Mothers are a thorny topic on Cruel Summer. Jeanette and Kate’s mothers grew to become fixated on encouraging their teenage daughters to behave as extensions of their very own adolescent aspirations, to devastating outcomes — the present’s insistence on growing them into compelling secondary characters additionally helps it transcend its inflexible teen drama categorization and enchantment to a wider viewers. The moms’ habits usually looks like a symptom of the best way that small, tight-knit cities like Skylin, Texas can ensnare generations of households in an uneasy hierarchy that’s troublesome to shake off. Cruel Summer Episode 6 zeroes in on the ripple results of two Skylin moms’ decisions, though I’m turning into increasingly involved about how within the hell the present goes to wrap up so many lingering threads in simply 4 extra episodes (however extra on that later).
First of all, we get some long-awaited context about why precisely Cindy Turner has been so absent from the 1995 timeline till this level. By August 1994, she’s quickly unraveling beneath the burden of the rumors and prank calls nonetheless circling round Jeanette — particularly as a result of Cindy continues to be satisfied Jeanette lied concerning the “You Go Girl” necklace being hers again when she was questioned by the police. So a match of nervousness leads her to go looking Jeanette’s empty room, and what ought to she discover however a mysterious key hidden on the backside of her daughter’s jewellery field.
After a defensive Jeanette unconvincingly insists she’s by no means been inside Martin Harris’ home, Cindy’s nervousness is exacerbated much more when Greg refuses to confront the truth that their daughter might in truth be mendacity — he additionally acquired a luxe present basket for serving to his future girlfriend Angela discover a home on the morning of his and Cindy’s wedding ceremony anniversary, however that’s an entire different factor. Although the Turners’ marriage appeared picture-perfect within the 1993 timeline, the present is planting increasingly seeds of mistrust within the so-called good outdated days. In this episode alone, ‘93 Jeanette takes the blame for shoplifting a CD that Vincent unsuccessfully snatched from the mall as part of their summer bucket list, and begs Greg not to tell Vincent’s strict grandparents. He agrees on the situation that they not inform Cindy, who’s sure to rat him out.
By ‘94, Greg blames Cindy for pressuring their daughter to reinvent herself, and setting this mess in motion in the first place — something she can’t assist feeling responsible for, herself. “I did push her to blossom, but I never showed her how,” Cindy admits. “No wonder she’s making really bad mistakes.” That’s why Cindy desires to set a greater instance for her children by lastly pursuing the dream profession she placed on maintain: Becoming a flight attendant. Greg brushes her off, insisting it’s a bit unrealistic. And when Cindy insists they put their fears to relaxation by seeing if Jeanette’s key goes to Martin’s home? He’s shut her out fully.
When ‘95 Cindy shows up at Angela’s bar and their tentative bonding is shattered after she finds out Greg claimed she’d left him, it’s laborious responsible one guardian fully. Earlier within the present’s run, I’d assumed Cindy left as a result of she was extra involved about her status than standing by her daughter, and whereas that lingering selfishness continues to be there to an extent, I’m completely happy to say I underestimated her. There’s clearly nonetheless lots of love left in Jeanette and Cindy’s tainted relationship — the episode opens on ‘95 Jeanette watching an old home video of her mother winning at cards during family game night, and after Jeanette stopped taking Cindy’s calls, ‘95 Cindy shows up at the bar begging for any details about how she’s doing. Whether or not Cruel Summer‘s mysteries prolong right into a second season, closing out Season 1 with a fraught Jeanette/Cindy reunion appears inevitable.
Speaking of mother-daughter hassle, keep in mind Jeanette’s brush with shoplifting? The incident introduces one more Skylin mama who threatens to complicate her impending courtroom case. While Kate — and later Jeanette’s — widespread mates Tenille and Renee haven’t actually factored into the present’s essential drama in any respect up till this level, that every one modifications with the doorway of Tenille’s single mom, Tanya.
When Jeanette helps Mallory shoplift from Tanya’s retailer on the mall again in (*6*)s home later that evening to retrieve one for him. But simply moments after she’s discovered it, Martin and Tanya burst by means of the door, stranding Jeanette inside his closet when a drunken Tanya drops a bombshell: She wrongfully satisfied her ex that he was Tenille’s organic father so he’d pay little one help. Of course, at that actual second, Jeanette unintentionally units off Martin’s CD participant, and a shocked Tanya finds her within the closet after Martin has wandered out of the room. They make a deal to maintain one another’s secrets and techniques, and after Tanya makes an attempt to offer a deposition about their encounter in ‘95, one risk from Jeanette about leaking her paternity fraud is sufficient to scare her away as soon as and for all.
While it was good to get a bit extra much-needed context about Cindy, and the Skylin townie drama is normally serviceably entertaining, I can’t assist however fear about Cruel Summer taking over means an excessive amount of because it hurtles towards the Season 1 finale. Digging into Jeanette and Kate’s transformations proceed to be probably the most compelling, important element of this present, but with so many subplots jostling for consideration throughout the bigger story, they sometimes really feel unusually underserviced (I’m fantastic with some episodes alternating between their views, however Kate wasn’t even on this episode!)
Sure, this present is partially concerning the rot on the core of Skylin and the generational curses hanging over these households, however from Joy Wallis’ affair to Vince and Ben’s underdeveloped secret romance to a whole subplot a couple of minor character’s mom, Cruel Summer‘s attempts to both flesh out Jeanette and Kate’s world and pile up cliffhangers threaten to muddle the thriller that hooked so many people within the first place.
Abby Monteil is a New York-based author. Her work has additionally appeared in The Daily Beast, Insider, Elite Daily, Thrillist, and others.