‘Cruel Summer’: Lexi Underwood & Sadie Stanley Discuss How Season 2 Premiere Episodes Set The Stage For A Small Town Scandal

spoiler ALERT! This post includes details from the first two episodes of free form̵6;S cruel Summer season 2.

freeform anthology series cruel Summer is back with another small town mystery.

Season 2 begins with two episodes on Monday night, introducing viewers to two teenagers, Megan Landry (sadie stanley) and Isabella LaRue (lexi underwood, As in Season 1, the story takes place in three periods: Summer 1999, Summer 1999, and Summer 2000. In each timeline, the two girls are at very different places in their friendship.

The series begins in the summer of 1999. Isabella has come to the idyllic Pacific Northwest waterfront town of Chatham to spend the summer and her senior year with Megan and her family as part of an exchange program. She left America when she was young and has not returned since. While she is welcomed with open arms by most of the town, Megan is hesitant to let Isabella in.

“I think it comes down to just Isabella being everything Megan is not and doesn’t identify with. She sees Isabella when she first arrives. [to town] As in privileged,” Stanley told Deadline. “Her life was amazing, and she’s never had a problem, and she’s had everything she wanted … She’s charming and charming. Megan is just resistant to it. She doesn’t want to fall for him.

But not everything is as it seems on the surface, and it soon becomes clear that she has some secrets.

“When we first meet Isabella, she’s incredibly charming and personable. She knows what she wants, and she won’t stop until she gets it. When it comes to Who she is on the surface,” Underwood said, adding that who Isabella is on the inside “is a very different question.

In fact, uncovering Isabella’s true self is the mystery that plagues the first timeline, Underwood explained.

“Over the course of ten episodes, we get to see a young girl who is trying her best to maintain this image or facade that she feels she has had to put up because of her life in the past Is. [Chatham], I feel like we have too much trauma to unpack with Isabella. She has issues when it comes to attachment and when it comes to needing validation,” Underwood continued. “While Isabella has everything she wants, she doesn’t have everything she needs.” Is. And while living in Chatham, I think this is the first time where she really realizes that what she needs is pure love, care, acceptance, validation, and space to be vulnerable.

While Summer 1999 is planting the seeds for their eventual friendship, Winter 1999 is setting up their downfall. And they were not on speaking terms until the summer of 2000 when the sheriff was investigating Luke’s disappearance.

Each episode toggles between timelines, giving viewers pieces of the puzzle that don’t seem to fit together yet. As confusing as this could be for viewers, the actors had to stretch their skills to be able to shoot in all three time periods at once, rather than chronologically.

“I was doing all three timelines in a single day,” Stanley explained. In addition to the physical changes that each character goes through, they are also in vastly different emotional states. As production progressed, scripts were fed to the actors, which is typical for a television show. But for a story like this, it meant that the leads had no idea how things would turn out for their characters.

“For me, I use music as a tool and then also journaling from Isabella’s point of view. It allowed me to be in the right headspace and be in tune with what was happening in her life during that time,” Underwood said. Staying on track helped. “Listening to playlists that I felt like Isabella must have put together during Summer ’99, Winter ’99 and Summer 2000 that reflect how she’s feeling on the inside.”

In the winter of 1999, halfway through their senior year, the girls have become best friends. That is, until someone discovers a sex tape in the VCR at a town Christmas party showing Megan’s then-boyfriend Luke (Griffin Gluck) hooking up with Isabella. Maybe another show would have blown things up there, but no cruel Summer,

Episode 2 reveals that the tapes have been edited to replace Megan with Isabella. Instead of coming clean, Isabella decides to protect Megan, who is worried about losing her college scholarship or dropping out of school altogether if people knew the truth.

Underwood told Deadline, “I definitely think it was a big decision that she made, but it was an incredibly impulsive decision that I think came from a lack of acceptance or a lack of love from her parents.” stems from.” “She feels as though she has to do absolutely anything, even going to the lengths of putting her future and her character on the line, her reputation on the line. She’s willing to do it if it means That she is capable of having a stable relationship with someone who looks out for her and who validates her every step of the way.

Unfortunately, no matter where the town is on the sex tape, both girls are suffering from it. Megan is now the girl whose boyfriend cheated on her with her best friend, who is secretly afraid of what will happen if someone finds out the truth. Isabella is the town pariah who refuses to move out of Chatham, even if it means waking up to blow up dolls in her front yard and icy stares from people she once considered friends. Luke, on the other hand, would never understand their dilemma.

It exposes the glaring double standard that still exists, in which “people pat men for the things they shame women for,” Stanley said, teasing Isabella’s decision to fall, and the girls are treated as a sequel, ultimately a “catalyst” for what is to come.

“It’s just the fact that men constantly sometimes feel like they can do anything, especially knowing that they’ll have people who will have some voice—in this instance, you see [Luke and Brent’s] Dad and his brothers were high power in that town,” Underwood said. “You have that person who supports you and says everything is going to be okay, and usually everything is okay, and you escape.”

Except that it doesn’t look like Luke escaped after all. Episode 2 ends on a major cliffhanger, with Luke’s body being pulled out of the lake in Summer 2000. The sheriff wants to re-question everyone about his disappearance, now that he is confirmed dead, and Isabella contacts Megan to tell her they need “to get their stories straight.”

“I promise you, it gets crazier and crazier as we go on. Ideally, at the end of this, you’re going to [have your] Jaws dropped to the floor,” Stanley assured, adding that wherever viewers feel the story is going, things will continue to take unexpected turns until the very end.

With his own ominous warning, Underwood reminded viewers that “you can’t trust any one character because everyone is hiding something in some way, shape, or form.”