Spoilers are ahead. Ever since the first episodes of Cruel Summer, the internet has had a lot of thoughts about Freeform's chilling teen drama. The biggest question from the outset has centered around whether or not an unpopular and sweet girl named Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia) saw the missing high school queen bee Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt) when she was kidnapped in the basement of the town's new assistant principal Martin Harris (Blake Lee).
But with only two more episodes to go we're no closer to finding out what the real truth is. Luckily, the internet has a lot of theories about what could have happened on that fateful night. While the real villain of the series is Martin, answering the Kate and Jeanette question has been key to keeping viewers hooked. So let's break down the best theories about their interaction and some other fan fave enigmas, like the question of who Annabelle is.
Martin's Basement Has a Two-Way Mirror
This has been a favorite theory online since a reddit user ru/china_22222 posted it early on in the season. Mirrors have been a big recurring visual in the series, and Martin's basement has an impressive and large series of them built into a wall. So this theory posits the idea that while Kate was trapped behind the mirrors, Jeanette wandered into Martin's basement and looked at what she thought was an ordinary mirror, but in Kate's mind, Jeanette locked eyes with her. While this theory might be a little bit too nicely wrapped up, it's an appealing one as it would mean that both girls were telling the truth.
The only issue, though, is that Kate claimed to have seen Jeanette through a window, which makes this more palatable theory a little bit less likely to be the right one. However, the mirror motif is real, as is the idea of truth being subjective and reflective of our own experiences, so maybe keep your eyes on those shiny surfaces a little bit longer.
Martin Told Kate That Jeanette Was In The House
Based on Martin's absolute disdain for Jeanette whenever he sees and speaks to her, this is a particularly dark and honestly reasonable theory. Reddit user Cutiepatootie8896 suggested that Martin actually lied to Kate about Jeanette being involved after his anger at her during the County Fair. That big incel energy moment did set Jeanette and Martin up as rivals; he was furious about Jeanette taking Kate's scrunchie, which was (at the time) his only excuse to see Kate alone again. This theory essentially posits that not only did Martin tell Kate that Jeanette saw her and chose not to help, but also that he stole Jeanette's necklace to set her up. Basically, this one puts the blame squarely on Martin Harris rather than Kate or Jeanette. If this is the case, the necklace and how Martin got it is going to be key.
Annabelle is Another Part of Kate's Personality
The identity of the mysterious Annabelle is still one of the big mysteries the show still has to clear up. While the idea that Annabelle was another side of Kate's personality was something many fans, including Refinery29, wondered after watching episode 4, Allius Barnes who plays Vince actually debunked the idea in a June 1 interview with Elite Daily.
"A funny one [is] that Annabelle is Kate or Martin's alter-ego," Barnes said. "And that Martin has passed on this different personality to Kate and trained her to become another person. That was pretty crazy. It sounds like a really good show. Unfortunately, it’s not ours."
Annabelle was Martin's Gun
When Annabelle was first teased in episode 4, it seemed like she would play a key role in the show's central mystery. But in reality, the true impact of the character has yet to come into play. That makes this theory particularly interesting. Reddit user u/Amaee suggested that Annabelle is not a person but an object.
In this theory, Annabelle is Martin's gun, the one that his father killed himself with, and possibly the one that was used to kill Martin when Kate escaped. One of the most interesting catches here is the idea that when we heard the gunshot in episode 4 it could have been Annabelle being fired. Seeing as the gunshot took place the night before Kate was found and freed, this sounds like a pretty likely option. But whether or not we see the gun in the next episode will be a big tell if this is the route the series is going.
Mallory Was Somehow Involved in What Kate Saw
We're about to dig into the internet's massive suspicion of Mallory (Harley Quinn Smith). Many viewers are sure that there's something suspicious about the girl who's been both best friend to Kate and to Jeanette at different points. The most far out of those theories was posited by Twitter user @salm0nellla who suggested that Annabelle was actually Mallory in disguise. This seems pretty unlikely, but we know nothing about Annabelle, and Mallory was very worried about Kate wanting to listen to her therapy tapes where she mentioned Annabelle. However, with only two episodes left, it seems like there's a lot to explain if this one's true.
There are more reasonable and likely theories about Mallory, though, including the idea that she was the one that Kate saw leaving Martin's house. Over on Reddit, RphWrites suggested that Mallory either purposefully set up Jeanette or was mistaken for Jeanette accidentally as she left Martin's house. There's also the recurring image of the Eight of Diamonds which Reddit user u/Cat727 noticed Mallory has on her bike and was next to her at Kate's house when the hate letter was being discussed. So keep an eye out for that card as we head to the finale.
Mallory and Kate Were BFFs as Kids
One of the most interesting contextual theories that could have shaped the central conflict in Cruel Summer once again revolves around Mallory. It's incredibly simple but also very believable and fits into the wider exploration of female friendship that Cruel Summer has been touching on throughout. Another smart catch from a Reddit user, this theory suggests that Mallory and Kate had been childhood friends before Kate's mother remarried.
While we haven't seen direct hints about a childhood friendship, it also hasn't been completely ruled out. And it would explain why Mallory seemed to harbor so much hatred for Kate when Jeanette showed an interest in making friends with her. It could also explain how they became such fast friends when they possibly reconnected in 1994 and 1995. While it doesn't necessarily answer the biggest questions, it does add another complex layer to the relationship between Kate and Mallory. And with the show's generous use of flashbacks, we'll likely learn pretty quickly if this was the case as we venture into the final two episodes of the season.
Martin Blackmailed Jeanette
Going back to the relationship between Martin and Jeanette, this theory from Reddit User coralynncoraa puts the blame squarely back where it should be: on the creepy vice principals. While this is very much speculation based, seeing as we already know he groomed and manipulated Kate, it doesn't seem too far fetched. In this scenario, Jeanette broke into Harris' house and he told her that he had already killed Kate, and that he would hurt or kill her if she told anyone.
The original theorizer also suggests this could tie back into the two way mirror theory. Jeanette may have tried to look for Kate in spite of or because of Martin's warnings, and ended up in the basement looking through that potentially very important mirror. We do know that Jeanette entered Martin's house multiple times, so it makes sense that he may have seen and threatened her. But Jeanette has always been incredibly resolute that she never saw Kate, and now that Martin is dead there'd be no reason to fear him.
Whatever the truth, with only two episodes left to go we'll soon be a lot closer to discovering what really happened on the night that Kate claims to have seen Jeanette in Martin's house.