In Cherry, Camille gives in to her impulse to be around teenage girls, her most dangerous and formative experiences having occurred during her own adolescence.
It seems the whole town of Wind Gap is haunted — “dead girls everywhere,” Jackie mutters into her drink at one point. Camille (Amy Adams) is visited by visions of her sisters, both dead and alive, and her mother whispering “I never loved you” before she wakes up in Detective Richard Willis’ (Chris Messina) motel room. Back at her childhood home later that morning, her mother Adora (Patrica Clarkson) observes Camille eating a cherry pie, which triggers a flashback to Camille’s teen years. “I could just take a bite out of you,” Camille’s little sister says when Camille appears in a cheerleading uniform. Her mother glowers at the stove. The room where Alan (Henry Czerny) has been staying is also finally revealed. It’s a pull out couch with a standing fan buzzing in the corner, the floor covered in vintage pornography.
The Detective is called quickly to the pig farm, where a bike is being craned out of a pond that looks red-brown like blood. It’s quickly identified as Anne Nash’s bike — one of the girls who was recently murdered. This bike represents the first piece of physical evidence in this double homicide, and somehow Adora was the one who tipped off the cops that it was there. Camille is furious that Adora wouldn’t share this information with her, and Adora retaliates by asking Camille to leave — via Alan.
The teens are lying out by the pool at Ashley’s house, where Amma (Eliza Scanlen) makes an attempt to seduce John (Ashley’s boyfriend). Camille eavesdrops around the corner on their flirting, before revealing herself. Performing for Camille, Ashley (Madison Davenport) is back to playing the perfect host. Camille is unimpressed by her saccharine descriptions of the girls in Wind Gap, and pushes the pretty cheerleader to reveal more. Ashley admits that she believes the killer might be doing it for popularity. Ashley’s cheerleading uniform spurs another of Camille’s memories, an embarrassing period problem in front of the whole squad during her own high school days.
Detective Willis stops by the psychiatric hospital, doing a little background research on Camille. He asks the doctor whether patients there are typically violent, but he says usually those who stay there (self-harmers) take out their feelings on themselves, rather than others. He follows up with Jackie in the bar, revealing his true purpose. He needs to know why Camille was in rehab — apparently, the scars that cover her from head to toe aren’t enough evidence that she needed help.
A former cheerleading pal picks up Camille. She plies Camille with gossip and good bourbon, which Camille pitches out in someone’s front lawn before walking into the house full of women sobbing at a romantic movie followed by a tearful conversation about feminism. Kitty’s husband catches Camille alone, trying to apologize for what happened to her in high school. “That day, it’s haunted me,” he tells her. “Well,” Camille replies, “looks like we both got fucked.” Later in the episode, Amma tells Camille “Boys are easy, you just let them do stuff to you.” This initially concerns Camille, but Amma explains that she feels she is the one who really has the power when she lets boys touch her. This is reflected in Camille dismissal of Kitty’s husband. By refusing to accept his apology, she continues his punishment, the haunting spell unbroken by forgiveness.
On her way home, Camille runs into Amma at a liquor store, who begs to drive her home along with some wild friends. Amma offers her prescription opioids, and eventually, Camille relents, finding herself at a wild house party. It seems every teen in Wind Gap is there, including Ashley and John. “You want to know about Natalie, you should ask your mom,” Ashley snips, before being chased out with John by Amma yelling “baby killer!” Amma also gives her sister ecstasy (delivered by passing it from her tongue to her sister’s), so Camille very quickly finds herself very disoriented, in a delirious montage of herself with Amma standing in for all the young women she previously loved and lost — her other little sister, the girl in the psychiatric hospital, and now Amma. It’s terrifying for Camille to get close to another young woman — every girl Camille loves and lets in winds up dead.
Cherry was written by Ariella Blejer and Dawn Kamoche and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée.
Photos and video credit courtesy of HBO.
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