Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 3 Review: Bloody Knuckles

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The VHS tape doesn't seem to be the only problem hurting Megan and Isabella. All their secrets are catching up with them, too.

With a body in the lake, Sheriff Myer is starting his round of interviews on Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 3.

The former BFFs are the top two suspects, but a few more options are thrown into the mix. It's still early in the mystery, but we're beginning to see layers with additional depth.

Fresh Start - Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 3

"Bloody Knuckles" felt like a supporting chapter. After the powerhouse premiere on Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 1, the focus was on building early theories and laying the groundwork for Megan and Isabella's eventual friendship.

There was nothing too exciting or shocking. Instead, it's a plot-heavy story to round out the characters, much needed for the mystery.

All Smiles - Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 3

We learned Isabella and Megan's friendship starts in the summer of 1999.

We got a few hints of it during Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 2, but Megan was mostly frosty to her new roommate. Luke seemed more open to Isabella than Megan did (we'll get to this soon).

This time, there was warmth and a flicker of bonding between them. Between the rainfall bonfire and their chat in the trailer, Megan and Isabella actually started to feel like friends. Connecting about their troubled parents was the right bridge to growing something.

Even if Megan brushed it off, she can't deny that Isabella somewhat relates to her feelings.

Cabin Trips - Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 3

We need more of the story about the complicated past between Debbie and Keith and Keith's treatment of Megan and Lily.

Megan was right to resent her deadbeat father. He abandoned them, and I have a feeling his coming back to hook up with Debbie wasn't the first time that type of thing happened.

Isabella: I have diplomatic immunity, so I could kill all of you and get away with it.
Luke: Okay, let’s maybe not test that theory.

Her explanation to Isabella made it seem like they'd been stuck in a bad loop. Keith either needs to stay away or decide if he wants to be a father and husband.

For Debbie to turn to Keith for help in the summer of 2000, the financial situation must've been terrible for the Landrys.

Hopefully, we will get some scenes of Megan and Keith together. With Debbie eventually dating Steve and Megan hating her father, there are plenty of stories to explore, including how desperately the Landrys needed money.

Untimely Victim - Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 3

The other hurdle in the Isabella/Megan friendship was Luke and Isabella's crush on each other. We know their crushes eventually ended because Megan and Luke got together, but the pair is still quite flirty.

Their shooting practice in the woods was full of chemistry.

Say what you will about Luke not noticing the obvious that Megan likes him, but he sure knows how to flirt. He and Isabella would've been making out if the other friends weren't there for the party.

Chances are, they'll end things before they hook up. The strongest possibility is that Isabella will stop it when Megan comes clean about her feelings.

Megan can't pretend forever.

The shooting practice brings up another point. Do you think the killer's fingerprints are on the gun? Only Megan's, Isabella's, and Luke's fingerprints were found.

With the gun being the same from shooting practice, it's easy to explain away how they got there. However, that's a long time for fingerprints to stay on the gun alone; the practice was in the summer of 1999, and Luke was grazed in the winter of 1999.

Sheriff Myer: The ballistics came back from the gun that shot Luke. It’s registered to Steve Chambers.
Debbie: I don’t understand. Why are you here?
Sheriff Myer: Because there are three pairs of prints on the gun: Luke’s, Isabella’s, and Megan’s.

Either we're looking at a random fourth suspect who was wearing gloves, or the use of the gun is a red herring.

Let's not forget that Luke's cause of death was drowning. Someone used the gun since a bullet was in a wall, but the two facts don't have to connect.

If we learned anything from Cruel Summer Season 1 Episode 10, it's not to take everything at face value.

Camera Suspect - Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 3

"Bloody Knuckles" also gave us more info on two possible suspects. First, there's the aspiring filmmaker, Jeff.

Come on, Megan; it was so obvious that Jeff liked you. The flirting was direct and not subtle in the least. Anyone could see that he was vibing with her.

Plus, he brought her favorite scary movie to guys' night.

If that wasn't a dead giveaway, he called her cute. Megan should've told Isabella she was in love with Luke at that point. The last thing she needs is an awkward chat with Jeff.

The Sex Tape - Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 3

I wasn't surprised by how trashy of a person Jeff became in the winter of 1999.

Did he change? No, he was always that guy.

