Sharp Objects blunted by twist ending

This post contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen HBO’s Sharp Objects, you’re in for a treat, go watch it. Then come back and read.

 

Sharp Objects is a show you have to pay attention to. It’s smart, and subtle, and you can miss entire plot points if you look away for even a few seconds. What I loved so much about Sharp Objects wasn’t the story as much as how it was told. That is, the story was shown, rather than told. You pick up clues, make inferences, put together implications and build for yourself the picture of what’s going on. It is supremely satisfying to be treated like an intelligent, observant, perceptive viewer.

And that’s why the ‘twist’ ending was such a shock to me. Not because the the actual revelation that Amma was a killer was a shock, there was enough hints and cues and clues throughout this very thoughtful and subtle show to put it together–if we’d been given the chance. The shock was that a show this subtle and evocative felt the need for something as trite as a twist ending at all. I expected a show like Sharp objects to leave me thinking, puzzling, wondering, with as many questions as answers.

Instead Sharp Objects ended like a teen slasher movie with the best buddy who you think has been helping the whole time suddenly baring fangs or pulling out a knife. Oh no, what a twist. Amma may as well have stepped into frame covered in blood and holding a handful of teeth.

At the very least if they’d cut it with Camille finding the tooth in the dollhouse (which had the nice out of focus shot of the doll sitting limp in the window to remind you of the original murder scene), you’d have a moment to think about it for yourself. You might think: ‘why would Amma have teeth… did she take them from her mother… or…’ then your mind rolls back over the show, you make connections, you get that ‘oh, god…’ moment. It’s satisfying to be shown instead of told the answer.

But we get it rubbed in our face by Amma showing up like a ghost who lost their jump scare violins ‘Don’t tell mama!’ And if that wasn’t enough, we have the post-credit scene to really hammer it home for any dummies in the audience who didn’t catch on. It left a disappointing taste in my mouth after such a monumentally impressive show.

All this leaves aside the question of why we need twist endings anyway. I know Sharp Objects was based on a novel, so to leave out the twist would have been a disservice to the author and fans. But why does a good show or movie need a twist at all? Why do so many authors and directors feel obligated to include one? Wasn’t it surprising enough that Camille’s own mother was the killer without having to flip everything on its head in the last seconds of the entire show?

Sharp Objects was about so much more than just who killed those girls. In fact, while watching it I was hardly ever concerned with that question. I wanted to know about Camille’s history, her family, her past and future. And I got to learn all that and more. That is what got me excited while watching Sharp Objects. Ending on a goofy twist that puts all the focus on the ‘who dunnit’ aspect seems like a major disservice.

Anyone who stuck with this show to the end is not going to be afraid of subtlety and ambiguity. Those aspects were the hallmarks of this exceedingly sharp show. It’s a shame it had to end in such a blunt way.

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Game of thrones episode 5 Eastwatch

More forcing of Dany and Jon together, even though Dany and Jorah had more chemistry than those two. Even her interactions with Drogo felt less forced…

But it was rad seeing Jon pet a dragon. He’s going to ride one, next to Dany and some other mysterious third person will ride the third dragon. But who?? There has been no evidence of a third Targaryan, though I keep hearing people mention one… if it’s evidence in the books, okay, but we should have got some hint by now in the tv show as well.

Could Cersie really be pregnant, or is she making it up to be sure Jamie is loyal to her? I hope it’s real, and I hope she gives birth to a dwarf…

Everyone was so angry at Sam for interrupting Gilly’s important reveal! Jon Snow is not a snow after all? Jon, not a bastard??? Does this make him the rightful heir to the throne? Either way, it was exciting to see Sam take those books and scrolls and hit the road. His dream was always to be a maester, but if they won’t give him what he needs to help save the world, he’s gunna take it and go on his own. Sam is turning out to be one of the strongest, best characters on the show.

It was cool to see Genry swing his huge hammer, but come ON Tyrion, can’t you just LOOK? You’re coming down the side of a cliff, how can you not see those guards and just hide for two minutes. Especially after we just saw Davos do the most awesome smuggler stuff. (In d&d terms his bluff skill and charisma are off the charts!) But as soon as he gets it all taken care of with his smooth talking, Tyrion comes stomping down the path without a thought to anything.

Littlefinger is a clever, clever man and his use of Sansa’s old force-written note to make her look bad to Arya was a work of genius. But does Arya know she was played? Maybe she’ll turn the tables on him and play him right back. Or, perhaps Bran will inform her, if he somehow knows…

The night king has powers… he saw Bran warging into the ravens, before that he saw Bran in the dreamworld… what other powers does this guy have??

I think we’ll find out next episode!

Game of thrones Season 07 episode 03

Things are really speeding along… and, I appreciate it.

We’ve seen plenty of battles, we don’t need to see another one. We’ve spent long enough waiting for Jon and Dani to meet, we don’t need any more travel sequences. Things are happening, and it’s great that the writers feel confident enough to get done what the story needs to happen without focusing too much on the trivial fighting of it.

We’ve been having more intensely awesome conversations, than intense battles.

Olenna’s final finger at Jamie was amazing, and a great way for her to go out.

Cersie’s revenge was terrible, and just her style– but both of these deaths, were not shown. We don’t need to be shown the brutality any more, after seven years of it, we can imagine. Now we can spend more time on the story, instead of just the exciting images.

Loving this season so far, and looking very much forward to more…

Westworld: best show on TV in years

Watch it. That’s all I have to say about it. The acting, the story, the writing, the cinematography, the music, the ideas, the effects, the moral questions, the characters, the cast–all of them are top notch. And each of them magnifies the quality of the others.

Just watch it! Get HBO Now, the streaming service, for 15$ a month, and watch it then cancel if you must. Just do it. You won’t regret it.