Later that night, the living girls of Wind Gap are all at a house party. Already drunk from the pity party, Camille lets Amma drag her along and dose her with OxyContin, then ecstasy. “We have a dead sister, just like John Keene,” Amma tells her friends. “And she’s never, ever dealt with it.”
Speaking of John, Ashley is surprised to discover that he isn’t welcome at the party. This kind of rejection is her worst nightmare. It’s starting to seem likely that Ashley is obsessed with Camille, and with the glamorous life she imagines her leading “in a big mansion with a few curly tops and a big investment banker husband.” She is also consumed by a desire to see her name in print. As far as Ashley is concerned, being popular and locally famous is a ticket out of Wind Gap — which makes it pretty confusing that she won’t tell Camille what happened to her ear.
For her part, Camille is struggling mightily to escape devolving into the wild, miserable, victimized cheerleader she was in high school. Too bad she finds Amma irresistible. They leave the party together high and on roller skates, two half sisters who finally feel as close to each other as Camille once did to Marian. That dead girl, as well as Alice, flashes through her mind as she and Amma whirl together. “I can’t wait to get out of here,” Amma tells Camille. “I’m bored all the time. That’s why I act the way I do.”
You get the sense that Amma is doing what it takes to survive in Wind Gap without buying into the victim mentality that has stymied so many other local women. When she and her friends dance to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” singing along the whole time, it’s as if they’re preemptively objectifying themselves so that no one else can do it first. “When you let them do it to you, you’re really doing it to them,” Amma says to Camille later, referring to her hookups with boys. “You have the control.”
• Lots of hidden words this week! They do seem to crop up most frequently when Camille is intoxicated. I spotted “curly” (which foreshadows Ashley’s “curly tops” comment) on the log Camille falls over in the woods at the beginning of the episode. At Katie’s house, “petticoat,” “baby-doll,” and “cock” are all visible; a cognac ad hanging on the wall includes the word “fornicate.” As Camille is getting out of the car at the high-school party, either “awful” or “harmful” is scratched into the inside door — the confusion there may be intentional. And during Camille and Amma’s ride home, “bottle” is written in graffiti on the passing train, an old building is labeled “auto dosage shop,” a railroad crossing sign says “dumpling,” and “bodice” replaces “police” on the side of Vickery’s cop car.
• Aside from what Willis learns at the rehab center and from Jackie, this week’s big news in the case is that Ann’s bike has turned up in the pond at the pig farm. Later, Vickery reveals to Willis that a Mexican worker has come forward and identified John as the person who dumped it. There are plenty of reasons to doubt this apparent breakthrough — not least that there are still two episodes left in the series. It is also a pretty convenient discovery for Adora and Vickery.