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Recently, Freeform came out with a new thriller teen drama called Cruel Summer. Cruel Summer is an American television series created by Bert V. Royal that takes place over the course of three years:1993, 1994 and 1995. The show is about two women, Kate Wallis and Jeanette Turner. Kate Wallis was a beloved popular girl who one day vanishes without a trace at the hands of the assistant principal Martin Harris. Jeanette is an outcast who mysteriously takes over Kate’s life. Jeanette’s life is turned upside down when Kate is found, and she is accused of knowing about Kate’s disappearance and choosing not to report it. When this gets out, Jeanette goes from the most loved to the most hated person in America. Each episode follows a different character allowing viewers to piece together the events that lead to Kate’s kidnapping and rescue, Martin’s death, and the aftermath of everything.


 Although the show has just begun, I am already hooked. I decided to make this article to share some of the theories that I have about what could be going on so I could look back at this article when the season ends to see if any of the ideas I had came to pass.  Keep reading if you went to hear some of these theories.

1. I think both Kate and Jeanette could be telling the truth

We know that Jeanette has snuck into Martin’s house multiple times after she initially explores the place with her friends. When Jeanette first goes downstairs into the basement, there are mirrors on the wall, and she stares into them. Throughout the show, there is repeated imagery and mentions of double sides; this leads me to believe that maybe the mirror in the basement is double-sided. We know that Martin kept Kate in the basement, and Jeanette enjoyed sneaking into Martin’s home, so perhaps Jeanette could have crept into Martin’s house while Kate was there. When Jeanette stared into the mirror, Kate saw Jennate but Jeanette only saw a reflection of herself because the mirror is double-sided. 

2. Something is off about Cindy

Cindy is Jeanette’s mom. From the past few episodes that came out, it seems like Cindy is a woman that values status and will do anything to maintain that status, even if that means throwing her family under the bus. We learn that Kate’s mom used to be friends with Cindy in high school and now Kate’s mom doesn’t like Cindy, but Cindy is still desperate to make the friendship work. This makes me wonder what happened that made Cindy’s and Kate’s moms no longer friends, and why Cindy is unable to let go of the past. I found it off-putting that Cindy was quick to stop believing Jeanette’s narrative of not seeing Kate in the basement after discovering that the detectives had Jeanette’s old necklace. For Jeanette’s 15 birthday, her former friends Vince and Mallory give her a necklace. They had a falling out when Jeanette started hanging out with the popular crowd.  This made me believe that there could be some truth to the story of Jeanette throwing away the necklace, so it makes me confused about how everyone else believed Jeanette but her mother. After all, Cindy was the person who encouraged Jeanette to ditch her old friends and put more effort into her appearance to fit into the popular crowd. This makes me wonder why Cindy finds it so hard to believe Jeanette when Jeanette is just doing what Cindy wanted. 

3. Kate is not telling the complete truth

When the police interview Kate, they ask her if she knew Martin before being kidnapped. Kate said no, and I do not believe that is true. When Kate was on a webpage for survivors of kidnappings, she was talking to someone and told them that she was not telling the truth about something. I believe that what Kate is not telling the truth about is knowing Martin. In a flashback that took place in 1994, after Kate gets into an argument with her mom, she gets drunk and goes to a park. Kate’s mother's friend finds Kate and takes Kate back home, where Kate later discovers that her mom is cheating on her stepdad with the friend. Kate can’t take this, so she runs away. She runs into Martin. Kate is wearing a different dress in this scene than when she is kidnapped, which makes me believe that Martin was grooming Kate. Martin took advantage of Kate in her vulnerable state and used that as an excuse to form a relationship with her, but then something happened that made the relationship go south, which leads to Kate being kidnapped. Kate probably did not come forward to the police when they asked her about Martin because she could have been ashamed. 

4. Something is off with Mallory 

I believe that Mallory could have planted the necklace at Martin’s house to get back at Jeannette. It seems like Mallory is still bitter about her friendship with Jeannette ending and the popularity that Jeannette gained. This makes me think that maybe Jeannette did throw away the necklace, or she gave the necklace back to Mallory because the friendship was over. Then Mallory plants the necklace at Martin’s home because Mallory knows that Jeannette still has the keys to his house to get revenge on Jeannette for replacing her. So she makes the world hate Jeannette as she does. 

Overall, I highly recommend this show. This show had me hooked from the first episode. There are so many twists and turns with each episode that passes, making it hard to figure out which character to believe. With that, I hope you enjoyed this article and enjoyed some of the theories that I had about the show Cruel Summer. 


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Hi everyone my name is Sophia Erivbieta. I am a freshman at Mount Holyoke and I go by the she/her pronouns. I plan on majoring in philosophy and psychology.
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