Cruel Summer stars Olivia Holt and Blake Lee unpack episode 9’s game-changing ending

It was only after she tried to break up with him and leave that he locked her in the basement in the episode’s tense closing scene, finally becoming the kidnapper Kate has said he was from the start.

There was so much excitement and terror in our voices because we knew what we were about to have to do, and also just knowing when the audience gets to episode 9, their minds are going to explode.

OLIVIA HOLT: Yeah, we got the script and we immediately dove into every element of it.

It just became an open dialogue between myself and Olivia and Alexis , our showrunner; we would tell personal stories, any questions that came up, and then it was also just sending each other the research that each of us had done on grooming and manipulation and power dynamics.

HOLT: All of the layers of the onion were peeled back in this episode, so ultimately this needed to have a lot of communication and a lot of trust and a lot of knowledge on the themes of the show, which is manipulation, gaslighting, grooming.

We found it extremely refreshing to show the reality of it, and that it isn’t okay and that grooming is something that happens all the time and as a society we should be talking about it more.

HOLT: This episode was the most challenging for us because that was Martin and Kate’s turning point, but especially the end when Kate makes the decision to leave and Martin makes the decision to lock her in the basement.

But Olivia was there, on the other side of the door when I close the door at the actual house, and it was really hard to stay in it because hearing you scream and having to go over to the record player and turn the record player on and just drown out your screams, it was a very emotional, heavy evening.

It’s interesting, the dynamic between the two of them, in the finale, seeing them walk through what both of their truths are is going to be really fascinating for everybody to witness.

You’ll see more of Kate and Martin in the basement and what happens after, the lead-up to her being rescued.

Or Annabelle is the persona Kate gave to herself for everything that happened to her after she was locked in the basement, and that’s how she’s blocked it all out from her memory – like it didn’t happen to her.

I don’t remember when we found out who Annabelle was, but I remember immediately picking up the phone and calling Tia, our showrunner, and being like, “We need to talk!” Just in such shock.

You know what is interesting is it took me a long time to process a lot of the questions that I had that have been answered.

Now that people witness this and the way that we executed it, I’m hoping what happens is that they’re more aware of this situation, whether you’re in it, whether you’re a witness of it, and to speak up about it.

In entertainment and TV and film, there’s a responsibility we have because people watch our shows and watch movies to escape and we have such an opportunity to put out good things.

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