Cruel Summer is TV’s newest hit. The Freeform series has taken the world by storm, with fans taking their places on Team Kate or Team Jeanette. The show continues to ramp up the suspense as we get closer to finding out who is really telling the truth. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Cruel Summer’s showrunner Tia Napolitano that the “actual truth” about the Kate and Jeanette situation will be revealed by the season’s end.
“We peel the onion until we get to the actual truth,” Tia told HollywoodLife. “I’ve been talking about truth as a character in this show. It’s a mysterious character that we’re finding and learning more about, and we meet the truth in the finale.” However, she did note that someone’s perspective is a “very strong game” that the show plays with.
Even though fans have a lot of questions now, Tia promised that all answers will be uncovered in the first season. “The thing I love about our show in season one, and it’s a question that we get asked a lot, we tell you all the answers,” she continued. “We deliver everything. We lay it all out there. It’s not a show that’s going to be unsatisfying or stringing you along forever. All of these clues that we’re teeing up, we pay them all off.”
By the end of episode 5, it’s clear that Martin is exhibiting grooming behavior with Kate in 1993 before he kidnaps her. Tia told HollywoodLife that the “dynamic that you just saw at the county fair sort of sets the tone for what’s to come in upcoming episodes.” Fans have also been wondering who the heck Annabelle is in Kate’s life, Tia confirmed that the truth about Annabelle will also be revealed by the end of the season.
One of the most surprising aspects of Cruel Summer so far is that Mallory and Kate have become best friends by 1995. Mallory notoriously hated Kate in the years before. Despite Mallory’s past feelings for Kate, Tia said their friendship is “very genuine.” She continued, “Teenagers change so much. I think there’s something beautiful about Mallory’s soul, that she’s open-minded enough to become friends with someone who she did despise. I think she judged a book by its cover, and she was open and sweet enough to look past it and admit that maybe she was wrong about this person. I love that about Mallory.”
Mallory and Kate are friends in 1995, but Mallory and Jeanette are still at odds. Tia revealed that fans will find out “exactly what tore them apart.” She also didn’t rule out the idea that Mallory and Jeanette could become friends again. “I think there’s always a chance that they can become friends,” she said. “The heartbreak of teenage friendships is that you’re maturing sometimes at different rates. You’re changing. Everything about the chemistry of your body is changing. I think people’s interests change. They outgrow each other, and they can find each other again. It’s sort of the nature of teenagers.”
In episode 5, Jamie finally apologized to Kate for lying about kissing Jeanette the year before. Jamie made Kate doubt what she saw while still dealing with the aftermath of her kidnapping. Jamie looked overwhelmed with regret as he tried to atone for his sins at the 1995 county fair. Tia noted that Jamie is a very integral part of Cruel Summer. “Jamie deals with a lot of guilt and a lot of shame,” Tia told HollywoodLife. “Given that he punches Jeanette in the face in the pilot, I sort of approached him as a commentary on toxic masculinity in the 90s. He faces demons. He’s got a lot to process, and he’s carrying that around as a young man. I think that’s why he’s so haunted. That’s why he turns to drinking. We face all those issues head-on in a way that I hope is honest and true.”
She also revealed that there are “many conversations to look forward to between Jamie and Jeanette as we move forward about everything that’s happened.” Jamie has got to apologize for punching Jeanette in the face.
Even before Kate was kidnapped, Jeanette was drawn to Martin Harris’ house. Jeanette’s risk-taking side will continue to come out, much to Martin’s chagrin. “What we’re learning about Jeanette is she’s a little voyeuristic, and she’s a thrill seeker. Martin’s fascinating, so he’s sort of the perfect subject. I don’t think he wants eyes on him, and I think they both sense that about each other in a very creepy way, but it’s wonderful for our show,” Tia said.
Kate and Jeanette are currently at odds. Kate went to the police and claimed Jeanette saw her while she was held captive and didn’t speak up about it. Kate’s accusation made Jeanette one of the most hated people in the world. By 1995, Jeanette is suing Kate for what she claims are lies. These two are the definition of enemies, but is it possible they could ever be friends? “Take a look at Mallory and Kate. I say in this world, never say never,” Tia teased. Cruel Summer airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Freeform.