Seriously, what’s up with all of the mirrors in Cruel Summer?! Throughout the primary three episodes, we repeatedly see Jeanette and Kate posed in entrance of their bed room mirrors, emphasizing as soon as once more simply how a lot they’ve modified over the course of three years.There’s the creepy wall of mirrors in Martin’s basement (from Episode 1), and on this episode, Jeanette even admits to to Vince that when she first encountered the unusual room in 1993, she had an explicable feeling one thing unhealthy was going to occur there. “I thought I unleashed something down here. Something bad,” she explains. The poster for Cruel Summer even options Jeanette and Kate wanting by means of a double-sided mirror. Kate is adamant that Jeanette noticed her in captivity, which Jeanette fervently denies. But what if there’s some form of two-way mirror in that basement, and each of their accounts are true?
Fans most likely received’t get solutions earlier than the tip of the season, however that form of twist can be a lifesaver for Jeanette —as she repeatedly mentions in Episode 3 (titled “Off with a Bang”), so long as her honesty is in query, an entire lot of individuals want she had been lifeless — particularly Kate herself, who violently makes an attempt to confront her at a ‘95 traffic stop. While the first two episodes focused pretty much entirely on Jeanette and Kate’s views, it looks like the remaining episodes of the season will alternate between them, with extra time dedicated to supporting out the supporting gamers.
One character who we get some much-needed context about this week is Jeanette’s mother, Cindy. She appeared as a doting mother within the pilot, however was mysteriously absent from the ‘95 timeline; outside of the Turner house, we mainly saw her through the contemptuous eyes of her former classmate, Joy Wallis. But as she tells ’93 Jeanette, this wasn’t at all times the case — again in highschool, Cindy was homecoming queen and cheerleading captain, whereas Joy awkwardly trailed her like a pet. She actually doesn’t stress Jeanette to comply with in her teenage footsteps to the identical diploma that Joy hounds Kate. But whether or not Cindy is encouraging Jeanette to put on glasses or encouraging her to “branch out” and befriend extra standard women following a struggle with Mallory, it’s straightforward to see how she pushed her daughter to remake herself by ‘94. Of course, this all backfires when rumors about Jeanette’s position in Kate’s kidnapping started to swirl, and Cindy begins worrying extra about what different folks thought than standing by her personal daughter. In ’95, the general public scrutiny has presumably made her stroll out on her household — Jeanette even refuses to take her calls. Don’t be like Cindy.
At least the Turner guys appear to have Jeanette’s again. While her father Greg is sullen, he and her brother Derek have the wherewithal to confront Jamie about punching Jeanette in ‘94, and decide to shield this information from Cindy. For his part, Jamie is ready to move past his secret kiss with Jeanette and focus on Kate. When she tries to confront him at the town’s 4th of July fireworks celebration, he hits her with a chilling query: Why did she seemingly know Kate was lacking earlier than anybody else did? After all, Jamie was her boyfriend, and even he didn’t know till Jeanette advised him.
Plenty of individuals consistently reinvent themselves of their teenage years earlier than settling right into a extra assured grownup type. But Jeanette and lots of different teenage women typically face probably the most scrutiny and mistrust for doing so… her case is simply way more public. While Cruel Summer has refreshingly prevented its fair proportion of on-the-nose ‘90s nostalgia, Episode 3 takes time to imagine how Jeanette’s case would fare underneath the cultural weight of ‘90s bitchification. The “girl power” motion of the time signaled a large pendulum swing towards gender parity within the United States, however the ‘90s additionally spurred intense media fixations on ladies who carried any trace of scandal, from Monica Lewinsky to Anita Hill.
As Jeanette watches TV in 1995, she sees an area reporter who’s spent the previous couple of years masking Kate’s kidnapping go on nationwide tv and counsel that Jeanette is actually “wired differently” from regular folks and naturally has no ethical compass. On one other channel, a late evening speak present host jokes about how nobody in your entire nation can relate to Jeanette. Finally, she stumbles upon a criminal offense present scene through which a younger lady tearfully insists she isn’t the villain, however the sufferer. Jeanette begins mockingly imitating the woman in hopes of studying to be “likable,” earlier than her eyes begin to effectively up, too. It will probably be unquestionably horrifying if Kate’s claims that Jeanette was complicit in her kidnapping change into true, however after Martin spent months torturing a teen, it’s telling that the media scapegoat turned out to be one other younger woman as a substitute.
Jeanette will be the most hated particular person in America, however she’s not totally alone. We’ve identified that she and Vince have remained in contact for the reason that pilot, however as Episode 3 delves into extra of Vince’s backstory, it’s clear the lifelong pals’ bond has been one of many solely to outlive all three summers. We study that Vince is homosexual (clearly a method larger deal in ‘90s Texas), and had a relationship with Ben in 1994. But their days of dancing in secret gay bars seem to be behind them in ‘95, when Ben refuses to speak to Vince. It seems like Jeanette is the only one who knows his secret, and he’s the one one who is aware of hers: She’s been periodically sneaking into Martin’s home since 1993, when she obtained hooked on the push it gave her. Jeanette’s ties to Greg, Derek, and Vince appear sturdy, however within the twisty world of Cruel Summer, how lengthy will it’s earlier than somebody is pushed to their breaking level?
Abby Monteil is a New York-based author. Her work has additionally appeared in The Daily Beast, Insider, Elite Daily, Thrillist, and others.