Cruel Summer Is Here and We Don't Know Who to Believe

Freeform's '90s teen thriller Cruel Summer has us scratching our heads, in mostly good ways.

By Lauren Piester Apr 21, 2021 3:00 AMTags
Watch: "Cruel Summer": Olivia Holt & Chiara Aurelia Tease New '90s Series

Spoilers ahead for the first two episodes of Cruel Summer. 

Summer has arrived, and so has a new mystery. 

OK, summer has only really arrived on TV in the form of Freeform's new drama Cruel Summer, but we stand by the mystery part. The teen drama, set over three different summers in the mid-'90s, is all about unraveling what happened after the pretty and popular Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt) mysteriously disappeared, seemingly replaced in the high school food chain by the former nerd, Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia). 

Over the course of the first episode and three different years, we saw Jeanette transform from nerdy wannabe to Kate Wallis 2.0, then to a broody recluse who hates the world and who the world hates right back. 

By the end of that first hour, Kate had been rescued from the basement of the new assistant principal, and she was claiming that Jeanette had seen where she was being held and didn't do anything about it. By the end of the second hour of the premiere, Jeanette was suing Kate and swearing that no such thing happened. But who do we believe? 

2021 TV Premiere Dates

There are a few damning pieces of evidence against Jeanette right now. 

For one, Kate has her (wildly ugly) "You go girl" necklace, which she claims she acquired whenever it was that Jeanette spotted her. Two, Jeanette's life became great only after Kate was gone. She and Kate's boyfriend, Jamie (Froy Gutierrez), had fallen in love, and she had become close with Kate's friends. Her braces were gone, and she had become the school's queen bee. Sure, she left her old friends in the dust, but it's not like it was all her fault.


Kate, meanwhile, is certainly being cagey. She hasn't explained how or when Jeanette saw her, and opened up to someone in an online forum about how she hadn't been totally honest. She's absolutely traumatized, but there's something else going on that she's not telling us. 

While we're absolutely invested in the mystery at hand, we have to admit we're feeling a little dazed after two hours of hopping back and forth in time. The whens and whys are a little confusing, but we're ready and waiting to fill in those many, many blanks. 

While we wait to learn more next week, weigh in below! Do you currently think Jeanette saw Kate and really could have saved her, but chose not to? Or do you think Kate is lying? We'll be back after the next episode to see how our opinions may or may not have changed. 


Cruel Summer: Week 1

Do you think Jeanette is guilty?
Voting For This Poll Has Closed!

Cruel Summer airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Freeform.