Written by Alex Metcalf
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
Amma Crellin and her friends attend a nighttime pig chase, in which local boys try to catch a hog on the loose. Though he sits away from the group with girlfriend Ashley Wheeler, John Keene is unable to avoid Amma’s cruel needling: “Catch it. Pretend it’s a little girl.”
Later at the Crellin house, a drunk Amma drives through Adora Crellin’s rose garden. Camille Preaker helps her inside before Adora or Alan Crellin sees. Amma talks about the loyalty of her friends and how she and Camille share a mutual hatred for Wind Gap.
In a flashback, Camille checks herself into a psychiatric ward for cutting. There, she meets her new roommate Alice, who isn’t thrilled about living with Camille.
Back in the present, Camille gets a call from her editor Frank Curry about her article about the murders: it will be published soon, but she has to keep reporting. Downstairs at the Crellin house, Alan watches Adora care for a very hungover Amma in the den. She asks Alan to call Amma’s doctor. Camille sneaks past them out a side door.
Detective Richard Willis confronts Chief Bill Vickery about his theory that an out-of-towner or Mexican resident murdered Ann Nash and Natalie Keene. Richard believes the crime is personal, committed by someone familiar with Wind Gap. Vickery thinks Richard is hoping this crime turns out to be serial so he can move up the ranks. “My town. My case,” Vickery scolds.
Camille stops by the Keene residence where she’s shut out by Natalie’s mother Jeannie Keene. John and Ashley arrive and John disappears inside the house. Ashley approaches Camille and offers to get John to talk on the record later that afternoon.
In a flashback, Camille is with Alice in their shared living space. Camille helps Alice apply lipstick. They bond as they brace themselves for their mothers to visit, and pass the time by listening to music on Alice’s phone, the same Camille has with her at all times in present day.
Camille approaches Richard at a Wind Gap diner and asks if John Keene is a suspect. Richard says he has his “eyes on everyone.” He tells Camille he read her piece in the St. Louis Chronicle and believes that as soon as the rest of the town catches on, people will be “juicing up their stories.” He also refuses to comment on the record that he disagrees with Vickery’s theory.
Vickery and Camille find themselves side-by-side in their cars in front of Bob Nash’s house. Camille asks Vickery if he really thinks an outsider killed Natalie. The chief is turned off by Camille’s story and said her reporting is just “riling folks up.”
Camille interviews Bob Nash about Ann’s murder. She asks if he believes the police are looking into his background because of his record: multiple DUIs and an assault. Camille mentions James Capisi’s eyewitness account, which Bob refutes. He still believes a man did it. Adora storms in mid-interview. Bob explains Adora used to tutor Ann. Adora orders Camille to leave.
On her way back into town, Camille spots Amma, roller skating alone. Camille follows her to Preaker Farms: Wind Gap’s primary source of employment, owned by Adora. Camille sneaks around one of the farmhouses that holds hundreds of crowded sows and piglets. A worker hands a piglet to Amma, who pets it with strange affection. Camille watches from a distance.
At the Crellin house, Vickery visits Adora. She apologizes for her daughter’s behavior. “Which one?” he replies. It comes to light that Vickery told Adora that Camille was at Bob Nash’s house. Vickery reaches for Adora’s hand as Amma comes into the room. Vickery leaves, opening Amma up to a lecture from Adora about staying out after curfew. Amma mouths back: “You let Camille do it. You think bad things didn’t happen to little girls when she was my age? I know they did.” Adora warns Amma about Camille: “You are not safe around her.”
Camille arrives at Ashley’s house to interview John. Ashley is in her cheerleading uniform despite school being out for the summer. “Sometimes I just get to feeling spirited,” she says. Ashley, excited to be in the spotlight, takes over the interview. John, when he’s able to speak, has a weak alibi from the night Natalie went missing: He was driving around.
At the Crellin house, Camille approaches Adora in her rose garden to apologize: “I didn’t understand how well you knew Ann.” Adora, still angry, lashes out at Camille before cutting herself on a thorn. “Look what you’ve done,” she says to her daughter.
In a flashback, Camille waits for her family to arrive at the psych ward for a visit. Adora, unable to bring in a rose bouquet as is — due to the sharp thorns — storms out. Alan brings them to Camille but doesn’t visit. Alice, after a painful visit with her mother, cries to Caleomille. Camille tries to make her feel better by listening to music. They lay together until their device time is up.
At the Crellin house, Alan bandages Adora’s scratched hands. He asks if he should spend the night in Adora’s room “just in case.” Adora waves him off: “I’m sure that won’t be necessary.” In Camille’s room, Camille works on her laptop when Amma comes in to say she’s going out. She catches sight of one of Camille’s scars. Camille tiptoes into Marian’s room. In the reflection of a picture frame she sees a vision of Alice with blood on her face. Camille heads to the bar.
Camille sees Richard at Sensor’s and offers to show him around Wind Gap to give him a sense of its violent history. They continue to drink after last call and flirt as Amma and her friends drive up. Amma, drunk, heckles Richard and razzes both him and Camille. Camille walks to her car to drive home but speeds toward the outskirts of town instead.
In a flashback at the psych ward, Camille leaves Alice to return the phone to the on-call nurse. When she returns to her room, she finds Alice has committed suicide by drinking drain cleaner. Camille vomits in the bathroom and spots the screws on the back of the toilet seat. She unscrews one and slices her wrist before two nurses carry her out of the room.
Camille, meanwhile, speeds faster down the highway and comes to a halt when she thinks she sees Alice in the middle of the road. Camille tosses the cracked phone out the window.