'Cruel Summer' Exit Survey: Do You Trust Mallory's Motives?

- Cruel Summer -
'Cruel Summer' Exit Survey: Do You Trust Mallory's Motives?

One of the more surprising moments of the Cruel Summer finale (of which there were many) was the fact that Kate saw Mallory, and not Jeanette, outside the window on Christmas Eve. Yet while Kate had a vendetta against Jeanette for "seeing" her through the window, Mallory — Kate's new girlfriend — was met with only empathy.

And, for many people, it was for good reason: According to Mallory, she didn't know that it was really Kate in the window, and only figured it out when she saw on the news that Kate was rescued from Martin's basement. At that point, telling the police that she saw in the window on Christmas Eve would only lead them to question her new best friend's kidnapping story — Kate never told anyone that she wasn't always locked away, nor that she had a relationship with Martin. However, while Kate ultimately forgives Mallory from hiding that fact from her, many Cruel Summer fans aren't so sure Mallory's motives are as pure as they appear.

The reason? Many fans argue that Mallory hiding what she saw on Christmas Eve forced Jeanette to be blamed for what was ultimately a half-truth on Kate's part. Yes, Kate did really think that she saw Jeanette (who was in the house that night) but she told the police Jeanette saw her in the basement, not through the living room window.

If Mallory went to the cops and said that Kate was walking around upstairs, and therefore Kate's story couldn't have been true, wouldn't that have made things easier for Jeanette? And, given how much Mallory professed to loathe Jeanette following the end of their friendship, isn't it possible that letting Jeanette take the fall was just another way for Mallory to punish her?

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I get the backlash — but let's unpack the difficult choice that Mallory had to make, shall we?

For starters: Mallory did not really "see" Kate. She saw a blonde woman, walking around freely in Martin's house — her mind didn't realize it was Kate until it was too late, and Kate was rescued from the basement. But what she did see was Jeanette, breaking into Martin's house, as she did many times before.

While some fans are certain that Mallory knew that Kate had mistaken Jeanette for her, I'm not so sure. For all we know, Mallory believed Kate wholeheartedly when she said that she saw Jeanette — because Jeanette did break into the house. Mallory knew that Kate looked her way, but Kate never said that she saw Jeanette through the living room window — she claimed that she saw Kate through the basement window, which could have very well been the truth. She even had the necklace to prove that Jeanette was really there, which, theoretically, Kate could have picked up at any point in the living room during her rescue.

But even if Mallory did think that Kate was referring to Christmas Eve, what good would it do Jeanette or Kate to tell the truth about what she saw? If she told the entire truth, Jeanette would still be a highly viable suspect, given that she had a key to Martin's house and had broken in before. Kate's story might lose credibility, leading to Jeanette more easily winning the lawsuit, but at the end of the day, Jeanette was still doing something highly illegal.

Should Mallory have told Kate the truth, of course, is a different question entirely. Given how close the two got, Mallory's lie of omission feels more like an emotional betrayal than one which would hold any legal weight for Jeanette. However, it's also true that Mallory telling Kate what she knew — that Kate wasn't always trapped in the basement — could open up something for Kate she wasn't ready to discuss, like her relationship with Martin.

At the end of the day, no one on Cruel Summer was telling the whole truth — and yeah, maybe they should have. But is Mallory a villain for holding onto this secret? I'm not convinced...though with Season 2 of Cruel Summer on the horizon, this show has the potential to twist things in whatever new ways they want.

Images: Freeform

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