‘Sharp Objects’ Alan Crellin: Complicit or Oblivious? Creator Marti Noxon Gives Us Her Take

Showrunner debates whether Adora’s husband “gets off on the violence” or was more of a “beaten spouse”

Sharp Objects Alan

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve watched “Sharp Objects” through Sunday’s finale, “Milk.”)

“Sharp Objects” creator Marti Noxon will tell you that “this story is about the legacy of violence among these women.”

And that’s the truth, as HBO’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s debut novel came to a close Sunday with two shocking reveals: 1) Camille’s (Amy Adams) mother Adora (Patricia Clarkson) killed her little sister Marian by imposing Munchausen by proxy on her and slowly poisoning her to death as a child, and 2) Camille’s preteen half sister, Amma (Eliza Scanlen), was the one responsible for the grisly murders of the two young girls from their small hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri.

But sitting quietly in the middle of this storm of murderous rage amongst the women is Adora’s husband, Alan (played by Henry Czerny), trying to tune it all out while listening to his very expensive stereo equipment.

So what exactly did Alan know about all the violent acts the women closest to him were carrying out — including the fact his wife killed their child? Noxon tells TheWrap she left it ambiguous as to whether or not Alan was complicit or oblivious, but that in some “deep dark recess of his soul” he “knows everything.”

“I think this is, again, the story of like secrets and denial,” Noxton told TheWrap in an interview ahead of Sunday’s finale. “How about all of these people who live with people who are abusing their children and they know, but they don’t want to know, so they push it down and they make excuses and they justify behaviors? I think it’s just… he probably in some deep, dark recess of his soul knows everything. But I don’t think he admits it all to himself. This is what I would think Alan thinks of as one of the dark times that he’s just trying to get through.”

But Noxon says it’s possible Alan also “gets off on the violence.”

“We’ve seen these stories so many times about female spouses who walk that line between trying to control the force — the dangerous force in their family — but also not being willing to sacrifice to do it,” Noxon said. “And I think that’s Alan. He almost feels like a beaten spouse to me. He’s sort of trying to control Adora, but he’s also just trying to walk away.”

“I don’t know if he is in some ways, you know, he gets off on the violence?” she added. “I think he’s almost more a victim of whatever mind control [Adora has inflicted on him]. He feels like a very classically female character in that way.”

Read more from our interview with Noxon about the finale here. And get a breakdown of the finale’s chilling post-credits scenes here.