Those last few minutes! My jaw is on the floor!
Cruel Summer’s killer reveals always pack a punch, and Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 10 didn’t disappoint. The reveal changes everything about what we thought we knew about the friendship and that night.
Cruel Summer Season 2 ended on a thrilling high and a satisfying finish for the murder mystery.
The dueling narratives and the red herring twist tipped “Endgame” to be one of the series’ best.
Luke’s troubles with his family and the Chambers’ legacy had been an active part of the mystery, a reason why Brent and Luke were the way they were. It was great to have both narratives weave together in a believable and surprising way at the end.
The first is Brent’s red herring twist of “killing” Luke.
Did anyone take Luke’s first death as the final solution? The accident on the dock was very early on, so it was surprising for the killer to be revealed at the start.
There was a risk this could be anticlimactic, especially since we had a full hour left for the post-death events. But “Endgame” found a way to make this feel fresh and enticing. (We’ll get to the true killer’s identity later on.)
Brent and Steve’s coverup journey brought us into a story we didn’t know was happening underneath the surface.
Luke calling Brent for help wasn’t totally surprising.
Even if Brent was an asshole, Luke was still his baby brother and needed help. Plus, he wouldn’t punish him for needing him, unlike Steve, who would be furious and blame Luke again.
Brent was the best option out of a bad scenario.
The Chambers family’s undoing started when Steve forced himself and Brent to cover up Luke’s “murder,” not Brent “killing” Luke.
Hear me out: Luke was intoxicated, and while Brent was the one to shove Luke into the dock ladder, he could’ve easily made a case that Luke slipped, hurt himself, and fell in the water. The death was an accident, and Brent clearly jumped into the water to try to save him.
If Brent and Steve had told Sheriff Myer that Luke had fallen in, the toxicology report would’ve supported that theory.
Steve’s pressure to protect Brent wasted valuable time and caused his family to obstruct justice. His level of control has been a consistent theme, but he went overboard this time and destroyed everyone.
One of the best parts of “Endgame” was the unraveling of the Chambers family under pressure and their secrets coming to light. Particularly why Steve had been so cold and cruel to Luke.
The reveal of Luke’s mother dying as a drunk driver was shocking.
Steve had always made it seem like it was Luke’s fault for the accident and that the family was happy before that. However, this exposed the level of lies that the family lived with.
Brent: Luke wouldn’t have wanted this.
Steve: Well, it’s not my first choice either. But Megan is the one on that tape, not Isabella. So…
Brent: How could you do this to her? How could you do this to Debbie? It’s not fair!
Steve: Fair? Fair?! Grow up. That’s not how life works.
Everything he had done to protect their image was another layer to his destroying his family.
If Luke hadn’t died and he exposed the truth, would Steve have backed down? I don’t think so. He would’ve done anything to ruin Luke to protect the image; he’s always shown his priority.
That’s why it was captivating when Brent ultimately confesses to Megan and Sheriff Myer the truth about the night. This move was the first time Brent stood up against Steve and chose what was morally right.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been critical of Brent in the past, and that still hasn’t changed.
It’s been as early as Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 2 that Brent’s crimes of recording sex tapes were exposed. Doing one good thing doesn’t erase all the harm he’s done. He still needs forgiveness from his victims, including Parker.
Because I’m not going to let you take the fall for this. Luke really loved you.
Saving Megan from being framed for Luke’s death and exposing Steve was a good first step.
Brent needs to be on a journey of self-development. It seems like he wants to be a good person and change, so all the best to him for starting that path. Not being like Steve (and taking down his father) is a big win!
Let’s get to the “ride-or-dies” themselves: Megan and Isabella. Their journey during the season finale was a roller coaster of emotions.
Before the big killer reveal and tape betrayal, these two were never in a place to be friends again.
So much damage happened between them, like with Luke’s virginity lie and the murder mystery. Megan seemed never to want to forgive Isabella, while Isabella stayed in this fantasy of how strong her “ride-or-die” was.
Megan: No, you did all this because you’re addicted to drama. And I should’ve just talked to him! I never should’ve never brought you into this. He would still be.
Isabella: Yeah, treating you like garbage.
Megan: He was right. You’re only happy when I’m miserable. Well congratulations, you got what you wanted. I wish I never met you.
Both weren’t on the same page. While most people can mend their friendships, this one wasn’t in a healthy place, nor did it feel like it could ever be fixed.
Megan and Isabella were too different as people.
My previous critique about Megan’s moral superiority is still accurate; she does hold everyone to her high expectations. However, I liked how she set clear boundaries with Isabella about their future in the car.
You shouldn’t have people in your life who bring you down. She recognized Isabella wasn’t healthy for her and set her boundary.
It was a big growing moment for Megan, that felt mature and accurate to their situation.
If the cheating scandal hadn’t happened, they might’ve stayed friends. However, Isabella’s continued possessiveness and crossing boundaries would’ve pushed them until she retaliated.
Case in point: Isabella framing Megan for Luke’s murder with the video clip.
As much as Isabella was about “ride-or-dies” and BFFs, she still chose her survival first. She would rather the crime destroy Megan than be consumed by it herself.
In the flashback, when she took the tape, I suspected she was keeping it for leverage. If Megan ever got out of line or she needed an exit strategy, she would have it ready to go.
Her move was shocking because Isabella is an unpredictable character.
We don’t know what Isabella will do or how strongly she feels about something. Sure, she’s obsessive and feels deeply, but she always seemed to be the most grounded. Now, we’re left wondering if she’ll ever come back to finish Megan off.
Isabella being revealed as the actual murderer changes everything. It puts her past with Lisa and her obsession with Megan into question.
Maybe Isabella did plan to kill Luke with the gun? Or perhaps it was all an accident? Maybe she only seized the opportunity to kill him when she found him half alive?
Isabella: I love making new friends.
Michelle: I’m Michelle, by the way.
Isabella: I’m Lisa.
Either way, I think Isabella killing Luke was her way of ensuring that she was the most important person in Megan’s life. With Luke gone, she would never have to share; no more competition, no more games, and no more feeling like a second priority.
Isabella has a dangerous pattern, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she did the same thing with Michelle in Ibiza.
The crime made it clear that it was a tragic story. All of Isabella’s lies and crimes were for nothing; she still lost Megan and had to start over. She’s in a never-ending cycle that will only crush the people around her.
Last Thoughts From The Archive:
Run, Michelle! Run! The second Isabella called herself “Lisa,” it cemented to me she most likely killed Lisa in a similar destructive pattern.
How did the police not find the camera at the lake? Sheriff Myer needs to do a better job.
The police arriving to arrest Steve was so deliciously satisfying. Karma came and served a big dish of justice.
The soundtrack of this chapter hit me in all the feels. The cover of “Dragula” was hauntingly beautiful.
Now, over to you, Cruel Summer fans.
What did you think of “Endgame”?
Did you guess the murderer correctly? Did Brent’s admission give him redemption in your eyes? Are you happy to see Steve’s dynasty crumble?
If you missed the latest episode of Cruel Summer, you can watch Cruel Summer online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments below.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.