Season 2 of Freeform’s hit summer series, Cruel Summer has started off with a bang! Just like season one, the series is broken up into 3 time periods. So far, the Summer of 1999 is just giving us the basic backstory of everyone’s connection, possible jealousy, and future drama. However, December 1999 and the Summer of 2000 are stocked full of shocking moments, twists and turns, as well as mystery.
CRUEL SUMMER SEASON 2 EPISODE 1 CLIFFHANGERS
There were 2 major cliffhangers by the end of the first episode of Cruel Summer’s second season. The first comes at the end of December 1999. Everyone is at the Chambers Annual Christmas Party. However, when they were supposed to watch the yearly Christmas Movie it was not “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Instead, it was a sex tape between Luke, and supposedly the new girl in town, Isabella.
Then, at the end of the Summer of 2000, we learn that the rumored body in the lake is Luke Chambers. We also see that Megan and Isabella are no longer friends and need to “get their story straight”. As someone who’s a fan of true crime, I LOVE that this season is a murder mystery! So, who killed Luke?
Back in the summer of 1999, we are taken to a pool party. Isabella continues flirting with Luke. We also meet Luke’s brother Brent’s girlfriend. While at the party, Isabella asks Luke to help her with Megan. She doesn’t understand why Megan is rude to her. Luke, like a true ride-or-die, explains that she’s just hard to get close to. However, when you do she’s a loyal friend. The type of loyal that will “help you bury a body”.
We also see Isabella take a peek into Megan’s bag. Inside she finds a ton of adderal. When trying to bond with Megan, Isabella tells her she found the pills but promises to keep her secret. Isabella also confirms one more time that Megan would be okay with her dating Luke.
Then, Isabella pulls an adorable move in order to get Luke to kiss her for the first time in front of everyone.
DECEMBER 1999 – BLUE FILTER
Isabella wakes up the day after the sex tape aftermath to a bunch of blowup toys on the lawn. Everyone is pissed at her for “cheating” with Luke and putting it on tape. Megan’s mother tells her that the school principal was to suspend her from school because of the sex tape.
Then, Isabella goes to find Megan who is sitting and watching the tape. However, in a huge reveal, it turns out that the girl on the tape is not Isabella, but actually Megan. So, why did she run off and cry at the party? Why is she not taking responsibility? Isabella tells Megan that it’s fine if she takes the fall. She’s leaving at the end of the year anyway. So, the next question is – who filmed Luke and Megan having sex? Did Luke really not know it was happening? Who played the tape at the party, and why?
Isabella runs into Brent’s now ex-girlfriend who confesses that Brent tried to take her once and she said no. However, she knows that there are other girls who either didn’t know or said yes. So, Isabella breaks into Luke’s house in order to destroy any and all tapes she finds.
Luke and Brent’s father is livid at the entire situation. Yelling at his songs that they don’t have any “idea what this might cost [their] family”. Brent is absolutely disgusting. He has so many tapes and doesn’t care about a single girl on them.
At the end of this timeline, Isabella overhears Luke and Megan talking about XXX and she gets upset. Then, we see Isabella go to Megan’s mother telling her she needs to let her know something. Does she tell her that it’s really Megan on the tape?!
SUMMER 2000 – GREEN FILTER
Now that we know Luke is the body found, as well as Isabella and Megan no longer being friends what’s next? Well, according to the coroner’s report Luke’s cause of death was drowning. However, he also had an abrasion from a bullet and his toxicology report said there were pain meds in his system. So, whoever wanted him dead made sure there was no way he could come back up alive. So now the cops believe Luke was murdered so they want to reinterview everyone in town.
Cut to Isabella and Megan in a fight. Isabella is trying to leave town. Megan is livid so she threatened to reveal her/their secrets if Isabella tries to leave town. Next, there’s a moment between the parents. Luke’s father shares that he truly thought Luke would come home. His world is torn apart by his son’s death.
Then we dive into the interrogation. Everyone says that Luke was happy, and he and Megan were happy, but Isabella and Megan were fighting. However, when it’s Isabella’s turn she is not here for the cops’ bullshit and sex shaming. She calls him out and says what we’re all thinking. As far as that tape, she is a minor and someone else filmed it, as well as played it for all to see. When asked why she stayed in town longer, Isabella shares it’s because Debbie (Megan’s mother) was sick.
Of course, we all know Isabella is sketchy and the cops confirm it by letting the audience know she’s been at 3 schools in 3 years. Trouble follows her everywhere. After getting home, Isabella calls her mother saying, “I’m in trouble” while flushing pills down the toilet.
CRUEL SUMMER SEASON 2 EPISODE 1 “Ride or Die” REVIEW
Cruel Summer has really said there will be no sophomore slump for this series. At the end of episode 2, I am all in. I love a good murder mystery. I have so many questions. How do Isabella and Luke go from possibly dating, to Megan? Why is Isabella so willing to take the fall? Her reasons don’t add up. What does she tell Megan’s mother? Are we going to meet Isabella’s mother?
As far as the sex tape, this entire storyline is sadly a product of the time it’s placed in. It may seem outrageous that a principal could suspend a student for something that happened off school property. However, the 90s/early 2000s were wild. A sex tape could ruin your life, not make you famous. Women were shamed, not the men. Just look at Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee or Jennifer Lawerence’s leaked nudes to her boyfriend, Nicholas Hoult. Both of these women were blamed for being on tape or taking photos. Everyone expected them to apologize while the men were given the “boys will be boys” excuse. I appreciate that this series is taking the time to address a real issue that sadly still happens today.
I cannot wait to see how the rest of the season goes.