Megan rejecting him didn't trigger his change into a jerk. She didn't owe him anything just because he had feelings for her.

Jeff: So, basically, it’s blackmail?
Megan: More like mutual destruction. Choose your own adventure, or don’t.

Jeff is salty. He didn't get his way, and now his ego is wounded. It hurts. His little scene in the diner calling out Megan showed how petty and small he still was months later.

And the best part? Megan found out Luke "cheated on her with Isabella," and she STILL chose Luke over Jeff. She doesn't want you, Jeff!

Young Love - Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 3

What proof do you think Megan has over Jeff to blackmail him?

It must be something serious for him to be forced into the deal. Also, his schemes must be profitable enough to make all that money. Video cameras weren't cheap in 1999.

Maybe it has to do with the pills? Videotaping and blackmailing people in town?

I'm leaning toward the former. Access to pills was teased at the pool party, so it's a possible thread Cruel Summer Season 2 will explore in the coming chapters.

Betrayal & Videotapes - Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 3

The other possible suspect was Brent. We still didn't get much about him in 2000, but his 1999 plots have painted an ugly picture.

If you ever had any doubt about how Brent became Brent, the scene in the sheriff's station answered every question.

Isabella: Jeff is crushing on you. Hard.
Megan: No. No way. Those guys don’t think of me that way.
Isabella: Megan, you’re smart, fun, and hot. Come on, that’s the crush trifecta. Maybe you used to be one of the guys, but I think those days are over.

Seriously, Steve Chambers dropped several rows in the character likability scale. He's so low that he needs to take a seat and wait for his number to be called.

I wouldn't be surprised if he's used his power before to keep his son out of trouble. How he spoke to Sheriff Myer felt comfortable and familiar, like he's done that before. He keeps making excuses for his son; he should've had a serious chat about Brent illegally recording his hookups.

It's only a matter of time before Brent does something he can't worm his way free from.

Sheriff Myer - Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 1

We should all be worried for Isabella. Brent is on the warpath to get his revenge.

Since Luke lied about who sent the anonymous videotapes, Brent needs a new target for his wrath.

This trouble could be how things get volatile by the time Luke is murdered. Steve is angry, Brent is furious, and Luke keeps the secret.

Brent is slowly becoming the dangerous element in the mix. I'm not saying he was the one who caused Luke's death, but he could become one of the big pieces during the climax.

The New Girl - Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 1

The same is possible for why Isabella needs all that money in her backpack. Could it have something to do with Luke's death and the bloody cabin?

Her bag was stashed away at the cabin, so there's a reason why it was kept there in the first place.

Like the red herring theory about the gun, this piece could be a diversion. What if she were doing something illegal to raise money for Debbie since she was having cash problems? Or maybe she was planning to run away?

A bag full of cash looks like a smoking gun, but it's not a literal gun. Isabella and Megan have their secrets; how they're connected makes this a must-watch tale.

Laying The Claim - Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 1

Last Thoughts From The Archive:

  • If Megan didn't drop off Luke after the party, it throws her entire alibi into question.
  • Major kudos to Rebecca. You could feel the tired frustration in her voice. She's done with having to clean up Isabella's mess.
  • Brent and Megan have an interesting friendship, almost like a big brother, younger sister thing. Hopefully, this element will be explored more as it gives them history and depth.
  • Steve revealing to Luke he knew it was him who dropped off the VHS tapes was the scariest moment of "Bloody Knuckles." It felt like all the oxygen got sucked out of the room; Steve looked that creepy.
The Elites - Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 1

Now, over to you, Cruel Summer fans.

What did you think of "Bloody Knuckles"?

Why does Isabella have all that cash? What secret is Jeff keeping? Does Brent ever find out Luke gave the sheriff his sex tapes?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Bloody Knuckles Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (14 Votes)

Justin Carreiro was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.

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Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 3 Quotes

Sheriff Myer: The ballistics came back from the gun that shot Luke. It’s registered to Steve Chambers.
Debbie: I don’t understand. Why are you here?
Sheriff Myer: Because there are three pairs of prints on the gun: Luke’s, Isabella’s, and Megan’s.

Isabella: I have diplomatic immunity, so I could kill all of you and get away with it.
Luke: Okay, let’s maybe not test that theory.