Cruel Summer Episode 8 dropped it like a dime when three more major clues were revealed. Who knew where Kate was, and when did they know?
Just one day later, regardless of how bad things looked on Kate’s birthday, they are infinitely worse today. For most, the promise of a new life and new love only lasts a short while. Almost everyone has their dreams dashed. For most of the characters, happiness is fleeting, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. Cruel Summer Episode 8 provides all the proof we need that Mr. Harris destroyed more than just Kate’s life. He took hope from all of them.
Everyone has secrets. Some are little white lies, and others are whoppers. As Hugh Laurie’s Dr. House was famous for saying, “everyone lies”. In all three timelines, lies are told. Even sweet Vince lies. Albeit his lies are a necessary evil and understandable, but they are still deceptions. At this point, the only person who hasn’t lied is Angela. As the tragedy that is Skylin plays out across the three timelines, everyone has things to feel guilty about. Some are just more glaring than others.
There were only two songs of importance this week. Groove Is In The Heart by Deee-Lite in 1990 and the Pixies 1988 haunter Where Is My Mind. These two distincly differnt songs act as signposts for 1993 and 1995. Groove Is In The Heart is a feel good anthem about finding someone you vibe with. It’s a silly summer song full of wishes and smiles. For everyone but Mr. Harris and the Wallis’s the beginning of the school year in 1993 marks the beginning of something exciting even if they aren’t thrilled to be back in school. Pixies’ Where Is My Mind feels decidely darker.
Although it was written after a snorkeling adventure, the song has been used in less sunny references. Ed Norton closes Fight Club to this song while the city blows up around him and Marla. In a series that loves to drop Easter eggs like Peter Cotten Tail, this might be the biggest one yet. Since we still don’t know who Annabelle is, this could hint that she is another personality of Kate’s that emerged to protect her during her kidnapping. We may find Annabelle is a friend, confidant, and the one who finally saved Kate. Like Tyler Durden, she and Kate are one and the same.
August 30th, 1993- Jeanette is beginning her transformation into the butterfly we see in June of 1994. Her braces are off, and she is ready to ditch her dorky persona for a chance at Jamie, Kate, and the cool kids. Her desire to be friends with the popular crowd doesn’t go unnoticed by Mallory. Mallory lashes out at her about the scrunchie which Jeanette is still carrying around. Jeanette clearly has an obsession with Kate and her group, but Mallory is harsh. There is a fair amount of Single White Female happening, but Mallory is only irritated because it means she is losing control of her flunkie.
Jeanette was right that Mallory likes to bully the other two. The final item on the summer list is a prank tape of the teachers that Mallory plans to play during the school announcements. Jeanette and Vince are supposed to be the lookouts,, but both are distracted by their crushes. They are hesitant but Mallory is a forceful and as usual they aquiesce.
Vince leaves to bond with Ben over their Mom’s deaths, and Jeanette overhears Joy asking about Kate’s whereabouts. Unfortunately for Jeanette, she caught Joy just after talking to Mr. Harris. Joy is unnecessarily cruel to Jeanette, and weirdly Jeanette seems thrilled to take her abuse. Is Jeanette happy she has a nugget of information she can use to infiltrate the cool kids, or is she a psychopath? Her reaction outside of the principal’s office indicates she was shocked to learn Kate was missing, so my money is on the former.
Joy is worried, but her vanity prevents her from seeking help from the police immediately. Mr. Harris has a remarkable ability to gaslight adults and children. He convinces Joy to keep quiet to protect herself. Joy’s selfishness cost Kate precious time. Mr. Harris catches Mallory playing the tape just a few minutes later. In the video, he is shown from that morning getting soaked by his sprinkler. In the window of his house, Kate can be seen. She is still upstairs and is not being held hostage yet. How long was she a willing guest? He gives Mallory detention and destroys the tape when he sees Kate in the window. It is one more point in which the story could have been so different for Kate and the others.
When Mallory was caught, she rails against Jeanette and Vince, who both try to explain that they were sorry and share their news. Jeanette snaps when Mallory attacks her and says she thinks their friendship has run its course. This is the beginning of Jeanette’s friendship with the new group too. Jamie just one day before gave Kate a promise ring, but now he is flirting with Jeanette. Jamie likes the idea of Kate but has more chemistry with Jeanette.
