Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

There are some crazy theories out there about Sharp Objects' killer

Sharp Objects
Sharp Objects
Photo: Anne Marie Fox (HBO)

[Note: This story contains plot details of Sharp Objects.]

Okay, first up: Is this even a mystery? Last week’s episode of HBO’s Sharp Objects made it more or less clear that Adora (Patricia Clarkson) has a long history of forcing “treatment” on her children that manifests in literal poison. She’s involved in some way with the murders that brought Camille (Amy Adams) back to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, but it’s also extremely unlikely that she was one yanking out their teeth with a set of pliers.


Thankfully, Vulture, having combed the depths of theory-obsessed Reddit threads, has amassed a handy guide to the show’s main suspects, which include, well, pretty much everybody we’ve spent considerable time with outside of Chris Messina’s hunky, lovestruck detective. There’s Adora’s weird-ass husband, the lazy-ass sheriff, and that drunk-ass Elizabeth Perkins. What’s most likely, though, when one considers the story’s obsession with the ties, bonds, and traumas of family and upbringing, is that Camille’s troubled younger sister, Amma (Eliza Scanlen), has been up to no good with those roller-skating pals of hers.

As Vulture outlines:

Never underestimate the brutal strength — psychological and physical — of a teenage girl. Or three teenage girls. Even though she’s currently being, uh, poisoned by her mother and unable to hang with her friends, Amma was raised in an incredibly repressive Southern Gothic household that can account for her schismatic behavior. It’s not outrageous to think that when free from the constraints of her mother’s “care”, Amma might choose to rebel in ways that are … abnormal, in order to assert her dominance, especially when her devoted posse of friends are willing to do anything for their queen bee. Take this bit of dialogue between Camille and one of Amma’s pals in episode two, when the elder sister gives the teens a few bucks for their vodka-Sprite combo:

“Amma, Momma wants you home and I want you home. It’s dangerous out there, people are killing little girls.”

“Not the cool ones.”

Is this the voice of a stupidly delusional teen, or one who let slip that they’re out of harm’s way because they’re the ones doing the harming? It doesn’t help that Amma admitted she was friendly with both murdered girls, especially since they didn’t fit the profile — yes, looks and behavioral — of her other friends. But the most reasonable theory is this: If Amma is the killer, she’s continuing the circle of trauma brought forth by her mother. outlines:

It’s not as if the town seems to care all that much about its youth. Not only was Camille’s youth wracked with violence, but the teen girls are also forced to perform in a historical play that creepily lingers on the sexual assault interwoven with its inception.

It’s creepy stuff and, though we’re getting an ending this Sunday, it’s doubtful it’ll be a happy one.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.