More than halfway through HBOâs Sharp Objects, no one really knows who killed the girl whose violent death sparked the events of the series. No one really knows what Ammaâs deal is either, or if Camille is going to be able to handle the painful emotions that come with being back in her childhood home. No one knows much of anything.Â
Except for one thing. Everyone knows Adora Crellin is a complete monster.Â
Seriously, what is Adoraâs damage? Sheâs a horrible, person-shaped monster in a fluffy pink shell with zero redeeming qualities and the personality of an arsenic-laced LadurÃ©e macaron. The fact that she managed to live long enough to have at least one adult daughter without the town coming for her in the middle of the night with torches and pitchforks speaks volumes about how messed up Wind Gap society is.
Itâs possible that the episodes in the latter half of the season will shed light on why exactly Adora is the way she is. But if the end of Episode 5 is any indication, her backstory will shine more light on her personal unwillingness to be anything but an emotional vampire, instead of engendering sympathy for her.Â
To recap, episode 5 ended with Adora telling Camille that all of her darkness and strife comes from Camilleâs mysterious father, in a conversation that is notably the first time she has mentioned anything about the time in her life that resulted in Camilleâs birth.Â
The glimpse into what happened between Adora and Camilleâs father could have been a moment of honesty between mother and estranged daughter, but of course Adora is only in it to punish Camille for being, in Adoraâs eyes, her fatherâs daughter. âThatâs why I think I never loved you,â Adora says to her own child, âyou were born to it, that cold nature. I hope thatâs come comfort.â
Somebody make sure that Mother of the Year award gets returned to sender.Â
Adora is a horrible, person-shaped monster in a fluffy pink shell, with the personality of an arsenic-laced LadurÃ©e macaron.
The problem with Adora is that she is not only the premiere citizen of Wind Gap â she acts as if she is the town itself, a physical representation of its history and values, its secrets, glory, and pomp. In a way, sheâs right, in that she comes from the townâs founding Calhoun family whose tragic history of sexual violation is (for whatever batshit reason) the cornerstone of the townâs public identity.Â
Adoraâs blood, her home, and her money are all connected to the effed-up mythology of Wind Gap. So perhaps it makes sense that she has no idea how to be a person and mother divorced from the ideals of a poisonous Missouri township.Â
Watching Adora smile with pride as her youngest daughter participates in the townâs tradition of miming Millie Calhounâs rape is a sickening visual that nonetheless clarifies her priorities. The Crellin family, nÃ©e the Preaker family, nÃ©e the Calhouns, exist to reflect and encapsulate Wind Gapâs disturbing values above all else.Â
Adoraâs prime directive in being the patron goddess of Wind Gap comes out in her overwrought parenting reactions, some of which are played for laughs but are mostly flat-out weird. Her obsession with blaming one or both of her daughters for the cut on her hand betrays her need to view herself as a fundamentally good person whose peace is only disturbed by the disharmonious actions of those who wonât follow the status quo.Â
Thereâs a clear line between how she views herself and how she views Camille and the town murders. Wind Gap, to Adora, is a wonderful place that is being preyed upon by outliers like murderous truckers and a daughter who refuses to conform. Sheâs wrong, of course, on both counts. Wind Gap is actually a nasty place that is harboring a local psychopath, and the root of Camilleâs problems is Adoraâs lack of affection. But no one can tell her that. Especially not Camille.Â
Camilleâs birth, which the audience understands to have been out of wedlock when Adora was young, must have been a radical departure from that younger Adoraâs prescribed job as the future doyenne of Wind Gap. Maybe her pregnancy forced Adora to submit to or choose the role she inhabits now, to be a slightly hated but always shining example for the women of the town, but in making that choice she also had to emotionally eliminate the one thing that contradicted with that image.Â
Camille was born into the aftermath of that choice. She never stood a chance to gain Adoraâs love because she was an outlier before she even took her first breath. Adora chose Wind Gap, and Alan, and Marion, and even Amma over her firstborn and Camille has suffered ever since.Â
Damaged or not, chosen or choosing, Adora is a bad person and an even worse mother. Sheâs bad because Wind Gap is bad, and the expectations put on women in society are bad, and maybe her mother was pretty bad too. None of it excuses her from refusing to love her own child and continuing to reject Camille thousands of times over the course of her life.Â
Sheâs a straight up bad mom. And as it usually is with most bad moms, her daughters are the ones who will have deal with the fallout from having been raised by her. Anyone else need an Evian bottle full of vodka?