Birthdays are not happy days in the town of Skylin. Between Jeanette's and Kate's birthdays going up in flames, the town should consider keeping them subtle from now on.

Kate's three birthdays on Cruel Summer Season 1 Episode 7 had much more drama than celebration.

Compared to Jeanette's time on Cruel Summer Season 1 Episode 1, Kate needed a day that wasn't about family or the court case. Unfortunately, her bad luck kept coming in a move that will no doubt shake the trial to come.

Kate's issue with her mother's affair makes sense in the grand scheme of her character's past.

Kate had been brought up to recognize the importance of the Wallis name and be her best self to everyone around her. For her to then find out that her mother cheated, that blew up her world, and she couldn't live with the guilt. She loved her step-father too much to keep the secret from him.

Kate 1993 was a naive, sweet, and somewhat self-centered person that lived in her own bubble. And she dealt with the constant manipulation and treatment of her overbearing mother.

Joy was the hypocrite who put their family in jeopardy. It's no wonder that everything came to a head, and Kate cracked.

The scene of Kate confessing to Rod and Joy denying it was completely expected. Joy will do anything to cover up her lies, even throwing her daughter under the bus.

How Rod believed her at that moment, I will never know. Joy's acting skills were terrible, and the second she slapped Kate for lashing out at her, that should've given it away that Kate was telling the truth.

Rod potentially did it to save his family, but Joy's face had no subtly to it. She had done exactly what Kate claimed, and him not listening to his daughter will be a moment he'll regret forever.

It's great that Rod asked for forgiveness in the future because that fight/confession was the moment that pushed Kate away. A lot of Cruel Summer Season 1 wouldn't have happened if that scene had gone a different way.

"Happy Birthday, Kate Wallis" continued the trend of Joy being the worst parent. Like, the absolute worst!

Between her pushing Kate to do the talk show and her utter treatment after the confession, it proved Joy has no respect for her daughter. Her "redemption" in 1995 to confess her true feelings to Kate about missing her/loving her did little to change this.

Kate may have forgiven Joy, but a lot of what Joy did was unforgivable.

Kate: Why isn’t she running faster?
Ashley: Because she’s running in heels.
Kate: No, she’s … run faster! He’s gaining on you! He’s gaining on you! Go, run! He’s gonna get you! Run!

Joy only cared about Kate doing the talk show so that it would help their family image. Her verbally tearing down Kate 1993 in the bedroom was some of the harshest words meant to hurt her daughter emotionally. Especially since Joy was a complete and utter hypocrite as she was having an affair.

Plus, Joy was the one who brought Martin closer into their lives and pushed Kate away. Joy shouldn't easily be excused; she's one of Cruel Summer Season 1's villains for a reason.

The twist of Joy being the one to leave the "Liar" note on Cruel Summer Season 1 Episode 5 was both clever and frustrating. It makes so much sense that she would do that because Joy would try manipulating her daughter again. How did we miss this?!

Her explanation of doing it, on the other hand, further proved why she's a terrible person.

Kate didn't need another reason to get her head in the trial; she hated Jeanette, and the lawsuit against her would've spurned her on more. The note only further toyed with Kate's emotions and manipulated her into behaving a certain way.

Kate: Then why would you send this letter?!
Joy: Because you need a bad guy! That is what motivates you since the time you were a little thing and I needed you to take this lawsuit seriously!
[Joy walks closer to Kate]
Joy: I didn’t protect you from Martin Harris, and I’m sorry. But I will die trying to protect you from everything else, even if you hate me for it.
Kate: I miss you too.

Plus, Joy even went the extra step by confronting Mallory and placing the blame on her. She's playing too many mind games that aren't warranted.

Joy wonders why Kate doesn't love her like her father, and yet she makes decisions like this that benefit her own motives. Leaving the note was a terrible idea; Joy had no empathy about what her daughter was feeling.

"Happy Birthday, Kate Wallis" connected some pieces about Kate's time at Martin's house and how she ended up there.

Now, we know that Kate ran away based on the fight, and everyone may have suspected her disappearance was related to that. There could be a delay before everyone starts searching for her and realizing that she's missing.

Though, it was the comments that Martin made to Kate in the flashbacks that were eye-opening.

Before you go calling me names and making me out to be the bad guy, I want you to remember EXACTLY how you ended up here.


In previous flashbacks, Martin would use wording about Kate's terrible life that no one cared for her and that there was a reason why she was there with him. The revelation that Kate ran away and went to Martin's house for comfort/advice tied that dialogue together because it was truths she confided to him.

Martin used Kate's thoughts against her and found any way to manipulate her further, preying on her guilt of being groomed and willingly coming to his house. Martin knew exactly what he was doing to get his way.

It's a shame that many of Kate's relationships in 1993 were either toxic or not good for her.

Her friends were shallow, her mother berated her, her father didn't believe her, and her boyfriend was acting recklessly. If a few things had changed, she wouldn't have turned to the first trusting person she saw.

Jamie: I’m planning on getting Kate a promise ring for her birthday.
Rod: That’s a pretty big commitment at 16.

Jamie's heart might have been in the right place with the promise ring, but they were way too young to talk about their future together. They were still in high school and had a lot of growing up to do. Jamie was more attracted to the idea of marriage and a large family than what that entailed.

Someone who gets drunk off a pink diamond flask and pees on your assistant vice principal's yard should not be the person you're ready to make a commitment to in high school.

What could've happened for Kate to lose all memory of Annabelle? Who is this mysterious person?

The only clues we have are that "Annabelle" appeared a short time before Kate was discovered and that Kate blocked out any memories of her.

Could Annabelle be dead? Is it a codename or fake persona for something else?

Relistening to the therapy tapes helped trigger the name, but the full memories could be hidden for a reason. Kate needs to be careful about digging back too hard, or else it could unlock everything else she tried to keep buried.

Last Timely Thoughts:

  • The chatroom conversation could be the smoking gun that ruins the case against Kate. If that gets out, public opinion could turn against her.
  • Mallory knew how to throw a good surprise birthday gift.
  • Has Joy never heard of a paper jam? Simply opening up the machine would've solved all her problems.
  • Did anyone else catch Jeanette reading The Talented Mr. Ripley? That is Kate's favorite book. Could that be a clue to her character or foreshadowing the future?

Now, over to you, Cruel Summer fans!

What did you think of "Happy Birthday, Kate Wallis"?

How will Jeanette use the chatroom conversation to her advantage? What will Martin do next now that Kate is at his place? Do you hate Joy for sending the letter?

If you missed the latest episode, you can watch Cruel Summer online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments below.



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