Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Recap: Kate Has the Birthday Blues in ‘Cruel Summer’ Season 1, Episode 7 “Happy Birthday, Kate Wallis”

Note: This episode of Cruel Summer contains descriptions of grooming, disordered eating, and PTSD. For 24/7 help visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline 800-656-HOPE (online.rainn.org) or the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA).

The truth comes out in multiple timelines as Kate’s birthday arrives. We finally see how Kate’s life imploded in 1993, leaving her vulnerable to Martin. We also see how important Mallory is in her life, and how her relationship with Rod and Joy changed rapidly. Jeanette gets a break in the case that could change everything — but at what cost?

1993

- Advertisement -

Kate wakes up on her birthday smiling, not a care in the world.

1994

A sad Kate wakes up and messages her “friend” online, angry the police still haven’t charged Jeanette. Ashley tells her to drown her sorrows in birthday cake, but Kate says she’s on a hunger strike. Martin used food to control her, and she feels like not eating is taking some control back. Rod and Joy burst in singing before Joy tells her the news: The Marsha Bailey Show wants to have her on as a guest. Kate doesn’t want to, but Joy tells her this could be their best chance at telling her side of the story since the police won’t charge Jeanette. Kate goes back to bed as they leave.

Freeform/Bill Matlock

1995

- Advertisement -

Mallory and Kate wake up in bed together as Mallory says happy birthday … and happy friend-aversary. Kate goes to the bathroom, and she flashes back to being in the basement. Martin tells her everyone has given up on looking for her, sharing that Jamie is dating Jeanette. Kate silently cries as he says, “this is your world now.”

1993

Rod quizzes Jamie about outer space before Jamie drops a bomb: he wants to give Kate a promise ring for her birthday. It seems important to him that he shows his commitment to her. Upstairs, Joy reminds Kate that she needs to be home at 7 p.m. sharp for a party. She’s dressed up, and Kate makes a remark about trying to impress someone when Joy mentions Scott. Joy tells her to remember what happened the last time she accused someone off of a hunch as she leaves, wishing her a happy sweet sixteen.

1994

Mallory rings the doorbell looking for Kate. To Joy’s surprise, Kate was the one who invited her over. In Kate’s room, Mallory is shocked to discover it’s Kate’s birthday. Rod offers to make them a snack, and when he leaves Kate tells Mallory she hasn’t felt hungry lately. Mallory smiles as she says she may have a cure for that.

1995

Kate turns off the tape as Sylvia mentions Annabelle again. She replays it for Mallory, and in the tape a distressed Kate says she doesn’t remember as the therapist calms her with a breathing exercise. Kate in the present is worried. How can she not remember saying any of this? And more pressingly, who is Annabelle? Mallory wants Kate to forget about all of it for the day — she has a surprise planned. They head downstairs where Joy wants to talk about her case. Mallory interjects, saying it’s Kate’s day to not think about any of it. Joy is shocked as Kate laughs, pulling Mallory out the door.

Freeform/Bill Matlock

1993

Jamie gives Kate her promise ring in the mall in front of her friends, telling her he’s all in. Kate smiles faintly as the others clap.

1994

Mallory and Kate are high and eating nachos together. Ashley enters to see them eating together and immediately clocks that they’re high. They invite her to join them, and all three head to the rental store to get a movie. Vincent is working, and he can’t believe Mallory is hanging out with Kate. Ashley and Kate pick an old movie, and back at the Wallis house they talk about Joy’s push to get Kate on television. The actress in the silent movie runs from the villain, and Kate becomes anxious, urging her to run faster. We flash back to the basement again, where Martin runs after Kate up the stairs — and she has nowhere to go.

Ashley and Mallory open the curtains to let the light in. Ashley says paranoia while stoned is common as Kate retorts, “So is PTSD.” Kate apologizes, saying it’s just the truth, and Ashley says she’s good with the truth. Joy enters, having heard the screaming, and Ashley covers for her. Mallory has to go to her job at the roller rink, and Ashley goes to check her email. Joy wants to talk to Kate again about the show, and when Kate laughs at a joke Joy realizes she’s high. Joy tells Kate that unlike getting high, being on Marsha Bailey’s show is the way to present the right image. Kate tells Joy to leave her alone so her birthday isn’t horrible like last year. Joy leaves.

Rod comes in with food, telling Kate that after she went missing, he took up cooking. He says that Joy’s heart is in the right place, and Kate scoffs. She says he always takes her side. Rod says that last year he did, thinking Joy should handle things with her daughter. But then Rod says Kate is his daughter too, and he should have been there for her. Getting choked up, he says, “you’re my daughter too, since the day I met you.” Kate asks how he forgave Joy, and he says that in comparison to losing Kate, everything else felt like a speed bump. She asks if he thinks she should go on the show, and he says she should think about it. Joy rushes in and turns on the news, which is showing a story about how Kate wasn’t Martin’s first victim.

Freeform/Bill Matlock

1993

Kate is distracted at lunch as everyone else takes sips from a flask. They walk around the mall together as a drunk Jamie and Ben goof around. Jamie spills alcohol all over Kate’s dress, the same dress she needs to wear to her mother’s dinner that night.

