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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



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)

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 Review – Everybody Has Secrets (1×04)



Cruel Summer Review You Don't Hunt, You Don't Eat Season 1 Episode 4

The mystery of Kate Wallis’ disappearance continued on Cruel Summer Season 1 Episode 4.

The episode dived further into the three years of events focused on pre, during, and post-kidnapping giving more insight into Kate’s relationship with her abductor, Martin Harris. 

In 1993, we learned that Martin was invited to the family’s annual skeet shooting trip as a thank you for bringing a drunk Kate home safely.

That’s where he truly bonded with Kate as they went stargazing. She opened up about her fight with her mother, while he opened up about his fraught relationship with his family and his father’s suicide. 

It’s proof that in many cases, kidnappers know the victim. In fact, this was likely his attempt to connect with her so that she’d gain his trust.

As Kate pointed out during a “scary ghost story” with her parents and their friends, she grew to trust him because the adults trusted him and brought him around, which makes the whole situation all that more unnerving.

Did Martin mistake Kate’s kindness as an invitation for something more? Did she think she was an easy target because of her unstable home life?

Kate’s therapy sessions allowed audiences to see snippets and glimpses into her time in captivity. 

It’s unclear if Martin ever physically harmed her (though we do see him push her at one point), but she does recall things getting worse after she attempted to escape.

The fact that he was bringing her food and other personal care items seemed to indicate that he planned to keep her there for awhile.

However, I can’t shake how weird he was acting around her or that he said “it would all be over soon.” 

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

My impression was that Martin was equally as scared and uncomfortable in the situation. Unfortunately, until we know Martin’s mindset, we won’t really know his motivations or what fueled his behavior. And since he didn’t survive the rescue, I wonder if we will ever find out.  

In the final moments of the episode, Kate listens to her audiotapes from therapy and broaches on the topic of Annabelle. She says she “met Annabelle” while in captivity, but can’t recall who she was. 

We first hear about Annabelle during that ghost story scene where she talks about what happened to her using the name Annabelle. 

Was this a character she created to shield herself from the pain?

Was Annabelle an actual person? A doll? I’m intrigued by this development! 

In 1995, Kate is also gearing up for her court trial against Jeanette. The fact that she can’t remember details about Jeanette definitely doesn’t bode well for her testimony as the lawyers explain that Jeanette’s team will try to poke holes in her story and her memories.

She explains that she heard someone breaking into the house and saw Jeanette running away as they made eye contact, but is that the truth?

It brings me back to my original question — why would Jeanette lie about something so serious? We know she wanted Kate’s life and friends, but would she be willing to hurt someone else to get it?

The girl we met in 1993 doesn’t seem like a liar, but as we all know, looks can be deceiving. 

Still, the lapses in memory definitely put Kate’s story into question.

There’s also the fact that Kate is now best friends with Mallory… and Mallory seems to be pretty obsessed with Kate as she claims that she’s her “favorite person ever.”

This friendship may be authentic, but it strikes me as odd considering Mallory’s deep hatred for Jeanette, her former best friend. 

What role does Mallory play in all of this? Or is their friendship purely innocent and coincidental?

After all, Mallory could’ve told Kate that they used to break into Harris’ house, which could’ve been why claimed to hear someone break-in.

I don’t have anything against Mallory — I actually admire how she talked back to Mrs. Wallis (“you’re not a very nice old lady” will forever go down as one of the best lines on television — but I remain skeptical about her newfound friendship with Kate. 

As the court trial shapes up, Mrs. Wallis is also counting on her friends to vouch for her daughter, but we know Bab Stevenson caught Kate in a lie back in 1993. Will she tell the truth under oath? Or will her guilt consume her and she’ll lie to protect her friendship with the family?

I don’t actually trust Mrs. Wallis either. Kate’s mother has plenty of flaws — she’s manipulative, a liar, and a cheater — so part of me wonders if she orchestrated this whole thing because Kate found out about her affair with Scott and she wanted to protect the family name?

She also never liked the Turner family. It’s evident with how she treated Derek Turner, so I wonder if that has something to do with it?

TV shows centered around a mystery tend to have plenty of unexpected twists, so I’m just thinking outside of the box here.

The episode also introduced another player in the game, Kate’s step-sister, Ash. 

Back in 1993, Kate tried to have a relationship with Ash, who was still sour about the fact that her father married a “golddigger.”

It’s clear no one likes Mrs. Wallis. 

However, by 1995, Ash wants to connect and form a sisterly bond with Kate though she’s no longer interested. 

