What Really Happened to Kate Wallis?

“Cruel Summer” Shows the Events that led up to her Disappearance

By: Brooke Price

Cruel Summer

The lives of two girls are intertwined in a dark secret. Credit:

Set in the early and mid 90’s, the nerdy girl reclaims the queen bee’s spot after her disappearance. Now she’s back, what will happen?

“Cruel Summer” is a new show on Freeform that follows how Jeanette Turner went from being the introverted and geeky girl to the popular girl in school. The show also keeps viewers guessing what Jeanette’s relationship was with queen bee Kate Wallis, and how she took over Kate’s role following her disappearance. 

The show also follows flashbacks of Jeanette Turner from 1993, 1994, and the present, 1995. Jeanette’s different appearances help make it easy to distinguish which year it is. In 1993, Jeanette had wavy hair, glasses and braces. In 1994, she had straight hair and wore makeup, and in 1995, she had short hair and baggy clothes.

Turner recently celebrated her 15th birthday, and is nerdy and has two close friends, Mallory and Vince. Jeannette is content with what she has, however she yearns to be popular.

She later becomes entangled in the disappearance of the popular girl Kate Wallis. In another flashback, Jeannette is seen dating Kate’s boyfriend, Jamie, and hanging out with Kate’s friends, even changing her appearance to appear similar to Kate. 

Jeanette has taken over Kate’s position during her disappearance and has become just like her.

Kate is ultimately discovered and is later interviewed, saying that Jeanette saw her when she was kidnapped, but remained silent and Kate had to endure being kidnapped for a longer time since Jeanette didn’t get involved. This prompts Texas and the rest of the country to despise Jeanette for her negligence in Kate’s disappearance. 

Sometime in the future, Kate is suing Jeanette. Jeanette is now a social recluse and lives with the repercussions of being the most hated person in the country.

The audience tries to figure out the truth behind all of the secrets and if Jeanette is innocent in Kate’s disappearance.

The nerdy turned popular Jeanette Turner is played by Chiara Aurelia. The popular girl at school, Kate Wallis, who goes missing, is played by Olivia Holt.

Mallory Higgins, one of Jeanette’s best friends before she became popular, is played by Harley Quinn Smith. Vince Fuller, Jeanette’s other best friend before her newfound popularity is played by Allius Barnes.

Viewers are eager to find out what happened between Kate and Jeanette and what led up to Kate’s disappearance and eventual return. It is also interesting to see flashbacks from three different years and try to piece together the sequence of events that occurred.

In an interview with, Chiara Aurelia discussed how they shot for the flashbacks in the show. “We would jump around every day. So sometimes we’d start the morning in ’93 then jump to ’94, then jump to ’95, back again,” said Aurelia. 

“There were definitely some restraints, restrictions in terms of how much we could do, just because they’re such drastic changes. But if we were only in Jeanette’s bedroom one day, it was the day we were gonna knock out all the scenes there, no matter what year they were in.”

“Cruel Summer” also shows some similarities with Freeform’s older show, “Pretty Little Liars,” where the queen bee, Alison DiLaurentis also goes missing and her friends are all considered suspects. Viewers also saw flashbacks from that show and tried to piece together what led up to Alison DiLaurentis’s disappearance. 

“Cruel Summer” airs weekly on Freeform every Tuesday night at 10 pm EST and keeps the audience guessing what led up to Kate Wallis’s disappearance.

Categories: Arts

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