In Cruel Summer Season 1, Episode 5, the main “event” is the Skylin County Fair, taking place on July 29, 1993, 1994 and 1995. This episode is important for many reasons. Although it doesn’t necessarily provide any new answers, it does give us a much better look at the predatory side of Martin Harris and the way he groomed Kate before kidnapping her.
During the happier times of 1993, Kate, Mallory and Vincent planned to cross another item off their epic list at the county fair: get a date. Vince and Mallory already completed this challenge because they previously went on a double date together, leaving Jeanette to do her part.
She’s tasked with taking out a nerdy outcast in their class that’s even more unpopular than they are, Gideon. Jeanette is not happy about this, but Mallory pushes her to do it since it’s part of their agreement.
Gideon and Jeanette end up having an okay time at the county fair and even start to enjoy themselves while playing a game at a booth run by, you guessed it, Martin Harris. But then Kate’s two lackey friends notice Jeanette with Gideon and start giving her a hard time about it.
Not wanting to seem uncool, Jeanette abandoned Gideon in an instant and leaves him at the booth. Martin witnesses the whole thing go down, and you can’t help but feel really bad for Gideon, who thinks Jeanette is a nice person that wouldn’t leave him there alone halfway through a date.
Also, in 1993, Martin and Kate start to get closer. Martin makes himself seem nice, approachable and easy to talk to. Kate is drawn into his game booth and wins a prize. While chatting with him, Martin makes an offhand comment about how he thought she was an adult the first time he saw her. It’s creepy. During their chat, Martin steals her scrunchie.
Before leaving the fair, Martin calls Jeanette over and tells her the way she treated Gideon wasn’t fair. Jeanette notices the scrunchie in Martin’s hand and volunteers to return it to Kate since she’ll probably see her before Martin does back at school. He’s obviously unwilling to part with it, but it would be weird if he didn’t, so Jeanette takes it.
That night, Jeanette looks in her mirror with Kate’s scrunchie in hand and starts to practice how she’ll approach her to return it. At the same time, in her bedroom, Kate practices talking to martin while cradling the pink stuffed bunny he gave her.
Cruel Summer Season 1, Episode 5 recap: Jeanette tries to talk to Kate about her accusation in 1994.
Skipping forward one year into 1994, Jeanette still thinks there is hope to fix things with Kate. She recruits her brother to help her find Kate at the county fair, although he’s wary of doing that given how badly things went between him and Jamie previously.
Mallory ends up helping Kate escape into a mirror maze to get away from Jeanette, who she has no interest in talking to right now. Otherwise, Kate is still reeling from the kidnapping and seeing visions of Martin in her heard everywhere she turns.
Things also go badly with Jamie when Kate finally confronts him about kissing Jeanette after the garden party. To make things even worse, Jamie tries to gaslight Kate, claiming her memory is addled since she went through something traumatic and might not have seen what she thought she did. Kate breaks up with him after that, and I can’t say I blame her.
At the Turner household, the cracks in Cindy and Greg Turner’s marriage start to show. We’ve still yet to see Jeanette’s mom pop up in the 1995 segment, so we know something eventually causes her parents to break up. Given what we saw in 1994, it’s the fact Cindy has taken to drinking to cope with all the drama and allegations surrounding her daughter.
Cruel Summer Season 1, Episode 5 recap: Jeanette gets someone to lean on & Kate tries to get closure in 1995.
Ironically in 1995, Kate is the one trying to find Jeanette at the Skylin County Fair. Rumor has it that Jeanette is going to take over the dunk tank to pay her legal fees. Kate is excited at the possibility of dunking Jeanette in the water. It’d certainly be cathartic for her. But as luck would have it, it’s Jamie in the dunk tank, and Jeanette isn’t even in attendance at the 1995 fair.
Kate and Jamie’s conversation is much different than the previous year’s. This time, Jamie confesses that he did kiss Jeanette and then lied about it to Kate to try and protect her or something. He apologizes and admits she was right. For once, it’s just what Kate needs to hear. She’s been doubting herself since all the Annabelle stuff happened. Kate still doesn’t know who Annabelle is and has taken to drawing her name repeatedly in her notebooks.
Since Jeanette doesn’t show, Mallory comes up with another way to get Kate’s mind off of things and offer some closure. They sneak into the cemetery where Martin’s grave is, and Kate buries the pink bunny she won at the 1993 fair from Martin. Then her rage takes hold of her, and she breaks Martin’s headstone with her shovel, all while Mallory watches. I definitely think she’s got something more going on with her than she’s letting on.
As for Jeanette, she’s struggling to take her lawyer’s advice to find people on her side. Vince was a good start, but her lawyer recommends trying to find other people who can stick up for her and speak on her behalf. Help comes in the surprising form of Greg’s new girlfriend, the bartender named Angela. We see a scene of them meeting in 1994 at the video store while Vince is working.
Angela takes Jeanette to the bar and coaxes her into letting loose and singing karaoke. It actually works for a little while until Jeanette gets suspicious as to why Angela is being so nice to her. Angela thinks Jeanette deserves to have at least one person on her side. But Jeanette doesn’t want to accept her kindness. Is she punishing herself for something?
Odds & Ends from Cruel Summer Season 1, Episode 5
- When Jeanette originally snuck into Martin’s house, she found out where he used to live and accidentally lets it slip to Martin at the fair in 1993. He seems a little unnerved by that, but she covers it up quickly by saying her dad must have told her.
- Jeanette and Greg’s relationship is really fractured, but her dad does seem to be trying his best. He’s basically lost everything by believing his daughter and trying to help her out, yet Jeanette doesn’t appreciate all the things he’s given up for her and all the money he’s spent on her legal counsel.
New episodes of Cruel Summer Season 1 air Tuesday nights at 10:00 p.m. EST on Freeform.