By JASON MARTIN (August 19, 2018)
It’s not a coincidence that the best episode of the limited series came in the penultimate, where the drama always hits its highest point, and also because Gillian Flynn, author of the source material behind the show, co-wrote the hour with Scott Brown. We focused much more on the case, because we had to, and we got some actual answers.
And we all feel very sorry for Amma, and still wonder whether she’s good or bad.
While there’s been plenty of wasted time over the past six weeks, the ending is promising. And, as I pat myself on the back, what have I been saying for around a month now? It was going to turn out to be a woman, and the series has continually beaten home the idea that parents are awful. What did we find out tonight? Adora killed her daughter, Marian, in slow motion, as she’s a classic, horrific case of munchausen by proxy.
As Camille is figuring it out, which included the most important single conversation of the series, the Bloody Mary moment with Jackie, Vickery is taking a victory lap because it’s John Keene. Nobody believed it was, and indeed it’s not. He’s damaged and he’s unique and apparently, because Sharp Objects needed to go here, he found a way to sleep with Camille before being arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. The two of them being tied to their sisters’ respective deaths led to an intimacy and a means to share that she couldn’t find with Richard. It was still a little awkward, but it made more sense respective to what Camille Preaker would likely have found herself doing in her condition.
Munchausen by proxy, Adora’s affliction, is a mental syndrome that leads to in this case a mother keeping a child sick by her own means in order to continually care for them, try to save them over and over again, or be SEEN trying to do so, while actually speeding up the pathway to death. It’s terrible, but Patricia Clarkson has been creepy from the get go, and what we saw during “Falling” is that this entire story is about Camille’s family, and really not about anything else.
It extends to Alan, who I said was the ONE male I felt had to be involved somehow, simply because he had no reason to exist if he didn’t. Obviously he knows what Adora is doing, doesn’t attempt to stop it, instead just turning on another record and retreating into music. “How bad,” he asks, and his wife says “very bad.” His response? “Alright then.” It isn’t the first time this has happened, and it’s more surprising that Amma hasn’t died already than anything else. She’s probably been over-treated for much of her life, explaining why she’s so screwed up.
John tells Camille when they found his sister, her fingernails were painted. As a free spirit, she never would have done that herself, and he’s positive whoever killed her did that to her. Later, after sex, he tells her, “The only person that ever gave a sh** about my sister was your mom.” Right there, we get the clue we need, combined with Nurse Van Lumm’s comments to Richard and Marian’s medical file, to get us to the conclusion. Adora killed her own daughter, and appears to be the culprit behind both Ann and Natalie’s deaths as well. Why exactly, we don’t know, but the woman is dangerously imbalanced.
Richard and Camille’s relationship ends as soon as he sees her in bed with John Keene when the police arrive to the motel. As soon as the two entered the room the night before, it was obvious what would come sooner, rather than later. Honestly, it wasn’t particularly effective, because the detective and the reporter had zero chemistry and it was more a pairing of “why not,” at least in her eyes. He might have thought it to be more, but she’s a basket case as a person, and every question he asks about her gets him closer to that truth.
Jackie’s odd behavior makes far more sense logically once we discover she has suspected and convinced herself of Adora’s guilt, having multiple information requests denied. She takes a container full of medication and drinks her days away, and even as Camille is disgusted she didn’t do more to help the situation, remember Jackie wishes she WAS Adora in terms of power, and she also knows no one is going to listen to her. I felt some semblance of momentary sympathy for her, though it was fleeting and this chat is the final place setting before the events to come in the finale.
The hour ends with Camille frantically telling her boss, “My mother did it.” Frank tells her to go to the nearest airport and fly home, to which she says she has to take care of it because she knows Amma is in peril. Adora is the woman in white. Adora killed Marian. Adora may be set to kill Amma. Her family is far more screwed up than she ever believed before, and she speeds to the homestead. Also notice Vickery’s quick talk with Amma’s friends, where they mention her being sick. “Sick.” He says it to himself after driving off, in a manner that connotes, “Not again.” What he knows, we aren’t sure, but he’s so close to Adora it seems hard to believe he isn’t wary of her.
He also might be in love with her.
With one week left in the series, at LEAST we’re seeing an ending that’s intriguing and well-structured. Camille remarks to John in the motel that she never let her mother attempt to “solve” her. “Maybe I should’ve.” With an hour left and Camille jumping straight into the proverbial lion’s den, there are a few different ways this could go. From what we can tell, she doesn’t call anyone else, but she DID make that one phone call to Frank.
That could keep her from cremation.
I’m @JMartZone. I could use a grilled cheese.