Throughout Cruel Summer, one question has persisted in viewers’ minds: How did Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt) end up trapped in vice principal Martin Harris’ (Blake Lee) basement? She was held captive until summer of 1994, but the show still hasn’t revealed all the horrifying details of what went down. Well, buckle up: The Cruel Summer Season 1, Episode 9 promo teases some major Kate reveals.
Warning: Spoilers for Cruel Summer Season 1, Episode 7 follow. At the end of Episode 7, fans were hit with a bombshell: Kate originally went to Martin’s house willingly, after she ran away from home following a brutal fight with her mother. The town’s former it-girl told the police she hardly knew her captor at all before he imprisoned her, a lie that could have major implications in Kate’s upcoming legal battle against Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia), who Kate claims knew she was being captive but did nothing about it.
It’s currently unclear when Kate went from being Martin’s guest to his prisoner, and the promo for Episode 9 (titled “A Secret of My Own”) hints the show is about to finally answer that question. The preview begins as Kate admits to her therapist, “There’s something I haven’t told you. I wasn’t always locked in the basement.” Then it cuts to the night Kate was imprisoned in the basement, as she steps downstairs in a red dress before Martin locks the door behind her. Martin looks on stoically as she screams for help, standing in front of what looks an awful lot like a Christmas tree.
Wait... does this mean Kate was voluntarily living at Martin’s house for months before she got locked in the basement?! Come to think of it, the dress she’s wearing def looks like a holiday outfit. If this ends up being true, it would once again change everything. How did Martin convince Kate to stay hidden from the outside world for so long, especially since he was away at school for long stretches of the day?
As the promo points out, he is a highly dangerous manipulator. “Groomers pose as saviors, when in reality, they’re predators,” Kate’s therapist tells her. Elsewhere, it seems like Joy Wallis’ (Andrea Anders) obsession with keeping up appearances is inadvertently putting her daughter in even more danger. When Rod (Benjamin J. Cain Jr.) asks if they should contact the police about Kate’s disappearance in ‘93, Joy replies, “Kate wouldn’t put herself in harm’s way. She’s somewhere safe.”
Then the preview gets really wild. Martin puts down the phone and turns to a horrified-looking Kate, who’s dressed in all white. He tells her she’s officially a missing person before pulling the curtains shut. Yep, Kate knew the police were looking for her, and still wasn’t found. To make matters more confusing, it ends as a frizzy-haired but glasses-free Jeanette pulls down her hood and arrives in front of the house for another snooping session. It seems like this could be the night she supposedly saw Kate, since Jeanette’s appearance suggests she’s in the process of transforming from nerdy nobody to popular girl. Is this also the night Kate leaves that mysterious answering machine message for Jamie (Froy Gutierrez)? And what the heck does the snowglobe mean? Unclear, but the plot thickens!