Recaps Television

NOC Recap: ‘Cruel Summer’ Episode 4 Leaves Us With the Biggest Cliffhanger So Far

“You Don’t Hunt, You Don’t Eat” shows events from (approximately) July 15th, 1993, 1994, and 1995. For the remainder of this recap, we will be getting into heavy spoilers; so only continue reading if you’ve seen episode 1×04 of Cruel Summer.

Kate, reeling from the lawsuit, prepares her defense and finds friendship in an unlikely source. The annual Wallis hunting trip becomes the setting for an important first meeting.

1993 starts off with an awkward interaction with Kate (Olivia Holt), her stepfather (Ben Cain), and stepsister (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut). Rod assures her that Ashley is just a little distant due to returning from her mom’s. The annual Wallis hunting trip is in full swing as we see the family ready to head on the road. Kate, knowing about her mother’s (Andrea Anders) infidelity, tries to talk to Ashley, but the other girl blows her off. When they get to the hunting ground, Jamie (Froy Gutierrez) is there to adorably greet his girlfriend.

Ashley goes to greet Derek (Barrett Carnahan), seemingly having some sort of friendship, though Kate later comments that she thinks Derek likes Ashley. Joy also announces that she invited Martin (Blake Lee) as a thank you for escorting Kate home after he found her. Kate finally tells Ashley that she had a fight with her mom after thinking Rod was cheating. Naturally defensive of her father, Ashley shuts it down before saying how that sort of rumor would tarnish his integrity and calling Kate out on her privilege. She’s sure to comment that if anyone is cheating, it’s Kate’s mom before telling Kate she’s not into the whole sister thing and to stop trying.

Freeform/Sami Drasin

In the middle of the night, Kate ends up wandering in the woods, running into Martin. The two end up looking at the sky, discussing the constellations. He gives her his jacket before the two begin talking about family. Kate vaguely tells him what’s going on, summing it up by this thing that’s eating away at her and no one wants to talk about it. Martin tells her about his family tragedy, sharing that his dad committed suicide, which is why he was so jumpy around the guns. He gives Kate a piece of advice; choose your battles. She ends the night there, giving Martin his jacket back before going to sleep.

The next morning, Jamie asks Kate where she was last night, saying he tapped on her bedroom window and her bed was empty. At first, she lies, but after realizing she can’t lie, she just says she took a walk.

In ’94, we see Kate getting used to the changes in her house that were done while she was away, mostly decorative, while also having flashbacks of her time in captivity. Jamie brings Kate to therapy, leading Kate to ask what he did after the party two weeks ago, obviously referring to his kiss with Jeanette (Chiara Aurelia). He lies, using Ben (Nathaniel Ashton) as an excuse. In therapy, Kate opens up about her struggles on feeling safe after what happened to her.

We get a really powerful and sad moment as Kate goes through the things in her room, taking stuff off the walls and shelves, as we hear her telling her therapist in the background that she used to like her bedroom a lot but now it feels like a different kind of cage that she doesn’t belong to anymore. This is our first real-time hearing of some of the trauma that Kate is dealing with. While leaving, she runs into Mallory (Harley Quinn Smith) in the waiting room, who is there to see the same therapist. Kate tries to say that the therapy is just a formality, but Mallory says that while she’s also there for the same reason, therapy shouldn’t be a secret.

Kate asks Mallory why she’s there and we learn Mallory’s parents are divorced and she’s also there to discuss verbal abuse she’s faced. Mallory goes to introduce herself, but Kate surprises her by telling her that she already knows who she is, remembering her from her third-grade birthday party. Kate asks if Mallory should even be talking to her, thinking she’s still friends with Jeanette, but Mallory explains they’re no longer friends. This seems to be the start of the strong friendship between the pair that we see in ’95.

Kate sits with Mallory, telling her about seeing Jeanette and Jamie kiss, before saying she’s letting the police deal with her. When Mallory asks if they are actually dealing with her, Kate comments about the evidence (the necklace). After waking up and thinking she sees Martin next to her bed, Kate tells her therapist, who explains that things like that are common after a traumatic experience. She continues to say people do this to protect themselves from the ugly truth, which includes misremembering things. Kate insists that she does remember every single thing that happened to her.

Accompanied by flashbacks of her time being held captive, Kate says how she and Martin were both learning their roles. She reveals it became clear that she was a lion in a cage and he was the lion tamer before sharing that things got worse after she attempted to escape. Joy gets a call from the police, saying they want her and Kate to go down to the station, but neither are pleased by the actual news they receive.

