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Cruel Summer Review Off With a Bang Season 1 Episode 3 Cruel Summer Review Off With a Bang Season 1 Episode 3

Cruel Summer

Cruel Summer – Victim or Villain? (1×03)

CRUEL SUMMER - "Off With a Bang" - Victim or villain? Jeanette continues to add fuel to the fire as her reckless behavior causes her friends and family to question her even more. This episode of “Cruel Summer” airs Tuesday, April 27 at 10:00 p.m. on Freeform. (Freeform/Bill Matlock) SARAH DREW, CHIARA AURELIA

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The events of Cruel Summer Season 1 Episode 3 take place over the course of three 4th of July events. 

And the fireworks are the least explosive thing about the episode.

We continue to see Kate and Jeanette deal with the aftermath of her kidnapping at the hands of Martin Harris. The episode also sets the scene for Jeanette’s defamation lawsuit against Kate, which has riled her and the community all the way up.

However, the question remains: who do you believe?

As I mentioned in my previous reviews, Jeanette has been in Martin’s house, so there’s a huge possibility that Kate is telling the truth and she did see her. 

She also has a motive because she wanted to steal Kate’s life, which was easy if she remained gone.

Throughout the episode, we also see that carrying out the events on the list in 1993 started Jeanette down a troublesome path as she began to enjoy doing bad things; she got a thrill from breaking the rules. 

Could this have been the catalyst for what happened?

There’s also the fact that Jamie said Jeanette was the first person to know that Kate went missing. How did she know?

We still haven’t seen the moment that it happened or how the community reacted, nor have we seen how Jeanette got into Kate’s “clique.”

I feel like that will provide so much clarity.

On the other hand, what would Kate gain from lying?

It seems that she didn’t reveal that Jeanette saw her trapped at Martin’s house until she learned that she took over her whole life.

Was the testimony fueled by jealousy because she was mad about how easily she was replaced?

I’d love to know whose side you’re on three episodes into the season! 

Most people in town were #TeamKate aside from Vincent, who believed Jeanette when she said she didn’t see Kate despite her confession that she’s been in the house many times since the initial time in 1993. 

Cruel Summer Review Off With a Bang Season 1 Episode 3

CRUEL SUMMER – “Off With a Bang” – Victim or villain? Jeanette continues to add fuel to the fire as her reckless behavior causes her friends and family to question her even more. This episode of “Cruel Summer” airs Tuesday, April 27 at 10:00 p.m. on Freeform. (Freeform/Bill Matlock)
OLIVIA HOLT, HARLEY QUINN SMITH, ALLIUS BARNES

Vincent has known Jeanette his whole life, so I’d argue that he’s a good judge of character and knows that she isn’t capable of what she’s being accused of. 

And the argument that he was in love with her which is why he’s defending her and siding with her is no longer valid since we found out that he had a secret relationship with Ben. 

We know that Ben previously spoke to Jeanette’s defense team and revealed that she ruined his life, so I wonder if she possibly revealed his relationship with Vincent before he was ready?

Or maybe since he sided with Vincent and supported Jeanette, everyone in town turned on him?

Not even Jeanette’s mother seemed convinced that her daughter was innocent. She didn’t believe her story about the necklace and assumed her daughter lied about it to the police. 

However, it’s entirely possible that it wasn’t the same necklace. Or she could’ve dropped it at any point while she was in that house and figured it would make her look bad so she lied. 

Cindy seems to care a lot about public perception, which is likely why she couldn’t shake what happened to her family and what led to the split.

We learn that she was the popular girl in high school and thus, projected a lot of that onto Jeanette. 

She constantly pushed Jeanette to befriend Kate, wanted her to ditch her glasses for contacts so she’d be prettier, and so on and so forth. 

It’s possible that Jeanette put so much stock into becoming popular and well-liked because of her mother’s insecurities. And it’s possible that it led her to lie about seeing Kate at Martin’s house. 

Personally, I don’t think Jeanette is the villain they are making her out to be, but there’s definitely something about her and her desire to be cool and popular that makes me uneasy.

And I can’t shake the scene where she watched a law procedural and imitated the girl who claimed to be a victim because she thought it would make her likable. 

It’s almost as if Jeanette was mocking the whole situation.