Kate resents Ash because it seems she was supposed to meet up with her the night that she spent stargazing with Martin, while Ash is consumed with guilt over it. 

Ash is also a bit controversial. Not only is she still smitten with Derek Turner (and it’s not a good time for a Wallis to be seen with a Turner), she’s also trying to bond with her sister using the abuse victim’s survivor chat. 

It’s likely that she means well and simply wants to connect with her step sis, but it likely wouldn’t go over well with Kate if she were to find out that she’s been abusing her trust. 

There’s also the “liar” sign that was hung up on Kate’s door, which has her mother concerned that the tides are turning and people are starting to doubt Kate’s story.

Who is responsible for writing it?

Was it Jeanette? 

We know Kate told someone she wasn’t “completely honest” in the chat forums, so maybe someone knows something? The series made it seem like Ash was responsible, but it could be anyone! 

What did you think of the episode? Are you Team Kate or Team Jeanette?

Let us know in the comments! 

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Cruel Summer

Cruel Summer Review – A Smashing Good Time (1×02)



Cruel Summer Review A Smashing Good Time Season 1 Episode 2

Cruel Summer Season 1 Episode 2 followed the pilot premiere on Freeform.

This time fans were given insight into Kate Wallis’s life in 1993, 1994, and 1995. 

And things were far from picture-perfect before her abduction.

In the summer of 1993, Kate dealt with infidelity within her family.

During the Wallis summer party, she assumed her father was cheating on her mother, which led to an explosive fight between the ladies. 

She was found drinking in a park alone, which is when I thought Martin Harris would abduct her, but instead, Scott, the owner of the landscaping company safely took her home. 

When she realized it was actually her mother cheating on her father with Scott, she once again made a run for it, which is when Martin approached her. 

Again, Martin didn’t give off any suspicious vibes — and if we didn’t know he was responsible for kidnapping her, I wonder if we’d suspect him right off the bat — but that’s exactly what made Ted Bundy such a dangerous serial killer. Like Bundy, Martin had a friendly approach and charm.

In a later scene, we see Kate wearing a different dress than the one she wore the night Martin introduced himself, so it’s safe to say their meeting wasn’t an isolated encounter. 

There’s a huge chance that Kate may have trusted Martin prior to the kidnapping.

Cruel Summer Review A Smashing Good Time Season 1 Episode 2

Credit: Freeform/ Cruel Summer

In 1994, Kate is dealing with the aftermath of her abduction. She’s upset that Jeanette — who she accuses of seeing her locked up in Martin’s basement and never reporting it — so easily took her place and stole her life. 

Unfortunately, we still don’t get to see the moment where Jeanette sees Kate, and Jeanette is adamant that she never saw Kate. 

It’s hard to know who is telling the truth at this point. 

Based on what we’ve seen, Jeanette has the motive to keep Kate’s kidnapping a secret. Kate doesn’t really have any motive to lie other than the fact that she could be jealous that someone else took over her life. 

What we do know is that she joined a chat (wow, I did not miss the sound of dial-up Internet) and confessed that she wasn’t “being completely honest.”

The timelines have been left purposefully vague, so it’s unclear if this was before she reported Jeanette or after. 

In 1994, many people seem to give Jeanette the benefit of the doubt, but a year later, the tides have turned and everyone is on #TeamKate. Was there any evidence that Kate told the truth?

It’s a difficult situation because you never want to question a victim or their truth, but it’s also not fair to accuse an innocent girl if she’s truly innocent. 

Kate’s “proof” that she saw Jeanette is also shaky. She provides authorities with Jeanette’s bracelet, but we saw Jeanette put that bracelet away in a safe place and not wear it past 1993.

Plus, I can’t shake the moment that Kate’s mother scolded her for “false allegations” by claiming her father was cheating. Could this be the second time she’s jumped to a conclusion and misconstrued what she saw?

In 1995, Kate’s embraced a rebellious streak following her abduction. It’s the ’90s, so rebellious includes getting a belly button ring! 

Jamie’s friend (I didn’t catch his name) is also talking to Jeanette’s lawyers and reveals that he blames her for what happened to him, though what happened remains vague. 

However, whatever transpired seems to have convinced him that Jeanette may be responsible for keeping Kate in captivity. 

In the final scene, things between the girls are far from over as a news report breaks information that Jeanette has filed a lawsuit against Kate for defamation.

What do you think is going on?

Did Jeanette see Kate? Did Kate make it up? Is there just a clear misunderstanding?

Let us know what you think about the series in the comments below! 