1994

Kate is angry that the anonymous girl from Widow Falls is coming forward. She says Martin told her he just tutored her after school and that clearly this girl just wants her fifteen minutes of fame. Rod and Joy are shocked at this, but then Joy sees an opening. She tells Kate she should right that wrong and tell the story on Marsha Bailey. After all, Kate knows the truth. This seems to sway Kate.

Freeform/Bill Matlock

1993

Kate drags a stumbling drunk Jamie through the parking lot, already late for the dinner. Jamie offers to drive, which she flatly refuses. He asks what her favorite present was, and not thinking she says it was a movie print Rod got her. Jamie is deflated, and she remembers the ring belatedly. She saves the moment by saying she thought he meant her favorite gift aside from the ring, and he smiles. They talk about their dreams, and Jamie says he wants to buy her a big house and have a big family, like her parents. Kate seems less than enthused.

Freeform/Bill Matlock

1995

Mallory blindfolds Kate and takes her to the roller rink, with Kate remarking that Mallory is the only one she trusts to blindfold her. It’s a private party just for them, and Kate is excited. She says she never could have gotten through the year without Mallory, and Mallory smiles shyly. The two put on costumes and skate around the rink, having the most fun Kate has had in a long time. They dance together in the center of the floor sharing Ring Pops as Kate proclaims it the best birthday ever.

Freeform/Bill Matlock

1993

Jamie pees in the bushes outside Martin Harris’ house as Martin runs out. He asks what’s going on, and Kate says she’s walking Jamie home. Martin offers to drive her and Jamie home, and she gratefully accepts. After dropping Jamie off, Kate and Martin chat in the car. She confides in him and says if she keeps hiding her mother’s secret, she’ll explode. He encourages her to shed light on the situation, and they hold hands before Kate goes to the house to face her mother.

Joy accuses Kate of drinking, and Kate says she’s not the one with an honesty problem. Rod enters, and Kate says she saw Joy the night after the garden club party. Joy pales, and Rod asks what she saw. Joy tries to brush it off, but Rod asks for details and Kate says she saw her kiss Scott Jones. Joy says she’s lying for attention, and Kate is shocked her mother would lie when directly confronted. At home, Martin tries to watch television, but all he can think about is Kate.

1994

Rod and Joy talk about Kate, with Joy offhandedly implying Kate isn’t really Rod’s daughter in the same way she is Joy’s. Rod gets serious, saying he forgave her having an affair, but if she ever says Kate isn’t his daughter again, that will be unforgivable.

1993

Rod is caught between Joy and Kate, with Joy bringing up her accusing Rod of having an affair. Kate calls Joy a bitch, and Joy slaps her. Rod moves to intervene, but Joy says Kate is her daughter to discipline and he backs down. Kate stares at Rod with a look of betrayal and runs away from them both.

1995

Mallory is going through Kate’s family’s donation bin to take their old printer. She finds a paper jammed inside — and both are shocked. Kate goes to Joy in the kitchen and confronts her with the paper. It’s the exact copy of the liar letter. Joy can’t deny it, and Kate is devastated.

Ashley and Derek finish hooking up in Ashley’s room. Derek goes to check his email while Ashley showers, and he finds the chats between her and Kate. He prints the entire log.

Kate says her therapist told her that Martin was grooming her from the day they met, and she now knows why. She says Joy raised her to be blindly obedient and threw her to the wolves the second she questioned her. She says she used to be open and trusting, and Martin took that from her. Joy says she knows he did, but Kate fires back with, “and you teed him up.” Kate says going on Marsha Bailey was Joy’s idea and it got her sued, and when Joy says it’s because Kate went off-script Kate yells, “because I’m not a puppet!”

She accuses Joy of being jealous of her closeness with Rod, and Joy tearfully says she doesn’t know why Kate can forgive him, but not her. She says she thought the letter would give Kate a villain to focus on so she would take the lawsuit seriously. She says she failed at protecting Kate from Martin, but she will protect her from everything else even if Kate hates her. Kate whispers, “I miss you too,” but neither moves to close the gap between them.

1993

Kate sobs as she packs a bag to leave, with Joy mocking her. She says Kate is Joy 24 years ago: “naïve, simple, boring.” Kate storms off as a cover of “Wonderwall” plays, with Joy angrily urging her to just got to her friend’s house and get it out of her system. But she goes to Martin’s house instead. We flash to the basement, where Martin manipulates her. He says that she can call him a “sicko” all she wants, but that she should remember why she ended up with him in the first place. He gives her everything she needs, things her family didn’t.

1995

Derek storms into Jeanette’s room and hands her the printout of Kate’s chats with Ashley. Jeanette quickly flips through the pages as we see 1993 Kate knock on Martin’s door. She cries as she tells him what happened and that she has nowhere else to go. She says she’s scared, and he invites her in. In 1995, Jeanette smiles as she says this changes everything — Kate went to Martin’s home willingly. If she lied about that, then she could be lying about more.

Cruel Summer airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Freeform, with episodes available the next day on Hulu.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Jules
I am a nurse and dedicated nerd from Boston, MA. When I'm not at work, I'm rewatching old favorites like Supernatural or discovering my new obsessions (too many to count!). When not fangirling, I can be found reading, writing, or listening to a true crime podcast. You can find me on Twitter @juleswritesblog for more nerdy nonsense.

Related Articles

- Advertisement -

Stay Connected

2,295FansLike
1,786FollowersFollow
34,168FollowersFollow
3,912SubscribersSubscribe

Latest Articles