Does she believe that she’s not the victim and thinks putting on this act will help her case?

There’s also something so off about Jamie. His anger towards Jeanette is understandable, but how does he just go right back to Kate the moment she’s rescued?

Punching Jeanette shows that he has anger issues, but that’s nothing compared to him stalking her in 1995.

There’s definitely more to him than meets the eye. He was the one pushing the agenda that Jeanette was responsible, but maybe that’s just what he wanted everyone to believe?!

Three episodes in and there are so many great twists as the mystery propels the series forward. 

Again, I’d love to hear what you think! Who is lying — Kate or Jeanette?

Let us know in the comments below! 


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Lizzy Buczak is the founder of CraveYouTV. What started off as a silly blog in her sophomore year at Columbia College Chicago turned her passion for watching TV into an opportunity! She has been in charge of CraveYou since 2011, writing reviews and news content for a wide variety of shows. Lizzy is a Music Business and Journalism major who has written for RADIO.COM, TV Fanatic, Time Out Chicago, Innerview, Pop’stache and Family Time.

Cruel Summer

Cruel Summer Season Finale Review – Hostile Witness (1×10)

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Cruel Summer Season Finale Review Hostile Witness Season 1 Episode 10

And we finally have the truth. 

Though the truth is pretty dark no matter how you look at it. 

Cruel Summer wrapped up its freshman run by providing all the answers along with plenty of jaw-dropping twists.

As the Turner vs. Wallis case kicked off in 1995, Jeanette and Kate came face-to-face — and almost to blows — both in the courtroom and outside of it. 

After Jeanette’s lawyers revealed a private convo between Kate and Ashley (she didn’t know it was her step-sister until after the printouts were submitted into evidence), Kate was forced to confess that she lied about her kidnapping and the fact that she destroyed an innocent girl’s reputation. 

Jeanette was hounded by the media and painted as a monster on the basis of the narrative that Kate sold to protect herself.

Kate was scared of what people would think if they knew she went to Martin’s willingly. 

This led to a heart-to-heart between Kate and Jeanette during which they figured out that this whole thing was just a misunderstanding. 

Both of the girls were defending the truth… the only truth they knew.

Kate thought Jeanette saw her since she snuck into the house, while Jeanette knew she wasn’t guilty of what she was being accused of. 

Turns out, the person that did actually see Kate was none other than Mallory. While it may have seemed like we were right not to trust her this whole time, Mallory had her reasons.

While her friendship with Kate was a result of misplaced guilt, eventually, the two did actually become good friends. 

The finale made it very clear that everyone was harboring secrets and lies in order to protect themselves.

Once Kate confronted Mallory, she learned that she didn’t say anything because she knew that in telling the public what she saw, she would be ratting out Kate as the reality of what she saw didn’t match the narrative Kate was selling. In a twisted way, she was protecting her friend, who she knew wasn’t being held against her will — at least not physically — when she saw her. 

She was there for Kate before they were even tight, which speaks volumes to who Mallory is as a person. 

I was sure the two of them were going to kiss when Kate confronted Mallory and asked her to stay, so I was thrilled when the smooch finally happened in the end. 

There was a chemistry between them that lent itself to more than friendship.

Mallory may have betrayed Kate, but despite it, she was one of the only people who had a genuine connection with her and understood her for who she was. 

The real villain was Jeanette all along. 

After Kate realized she wrongly accused Jeanette, she immediately cleared her name and made things right.

However, there was something genuinely off about Jeanette. They say when someone shows you who they are, you should believe them. 

The first suggestion that Jeanette may be a sociopath came when she was trying to learn how to make people feel sorry for her in the courtroom. 

Things also took a weird turn on the Marsha Bailey show as she was wearing the same exact outfit that Kate wore the first time she accused her right down to the pearls and headband. 

She also forgave Kate in the same way Kate accused her initially. 

Mallory was right — there was something truly off about Jeanette’s appearance. 

And it turns out, Jeanette was lying the whole time. She may not have seen Kate on Christmas, which is when she was accused, but Jeanette did sneak into the house in 1994 when Kate was already locked in the basement. She heard Kate begging for help and never reported it because she was at peak popularity. She weighed her options and decided that it wasn’t in her best interest to help Kate, which is deeply concerning. 

