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 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 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?
Cruel Summer Review – First Day of School (1×08)
The first day of school was quite eventful as it gave us a glimpse into the day Kate Wallis went missing, tackled Jamie’s guilt, and Ben’s accident.
Much like all the other episodes, Cruel Summer Season 1 Episode 8 was broken up into three timelines — 1994, 1995, and 1996 — in order to emphasize how different the first day of school was with each passing year.
In 1993, Jeanette, Mallory, and Vincent were best friends who just wrapped up their list, which as many fans believed, did play a crucial role in the overall mystery.
The final item on the list included breaking into the AV Club room to play their prank video, which included footage of Martin Harris getting sprayed down with a sprinkler as he left his house that morning.
However, no one besides Mallory really seemed into completing the final item and holding onto the past.
Vincent was more preoccupied with his feelings for Ben, so he left his post to chat him up about losing their moms.
Meanwhile, Jeanette was tired of being pushed around by Mallory and bullied into doing things that she didn’t want to do.
When she saw Mrs. Wallis walking towards Mr. Harris’s office, she also left her post and eavesdropped on their conversation detailing Kate’s disappearance.
Without her lookouts, Mallory was a sitting duck when Martin walked into the AV club.
While the prank seemed harmless, he freaked out over the footage and gave Mallory detention.
As he played back the tape several times, it became clear why he was so frazzled over something so trivial.
The VHS seemed to show Kate standing in his window as he left for work, which makes it the only piece of evidence connecting him to her disappearance. And that’s not good considering he just told Kate’s mother he had no idea where she was.
Naturally, he stomped on the VHS to destroy it, but I wonder if Mallory held onto another copy. Or better yet, did she notice Kate when she filmed/ played it back?
Martin was very clearly in the circle of trust with the Wallis family, so he was able to control the narrative to some degree.
Joy made his office her first stop when Kate went off the radar and he lied straight to her face.
He even gaslighted her by encouraging her not to go to the police because they might view it as negligence.
Seriously, that should’ve made Joy rethink the whole situation, but as I said, she trusted him and thought he was giving her sound advice.
At this point, it seems as though Kate is still hiding out at his home willingly, but it’s frustrating that we’ve yet to see what transpired between them once she entered his home.
Based on the previous episodes and how Martin didn’t have anything prepared for her downstairs including food or clothing, I don’t necessarily think he planned to keep her a prisoner. My guess is that once the cops were involved and the whole town was searching for Kate, he figured that things had gotten out of hand and he needed to keep her locked away so that she wouldn’t incriminate him.
Jeanette overheard this whole conversation and used it to get in with Jamie, who thought Kate was mad at him about the drinking from the night prior.
Throughout the whole season, it seemed as though Jeanette “stole” Kate’s life, but from the looks of it, she simply fell into a more popular role in school following her glow-up, which started when she first got her braces off.
Jamie was nice to her even before she changed her whole appearance. He was one of the few who noticed she got her braces off and commented on her pretty smile.
Jeanette didn’t have to become a completely different person to get on his radar. And though she wanted that popular lifestyle, the guy, and the friends, it was a more natural transition for her than I previously thought.
As was her falling out with Mallory.
To be quite honest, Mallory wasn’t a good friend. She was pushy, judgemental, and controlling. She kept trying to manipulate Jeanette, and when she began blooming in her own way, she tried to push her back down a notch.
It was a clear sign of someone who is jealous and feels their friend slipping away so they do everything to ensure that things don’t change.
Eventually, Jeanette got sick of it and called her out, which led to their big public fight and the end of their friendship.
Mallory is a tough character to crack. I haven’t gotten good vibes from her from the beginning, but I think it’s too obvious if she were to be involved or responsible for what happened to Kate.
And though she clearly hates Jeanette, the hate was fueled by pain and hurt, so I doubt that she’d do anything to punish her or get revenge.
Under the surface, there’s still some love there.
In the present day, when Jeanette went by her house to get the snow globe, Mallory appeared indifferent, but in reality, she knew exactly where the snowglobe was, which meant that she still cared about Jeanette and their friendship on some level.
But now there’s the mystery of the snowglobe. What does it symbolize? Why is it important?
And why did Jeanette think of it when she heard Jamie’s sinister recording of a girl breathing while a movie with the words “till death do us part” played in the background?
Did she recognize the movie? Did she think it was Mallory calling Jamie? What happened on Christmas Eve?!
Initially, I thought the recording might have indicated that Mallory was somehow involved, but Jeanette was more concerned about getting the snowglobe and didn’t seem too concerned about Mallory.
The episode also painted a full picture of how Kate’s disappearance ruined several lives.
