Cruel Summer's Sarah Drew Teases the Demise of the Turner Family as the Mystery Deepens

Cruel Summer star Sarah Drew weighs in on Cindy's parenting style and reminisces about the '90s ahead of an all-new episode of the Freeform thriller.

By Lauren Piester Apr 27, 2021 9:28 PMTags
Watch: "Cruel Summer" & "Grey's Anatomy": Sarah Drew Is Doing It All

We're all in on Cruel Summer, which means we're spending our Tuesday nights confused AF. 

The Freeform thriller tells the story of how a small town got turned upside down by the kidnapping of a popular teen girl, Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt), especially after she accuses former wallflower Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia) of knowing where she was and failing to do anything about it. The story plays out in 1993, 1994 and 1995, and the big mystery, at this point, is whether or not Kate is telling the truth about what Jeanette did. We know something about Jeanette is off and we know that Kate is hiding something, but the full story is clearly going to take the full 10 episodes to unravel. 

This week, the show spends a bit of time focusing on the relationship between Jeanette and her mom, Cindy (Sarah Drew), who might be anxious for her daughter to grow out of her awkward stage but also just wants her kid to be happy. Plus, Cindy's at the center of a second, smaller mystery: What happens to the Turner family between 1994 and 1995?

We've seen Cindy in '93 and '94, but in '95, Greg has a new girlfriend, and Cindy's nowhere to be found.

"The only thing I'm allowed to say about 1995 is that you will find out where Cindy is," Drew told E! News over Zoom. "That's the only thing I'm allowed to say." 

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But there were a lot of things Drew could say, especially about what's going through Cindy's mind as she watches her daughter transform before her eyes. 

"I think in '93, as Cindy is working on her daughter—and from her perspective it's all from love, but there's this sense of like, 'Oh, maybe when you get your braces off...I love seeing your eyes, just take your glasses off, like wouldn't it be so pretty?'' Drew says. "And 'I was a successful kid in high school I was, you know, cheerleading captain and all the guys wanted me and that was so amazing that felt so good for me so I must think that that's what you want.'" 

Cindy, Drew explains, just thinks this is what loving your child is. 

"She just thinks happiness equals success, so if Jeanette can get to a place of success, and then she'll be happy," she says. "That's all Cindy wants for her daughter is to be happy, and in 1994, before everything begins to fall apart, I feel like I've done my job. I am now the mother of the queen bee." 

Watch: Sarah Drew: From "Everwood" to "Cruel Summer"

But as we've seen, Jeanette does not stay the queen bee. By 1995, she's a shell of her former self, and her mother is nowhere to be found. 

While Drew has all the answers now that filming is complete, she says the actors were not privy to those answers during production. Showrunner Tia Napolitano only revealed the basics that everyone needed to know, and kept the contents of episode 10 a secret for as long as she could. 

"It was fun to see all the twists and turns," Drew recalls. "Like, we all experienced as a cast what the viewers are experiencing right now." 

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The cast also got to do a bit of time traveling back to the 1990s, which didn't mean a whole lot to the young cast, who were born late in the decade (if in the decade at all). But for Drew, who was born in 1980, it meant revisiting her teen years. She says she never quite got past 1993 Jeanette, and you can even sort of see proof of that if you look back at her character on Everwood. Hannah and Jeanette look freakishly similar, as you can see in the photo above. 

Hit play on both videos to hear about Drew's experiences on Cruel Summer, and stay tuned for more as we get closer to her return to Grey's Anatomy on May 6.

Cruel Summer airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Freeform.