Everything the media said about Jeanette being a monster was absolutely on point. 

Cruel Summer Season Finale Review Hostile Witness Season 1 Episode 10

CRUEL SUMMER – “Hostile Witness” – Kate and Jeanette’s worlds collide as the court date arrives, finally forcing the two young women to answer the question on everyone’s mind, but the answer comes with a price that not everyone can pay. The season finale of “Cruel Summer” airs Tuesday, June 15 at 10:00 p.m. on Freeform. (Freeform/Bill Matlock)
CHIARA AURELIA

Worst of all — it always some sick game to her. She got the same thrill from it that she did from breaking into Martin’s house. She never truly felt remorse for what she did and how she contributed to Kate’s destruction. 

While it’s an unexpected twist and likely included for shock facotr, I think I would have preferred the storyline where Kate and Jeanette remained friends and bonded over their shared trauma. Jeanette may have always been driven by this desire to be beautiful and popular, but I would think this experience would have changed her and given her a new outlook on life, especially since she was vindicated and ended up getting the guy. 

There was even a great setup for the two to remain friends who could lean on each other and heal together. Kate said she wanted someone to understand what she was going through, and though Jeanette’s experience was wildly different, they kind of saw eye-to-eye at the moment at Martin’s house.

It was nice to see them work together to figure out what really happened. As Kate shared her experience of being locked in a basement, it was as though Jeanette genuinely felt sorry for Kate.

It would’ve been a great way to wrap up their story arc as two young girls who were wronged. 

Jeanette even helped Kate remember who Anabelle was, and for those that figured it was a gun — you were correct. 

Kate revealed that the day before her rescue, Martin seemed to have run out of options and found himself oddly at peace right before turning the gun on himself.

Martin was plagued with guilt after what he’d done, which seems to prove that he didn’t fully think his plan through and kept trying to wing it.

However, he also looked pretty conflicted about how to handle the situation. Going from wanting to kill yourself to screaming at the top of your lungs to begging Kate not to shoot you and convincing her you love her kind of screams bi-polar to me. 

While Martin couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger, Kate, however, didn’t have that problem and shot him when he was at his most vulnerable. 

It was a huge and heavy decision for Kate, but she was brave enough to finally save herself. 

It was a warranted shot that finally put an end to her misery, but the aftermath left her conflicted as she loved her captor while also hating him. 

It wouldn’t do the situation justice if Martin died in a police shootout, but having Kate pull the trigger sort of paralleled all the pain he caused her while keeping her.

Hopefully, Kate took the time to work through all of that in therapy because it’s a lot. 

I’m slightly disappointed that Angela didn’t have more to do with the storyline as I was convinced she was going to have some kind of connection to Martin. Also, Jeanette’s own mother didn’t even come to the trial. 

Also, where was Jamie, who Jeanette seemed to be dating at the end of everything! 

The resolution between Vince and Ben also felt a little weak, but I’m glad they’re going to work through things and hope they end up together as they deserve a bit of happiness. 

Jeanette also ended up with Jamie, so I guess it was all worth it since she got what she wanted after all.

What did you think of the finale? Are you happy that we were given all the answers we were promised?

Leave your comments below, and we’ll see you for season 2 on Freeform


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Cruel Summer

‘Cruel Summer’ Renewed for a Second Season at Freeform Ahead of Finale

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'Cruel Summer' Renewed for a Second Season at Freeform Ahead of Finale

Cruel Summer may be airing its season finale tonight, but fans can already look forward to more spine-tingling thrills. 

Freeform has picked up the psychological drama for a second season, according to TVLine

“Renewing Cruel Summer for a Season 2 was an easy decision,” Freeform President Tara Duncan said.

“It’s the biggest series debut in Freeform’s history and the audience response has been overwhelmingly positive. [Executive producers] Jessica [Biel], Michelle [Purple] and [showrunner] Tia [Napolitano] did a phenomenal job telling an addictive story that’s tapped into the cultural zeitgeist. I’m excited to see where they take the series next,” she added.

Napolitano also noted: “Collaborating with Iron Ocean, our dedicated crew, charismatic cast, and our partners at Freeform and eOne has been the best first showrunning experience I could ask for. I am beyond grateful and excited by the amazing fan response to our show! Continuing to bottle Cruel Summer magic for a Season 2 is an absolute dream come true.”

