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Showrunner Tia Napolitano On The 'Cruel Summer' Ending, Victim Blaming, & The Mallory Hate

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Showrunner Tia Napolitano On The 'Cruel Summer' Ending, Victim Blaming, & The Mallory Hate

For those who planted themselves firmly on #TeamJeanette, the finale of Cruel Summer didn't exactly pan out how they hoped. While it was true that Kate was simply mistaken about Jeanette seeing her in Martin's house, what she didn't know was that, at some point in 1994, a post-makeover Jeanette heard Kate in the basement... and did nothing. Instead of rescuing Kate, Jeanette left Martin's house in order to protect her newfound social status, and relationship with Jamie. Cue Olivia Holt's chilling cover of Radiohead's "Creep," right?

While many Cruel Summer fans see the moment as confirmation that Jeanette was, in fact, the villain much of the world assumed she was (which was revealed only after Jeanette was declared by talk show host Marsha Bailey as "the most wronged woman in America"), showrunner Tia Napolitano doesn't quite see it that way. In fact, in a conversation with The Dipp ahead of the final episode, Napolitano confirmed that Jeanette didn't always have this ending.

"That was a decision we made later in the process," she shares. "It really excited us. It made our mystery even more twisted."

While Jeanette didn't always hear Kate in the basement, Napolitano notes that she's the only person who could have had that intel on Kate, even if other people — like, say, Mallory or Vincent — had opportunity.

"It was always Jeanette, because Jeanette had something to gain, which is Kate's boyfriend, her friends, her status," says the showrunner. "She had something to lose. There aren't a lot of other characters you could say that with. To me, it's psychotic for someone else to do that!"

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