The Cruel Summer Season 1 finale might have answered a lot of questions, but the final episode brought new mysteries that have fans reeling. Sure, viewers now know the truth behind whether or not Jeanette (Chiara Aurelia) saw Kate (Olivia Holt) — which was the major question throughout Season 1 — but with that revelation came many more unanswered plot points to ponder. No matter how clean-cut the ending seemed like it was going to be, the last few moments proved there’s much more to the story.
Warning: Spoilers for Cruel Summer Season 1, Episode 10 follow. At first, it seemed like everyone would get a happy ending. Mallory and Kate were pals again (despite the whole “Mallory was actually the one who saw Kate in the window” thing) and even shared a kiss. Kate told the world Jeanette was innocent. Jeanette dropped her lawsuit against Kate, gained fame for being ~noble,~ and won Jamie’s (Froy Gutierrez) love... again.
But then, the very last scene of Season 1 showed Jeanette in Martin’s (Blake Lee) house in 1994. The scene showed Jeanette once again breaking into Martin’s home, and it was then. that she heard Kate yelling from the basement, begging to be let out. And instead of freeing Kate, Jeanette smiled and walked away. *Shivers.*
Considering how twisted that last revelation was, it makes sense the show was picked up for Season 2. While fans wait for the next installment of Cruel Summer, there are a few burning questions that still need to be answered...
1. How Did Jeanette Become Popular?
Sure, Kate was MIA and the town was lacking an it-girl, but it still doesn’t explain how Jeanette suddenly became popular the summer Kate disappeared. Kate had friends (who quickly became friends with Jeanette) who were popular. You’d think one of them would become the newest town celeb. The only thing really tying Jeanette to that group was her passing interactions with Jamie, but IMO, that’s not enough to land her a crown.
2. Why Did Jamie Brush Aside The Gunshot?
Speaking of Jamie, Jeanette/Kate’s boyfriend was majorly sus throughout the entire season. First, he loved Kate, then he loved Jeanette, then he loved Kate and punched Jeanette, then he loved Jeanette. Sure, maybe he was just young and oblivious (and abusive, BTW), but I’m getting whiplash just thinking about him.
More than that, Jamie seemed to move on very fast after Kate went missing — a mere year later he was already in with Jeanette’s family and professing his love for her. Weirdest of all, when the couple heard a gunshot on Jeanette’s birthday (which viewers now suspect was Kate killing Martin), Jamie totally brushed it aside saying it was “just a car engine backfiring,” even though, no. It was def a gun. What do you have to say for yourself, Jamie? Why so casual?
3. What Was The Deal With Tennille’s Mom?
Remember Tanya? Kate/Jeanette’s friend Tennille’s mom? During Episode 6, she went to the press saying she thought Martin was a bad guy, when in fact, she was the one being shady during the pair’s interaction. This wasn’t great, since, when she was at Martin’s house, she found Jeanette hiding in the closet. While the two agreed never to mention the encounter, it’s clear Tanya wanted attention. It wasn’t until after Jeanette threatened to expose Tanya’s secret (that Tennille’s dad wasn’t actually her dad), that Tanya backed off and agreed to keep her mouth shut. Still, she’s one of a few people who know Jeanette’s been in Martin’s house, which could always come back to haunt the trespassing queen of Skylin.
4. Why Were There So Many Mirrors?
The mirrors in Martin’s basement. The mirrors at the carnival funhouse. The mirrors in the promo picture! Mirrors were all. over. the, place. And while this could just symbolize how the two girls each wanted what the other had (Jeanette wanted popularity while Kate just wanted to be loved and accepted), it feels like there’s more there. Specifically, why did Martin have that many mirrors in his house, and why were there multiple scenes that included the mirrors? Was it just to throw viewers off or will it all come into play in Season 2?
5. Why Did Jeanette Ditch Mallory?
After apparently gaining fame overnight, Jeanette parted ways with Mallory (Harley Quinn Smith) and, less so, Vince (Allius Barnes). Even though she and Vince eventually reconnected, it’s clear Jeanette was over Mallory’s whole deal. But why? Sure, it seemed like Jeanette didn’t like Mallory calling the shots even before her rise to popularity, but that character switch was quick. While it could have just been that Jeanette starting having a little more power (like the key to unlock Martin’s house), it seems like something more went down between the pair to throw flames on their friendship.
6. What Happened With The Yearbook?
Jeanette stole a yearbook during one of her many break-ins at Martin’s house and learned he previously taught in a town called Widow Falls. While she mentioned his former town when talking with him at the carnival — a move which clearly startled Martin — it was never determined what happened to that yearbook. That’s a major piece of evidence (along with the snow globe) that could make Janette look very bad should anyone ever discover it.
7. Was There More To The Story Of Martin’s First Victim?
In 1994, Kate learned another teenager was abused by Martin in Widow Falls before her. While at the time of learning this, Kate didn’t find solace in the situation, as more time goes on, perhaps this other girl could become integral to this story. Even though Kate blamed the other girl instead of Martin for what happened between them, that doesn’t change the fact that Martin was a serial abuser. Was there more to his first victim’s story that could play a role in the next installment?
8. How Much Did Mallory Really Know?
One of the biggest twists of the Season 1 finale was that it wasn’t Jeanette who saw Kate through the window on Christmas Eve, but Mallory. When Jeanette and Kate finally learned the truth, Mallory said she didn’t realize it was Kate at Martin’s house but instead thought it was his girlfriend or sister. But the thing is, Mallory has literal video footage of Kate in Martin’s window when she played the sprinkler prank on Martin (even if Mallory didn’t realize Kate’s in the video). Plus, Kate was Mallory’s least favorite person before she became her favorite person. While I’d love to believe Mallory’s telling the truth, something doesn’t feel right. I mean, Mallory’s proved over and over again that she’s not afraid to lie, steal, and backstab — who says this time with Kate is any different?
9. When Did Jeanette Learn Kate Was In The Basement?
The finale episode made it clear Jeanette knew Kate was in the basement, and that she learned this in 1994. The big question is: When in 1994 did Jeanette learn Kate was in Martin’s basement? Did Jeanette let Kate sit and suffer down there for months, or was this at the very end of Kate’s captivity? Perhaps Jeanette was part of the reason Kate managed to escape in the first place. While things look very bad for Jeanette in that last scene, fans should know there’s usually more to the story with Cruel Summer, and things might not be what they seem.
10. How Did The Cops Come To Suspect Martin?
Even though Kate said she called the cops the morning after killing Martin, the night before, he mentioned the cops had already come to his house and questioned him, and he expected them to come back with a warrant to search his property. But how did the cops think to suspect him? He had been going to school like nothing had happened and the community seemed to love him. Perhaps after discovering Kate, Jeanette was the one who tipped the cops off. This way, she wouldn’t get in trouble for breaking into the house, but she could still help the girl she wanted to befriend. It’s a little far-fetched, but isn’t that the point of this show?
Cruel Summer Season 1 is streaming now on Hulu.