Cruel Summer theories: what will happen next on the teen thriller?

Cruel Summer theories are circulating all over social media, and fans of the '90s teen mystery are completely hooked

Chiara Aurelia, Cruel Summer, Cruel Summer theories
(Image credit: Courtesy: Freeform/Bill Matlock)

Season one in Skylin, Texas has come to a close, but Cruel Summer theories have already begun circulating in the teen thriller fandom. 

Mystery buffs are questioning if they're able to completely trust Jeanette, Kate or either girl. (Proof that the debut series is another reason why we love TV shows about gossip and drama.)

Who's ready for even more shocking reveals to unfold in the series? 

**Season 1 spoilers ahead **

What happens in Cruel Summer season 1?

Jessica Biel's dark, '90s-set thriller takes place over the course of three summers. We encounter the Texas town's popular girl, Kate (Olivia Holt)—blonde, bubbly, sweet, and of course, adored by everyone. When she runs into her quirky classmate Jeanette (Chiara Aurelia) in the mall, it's clear that the school outcast would love a chance to run in the popular circle alongside Kate.

As each episode progresses, things in the small town begin to change: Kate is kidnapped and groomed by her assistant principal, Mr. Harrison, with whom she has a romantic and illegal relationship. Meanwhile, Jeanette undergoes quite the transformation and climbs her way up the high school hierarchy, becoming the new "It" girl and even going so far as to date Kate's boyfriend, Jamie. 

Now, the two are at odds in the final episode—in court. Kate insists that Jeanette did see Mr. Harrison lure her into his home and didn't contact the police, though it's believed she ventured to his house willingly. Jeanette, on the other hand, alleges that Kate publicly tarnished her reputation in the media with these false accusations. 

So, exactly who do we believe? Who is responsible for all of this? Did any of our supporting characters have a hand in the chaos?

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Cruel Summer spoilers Reddit: How will it end?

Like with any good mystery, predictions are unfolding—and quickly. Check out what fellow fans are guessing, according to Reddit (opens in new tab)

  • Some fans believe Jeanette did know about Kate's relationship with Mr. Harrison but was forced to keep it under wraps.
  • Others think Kate isn't the only one who was manipulated by the assistant principal and believe the mysterious Annabelle will speak out about a similar situation.
  • Some are siding with Jeanette and believe Kate is being vindictive and placing the blame for her problems on Jeanette. 

How many episodes are in Cruel Summer season 1?

Season 1 included 10 thrilling episodes, and we're keeping our fingers crossed for even more in the future.

When speaking to Decider (opens in new tab), Olivia Holt said she had to process the ending of season 1, but believes fans are going to be impressed with the way in which everything unfolds. 

"I think a lot of questions that people have are going to be answered, and I think people are going to walk away from this very satisfied," she said. 

How to watch Cruel Summer season 1:

No matter your location, we'll tell you how to watch Cruel Summer from anywhere in the world—because we truly believe that appreciation for a good thriller is universal.

US fans are able to binge season 1 until their hearts' content via Hulu and Freeform. As of August 6th, viewers in the UK are able to watch Cruel Summer on Amazon Prime (opens in new tab)

Those who are not Prime members—or live outside of the UK—can stream the show with the help of a VPN. Our favorite VPN service is ExpressVPN (opens in new tab), which is rated the best VPN in the world right now by our colleagues at TechRadar. 

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Cruel Summer season 2: What to know

Season 2 will begin in 2022, and although the plot is still quietly under wraps, we're sure we're going to be treated to another edge-of-your-seat kind of mystery.

"We know we’re going to deliver a super-twisty mystery, we know we’re going to live with some interesting characters and their psychology and talk about some important stuff like we did with grooming in season 1," showrunner Tia Napolitano told Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab). "Other than that, it’s completely open-ended at this point."

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 

The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos, new TV shows and relationship trends.  

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 

When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)