The freshman drama stars Olivia Holt (Kate Wallis) and Chiara Aurelia (Jeanette Turner) whose worlds collide when Kate goes missing and later accuses Jeanette of knowing who kept her captive and not telling the police. Jeanette is adamant that she never saw Kate in captivity. The story is told over three timeliness in 1993, 1994, and 1995. 

The mystery is set to be resolved in tonight’s finale.

Per Deadline, Biel revealed that the mystery could return with a new story and the same characters or feature a new cast of characters. 

You can recap all of the Cruel Summer reviews below!


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Cruel Summer

Cruel Summer Review – What Really Happened Between Kate and Martin (1×09)

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Cruel Summer Review A Secret of My Own Season 1 Episode 9

We finally got an episode that broke down exactly what happened to Kate Wallis. 

And her admission that she wasn’t always in the basement changes everything!

The events of Cruel Summer Season 1 Episode 9 took place throughout the fall of 1993 and 1994. 

We saw a breakdown of what happened in the first 119 days that Kate stayed at Martin’s place willingly. Yes, willingly. We got to a deeper look at their relationship and the power dynamics at play. 

We even saw the moment that Jeanette broke into the house, lost her bracelet, and allegedly saw Kate in the house. Except from the looks of it, she never actually saw Kate. 

Plus, we found out the significance of the snow globe. 

Yes, the penultimate episode was jam-packed with the answers we’ve been wanting since the mystery began.

The events that transpired after Kate went to Martin’s apartment following her explosive fight with her parents weren’t surprising, but I was shocked at how good he was at manipulating and gaslighting her into staying. 

It was possible because, on some level, Kate wanted to stay. Martin made himself trustworthy, so she trusted him.

The episode painted Martin in a new light. It wasn’t a better light by any means, but he didn’t come off as much of a monster as I initially thought. 

There’s no doubt that he groomed her, stripped her of free will, and made her feel like she didn’t have a choice, but he also didn’t plan on kidnapping her right away either, which definitely changed things. 

In fact, when he realized just how messed up the situation was, he told Kate to leave immediately. He was even shocked she spent the whole day at his house and skipped school. 

If Kate just left when he asked her to, none of this would have happened! 

However, Kate felt safe with him. He made sure that she had nothing left because he became her whole world. He turned off the news about her and made her think everyone gave up looking for her. He was her only source of information.

Martin struggled to shake his impulse, but he always knew what he was doing was wrong, which is why he kept telling Kate she couldn’t leave or else she’d destroy his whole life. He made her feel personally responsible so that even though she was free to walk out at any moment, she never did. He didn’t need to lock her up to trap her — he did that by mentally manipulating her.

He isolated her from everyone by making her think she had to choose between him and them. And since he was always nice to her and there for her, she chose him over and over again until she was 18 and this would somehow be okay. 

When she stopped choosing him, that’s when the problems began. 

As more time passed, they realized they were in too deep. 

Even then, they were both living in a delusion as Kate’s age wouldn’t have changed the situation. The moment they would’ve left the house, they would have to answer for all those months that Kate was missing right under everyone’s noses.

This was never going to end well, and they were both avoiding the inevitable outcome. 

When Martin realized he was losing grasp of Kate and could not longer manipulate her, he did the only thing he could think of in the moment to protect himself and locked her in the basement. 

And even then, he allowed Kate to go down there willingly because she wanted to grab her luggage. Martin was so twisted. 

She had so many opportunities to run free — she even left in the middle of the night and saw her parents — but the very idea that everyone had forgotten about her and was happy without her was too much to bear. 

If she had only gotten there a moment later, she would’ve seen her parents breaking down instead of laughing and maybe the whole situation would’ve turned out differently. 

Kate began feeling lonely, homesick, and bored. And who can blame her — no matter how much Martin tried, she was stuck inside his home without anything to do. What a sad and lonely life. 

I couldn’t shake the feeling that Martin treated Kate like a doll. He enjoyed taking care of her and tending to her every need, and though he didn’t necessarily mean to keep her hostage, he was doing it subconsciously and enjoying it. 

