Last week’s premiere of Freeform’s Cruel Summer kicked off with a bang. This season is all about friendship, love, and betrayal, as well as a murder mystery. As we learn at the end of episode 201, Luke’s body is found in the lake and the cops believe he was murdered. Isabella is seen dumping pills while calling her mother for help. Flashback to Winter 1999, we also see Isabella incredibly jealous of Megan and Luke. She’s also over Megan’s mother blaming her for the sex tape scandal. So, it seems Isabella tells Megan’s mother the truth.
CRUEL SUMMER – BLOODY KNUCKLES – JULY 1999
During this cruel summer, the girls are headed off for a weekend getaway with Luke and their friends. This trip confirms that Luke and Isabella are dating. Not to mention, Camera Man Jeff”s crush on Megan grows and subtly is off the table. Throughout the episode, there is a ton of future evidence, as well as off-the-cuff lines that seem harmless, while also explaining away possible issues of the future.
First, while Isabella is joking with a couple of the boys about them sleeping in the same bed Jeff jokingly offers to “film it” for a keepsake. We see Megan, Isabella, and Luke all shooting Luke’s handgun for target practice. However, during this, we see that Megan is a GREAT shot, while Isabella looks like she’s never shot a gun before. During this moment, Isabella jokes about having diplomatic immunity. So, she could murder any of them and get away with it.
Luke’s brother Brent arrives with his girlfriend just to be annoying. There’s an odd scene between him and Megan that doesn’t seem to have a place or make sense. Part of me thinks it’s a throwaway moment that’s going to turn out to be very important later.
Later, the group plays 2 Truths and a Lie. This is where Isabella and Megan finally bond and begin their friendship. Isabella lies about sleepwalking saying it’s her truth, and Megan backs her up. Then, it begins raining. Instead of joining the boys and their weird games inside the girls decides to leave and head back home. There they find Megan’s mother making out with her estranged father, Keith. Megan is visibly upset by this and confides in Isabella. They both share shitty parent stories and a friendship is born.
DECEMBER 1999 – BLUE FILTER
At the end of Cruel Summer episode 2, it seemed Isabella was going to tell Megan’s mother the truth about the sex tape, and she does. Megan is livid. Isabella shares that she is jealous about how much Megan is leaning on Luke instead of her. She is the one making a huge sacrifice and is beginning to question Megan’s friendship loyalty. Isabella does not believe Megan would do the same for her. Megan takes a moment and later tells Isabella that she would 100% make the sacrifice for her. They are Ride or Die. Megan makes sure Isabella understands how much she appreciates her sacrifice and understands why she told her mother. The two girls forgive each other…for now.
Sheriff Jack and Luke talk at the police station. Officer Jack assures Luke that everything is going to be okay. Luke then ominously looks out over the lake and skipping rocks. Then, someone drops off a box addressed to the Sheriff. It turns out to be a box of sex tapes. So, of course, he brings in Mr. Chambers and Brent. Mr. Chambers pulls off white, rich man shit and gets his son off the hook – even though some of the girls on the tapes are underage. Mr. Chambers’s form of punishment is stern talking which we all know is going to do nothing.
Luke shows up at Megan’s restaurant and Isabella is NOT happy. The jealousy is in full green-eyed bloom. Then Luke goes home to be confronted by his father about Brent and the tapes. He’s upset and humiliated because Luke made the family business public and you don’t do that in the Chambers family. Brent also confronts Luke and brags about how their father handled the Sheriff. Brent also believes Luke’s lie about not turning in the tapes. Instead, he blames it on Isabella promising she’ll get what’s coming to her.
Later, Camera Man, Jeff shows up at the restaurant with a buddy and is a huge dick to Isabella. However, some key nuggets of information are dropped. Jeff tells Megan that the tape is evidence that she chose the wrong guy. So, it seems in the summer of 1999 Megan is going to start dating Jeff and leave him for Luke. Later the girls confront Luke and blackmail him to keep his mouth shut. It turns out that Jeff is doing illegal things to afford camera equipment.
JULY 2000 – GREEN FILTER
Sheriff Jack comes to Megan’s house to discuss the ballistics report. The gun registered to Steven Chambers, Luke’s father, is the weapon used to kill Luke. That’s not all, Luke, Isabella, and Megan’s prints are on it. But, as we’ve seen in Summer 1999 the three of them used it for target practice. A journalist who is terrible at her job tries and miserably fails to trick Megan into an interview.
At the end of episode 2, we see Isabella calling her mother asking for help. However, it’s not her mother who shows up, but Rebecca the family lawyer. Isabella explains the fingerprints to her, and she also explains the sex tape drama. Rebecca warns her to keep out of contact with Megan and Debbie (her mother). She also explains why Isabella cannot use her diplomatic immunity right now. It would look too suspicious given what happened in St. Barts last winter! What does that mean? Is this what happened to the mysterious Lisa?
Luke’s Dad goes to Debbie (Megan’s mother) with a casserole and they discuss Luke’s death. He also mentions the fingerprints on the gun. However, he doesn’t suspect anything from there, but the cabin was cleaned recently and it wasn’t any of them. If you recall in the previous episode we saw Megan scrubbing the blood off the floor.
Isabella doesn’t fully heed the advice from her lawyer. She instead goes to Megan’s house to warn them and tell them to get a great lawyer. Megan learns that her father – who she is estranged from – is paying for the lawyer which sets her off.
Later, the Sheriff is questioning Megan and Isabella with their representation present They are asked the same questions we all knew were coming next. However, both girls get caught in lies. Megan says after the party they got in a fight, left, went to the beach and she dropped him off. However, the camera footage from Luke’s home would confirm that was a lie. Megan never went to his house. Then, Isabella tells them she hasn’t been to the cabin since later summer. The lie detector determines this is a lie. The Sheriff shows her the bag they found in the crawl space of the cabin filled with money.
Cruel Summer 203 – Bloody Knuckles REVIEW
Freeform’s Cruel Summer is continuing to set up a great murder mystery in season 2. While the “present day” timeline sets up questions I love seeing them be answered in the past vs being told making everyone a suspect. The questions looming over the murder are still huge, but the questions surrounding Isabella’s past are also a dark cloud. Who is she really? Who is Lisa and what happened in St. Barts?!
Where did Megan and Luke really go after the party? How long has he really been missing? Why did Isabella stash all the money in the house? Are the two women playing everyone for fools? Are they really still friends and planning on running away together? Why would anyone want Luke dead?
I can’t wait to see how the rest of this season unfolds!