The quick cuts featured in Episode 2 of Sharp Objects not only serve to keep viewers on edge, intensely focused on the screen to catch every shocking glimpse of the eerie imagery, but they also offer some insight into Camille Preaker's past, and the trauma she may or may not have endured before fans met her. One flash shows girls walking in what looks like a hospital hallway — apparently a part of Camille's life that hasn't been explored on the show. So was Camille in the hospital on Sharp Objects?
Warning: This article contains information about self-harm and cutting, which some may find triggering.
Viewers of the HBO miniseries, based on the Gillian Flynn novel of the same name, have definitely been made aware already that Camille has her demons. The show's premiere blatantly hinted at the investigative journalist's heavy (and seemingly unhealthy) drinking habits, before ultimately revealing that her entire body has been ravaged by self-harm scars. She's spent years carving words into herself, but now, all the scars look ages old, and alcohol seems to be her new release.
But as suggested by Sharp Objects' lingering focus on the markings, as well as the show's title itself, there may be more information to come about her battle with self-harm. Especially as Camille traces the scars with a needle in the most recent episode, potentially suggesting a relapse, the show seems poised to divulge more information.
Marian, Camille's sister, was always sick when they were children, according to flashbacks, and whatever illness plagued her eventually took her life. The glimpses of a hospital hallway could certainly be Camille thinking back to when Marion was receiving treatment, but so far, viewers have only ever seen Marion being cared for in the home, under Adora's watchful eye. Still, there could be more to Marion's treatment that viewers don't yet know.
Of course, those who read the Sharp Objects novel will be well aware of Camille's past with hospitals, so if you want cold hard facts, read on. Spoilers ahead for the Sharp Objects novel.
About a fourth of the way through the book, Camille goes into greater detail about her history with cutting. She says she cut one final word — "vanish" — into her neck, and then turned herself into a hospital that specialized in people with her condition. "I stayed at the hospital 12 weeks. It's a special place for people who cut, almost all of them women, most under 25," the novel reads. "I went when I was 30. Just six months out. Delicate times."
The detail of Camille's age confirms that though the cuts have scarred over, they aren't from all that long ago. She goes on to say that Curry, her newspaper editor, visited her while she was receiving treatment. And her mother also made an appearance, though she and Camille hadn't seen each other in years, and the visit ended with a lecture of guilt — Adora had already lost Marian; how could Camille hurt herself and put her mother through even more pain?
She also goes into specifics on the blurry reality of life under treatment — how her teenage roommate killed herself during her stay, how nurses searched her body for sharp objects multiple times a week, and how she attended group meetings with other patients in an effort to alleviate some of the anger and frustration they were all feeling.
It seems likely that the HBO adaptation will tackle the hospital stay in the choppy, quick cut flashbacks that it's utilized thus far. Given how much the novel's first-person narrative draws upon Camille's past experiences, and how the present keeps her rooted in that former life, illustrating those memories without a voice-over could have proven to be an interesting challenge. But the way the show's chosen to hit viewers with brief, jarring flashes has proven to be a startling and effective method of keeping Camille weighed down by the past.
If you or someone you know is considering self-harm or experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.