When things finally came to blows on Christmas, Kate suggested that he was acting like her kidnapper, which was significant because, in that moment, I think Martin decided what he was going to do. 

Kate kept telling him that she wasn’t a good liar, so he figured he had no choice but to lock her up. 

Their previous relationship, however, explains why he was so caring towards her even when she was in the basement. 

The snow globe came into play during Christmas when Martin stepped out to do some shopping. Kate felt homesick, but she knew she couldn’t do anything about it. She decided to call Jamie in what seemed like an attempt for someone to come find her, which explains the Christmas movie playing in the background, the snow globe music, and her heavy breathing. If only they were able to trace the call back in those days!

Jeanette broke into the house shortly after Kate made the call and stole the snow globe, which explains why she was able to identify it when she heard Jamie’s voicemail. 

My guess is that she then gave Mallory the snow globe without telling her where she got it from. When she heard the recording, she wanted to retrieve it as it was finally something she could give her lawyers that proved Kate wasn’t locked up against her will (at least not physically).

If she was, she wouldn’t have been near a TV nor could she have access to the snow globe that was in the living room. 

As she booked it out of Martin’s house, she also lost the bracelet Mallory gave her, and Kate picked it up. 

Cruel Summer Review A Secret of My Own Season 1 Episode 9

Credit: Freeform

At this point, it’s fair to hypothesize that Kate made up a whole story that blamed her situation on Jeanette because she didn’t want to admit that she was responsible for what happened to her. 

There wouldn’t be as much sympathy for Kate if they knew she entered a romantic relationship with an older man who was also her vice principal. Grooming was at play, but society has this disgusting way of blaming women for things, and Kate was made to believe that she’d be held responsible for what happened to her. 

So instead, Kate decided to make Jeanette the bad guy. And she likely didn’t feel guilty about it because Martin informed her that Jeanette stole her life, which made her the perfect scapegoat. 

As the therapist noted, Kate was also hoping Jeanette would tell the authorities that she saw her because that would mean she could leave and not have to break it off with Martin herself.

Her lie was her wishful thinking. 

Either way, Jeanette’s life has been destroyed and she’s been crucified by the media, her friends, her family, and everyone in between all because of Kate’s lie. 

Overall, I had a lot of theories about what might have happened that got Kate locked in the basement, but the romance theory was the one I nixed immediately because I felt as though it was too simple and predictable. 

However, it does explain why Kate was so quick to jump to Martin’s defenses when another student accused him of coming onto her. Even after everything he did to her, she still considers what they had to be true love.  

And it seems that even after Martin was killed, Kate still held him in high regard as she wore the pearls he gave her on national television to talk about the kidnapping and accuse Jeanette. How twisted?!

It’s also an important story to tell because romances between older men and younger women are so often romanticized and glamorized on television (hello, Aria and Ezra on Pretty Little Liars!). This shows us just how toxic something that seems “innocent” to a young impressionable woman can really be. 

Olivia Holt and Blake Lee did a phenomenal job at executing the storyline because I felt truly creeped out by Martin’s advances towards her. It was disgusting watching them kiss, and it was gross to hear him suggest she should kiss an older man or comment about seeing her in a bikini all the time. 

I also found it interesting that Jeanette’s dad was inside Martin’s house when Kate was there and commented on many things including the two coffee cups. The Turner’s have always been connected to this whole thing in a very strange way. 

What did you think of the episode? Were you expecting a bigger twist? Are you finally happy that we have answers?

Well, most of the answers. We still have no idea who Annabelle is. My first guess is that Annabelle is their baby and either Kate miscarried or the baby was stillborn. Kate did crave pretzels and felt sick, so it’s entirely possible. Plus, something that traumatic would force her to completely block out the memory as a way of protecting herself. 

The idea that Annabelle is Kate’s alter-ego has been shot down, so my second theory is that Annabelle is another student that Martin groomed. There’s been fan theories that Angela blew into town after Kate was found and has just been around for no reason, so maybe she’s connected to this somehow? Maybe she’s Martin’s ex who was lured by him the same way Kate was?

What do you think will be revealed in the season finale? Will there finally be justice for Jeanette? How will Kate make amends for ruining an innocent girl’s whole life?

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