The police reveal that they do not have a case against Jeanette and that the fingerprint analysis on the necklace was inconclusive. Kate gets home to find Ashley in her room and it’s obvious Ashley is now trying to be there for her stepsister but the other girl doesn’t want it after how Ashley acted the previous year and years before that. Kate shares that when Ashley left her alone that night on the trip, Martin was there to swoop in and take advantage of the situation. Ashley says she wants to fix things between them and offers to listen to Kate, but Kate doesn’t engage, simply going on her computer and logging onto the chat from previous episodes.

Freeform/Bill Matlock

In a flashback, we see Kate laying on the floor, extremely out of it, looking to Martin as he tells her, “this part will be over soon.” She falls asleep before we find out what it meant. Ashley uses an alias to meet up with Derek, saying that a Wallis cannot be calling a Turner right now. Derek asks about Kate and Ashley tells him that her stepsister hates both her and Jeanette. Derek says now that the police cleared Jeanette, hopefully, everything will stop now before Ashley asks if Derek believes his sister. Derek stands by Jeanette, saying that he knows she wouldn’t do what she’s been accused of and Ashley says she wishes she could say the same in regards to Kate. Derek shares a seemingly insignificant story about how he communicated with Jeanette when she was afraid of him, but the story sparks a game-changing idea for Ashley. Ashley makes a fake account and messages Kate on the chat, giving Kate someone to open up to. In another flashback, we see Kate waking up to a bunch of supplies and boxes around her, seemingly indicating that Martin would be gone for a certain period of time.

In 1995, we are thrown back into Kate’s preparation for the trial. Her lawyers lay everything out on the table, saying the family’s reputation and money are at stake if they lose. They begin to explain to her that in order to prepare, Kate has to defend both her integrity and memory. The consistency of those details is the key to winning. We once again hear Kate tell her version of the story, her lawyer pretending to question her. Joy shows Kate a note that was taped to the front store, a piece of paper with the word ‘liar’ on it. Mallory tries to say there’s only one person who would send that since everyone else loves Kate, but Joy seems worried that it was someone else. She explains that if there is anyone that believes Jeanette and they end up on the jury, Kate and the Wallis family are going to have a problem. Joy continues to say that Kate needs to come on the hunting trip tomorrow so they can control the narrative. Kate convinces Mallory that she has to come with her and we flash forward to the two sitting on the bench while everyone starts shooting. They refuse to participate before also saying they’re both vegetarians, which Joy isn’t amused by.

Joy doesn’t hesitate to jump right into discussing business at hand, saying she felt she should warn everyone there since they’re all allies. When asked if they’d be questioned under oath, Joy insists it shouldn’t be an issue, saying they’ve always known her daughter to be honest. That night, Joy accuses Mallory of sending the note to her daughter and says she’s trying to manipulate Kate, but Mallory doesn’t even flinch and says she didn’t send it. Mallory ends up telling Kate about what happened and that sets something off in the blonde.

Going over to where the adults are having a campfire, she tells a “scary story.” She tells the story of Annabelle, who was alone and vulnerable in the woods one night. Continuing, she says a man that the grown-ups trusted joined her and she trusted the man too because she was just a child. Kate claims that trust led to the unspeakable events that occurred, which means that they all have blood on their hands too, and are partially responsible for what happened to her. Ending the story, she assures them that “Annabelle” has her story straight. She also calls all of them out about all their pretending, secrets, accusations, and desperate thirst for gossip before echoing the same words Martin said to her before she went to sleep in ’93.

At the end of the episode, Kate decides to listen to her therapy tapes, saying she needs to revisit them to feel confident that she has her story straight like she told the lawyers, the idea of people doubting her starting to settle in. These tapes and her memory being the only resources she has. She skips past some of the basic stuff we’ve heard already before landing on a part that we haven’t heard.

She shares that Martin came down right before she was rescued, but this time something was different and wrong. Kate says that was when she met Annabelle. Her therapist asks who Annabelle was but Kate says she can’t remember; this scene is mixed with Mallory asking if Kate’s okay (which we don’t hear due to the headphones), Kate in the basement staring at something or someone, and her telling this to her therapist. This is the first time Kate says she is unable to remember something, which will no doubt play a huge part in what’s to come for both Kate’s reputation and the trial itself.

New episodes of Cruel Summer air Tuesdays at 10 PM EDT/PDT on Freeform and are available the next day on Hulu.

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