Warning: BIG spoilers for the Sharp Objects finale below.
Well, it's all been leading to this. After eight twisted, vodka-soaked, Led Zeppelin-fueled episodes, Sharp Objects has officially wrapped up and revealed who the killer is: Camille's little sister, Amma Crellin (Eliza Scanlen). Even if you read Gillian Flynn's novel of the same name, the miniseries tosses in a few unexpected twists on the original story at the end of the episode that make it seem like a second season could actually be a possibility. But before I get into all that, let's rewind and hash out exactly how the big Amma reveal goes down.
Early on in "Milk," our fearless journalist Camille (Amy Adams) eventually realizes (with no help from Detective Willis) that her other younger sister, Marian, didn't die from a mysterious illness decades earlier; in actuality, her mother, Adora (Patricia Clarkson), has Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a condition that involves a caregiver developing the faulty perception that whoever is under their care is suffering an illness of some kind (when often, they're perfectly healthy). Adora had been poisoning Marian with a supply of drugs that made her sick, ultimately leading to her tragic, untimely death.
Fast forward to present day, and Adora is doing the same to both Amma and Camille. Camille is so sick that she can barely walk, and Adora has confiscated both her and Amma's phones so neither of them can call for help. Since Amma is the slightly better off of the two, Camille begs her to go get Willis and tell him what's happening. Amma, loyal to her mother until the end, decides against it, but luckily Willis puts two and two together on his own and brings the cavalry up to the Crellin home just in time to save both Camille and Amma. Adora is arrested; the girls are rushed to the hospital, where they make a full recovery (physically, that is); and Willis says his goodbyes.
From there a wordless montage begins, showing Amma (and her creepy dollhouse) moving in with Camille in St. Louis and Adora being put away for her crimes — she's charged with killing not only Marian, but also the two other little girls in Wind Gap, Ann and Natalie. Amma seems to be adjusting to her new surroundings well, but Camille brings her to visit Adora in prison from time to time where the mother and daughter tearfully catch up (Camille waits outside).
Amma strikes up a friendship with another young girl in Camille's apartment building, Mae, and they grow close quickly; Mae joins Amma and Camille for dinner at Curry's house, where she impresses the news editor with her intelligence, which clearly makes Amma jealous. As the episode wraps up, Mae's mother comes to Camille's door looking for her daughter. Camille tells her that she hasn't seen her, but that she thinks she went swimming with Amma earlier in the day. The girl's mother leaves with a smile, and Camille heads into Amma's bedroom to replace a piece of furniture from the dollhouse that she finds in the garbage.
Unfortunately, as she kneels down to place the tiny piece of furniture back in its place, Camille has the sickening realization that the floor of a bedroom in Amma's dollhouse — which is an exact replica of the Crellin's grand home in Wind Gap — is actually made of human teeth. As Camille stares into the dollhouse in shock and disgust, Amma walks into the bedroom and simply says, "Don't tell Mama." Cue Led Zeppelin's "In the Evening," roll credits.
So, what's the deal? Adora might have been responsible for Marian's death, but Amma murders Ann and Natalie (which you can see a supercut of in the finale's postcredits scene). In both the show and the book, she kills the girls with the help of her two friends in Wind Gap, Jodes and Kelsey. Amma coerces them into helping her kill Ann and Natalie because she's jealous of the attention they receive from her mother, which is also why she kills Mae — she grows furious at how much Camille likes her new friend, who's her classmate in the novel.
While growing up with a mother as evil as Adora drove Camille to take her pain out on her own skin, Amma went in the opposite direction.
Given the abrupt ending of the show, you might be wondering what was up with the pool of Natalie's blood that was found under John's bed in the pool house (and why Chief Vickery wanted to pin the murders on him). In Flynn's novel, that's where Amma and the other girls hold Natalie hostage for a few days until they decide to kill her and later rip out all her teeth. The postcredits scene hints at this with a very quick shot of Natalie's head being banged around in the same spot, and later, a glimpse of Amma dressed as the "Woman in White." The postcredits scene isn't nearly as gruesome as the description in the book — for example, Book Amma has a rug in her dollhouse that's made out of human hair.
Flynn never explicitly says what happens to Amma, but it's implied that Camille turns her sister in (as well as Kelsey and Jodes) and starts cutting again. Curry and his wife end up taking her in as their own daughter, caring for her and allowing her to properly heal for the first time.
While growing up with a mother as evil as Adora drove Camille to take her pain out on herself, on her own skin, Amma went in the opposite direction. Obviously Sharp Objects doesn't tie things up as neatly or as concretely in the TV series as Flynn does in her book, and there's still room for the creative forces that be to explore the consequences of Amma's murderous actions in a potential season two. In fact, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in June, Flynn said she can totally imagine how the story would continue for Camille and the other characters.
However, both showrunner Marti Noxon and HBO head Casey Bloys have made it clear that this is a one and done situation. "We're not talking about a season two," Noxon said. "This is it, so bask in it while you can." Bloys doubled down on her sentiment, pointing out that "Amy's character is very dark. It's a difficult role for an actress to play. I believe she doesn't want to play that character again, which I completely understand. It's a lot to take on, and without her I just don't see."
HBO has done this song and dance before with Big Little Lies, swearing up and down that it wouldn't do a second season, but the ambiguity of the finale's final few seconds are shocking enough that I can already see fans clamoring for "more, mama." For what it's worth, I hope the network decides to let Sharp Objects end on that last, bleak, horrifying note. For good.