- Cruel Summer -'Cruel Summer' Season 1 Clues May Be Hiding In Plain Sight, According To The Showrunner Tia Napolitano
Freeform's latest mystery series Cruel Summer is here to give you trust issues. The new series is told through three separate timelines and alternating perspectives, and because of it, you'll probably question everything, and everyone; from Jeanette's involvement in Kate's disappearance to Kate's accusations against her. So we asked the series' showrunner, Tia Napolitano, for clues about Cruel Summer Season 1, specifically what we should look out for as the season progresses. Her advice? Look at the set decoration.
The series revolves around Jeanette, an unpopular girl who becomes the cool girl du jour in 1994 — only to become the most hated teenager in America come 1995. The reason? In 1993, her neighbor Kate, a beloved pageant queen, goes missing — and upon her return, accuses Jeanette of having something to do with her disappearance.
Did Jeanette really see Kate while she was held captive and do nothing? Or, is Kate lying because Jeanette just so happens to have replaced her in the social hierarchy, and her boyfriend Jamie's arm? The first two episodes set the stage for major twists and turns. It's impossible to guess who is telling the truth and who is lying, or even if anyone is lying.
Fortunately, that doesn't mean fans can't gather any clues. In The Dipp's conversation with Napolitano, she tells what fans to keep a "good eye on the props."
"There are many clues in this show," she explains. "And because it’s set in the ‘90s, we have so much fun with so many props. Every piece of set decoration, and everything that our actors are playing with could always come back."
She adds that fans may not be able to tell how important things are until we look back.
"There are so many Easter eggs planted in small places that, upon a rewatch, fans will see the clue and say ‘I know where that’s going,'" she teases.
Cruel Summer may have already introduced one such prop: Jeanette's (perfectly tacky) necklace, gifted to her from BFF Mallory via a mall kiosk. Kate claims it is evidence that she did see Jeanette while she was being held captive, but it's a necklace anyone could acquire. In fact, it's a necklace that Kate complimented back in 1993.
And if you noticed that Cruel Summer loves a mirror shot... well, that's no accident, either.
"On a thematic level, duality is something that we’ve played with very much, just by the nature of the show we’re doing with shifting perspectives," says Napolitano. "The imagery that you’ll continue to see is meant to stand out. Take from that what you will."
All the more reason to keep our eyes glued to the screen during Jeanette and Kate's cruel, cruel summer(s).