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Cruel Summer

Cruel Summer Series Premiere Review – Happy Birthday, Jeanette Turner (1×01)



Cruel Summer Review Happy Birthday, Jeanette Turner Review Season 1 Episode 1

Another teen mystery has hit Freeform! 

Cruel Summer is a thriller that unfolds over the course of three summers in the 1990s. One teen goes missing and is presumed dead, while another one essentially takes over her life.

Admittedly, I was skeptical about the series considering the “missing teen” premise has been explored thoroughly (and quite chaotically) on Pretty Little Liars.

But it’s evident from the pilot that Cruel Summer has no intention of dragging out the mystery of Kate Wallis’ disappearance the way PLL did with Alison DiLaurentis’s.  

There really isn’t much of a comparison between the two shows as Cruel Summer embraces a very serious and, oftentimes, dark tone. 

The series sets the scene by introducing Jeanette Turner on her 15th birthday.

The pilot unfolds in three timelines spanning 1993, 1994, and 1995. All of the action happens on Jeanette’s birthday, but the celebrations are vastly different from one another with each passing year. 

In 1993, Jeanette is a vibrant and nerdy 15-year-old who is woken up by her doting parents to celebrate the day. She hangs with her friends Mallory and Victor at the mall, she gives popular girl Kate a compliment, and the trio breaks into a newly sold house to play hide-and-seek. It’s all very innocent and fun. 

In 1994, Jeanette has ditched the ’90s waves and braces for a more sophisticated look that pulls inspiration from Kate. She’s also ditched her former besties and replaced them with Kate’s… and she’s dating Kate’s ex-boyfriend, Jamie. In other words, her wish of becoming cool and popular has come true by essentially assuming Kate’s life.

At this point, we know Kate has been missing for quite some time, but no one suspects Jeanette had anything to do with it.

In 1995, Jeanette’s reality is much darker and hopeless. She’s the most hated person in America, her picture-perfect family has crumbled (it’s unclear what happened to her mom and brother, but her father, Greg, is dating the local bartender), and Jeanette is gearing up to stand trial for her role in Kate’s disappearance.

Her lawyers want Jeanette to be more “likable,” but with the world turned against her, that’s nearly impossible. As she notes, even her father resents her. 

Three years, three very different realities.

Flip-flopping between the timelines is easy to keep up with, and while we’ve been given a full picture almost immediately, it’s clear the rest of the season will find audiences filling in the blanks and between the lines. 

Throughout the pilot, we wonder “what happened to Kate?” and “how is Jeanette connected?” but we can put our minds at ease because, by the end of the episode, we’ve been given many of the answers. 

Kate turns up alive, and it’s revealed that she was abducted and held captive by the assistant principal, Martin Harris.

That was quick! 

It’s a surprising revelation considering 15-year-old Jeanette broke into his house and Martin seemed pleasant and kind. I guess those are always the ones you have to watch out for!

Cruel Summer Review Happy Birthday, Jeanette Turner Review Season 1 Episode 1

CRUEL SUMMER – “Happy Birthday, Jeanette Turner” (Freeform/Bill Matlock) HARLEY QUINN SMITH, CHIARA AURELIA, ALLIUS BARNES

In her first TV appearance post-abduction, Kate also reveals that Jeanette saw her in captivity but never got help. Instead, she assumed her life as Kate waited to be rescued for months on end. 

The episode ends with Kate deadpanning the camera and telling Jeanette Turner to rot in hell, which I guess is fitting, but it begs the question: when did Jeanette see Kate?

And more importantly, did she know what happened to Kate and ignore it so that she could have her “perfect” life? Is Jeanette guilty?

It’s unclear if Kate was already missing when Jeanette and friends broke into Martin’s house, but the moment where Jeanette explored the basement and looked around did stand out.

However, I assumed the scene happened shortly after they saw Kate at the mall, which likely means we haven’t seen the moment Jeanette allegedly saw Kate in captivity and ignored it. 

Cruel Summer is not like other teen thrillers; it’s a well-executed series that hooks you from the very beginning, especially if you have a soft spot for the 90s (butterfly clips and all) and love untangling a layered mystery. 

Kate Wallis’s abduction may be the crux of the story, but I’m just as invested in Jeanette’s motivations. 

We know Jeanette’s life drastically changed throughout the course of three years, and I’m intrigued to see it pan out. Did the public and media turn her into a villain when there’s a logical explanation for not reporting Kate’s whereabouts (did she not actually see her?) or did Jeanette bring this upon herself because of her obsession with Kate?

What did you think of the Cruel Summer pilot premiere? Will you be tuning in again?

Let us know in the comments below! 

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