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Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 8 Confess Your Sins- Review And Recap- Teenage Dirtbags, Boys Will Be Boys, And Sex, Lies, And Videotapes

We got a lot of answers this week, and most of them were predicted. Those who had revenge gone wrong on their bingo card were in luck this week. Strangely as close as we are to the finish line, I still feel like I’m watching the wrong race. I should know definitively what the big questions are. The previous two episodes made me feel like the show grew focused and urgent. Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 8 felt like a step back. We still don’t know what happened to Luke, and now questions we thought were answered were opened back up again. Here are all the details you need to know about this maddening episode.

Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 8
CRUEL SUMMER – Confess Your Sins – In summer 1999, new friendships are formed, and secrets are kept as the crew approaches senior year at the annual school car wash. In winter 1999, Megan and Isabella push for answers. In summer 2000, Debbie wants to protect her daughter. (Freeform/Justine Yeung) LEXI UNDERWOOD, JEREMY MONN DJASNGAR

August 1st, 1999

Megan is basking in the happiness of her newfound love. She and Luke are hot and heavy, and she is in a love bubble with poor Isabella on the outside, feeling forgotten. Absolutely(Story Of A Girl) by Nine Days blares blissfully unaware on the radio, reminding us that this isn’t really the story of one single girl but of two girls and one dead boy.

It’s carwash day at the school, and Isabella goes alone after Luke comes over to grab some ass, err, I mean alone time with Megan. Debbie encourages Isabella to go alone and comforts her. She tells Isabella that Megan won’t forget about her. It’s tough, though, because Isabella is struggling with the loss of a boy she cared for and a friend who is now ignoring her for that same boy. It’s a lot for anyone to handle, much less a teenage girl far from home with no family or friends beyond the Landrys. That’s a detail that is often forgotten. Isabella is so vulnerable despite giving the appearance of being cool, calm, and collected.

Megan and Luke are ecstatic in that puppy love stage, where everything is roses and hormones. Another secret rears its head when Megan tells Luke she is glad they will be each other’s first. Luke agrees, but we know better. Just days before, he slept with Isabella. Megan thinks she knows everything about Luke but forgets he is a Chambers and a high school boy. Survival is a skill honed in school. Some of the bad behavior we learn about later is done out of preservation—others out of misguided lust, and some an uncomfortable fact of life in the ’90s.

Parker and Isabella bond at the carwash. They are an interesting duo. Parker was a silly little girl who thought dating Brent gave her clout for a while but has since come to her senses. She was threatened by Isabella but now realizes women aren’t the problem. Parker asks Isabella if seeing Megan and Luke together is weird. She seems to understand that Isabella might be struggling. Isabella assures her that Luke and Megan were inevitable, and she is happy for them. She also wisely states that, in her experience, three can be tricky. I wonder if she is talking about her, Lisa, and Trevor. The boys engage in a series of troubling conversations that bring me uncomfortably back to that era.

Jeff is selling filmed tapes of movies to willing buyers. For those who have never seen one of these versions of movies, a person takes a camera into a movie and films the screen covertly before making copies and selling them to eager buyers. It was the earliest form of Pirate Bay and could be hit or miss in quality.

Luke makes one of many colossal mistakes this week. After lying to Megan about being a virgin, he convinces Isabella to keep their time together a secret. Isabella says it feels wrong and argues against it but reluctantly agrees. It’s not the first of many pressures piled on top of Isabella. It’s no wonder she snaps, as we see later in the episode. She fell at least in serious like with a boy and had sex only to have him hook up with her only friend days later. She is asked to act like nothing happened and left alone to deal with the aftermath. Luckily, Megan and Luke ask her to join them that night, making it clear they won’t abandon her.

Anyone alive in 1999 remembers the Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson sex tape. It unfairly made her an unwilling sex goddess at best and a slut at worse and him a legend. It is the perfect symbol of the hypocrisy that existed back then and, to some degree, still does. When Isaeblla overhears the boy talking about the tape and homemade porn, it makes her suspicious. All of the boys participate in the banter, and Brent talks about a collection. All of the boys act like they know what he is talking about. We later know why.

Brent is a monster who learned from his father. He is sexually aggressive with Isabella, especially when she rejects him. He nearly exposes her breasts, leaving her shocked and embarrassed. Steve walks up just then, and instead of apologizing and helping her quickly get to a safe space, he makes excuses and leers at her. Boys will be boys is a phrase I am especially sensitive to. I have sons and never used those words to excuse their behavior, regardless of how harmless. Boys don’t need to act like pigs. They don’t have to mistreat women simply because of the appendage between their legs. It’s a false narrative that ran rampant. This encounter was just one more incident Isabella had to deal with alone.

Later Steve and Debbie make out in the Landry’s living room while Luke and Megan are upstairs. Megan understands in a way Luke can’t what a bad idea that is. Steve is her mother’s boss and much wealthier and more powerful. A messy affair could ruin her and be just another notch on the bedpost for Steve. We know their relationship was strained in late December as a result of the sex tape issue, and they don’t appear to be romantically linked in the Summer of 2000, but we don’t know how it affected Debbie’s job.

