4 "Cruel Summer" Fan Theories That Will Have You Questioning Everything You Know About the Show

·5 min read

We're just five episodes in and Cruel Summer already has me questioning absolutely everything. While in the beginning, it was easy to believe that Jeanette saw Kate while she was in captivity, these days, I don't know who or what to believe. Of course, fans have a million and one theories about what's going on in the town of Skylin and I'm not just talking about their guesses about the identity of the mysterious Annabelle (though there are many theories about that). Fans are using clues to try to determine everything from the meaning behind the mirrors to Mallory's potential involvement. So, we rounded up every theory worth considering as we wait for another episode of this suspenseful show.

Warning: Cruel Summer spoilers from episodes 1-5 ahead.

All the Mirrors

Fans noticed that almost every time there's a shot of Martin Harris' basement—where he kept Kate captive—there's a focus on the mirrors down there. That, coupled with the show's promo image, which features mirrors, and the scene in episode five with the fun house, has many thinking there is something going on with the theme of mirrors.

Photo credit: Freeform
Photo credit: Freeform

Wilde_r on Reddit pointed out that the basement seems small compared to the rest of the house, leading others to suspect that there's a secret room behind the mirrors.

"I think there’s definitely a room behind it," A_Marie007 said about the mirrors. "We’ve seen a door next to the mirrors so there’s obviously something behind them." They pointed out that at one point in episode 4, Kate is in captivity in a space that doesn't seem to be part of the regular basement. "We got a glimpse of Kate waking up and being surrounded by supplies, at the bottom of the wall behind her there are vents. Everything I’ve seen of the basement that we’ve see so far has no such vents. I think Kate was definitely locked inside of a hidden room in that basement."

Photo credit: freeform
Photo credit: freeform

Another thought is that it's a two-way mirror, which is why Kate saw Jeanette, but Jeanette didn't see Kate. China_22222 on Reddit thinks this is why Jeanette says she got a weird feeling about the basement when she went down there. "A two-way mirror could explain the 'creepy' vibes she gets from it," they said.

The Dining Room Walls

In episode four, Kate comments on the new wallpaper in the Wallis' dining room. While it could have just been an observation, fans don't think this was just a throwaway comment. "That dining room being redecorated was no mistake or coincidence...there is something in the walls..." Unicorntacos420 wrote on Reddit. Others, though, just thought the wallpaper saga was simply to show how easily Kate's mother was able to return to her daily life and routine following her daughter's disappearance.

Photo credit: freeform
Photo credit: freeform

Is Martin Behind the Rumor?

The more interactions we see between Martin and Jeanette, the more fans think he dislikes her. Cutiepatootie8896 on Reddit thinks that Jeanette ditching Gideon at the carnival in episode five really bothered Martin. "I think Martin was rejected in the past by a girl who looks like Kate," they said, adding that he may have been nerdy like Gideon growing up. Because of that, they think Martin may have told Kate that Jeanette saw her.

"I think that Martin holds onto this anger against Jeanette, and lies to Kate about Jeanette being involved with the kidnapping and Jeanette having seen Kate," they said. "I think Martin eventually finds out that Jeanette has a key to his house and works with this piece of information with the goal of hopefully implicating her in the kidnapping somehow." They also added that Martin may have found Jeanette's necklace and used that as proof that Jeanette was involved. "Because Kate is so traumatized, she doesn’t know what to believe but upon being released and finding out that Jeanette was with Jamie, she suddenly has real reason to believe that Jeanette had motive to take over her life."

Mallory's Role

Many fans are skeptical of Mallory's role in the situation and even believe she could have planted Jeanette's necklace at Martin's house to get her in trouble after they had their falling out.

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Cat727 on Reddit even noticed that, in episode one, an eight of diamonds card can be seen on Mallory's bike. Later, in episode four, Kate is playing solitaire. Her mom walks in and tells her the police want to see her and they suspect they have some hard evidence on Jeanette. "The truth will set you free and throw that little b*tch in jail," Joy Wallis says. The camera then pans down to Kate's solitaire game, showing her flip over an eight of diamonds.

Like the wallpaper thing, this could mean nothing, but in shows like this, there are hardly ever coincidences like that. "I get the impression that they’re (writers, producers, whomever) are giving a hint that Mallory is involved," Cat727 said "Could Mallory be trying to keep Kate close for some reason?"

Someone else pointed out that Mallory seems overly upset about her relationship with Jeanette ending, while Vince is much more chill about it. "Now the outlandish theory I have is what if Mallory is kind of obsessed with Jeanette," GramNotGraham said on Reddit. "Dresses up like her and all that jazz (maybe puts on a wig and glasses?), goes to Martin’s house because that’s what Jeanette used to do??" They believe it's possible Kate saw Mallory but thought it was Jeanette. Cat727 added that it seemed like Mallory didn't want Kate listening to her therapy tapes. "Could be that Mallory thinks she’s in the clear since Kate hadn’t figured out it was Mallory she saw and is scared that if she listens to the tapes she may trigger a memory?"

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