children away and murders them. Is it just an imagination run wild, or is someone bringing that particular legend to sick life?
The stage setting of who Camille is and what her demons are, including self-harm and alcoholism, was masterfully handled in the premiere. Now, the investigation finally started to get under way.
We jumped back and forth between Camille's personal investigations with the townsfolk and Detective Willis' (Chris Messina) more investigative exploration of the bodies and how they were murdered and brutalized. It was great when they compared a few notes, as things are going to move much faster if they start working together.
There are a lot of townsfolk, and at the moment there are a lot of suspects. And with only six episodes left in this limited series, not a lot of time to narrow it down to just one. Let's take a look at them one by one, from least likely to most likely.
Jackie O'Neill (Elizabeth Perkins) - She drinks a lot. She probably wouldn't even remember if she did it. Why would she do it, though? Camille said Jackie was the only person in town genuinely nice to her. It could simply be revenge for how poorly Camille was treated by the community. Sure, it doesn't make a lot of sense, but did we mention the drinking?
Kirk Lacey (Jackson Hurst) - We've yet to meet this man, but he certainly knows how to hold Camille's gaze, capturing it at the funeral, at the house and again at the bar. He then storms off when the guys get overly crude toward Camille, indicating he might have a sensitivity toward what he deems inappropriate. Sensitive enough to kill? Too soon to tell.
Adora Crellin (Patricia Richardson) - Clearly broken and unhinged by the death of her daughter Marian years ago, Adora would have to be completely broken in order to perpetrate these crimes. Not to mention Det. Willis proved to himself the strength it requires to yank teeth with pliers, as was done to Ann Nash, and it seems even less likely that Adora would do this. She carries herself like more of a perpetual victim than a perpetrator of anything. That said, the girls who have died are the same tomboy misfits that Camille was, and we kind of suspect Adora wishes it had been Camille who died instead. Wish fulfillment through murder, perhaps?
Det. Richard Willis (Chris Messina) - Honestly, we have no reason to suspect him, but crazier things have happened in these kinds of stories. The logical reason would be he was orchestrating a case where he could step in, be the hero, and advance his career.
Bill Vickery (Matt Craven) - This one is about as unlikely a suspect as Det. Willis, but Vickery has been extremely hostile to both Camille and Richard as they've conducted their investigations. Now, this is more than likely the stereotypical small-town resentment we always see from local sheriffs when folk from the big city come tromping into their jurisdiction like they own the place and have all the answers.
Alan Crellin (Henry Czerny) - This week, we saw Alan try to soothe his wife and even try to share a dance with her. Instead, she fled and wept on Marian's bed. It's worth noting that Marian was Alan's daughter as well -- her last name was Crellin -- and so his loss is every bit as great as Adora's, and yet it would seem she has never allowed him his grief. If he finally snapped after years of enduring Adora's endless mourning, it's conceivable his twisted mind could decide to make others suffer as he has by killing their daughters. It's a little far-fetched and we've barely gotten five words out of him, but there's a demented motive in there, so he stays a suspect.
Bob Nash (Will Chase) - More than likely, Bob would be a suspect if there was more than one murderer. We know that Natalie and Ann were friends who became estranged before their respective murders, but it's unlikely that Bob would snap and kill his daughter. Now, the possibility does exist if he somehow caught Ann with Natalie (or another woman) in a compromising position, as he made his homophobia pretty clear in the premiere. The killing of Ann would have then been an accidental crime of passion, with Natalie dispatched after because she knew or suspected him for some reason. Yes, we're still hanging onto homosexuality somehow tying into these murders, and possibly Camille's estrangement within her family.
Meredith Wheeler (Madison Davenport) - The girlfriend of Natalie's brother made it clear at the funeral that Natalie's mother didn't know the real Natalie at all, indicating that she did. We don't yet know their relationship at all, so it's hard to pinpoint a particular reason she would be a suspect, but the entire town has put her boyfriend -- and Natalie's brother -- John as their top suspect at the moment simply because he cries too much. The family said John was very close to Natalie, so maybe he was close enough to her that Meredith grew jealous? The rumors are more than just a brother-sister bond between John and Natalie, and that would be hard for Meredith to endure.
John Keene (Taylor John Smith) - Simply because he is the current top suspect in the two, we should probably put John much lower on the list, but we're keeping him up here because there's no guarantee the show is looking for a twist suspect, and he still fits the bill. He was crying a lot about her death, and those could be tears of guilt. We have a hard time imagining John killing his sister on purpose, or methodically, but perhaps as a crime of passion. Maybe there was some illicit connection between them and Natalie threatened to expose it. Or maybe Natalie threatened to expose something else that would ruin his prospects after high school of getting out of that town. Plus, it's always possible John and Meredith worked together.
Amma Crellin (Eliza Scanlen) - We're going to go out on a limb, though, and defy Vickery and Willis being so sure the killer had to be a man, and make Amma our number one suspect. If nothing else, she is creepy and appears to be borderline sociopathic, if her fake fit at the end of the episode is any indication. Already, she puts on this show of being her mother's porcelain doll at home while riding wild and boozing with her friends outside of the house. But the creepy way she looked at Camille and said, "I think Camille could be good. Can't you, Camille?" See, Camille knows she fakes her double life, and so she knows this is just some twisted game Amma is playing. Her entire life is a game, and she spends it trying to get out from under the oppressive thumb of Adora's grief. She longs to be free, to be the woman Camille is, and she is jealous that Camille escaped Adora's smothering nature and angry that she left Amma there to endure it. And so she takes out her anger by killing other "Camille" girls in town.
It's possible the murderer is someone we haven't met yet, have only seen in the background, or have no reason to suspect yet. But that's not going to stop us from making wild speculations each and every week. Check back after next episode to see if our top suspect shifts.