Cruel Summer Season 2 ending explained: who really killed Luke?

CRUEL SUMMER - ÒEndgameÓ - As timelines collide, friendships implode, new evidence emerges and the shocking truth is revealed É in more ways than one. (Freeform/Justine Yeung)LEXI UNDERWOOD, SADIE STANLEY
CRUEL SUMMER - ÒEndgameÓ - As timelines collide, friendships implode, new evidence emerges and the shocking truth is revealed É in more ways than one. (Freeform/Justine Yeung)LEXI UNDERWOOD, SADIE STANLEY /

Cruel Summer wrapped up Season 2 with a shocking finale that answered the mystery of who killed Luke but still left viewers with some questions. So what just happened?

Caution: This article contains SPOILERS for Cruel Summer Season 2

Season 2 of the anthology series unfolded from the summer of 1999 to the summer of 2000. It showed Megan (Sadie Stanley) bonding with exchange student Isaebella (Lexi Underwood), who stays at Megan’s lake town. The two are soon in a love triangle with Megan’s long-time friend Luke (Griffin Gluck).

Having vanished in the winter of 2000, Luke’s body was found months later in the lake. That led to an investigation revealing how Luke had broadcast a tape of himself with Megan, but everyone thought it was Isabella. The two had bound Luke up and videotaped him for a confession just before he vanished.

The finale had the pair having it out, with Megan accusing Isabella of just using her and Isabella on Megan being selfish, breaking their friendship for good. Megan was then brought in by Sheriff Myer (Sean Blakemore), who had found that tape. Megan protested her innocence, but Myer said it was all right as they already had their man.

Who really killed Luke in Cruel Summer Season 2?

It turned out that on New Year’s Eve 2000, Luke and his older brother Brent (Braeden De La Garza) had met at the docks and got into a fight about how their father (Paul Adelstein) was really responsible for the car crash that killed their mother. In a rage, Brent struck Luke, who hit his head on the dock and then vanished into the water.

Brent told their dad what happened as he kept it quiet to save the family legacy. Brent confessed to the police to be arrested with his dad also arrested for covering this up. Meanwhile, Isabella was shown flying to Ibiza, talking to a woman next to her as she claimed she and Megan were still great friends. Isabella offered to be this woman’s friend abroad and introduced herself as “Lisa.”

However, there was one more stunning twist. About to leave town for a job as a coder, Megan was saying goodbye to Luke at the lake when she saw a camera hidden in the trees. The video showed that Luke had still been alive when he crawled onto the beach, only for Isabella to push his head down to drown him and kick the body into the water.

Megan was horrified to realize her friend had killed her love, but then her face set into anger as she plotted her revenge.

What does this mean for the series?

Speaking to People Magazine, showrunner Elle Triedman explained this was a “snap judgment” by Isabella, and she may not have done it if she’d had time to think.

"“What’s important to keep in mind is she doesn’t go back to the cabin to kill Luke. She goes back to him, maybe she’s going to threaten him, but she’s literally going there to talk to him. She thinks she is a better friend to Megan. She thinks with her at her side, Megan will have this big, wonderful, exciting world and life that she thinks she deserves. Whereas in her mind, Luke represents staying in this small town, living this tiny life … Isabella is a real catalyst for Megan, and she sees herself as sort of this guide for her.”"

Triedman revealed there were alternate endings planned, including one where Megan’s mom (KaDee Strickland) killed Luke to protect her daughter. She also explained a few unanswered questions, such as how Megan’s supposed pregnancy was just a false positive test. Also, she feels it’s best for the viewer to imagine if Isabella was truly responsible for the death of her former friend Lisa.

It’s unlikely a third season will follow this up, as it’ll probably be a brand-new storyline. However, this ending was a wild twist that left fans wanting to rewatch the season and see how Cruel Summer pulled off this wild mystery.

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Cruel Summer Season 2 is streaming on Hulu.