Jamie spiraled and began drinking to cope with his grief. Up until now, Jamie had come off as a selfish jerk, but underneath that facade, he’s just a guy whose world came crashing down after they found Kate.
He didn’t know who to believe or who to stand by. In trying to defend Kate’s honor, he assaulted Jeanette and was then overcome with guilt after his actions led others to blame and torment her publicly.
All of that pent-up guilt and rage led to Jamie’s drinking, which then led to an accident that destroyed Ben’s football career.
In one of the earlier episodes, Ben tells the lawyers that he blames Jeanette for destroying his life. Aside from the obvious Kate and Jeanette drama, it’s one of the storylines that I’ve been most curious about.
Ben got into Jamie’s car, who was under the influence. He sped off to Jeanette’s house to apologize to her and T-boned another car. He was fine, but Ben wasn’t so lucky and badly injured his shoulder.
Ben has every right to feel angry and resent what happened, but blaming Jeanette for what happened is unfair.
Jeanette didn’t tell Jamie to drink, nor did she tell him to drive drunk. Those were his decisions.
Jeanette has been nothing but good to Ben and even kept his romance with Vince a secret since they weren’t ready to come out publicly.
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Jeanette has been painted as a villain mostly through no wrongdoing of her own.
Jamie’s actions forced everyone to doubt her story. Kate’s tell-all put her in the spotlight as the bad guy without ever giving her a chance to refute the claims. And Ben blamed her for an injury that she didn’t have anything to do with.
Now, I’m not saying Kate is to blame in any of this because she’s not; she’s also a victim who was groomed by Martin and thought he was a good guy that she could trust and confide in.
However, since she is the kidnapping victim, she’s avoided the scrutiny while Jeanette has bared all of it.
That also doesn’t seem fair.
The fact that Vince confronted Jamie about leaving Jeanette alone also indirectly led to the accident, so one could argue that it was a series of events that led to Ben’s injury, and everyone played a part.
Even Jamie didn’t seem to think Jeanette was guilty when he apologized to her, which might mean that she’ll begin to have more people in her corner now.
Of course, we still haven’t seen the moment in which Kate alleges that Jeanette saw her.
Could it be the moment where they played a prank on Mr. Harris and she was standing in the window? Because if so, technically, Mallory and Vince should’ve seen her then too.
Also, is it possible that Kate saw Mallory recording on Jeanette’s bike and assumed that Jeanette saw her being held captive?
And does this explain why present-day Mallory is so obsessed with being Kate’s friend? Is it stemming from some sort of misplaced guilt?
There’s also something off about Joy’s reaction to seeing Jeanette in the hallway back in 1993. Jeanette was all too eager to help the Wallis family, but Joy brushed her off and was outright rude to her.
Why does she hate the Turner family so much? Is it because she wasn’t able to snag Greg?
There have been some theories that Greg may also be Kate’s father, which would make this that much messier.
All I know is that there has to be more to Joy’s hatred of the Turner family. I don’t think she’d be that vile to the children simply because she didn’t like Cindy.
Speaking of Cindy, we finally saw her reconnect with Jeanette in the present day, but her approach was pretty terrible. Jeanette’s obviously been through hell and back and finally has compelling evidence that casts doubt on Kate’s credibility, but her mother insisted that she drop the lawsuit because it’s a losing game for her.
Is she trying to protect her daughter from more pain or does she continue to think her daughter is guilty?
Cindy seemingly left the house the moment she learned that Jeanette was lying about having the key, which led to the end of her marriage with Greg.
She pursued her career, which, on one hand, is deserved, but on the other, does seem like an attempt to run away from the issues and abandon the family.
The negative press was too much for her, but it was also when her daughter needed her most.
Greg might not be perfect, but he stuck around and vouched for Jeanette at every turn.
We also find out that he made Jeanette come clean to the police about having Harris’s key and being in his home once before, which means Jeanette’s only hiding the fact that she went back there multiple times.
And considering the allegations against her, I’m not surprised she kept that a secret.
No one would even hear anything else if they knew she frequented his home.
Sadly, there was no movement on the Annabelle front, and while I’ve read some pretty out-there theories, I’m going to refrain from theorizing because I have a feeling that what the writers come up with will blow me out of the water.
I’m hoping we get more scenes from Martin’s perspective as I like knowing what was going through his mind throughout all of this.
I also want to see the alleged moment Kate thought she saw Jeanette while in captivity.
What did you think of the episode? Do you think it’s fair that Ben blames Jeanette? Do you see Jamie in a new light?
What’s with the snowglobe? Is there something off about Joy? Who is Annabelle?
Let us know your thoughts and theories in the comments!
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