Cruel Summer’ Season 2 Episode 6 Recap

‘Cruel Summer’ Season 2 Episode 6 Recap: “The Plunge”

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Like many teen shows, the central axis for drama on Cruel Summer is the love triangle between Meghan, Isabella, and Luke. Sometimes it’s unclear about whether Meghan or Luke are the center of that triangle, but in “The Plunge” (Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 6) the season’s sixth episode, we finally see both the coming together and falling apart of Luke and Meghan’s relationship — and perhaps more crucially, Isabella’s role in both things.

Luke’s birthday hangs over both of the July timelines: in 1999, Meghan is hellbent on throwing him an epic 17th birthday extravaganza, and the amount of time and effort she puts into the affair is noticed by more than just Luke himself; and in 2000, his 18th birthday is mired by his death and his family and friends try to grapple with the loss.

Cruel Summer’ Season 2 Episode 6 Recap

At his 17th birthday, Luke has been freshly broken up with by Isabella after Meghan confessed her feelings to her at the end of the last episode, and he gets drunk and almost makes a move on his best friend. Meghan, of course, is game and has been all but throwing herself at him trying to get him to notice her, and just like every 90’s movie told us, he only really sees her as a woman after she wears a skin-tight dress and dances to “Genie in a Bottle” in front of him. Jeff sees it all through his camera lens and by episode’s end, ends things with Meghan. While Meghan seems remorseful, it’s clear she was never really into Jeff and has been waiting for her chance with Luke.

Luke’s 18th birthday looks a bit different: after his body was discovered, Meghan and Isabella are the two prime suspects with motives. Isabella also has some historical baggage — Isabella’s friend Trevor gives Meghan intel about her involvement with her best friend Lisa’s death in St. Barts, and Meghan in turn digs up the confidential police report that mentions a witness overhearing an argument between the girls prior to Lisa’s drowning in which Isabella encouraged her to go swimming while drunk. Even more damning is that Isabella fled St. Barts overnight after the incident.

But Meghan isn’t exactly clean either. Her mom Debbie follows her instincts and heeds Isabella’s advice about checking under her bed for something that Meghan didn’t want her to know about, and lo and behold, the bloody sheets. The show has suggested that it’s likely blood from a miscarriage but Debbie’s mind immediately jumps to the possibility that her daughter had a hand in her boyfriend’s death. Meghan doesn’t say what happened in “The Plunge,” but asks her mom what she’d do if she doesn’t like what she hears. This dialogue framing certainly makes it sound like she’s going to confess, but being a teenager, it may be something scary (but not illegal) that she didn’t want her mom to know.

Cruel Summer’ Season 2 Episode 6 Recap1

The incident with her mom leads Meghan to confront Isabella and even go so far as to accuse her of Luke’s death. That this conversation happens seemingly alone — they don’t know that Brent’s ex-girlfriend Parker is listening in on the other side — makes it feel even more plausible that Meghan isn’t to blame, but we also know that Cruel Summer is always clever about masking character motivations and manipulating audience feelings based on the evidence currently presented.

Seemingly unrelated to the other timelines is the December 1999 plot, which gives us the titular plunge. A Chatham tradition, the show’s trio are supposed to attend the plunge together until Meghan backs out at the last second when she gets a ping from the customer, Ned, whom she visited at a cabin in the woods in last week’s episode. Ned promises to pay her for some coding work dealing with the security system at his house, which he’s afraid will get tripped up when Y2K hits. Nothing untoward happens despite him locking her into his den while she tests the system. Their dynamic has thus far been purely innocent, but it definitely feels like there is something more sinister afoot, especially as the turn of the century approaches.

At the plunge, Luke and Isabella share a few tender moments (like sharing a towel) and Luke misinterprets their fun for chemistry and goes in for a kiss, thinking that his relationship with Meghan is hitting a wall. Isabella rebuffs him but doesn’t tell Meghan — she’s already holding a lot of secrets for her best friend, what’s one more?

But Luke takes it upon himself to fill her in. He’s waiting in Meghan’s room when she returns from Ned’s and she deflects when he asks about her day, pushing him onto the bed and taking off her shirt instead. It’s not enough for Luke: he weaponizes the intimate moment to tell Meghan about the incident, only he twists the truth and blames Isabella for the thwarted advances. The love triangle just got a little more complicated.

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