Mallory's Videotape Changes Everything that Viewers Thought About 'Cruel Summer'

There are many burning questions about what's going on in 'Cruel Summer.’ The latest thing fans are wondering is what was on the tape?

Shannon Raphael - Author

Jun. 8 2021, Published 2:07 p.m. ET

'Cruel Summer'
Source: Freeform

There are several mysteries that need to be unraveled on Cruel Summer before Season 1 concludes on June 15. The biggest one pertains to the disappearance of Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt), and whether Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia) did see her while she was in captivity.

The hit Freeform series jumps back in forth in time each episode between a designated day in 1993, 1994, and 1995.

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The eighth episode, "Proof," showcases various key events that take place on Aug. 30 in those three consecutive years. While viewers are awaiting answers, another question is raised about a videotape that Mallory Higgins (Harley Quinn Smith) filmed in 1993. The tape features her summer prank bucket list shenanigans with Jeanette and Vince Fuller (Allius Barnes).

Mallory on 'Cruel Summer'
Source: Freeform
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The existence of the videotape proves to be unsettling for Jeanette and for Kate's kidnapper, Martin Harris (Blake Lee). When the Assistant Principal watches it, he sees something that could derail his entire plan for Kate.

Keep reading to find out what Martin Harris saw on the tape, and to find out how it's potentially connected to Jamie's voicemail and to the snow globe.

In 'Cruel Summer,' what was on the tape?

In the 1993 scenes, Mallory tells Jeanette and Vince on the first day of school that she finished making and editing the prank tape that they filmed during the whole summer. She intends to show the contents of the tape to the entire school during the afternoon announcements. Because the video shows footage of the Skylin High teachers, Jeanette is nervous about letting others see it.

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Later on in the day, Mallory is in the A.V. room prepping the tape to air in front of the whole school. Martin Harris catches her before she's able to put it on, and he notices that his house is part of the video.

He becomes angry at Mallory for filming him at his home earlier that morning, and he takes the tape out of the VHS player. This later causes a fight between Mallory and Jeanette, and it's the beginning of the demise of their friendship.

Martin Harris on 'Cruel Summer'
Source: Freeform
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In the final minute of the episode, in 1993, Martin Harris goes to his office at Skylin High to play the video. As he hits play, he sees himself exiting his home that morning to get to school. In the background, Kate can be seen in his window.

Because nobody knew at this point that Kate was definitely missing (she just hadn't shown up to her first day of school), the video is a key piece of evidence against Martin Harris. It shows that Kate wasn't trapped in the basement when she first went to his house, but that Martin Harris likely did plan on holding her captive from the start.

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It also confirms what Jeanette has learned in 1995 — Kate first went to Martin Harris' home willingly.

If Mallory had noticed Kate in the window when she first played the video, things would have been very different for both Kate and Jeanette.

As the episode concludes, Martin Harris smashes the tape with his shoe.

Martin Harris on 'Cruel Summer'
Source: Freeform
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What do the snow globe and the tape recording mean on 'Cruel Summer?'

The videotape isn't the only object that becomes meaningful in "Proof."

In 1995, Jeanette agrees to see her ex-boyfriend, Jamie (Froy Gutierrez). He apologizes for punching her in the face, and the two agree that they've been going through a lot since Kate was found. He's been drinking alcohol excessively, and he's been listening to a strange recording in his car.

Jeanette meets Jamie in his garage, where she spots a tape recorder. She asks Jamie what it's for.

"A few months after Kate went missing, on Christmas Eve, it's dumb, but I got this message on my answering machine. Just a bunch of random sounds and —" Jamie tells Jeanette before stopping himself. "But I just thought it might have something to do with Kate."

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Jeanette is clearly startled by this revelation.

"What? Christmas Eve?" she asks. "Let me hear it."

After saying that it's "embarrassing" that he kept it, Jamie plays the sound for Jeanette. It's the same as the tape he has been playing in his car.

Music can be heard in the background of the recording, and someone's heavy breathing dominates the call.

Jeanette and Jamie on 'Cruel Summer'
Source: Freeform
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"'Til death do us part," a man says in the audiotape, and a woman responds the same thing. The dialogue suggests that a wedding has taken place, but the voices don't obviously sound like Kate or Martin Harris.

Once Jeanette hears the tape, she runs off to Mallory's house. At this point, she is no longer on good terms with her former best friend.

She asks Mallory for her snow globe back. Mallory says that she doesn't have the snow globe, but when she returns back to her room, she pulls it out from under her bed. Mallory flips it over, which could be a hint that there's something on the bottom of it (or that something in the globe changes when the "snow" begins to fall).

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The snow globe showcases a Christmas scene with a Santa Claus figurine, a reindeer, and a tree. Based on the earlier reference to Christmas Eve, it's likely that the snow globe is connected in some way to the voicemail, and potentially to Kate's kidnapping.

Allius Barnes, who plays fan favorite character Vince on the show, teased to Elite Daily what the tape and the snow globe could mean in the context of the show.

Kate Wallis on 'Cruel Summer'
Source: Freeform
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"I think [the tape and the snow globe] tie together with the 'You Go Girl' necklace. And it's a big question as to how each of these characters acquired these things. That's the bigger question everyone should be asking: How did they come to get them? Just like the 'You Go Girl' necklace, [each item] always starts with one owner and somehow ends up with someone else," he said. "So finding the origin and who had it first will play a big part in solving the mystery."

You'll have to tune in to find out if the final two episodes will explain the importance of the snow globe, the audio recording, or the videotape.

Cruel Summer airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Freeform.

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