Kate's ordeal within Martin's house became a lot clearer on Cruel Summer Season 1 Episode 9.
A naive crush and ask for help soon turned into an illicit predatory affair. Martin was revealed to be the monster he truly was underneath as he preyed and took control of Kate.
This was the hour that answered many questions for Cruel Summer Season 1. It's a heavy episode that will blow you away by its raw and uncomfortable movement.
"A Secret Of My Own" was a powerful chapter because it captured the feeling and thoughts of Kate's early days living with Martin.
From the moment Kate stepped through the door, there was a light rom-com tone to their scenes together. Everything seemed upbeat, happy, and romantic because that was how Kate experienced it during the early months at Martin's house.
They were in full honeymoon mode, and for the most part, Martin and Kate were happy in that blissful bubble.
We as the viewers could see right through that rom-com shine as we knew what was going to happen. Kate didn't know what was coming, but the red flags were popping up everywhere, like from Martin flirting with a minor to his hiding tactics.
Kate could only see the goodness and fell for his grooming.
Including the voiceovers from the therapist in 1994 was a smart decision. Intercutting their conversation explained the scenes for what they were: grooming techniques and warning signs.
Whenever Kate looked happy with Martin or brushed away a troubling comment, the therapist reminded her (and us) of the bigger meaning of what Martin did.
Sylvia: I’m sure he noticed things about you.
Kate: He noticed everything about me. Martin liked me for me. He made me feel safe.
Cruel Summer Season 1 Episode 9 didn't want us to fall for the romantic glow of this relationship. Martin and Kate were not a couple to root for or a soapy scandal for high school drama (looking at you, Archie & Ms. Grundy or Aria & Ezra!).
This was abuse. This was predatory. Martin groomed Kate and took advantage of her, and their "romantic" seclusion was a subtle form of Martin controlling Kate and keeping her a prisoner.
The voiceovers were not only to bring Kate forward but us as the viewers too.
It's a shame Kate didn't realize sooner she had the power to leave all this time. A wrong decision on Day 2 spiraled into a terrible traumatic mess.
Kate could've returned home after being reported as missing and not given away where she stayed.
Martin: Have you kissed someone significantly older?
[They stare at each other]
Kate: Are you daring me to?
Martin: No, I’m only kidding around.
Her reasoning goes to show how powerful Martin's effect was on her then. She didn't care what it did to her; Martin was only on her mind, and his comments to her were manipulatively tailored to protect him.
It was a common tactic he used throughout "A Secret Of My Own." Martin guilted Kate a lot into not going out or leaving him because of what "she did to him."
If it weren't for the bubble, Kate would've left Martin much earlier.
It was uncomfortable and awkward how deep the pair fell into playing house together. She became dependent on him for affection and anything from the outside world.
Martin: You’re officially a missing person. The police are looking for you.
Kate: I can fix this. I’ll go home. I’ll tell them…
Martin: Tell them what? That you’ve been here almost 24 hours and I lied to your mother about it?
Kate: I don’t know. I told you I’m not a good liar. I need your help.
Once again, their romantic tone highlighted just how deep Kate was under Martin's spell. Their time together wasn't always movies under a blanket fort or games of Hide and Seek; there was a lot of empty time of Kate waiting for Martin.
Kate fell for the romantic idea of being with Martin.
There's a good duality between Kate's wishful thinking of traveling with Martin and her wanting to leave on Christmas. The facade had gone by the end; she wouldn't give up everything for an idea anymore because they weren't living life together. She was a prisoner.
"A Secret Of My Own" answered the big question of if Jeanette saw Kate at Martin's house. Did anyone predict this outcome?
I had a feeling the answer would fall someone in the grey zone where Kate would see Jeanette but Jeanette wouldn't see Kate.
This reveal means that Kate wasn't completely honest in her accusation. Jeanette heard someone in Martin's house, but she didn't know it was Kate. She made Jeanette her target and blamed her outcome on her, even when she knew that wasn't true.
It's an interesting development because Kate spent over a year telling everyone that Jeanette was a liar, a monster, and that she saw her at Martin's house. She spoke those words with her whole being and believed them to be true.
TV Fanatic managing editor Carissa Pavlica pitched during Cruel Summer Season 1 Episode 7 that Kate made Jeanette out to be the bad guy so that she would have someone to blame. And, that Martin's grooming further painted someone else as the villain besides him. I now believe this to be the case.
Kate was still speaking of Martin in a wistful and romantic tone, making excuses for him about how he hid her from the world.
After forcing Kate into the basement, Jeanette most likely became the new enemy; she was the person blamed for taking over her life and replacing her. Kate even said those words herself during Cruel Summer Season 1 Episode 1.
It was easier for Kate to blame and hate a stranger than it was to turn the spotlight on Martin.
Though, it does beg the question: does Kate's therapist have a legal right to say anything? She knows Kate's story wasn't fully true and that the accusation is heading to trial.
Also, why didn't she help Kate realize it wasn't Jeanette's fault? Unless there's more to the story to come about Jeanette/Kate, her inability to convince Kate of her accusation was grossly negligent.
Kate: I still feel bad for Martin. I think because of our friendship, it’s where it all went wrong.
Sylvia: Friendship happens between two willing parties. Given the power dynamic between you, I wouldn’t call it that.
Kate is her own person who made her own decisions, but Sylvia was too calm after probably hearing the media storm created by Kate's recent interview.
Hopefully, there's a good resolution between Kate and Jeanette. They've got a lot to work through and discuss; their hatred is pointed at each other when Martin is still the biggest villain who affected them.
Last Timely Thoughts:
Greg was so close to finding and hearing Kate behind that door!
Martin was never going to let Kate go free. Even when she turned 18, he still would've kept tight control over her; he loved the power too much.
- Nothing good ever happens with a game of "Never Have I Ever."
Now, over to you, Cruel Summer fans!
What did you think of "A Secret Of My Own"?
Did the Jeanette/Kate reveal live up to your predictions? How will Kate be discovered at Martin's house?
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 below in the comments.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.