A lot can change over the course of three years… just ask Kate and Jeanette.
On Cruel Summer Season 1 Episode 5, we dove deeper into Kate and Jeanette’s lives to see how they were affected by Kate’s kidnapping, while also getting an in-depth look at Kate’s friendship (and I use that term loosely) with Martin Harris.
In 1993, Martin befriended Kate, but what he was really doing was grooming his victim. It’s not clear if that was his plan from the beginning, but there was definitely something off about his interactions with her.
He was clearly infatuated with her from the moment he first laid eyes on her. When he mentioned that to her during the carnival, it was beyond creepy and one of the first signs that he was developing an unhealthy obsession.
His eyes just lit up when he saw her walking — and not in a good way.
The second indication was when he took her scrunchie and decided to keep it instead of returning it to her. It gave off those “smell your hair” creep vibes.
Kate seemed to enjoy the attention, which is why she thought that telling the authorities about their interactions would place the blame on her. But as the therapist pointed out, nothing she did was her fault.
Kate was a child, but Martin was an adult who absolutely knew better!
And if you didn’t notice how disturbing his interactions with Kate were initially, you definitely noticed the difference in how he treated Kate versus Jeanette.
Even if he wanted to, Martin couldn’t use the excuse that he thought Kate was older because during their chat he admitted that he knew how old she was. And it didn’t stop him from attempting to flirt and sweet talk.
It was all so eerie.
Kate continued to be haunted by someone calling her a “liar,” and I can’t figure out if it’s because she hid her connection to Martin when the police asked or because she lied about something else… something like Jeanette seeing her while she was imprisoned in the basement.
Ahead of the trial, anything can be used against her, so it’s not surprising that Kate is jumpy. Her brain is spinning out and trying to avoid being blamed for her own kidnapping.
It didn’t help that Jamie made her question her own sanity when she confronted him about kissing Jeanette at the park.
Instead of confessing the truth, Jamie made her doubt herself by telling her that she was in a fragile state of mind at the time and suggesting that her memory might be shaky.
Jamie is the biggest jerk on the series.
It’s evident that Jamie is broken in his own way, but what kind of dude does that to a girl who has been through hell and back?
A year later at the County Fair, Jamie owned up to his mistake and begged Kate for forgiveness. Kate extended the courtesy because all she ever wanted was someone to believe her.
I’m glad Kate had it in her to stick up for herself and break up with Jamie when he made her feel less than.
As I mentioned, Jamie was in pretty bad shape himself following Kate’s kidnapping. The situation took a toll on him as his aggressive nature bubbled up to the surface. We first saw that side of him when he punched Jeanette, and it resurfaced again when Kate confronted him about the kiss and he lost it in the car.
His aggression then turned into alcoholism as we saw him downing beers like it was nobody’s business at the carnival a year later.
Jamie went from being the hottest guy on the block to the guy everyone was avoiding.
I’d say both Kate and Jeanette dodged a bullet there, though, at this point, Jamie is the least of their concerns.
As for Jeanette, we saw her go on her first date with Gideon, a geeky out-of-towner, in 1993. Will Gideon be called as a character witness either for to against Jeanette? I can’t imagine he’d vouch for her after she ditched him at the carnival.
In 1994, we saw her trying to clear the air with Kate by following her through a maze. Jeanette believed without a doubt that she was innocent and informed her brother that she simply wanted to ask Kate to stop spreading rumors about her.
However, it was probably best that she followed Derek’s advice and left Kate alone as pursuing her, especially through a maze, definitely sent the wrong message.
And in 1995, we saw the weight of the kidnapping and the upcoming trial continue to break Jeanette.
When her lawyer told her to find people who believed her and would vouch for her the way Vincent did in a previous episode, Jeanette even struggled to get her father on her side.
It’s not surprising that Greg isn’t fond of his daughter at the moment. As he explained, defending and siding with her cost him everything that ever mattered including his marriage, family, and job.
And he wasn’t even sure if she was telling the truth anymore.
When your own family starts to doubt you, you know you’re in trouble.
Greg’s girlfriend, Angela, was one of the only people to truly see the good in Jeanette even after everything. She tried to get her mind off of things with a little karaoke and it worked for a bit. We finally saw a carefree Jeanette again before the weight of the world settled back on her shoulders.
It’s evident that this dark, tough vibe is just an act to protect herself from the world.
If you don’t let anyone in, no one else can hurt you or turn on you.
However, as her lawyer said, it’s not working in her favor because her attitude doesn’t cast her in a good light. No one wants to root for the girl that looks like she hates the world (even if she has every right to hate the world). It’s a sad reality.
I find myself at a crossroads as to whether or not Jeanette is innocent.
While the whole Gideon storyline seemed innocent enough, it was heartbreaking to see her turn on him because some snobby kids at school were making fun of him.
Jeanette hated being made fun of, called names, rejected, and humiliated, so why would she do it to someone else? Especially when she knew in her heart that it was wrong.
Her actions reveal just how easily she could be swayed by peer pressure. She’s always wanted to be “cool,” to fit in with the popular crowd, and it doesn’t seem like she cared much about who she hurt to get there.
So, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that once she got the life, friends, and boyfriend she’s always wanted, she’d do anything to hang onto it and stay popular.
And that means lying about Kate so she could keep her life. The more we see how deeply Jeanette cared about fitting it, the stronger her motives to lie become.
Kate and Jeanette’s upcoming trial is undoubtedly going to be messy, but I’m really eager to see it unfold so that we can understand what happened the night Jeanette allegedly saw Kate and chose not to say anything.
Cruel Summer has adopted a formula for their episodes as they track the girls from one year to the next, but I’d love an episode in that format that’s dedicated solely to Martin.
We don’t know much about him other than that personal story he shared with Kate, which might have been made up so he could bond with her and gain her trust.
When Jeanette mentioned that she knew where Martin went to high school, he gave off the impression that he wasn’t pleased that someone knew about his past, which obviously makes you think he’s trying to hide something deeply disturbing about himself.
Let’s get into Martin’s mind to better understand his motivations and actions!
- Kate continues to put a lot of emphasis on her mother and Scott since she saw them smooching. I can’t shake the feeling that this somehow plays into her kidnapping. Could she be the girl that knew too much?
- The local fair had some intense rides. I’ve never had a carnival roll through my town with full-blown rollercoasters!
- What happened between Jeanette’s parents and who was responsible for the split? My money is on Jeanette’s mother, who caved under pressure following Kate’s accusations. Did Greg walk away because she turned to liquor to numb the pain? Or did he simply fall in love with Angela? We saw their meet-cute at the video store and they were smitten with each other from the get-go.
- Does anyone else think Mallory’s friendship with Kate is suspicious? Obsession is a word that comes up quite often with these students!
What did you think of the episode? Are you Team Kate or Team Jeanette?
Let us know in the comments below!
Cruel Summer Season Finale Review – Hostile Witness (1×10)
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.
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!
‘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!
Cruel Summer Review – What Really Happened Between Kate and Martin (1×09)
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.
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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