Cruel Summer is exploring a juicy mystery on a weekly basis, and audiences tracking the program have no idea what’s going to happen next on the show. The storyline is set on three different years (1993, 1994 and 1995) and follows the two same leads who are linked through a tragedy. Kate (Olivia Holt) was kidnapped and held captive in a home in her Texas suburb. Once rescued, she accuses fellow high schooler Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia) of having seen her in the basement of the home, but refusing to tell the authorities. Who is telling the truth?
During a recent interview with Cruel Summer star Chiara Aurelia about the twists that were on the way, and the clues that have been laid out in the first four episodes, I specifically inquired about the titles of the episodes. Often, showrunners and writers on a twisty show like Cruel Summer can embed hidden meaning in the episode titles, and I asked Aurelia if this was the case here. Though she was careful to protect the show’s secrets, when it came to the titles, she did clarify:
Part of the fun of Cruel Summer, so far, has been scouring the episodes for clues that might point to what happened to Kate and Jeanette in the different timelines. The characters both change so drastically from 1993 to 1995 because of the kidnapping and the media fallout, we’re left to puzzle what twists might fill in the gaps. Could the show titles point the way?
It’s possible. The title of the pilot, “Happy birthday, Jeanette Turner,” is obvious. The show’s opening montage is set in Jeanette’s bedroom, where she’s woken up on the morning of her birthday, only the tone shifts from the welcome of a loving family to the anger of a father who knows his family’s life has been torn apart. Other episode titles include phrases like “A Smashing Good Time” and “Off With A Bang,” and they are less obvious to us… for now.
Chiara Aurelia also told us that the upcoming episode 5, titled “As The Carny Gods Intended,” was her favorite episode to film, and that she expects fans of the show to really plug into what is revealed this week. We have seen from promos that the episode takes place at a carnival, and a House of Mirrors will play a prevalent role. Mirrors are a big theme on Cruel Summer, and I think they will play into the explanation of Kate’s plight. For now, let’s keep scouring the show to find more clues that may, or may not, point to the truth.
Also, if you want to keep up with the dates for all the upcoming TV finales, be sure to check our guide often We're also maintaining a thorough guide to Summer 2021 TV premieres, which you no doubt will find interesting..
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.