‘Cruel Summer’: It Sounds Like There’s a Bike Switch-up in the Christmas Scene, Which Might Bring a Big Theory to Life in the Finale

[Spoiler alert: Major spoilers ahead for Cruel Summer through episode 9].

Summer might just be heating up but Cruel Summer is coming to an end. Even so, the fan theories and hype around the series haven’t died down. And until the finale next week, it’s only going to get hotter. Episode nine gave a lot of backstory to Kate Wallis’s time at Martin Harris’ house, and that includes the fateful moment she and Jeanette almost came face-to-face. But the bikes in this scene tell more information about who else might have been there on that night. 

Jeanette and Mallory have 2 distinctly different bikes

'CRUEL SUMMER' episode 1 "Happy Birthday, Jeanette Turner": Harley Quinn Smith as Mallory, Chiara Aurelia as Jeanette Turner, and Allius Barnes as Vince in behind the scenes of the show
‘CRUEL SUMMER’ episode 1 “Happy Birthday, Jeanette Turner”: Harley Quinn Smith as Mallory, Chiara Aurelia as Jeanette Turner, and Allius Barnes as Vince in behind the scenes of the show | Freeform/Bill Matlock

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Cruel Summer takes place in the ‘90s, and since the majority of the main characters are 15 when this starts, it makes sense that Jeanette and her friends ride around on bikes a lot in 1993. You know, as teens do. 

Jeanette, Mallory, and Vince all have their own bikes, and it seems inconspicuous, but it might be important to note that Mallory’s has one identifying aspect on hers: a card is clipped to the spoke on her wheel so it makes a clipping sound when she rides. Through different trailers and other shots, there have been close-ups, highlighting this too. 

One scene, in particular, makes an even bigger point to show that Kate saw Jeanette ride off on Mallory’s bike. In 1993, when Jeanette and her friends pranked the Wallis’s party with balloons, the teens run off quickly to get away and Mallory takes Jeanette’s bike in her haste. Kate runs out and locks eyes with Jeanette as she gets on Mallory’s bike and Jeanette has to ride away. 

If you pay close attention to the snow globe scene with Jeanette and Kate, it’s not Jeanette’s bike that Kate sees

Does the whole “locking eyes with Jeanette” thing sound familiar? That’s what she said about seeing Jeanette when she was in Martin Harris’ basement. However, as we saw in episode nine, they never saw each other face-to-face, but Kate does know it was Jeanette by the fact that she yelled, “Hello” in the house and dropped her necklace.

The finale will show once and for all if Jeanette did come back again and if she did actually see Kate, but as of right now it looks like she didn’t. 

But going back to the bikes, when Jeanette came to the house and when she left, her bike just made standard bike clicking noises. However, as Kate looks out the window to turn the lights off, the person on the bike outside has a bike with a card clipped to their bike wheel, as seen by the subtitles someone posted to Reddit

The speed of the two people is different — Jeanette is getting out of there fast, and the other person Kate sees is slowly leaving — and the clicking is different. Fans on Reddit are convinced this is Mallory on her bike. 

Mallory might not have seen Kate when she was filming Harris’ house in 1993, but in order to splice together all of her content into one videotape, she has to have another video of his house somewhere. Maybe she went back and saw Kate in the tape after Kate went missing. Maybe Mallory’s known all this time that Kate was in his window? And maybe she’s always had her suspicions. Kate did knock over a nutcracker, so it’s possible that even though the lights were out, it was enough to hint to Mallory that Kate was in there. 

How will this play out in the end?

It’s also possible that Mallory was just spying on Jeanette for some reason. We know that Jeanette gives Mallory that snow globe and it’s possible that it’s a peace offering of some sort. It looks like it blows up in her face if they’re still not friends in 1994, but still, maybe Mallory was being weird with Jeanette and curious about her sneaking around Harris’ house. 

It seems nearly certain that it was Mallory’s bike, but it also could just be a weirdly loud clicking for no reason and it ends up just being Jeanette’s bike in the end. Maybe Mallory isn’t the bad guy or as suspicious as all these fan theories think she is. Olivia Holt certainly thinks highly of Mallory and Kate’s relationship. 

“I actually think that the relationship between Kate and Mallory is the most honest relationship in the show,” Holt told TV Line on June 8. 

She also gave some hints that every character has intentions and perspectives that might delude audience members into thinking one way or another. 

“Every character has an intention to both of the girls, and ultimately, we’re going to see why some of the characters have made the decisions that they’ve made,” Holt continued. “I know, right now, Mallory is sort of on everybody’s sh*t list, but I think for good reason.”

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