August 30th, 1994- The first day of school for Jeanette is less hopeful in 1994. She is still glammed up, but the whole town is questioning what she knew and when. Even her father is having doubts. He asks her about the key, and Jeanette lies to him. She tells him she only used it once to break into the house to play Hide and Seek with Vince and Mallory. We know she broke in at least two other times and the presence of Jamie’s recording from December 24th, makes it appear she was also there then. Is she lying to keep herself from more trouble, or did she see Kate at some point? He tells Jeanette they will tell the police about the key after school, and when she returns home early, he tells her they will go immediately.
Cindy and Greg are no closer to reconciling. He doesn’t understand Jeanette’s situation was only the tipping point for her. Greg had a more precise understanding in 1995. He is already moving on though, and Angela factors into that future. Too bad for him, Rod stares him down at the bar when he comes in for quarters. Vince and Jeanette are friends and arrive at school only for Jeanette to be attacked. He tries to convince her not to let them get to her, but she leaves school anyway. Vince sees Jamie watching her go and tells him to leave her alone. He may be struggling with his guilt over Kate, but he also still has feelings for Jeanette and feels bad for hurting her.
The remainder of the 1994 timeline in Cruel Summer Episode 8 was devoted to watching a slow-motion car crash. The literal crash that ended Ben’s athletic career and destroyed Jamie’s future played out over 1994 and 1995 in flashbacks. Jamie feels guilty for treating Jeanette so poorly. He also feels responsible for not helping Kate sooner. He listens to a strange message over and over again and drinks in his car. The kid is an alcoholic and deeply troubled. Ben jumps in his car and asks him for a ride, not realizing he was drunk until it was too late. That decision gave Ben a compound fracture and Jamie a DUI.
August 30th, 1995- Jeanette gives the printout of Kate’s chatroom to her lawyer. She indicates this is a gamechanger for her. Jeanette also meets with her mother. Cindy wants to explain to Jeanette what happened and try to mend their relationship. We learn Jeanette officially dropped out of school. Cindy tries to convince Jeanette not to go through with the lawsuit. She tells her there will be no winners. She is correct, but after everything that has happened, Jeanette doesn’t have many choices. If Jeanette didn’t know about Kate’s kidnapping, she is justified in being angry. If she has known all along, she is a monster. Only time will tell.
Jamie catches up with Jeanette as she is trying to avoid the Paparazzi. He convinces her to come over to his house later. Why they are speaking now when just a few short months ago he was watching her house with a gun in his glove box, we still don’t know. Jamie apologizes for hitting her and getting caught up in the drama. Jamie, who can’t get a job now after his conviction, can’t afford to throw stones. He has finally admitted to her and himself that he caused the wreck, and it was solely on him.
Jeanette feels responsible for what happened to them all. Jamie plays the recording for her and she immediately drives to Mallory’s to ask for a snowglobe. Mallory says she doesn’t have it but lied. She pulls it out from under her bed and wistfully watches the snowfall. What is the significance of the globe and what does it have to do with the recording from Christmas Eve 1993? Was Jeanette in the house on that date and overheard this call? Did Jeanette see Kate but think she was there willingly?
Angela and Greg discuss Cindy’s visit the day before. Greg has been honest with her the whole time and admits that when Cindy left, he shut down. Whether that is the entire truth or not, we still don’t know. Cindy was looking for a way out. She had deep-seated resentments about how her life turned out. She wanted adventure and glamour, but with Greg, she felt restricted. Who is to blame is undoubtedly complicated. Hopefully, he does not have any other secrets. Angela is good for both Jeanette and Greg.
Perception is everything. From the outside looking in, things look very different. Cindy and Greg, Jamie and Kate and Jeanette, Ben and Vince, and Mallory all have their view of things. Likely, when all is revealed, perception will play a huge part. Like Marla and the Narrator in Fight Club, Jamie and Jeanette met at a very strange time. Cruel Summer Episode 8 laid the groundwork for the bombs getting ready to drop. Catch all our Cruel Summer coverage here.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.