January 1st, 1999

Poor dumb Luke. He has made significant mistakes and is too drunk and privileged to realize how much trouble he is in. That’s the problem with Steve’s parenting. Steve has impressed on him the importance of not embarrassing himself and the family at all costs. Luke isn’t a monster, but he is myopic and ignorant. When Megan suggests tying him up, he thinks his dreams have come true because he doesn’t know what the girls do. For him, this is a fantasy come to life. He fails to see it’s about to be his worst nightmare. No amount of spamming the Ctrl Alt Del buttons will save him.

We learn exactly how he got the barbituates in his system. Megan prepared drinks for all of them. She put two pills in his drink and added rum and soda. Isabella’s back was turned when she added the alcohol, so we have no way of knowing if Isabella knew about the alcohol. Isabella added a third pill, making her a coconspirator, not just a witness.

Once the pills kick in, the girls interrogate him, and he panics. They planned to film his confession to humiliate him as he did them. Finally, the truth about the sex tapes comes out. Luke knew about Brent’s hobby all along and had seen some of the tapes. Megan is understandably horrified and asks him why he would bring her to the cabin to have sex, knowing she could have been recorded. Luke says Brent only films himself, so he thought she would be safe. That confuses Megan and Isabella, who next ask who made the tape. Luke admits he did it out of some misguided attempt at romance. He flatly denies he didn’t play the video at the Christmas party, though. Likely that was Jeff out of anger or Brent because he was tired of Luke being the perfect son.

We have no way of knowing how long Steve has favored Luke. He is manipulative and misogynistic. he could have pitted the boys against each other for years, and Brent just snapped and thought playing the tape would be a hilarious way to expose his brother. It also could have been Jeff because he was jealous of Luke and hurt by Megan. The possibility remains that Isabella herself played the tape setting up the hero scenario she stepped into. What better way to ingrain herself to Megan than take the heat for the video? It’s sinister and a little obsessive but on brand for her and more than plausible. Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 8 leaves all those possibilities open.

As everyone cries over their betrayal and fear, Luke lashes out with the last piece of ammunition he has. He tells Megan about having sex with Isabella. Both girls are devastated. Isabella begs Megan to understand and tries to explain to Luke, desperately trying to save himself. He lies about Isabella and begs forgiveness. Luke is Megan’s lifelong friend. Aside from her family, he is the person she thought she knew the best.

She wants to believe him, and just as it seems he is getting through to her, Isabella appears with the gun. This was the last straw for Isabella. The screen goes black as the gunshot is heard. More than likely, Isabella shot him in the ear. The shooting, coupled with the lie, is what drove them apart. This shooting is also why Megan cleaned up the cabin and had blood on her clothes. What happened to Luke after the shooting? We still don’t know.

August 1st, 2000

Ned is MIA, and the girls know they need to see what his cameras caught before the police do. They should have also worried about Jeff’s recording. The Sherrif knows who was on the sex tape and wonders what else they might have lied about. There is no shortage of lies Megan and Isabella have been keeping from each other and everyone else. He’s right to distrust them.

Megan claims she saw Ned put in his security code many times and thinks she knows it, but like everything else in Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 8, that may be a lie. Were she and Ned closer than she admits? How much did Ned know about Luke? A conversation between Isabella and Megan makes me curious how much Isabella’s reading people is a byproduct of boarding school and absentee parents and how much is sociopathy. By the end of Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 8, she appears sympathetic, but we don’t have the whole story yet.

Just as the girls are on the cusp of hashing things out, the Sherrif catches them in Ned’s house, and things begin to unravel. They are pressed heard because the Sheriff knows about the sex tape lie and saw the footage of them scheming at the New Year’s Eve party. They finally turn on each other and begin pointing fingers at each other. It is about survival now, and they do whatever they must to escape jail. Debbie had to prioritize Megan but still feels protective of Isabella. This should tear her apart.

I’m becoming increasingly convinced that revenge gone wrong was correct, but there is more to the story. I predict in the closing moments; we will see the girls untie Luke and leave. We watch him stumble down to the water. He may even be taken to a boat to escape his father’s wrath. That part of the story could have been true. We know the letter at least appeared to be in his handwriting. We will be led to believe he falls into the water and drowns after all. The final gotcha scene, though, will be Isabella pushing him in or watching him fall and doing nothing, just like she did with Lisa before. I am still wondering who the father of Megan’s baby is. Was she maybe not the one pregnant after all? What happened to the baby?

After the momentum shift last episode, I felt like everything had changed, but then Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 8 rolled around and reminded me that crystallized focus wasn’t the name of the game. The criticism is fair that the same clear storytelling is missing this season, but I’m heavily invested now, and despite how chaotic the story feels, I need to know what happened to this silly boy who screwed things up royally and shot his mouth off too much. He made mistakes, but he didn’t deserve to die. Only two episodes left before we get our answer. Find all our Cruel Summer coverage here.