We still don’t know what really happened to Luke Chambers. With Cruel Summer revealing a big chunk of the main mystery last week, we were destined for a sort of filler episode this week, especially given the finale of this season arrives just next week. And that’s exactly how the show went. But surprisingly, instead of just being a usual filler episode, this episode actually answers a lot of questions, clears a lot of doubts, and puts the main focus on the victim, Luke Chambers. The result is quite fascinating; in fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration if we said that this is actually the best episode of Cruel Summer Season 2 so far.
What’s Eating Luke Chambers?
Up until now, the focus has primarily been on Megan and then Isabella. That never gave us the chance to see things from Luke’s perspective. In this episode, we finally got that, and watching the seventeen-year-old descend into his doom was actually pretty sad. Even though by the end of last week’s episode, our sympathy for the youngest Chamber significantly went down because of what he did, this episode kind of worked as a counterargument to that. It shows that Luke Chambers might have done some bad things, but he was not a bad person. As the episode broke away from the usual three-timeline format and went in a different direction, we are also going to do the same for our recap.
In the fall of 1999, Luke Chambers gets nostalgic while watching a video of him, Brent, Megan, and Steve from ten years ago celebrating the birthday of Luke’s now-dead mom. In the present, Luke feels alienated from his father, Steve, who clearly has a stronger relationship with his elder son, Brent.
Steve also becomes an obstacle to Luke’s dream of joining the United States Coast Guard, a natural choice given how much he likes the water. Like a typical industrialist and money-minded father, Steve wants Luke to go to business school and eventually take the reins from him. Luke’s repeated attempts at convincing his father to let him pursue his dream go in vain, but he still applies to the Coast Guard and gets in. Luke finds support in Sheriff Mayers, who understands that the boy clearly has his own dream and encourages him to pursue it. While Luke decides to go against his father’s wishes and join the Coast Guard anyway when the time comes, his relationship with Steve keeps getting strained, as we see him complaining to Megan about finding it really difficult to be in the same room as Steve.
As far as Luke’s relationship with Megan goes, that seems to be the only beacon of light in his life. And he manages to remain good friends with Isabella as well, in spite of their romantic history. The three keep hanging out together, and Luke even blows off Jeff and his other friends to hang out with the girls. This obviously makes his friends fade away as they blame Luke for choosing Megan and Isabella over them, adhering to a very popular term that gets directly used in the episode.
As the months of the fall season pass by, the dynamics of Luke and Megan’s relationship also change. While they don’t have any major issues between them, Megan becomes increasingly close with Isabella, and though she clearly doesn’t mean to hurt Luke, he starts to feel left out. Megan and Isabella keep hanging out together without even letting Luke know about their plans. Feeling jealous and insecure, Luke starts hanging out with his friends again and develops this “Sigma Male” persona. Getting validation from his friends regarding juggling Isabella and Megan makes him feel worthy. While this is an utterly stupid thing, we should also remember that we are talking about a seventeen-year-old here.
With his girlfriend constantly growing distant and unavailable, his father bullying him about life choices, and his friends endorsing a toxic culture of latent patriarchy, Luke Chambers keeps getting erratic, and it reaches its peak on the day of Christmas. Not only does he film himself and Megan secretly, but he also releases the tape. However, Luke’s reason for releasing the tape in front of everyone is revealed to be sabotaging himself and embarrassing his father as an act of revenge. Little did he know where it would land him in the end.
Does Luke Survive?
Luke Chambers’ 2000 starts in the worst possible manner, as he finds himself tied up, drugged by his girlfriend and ex-girlfriend, and with a bloody ear, thanks to Isabella’s bullet grazing it.
With Isabella accidentally firing the gun (and solving one of the biggest mysteries of the season), things get utterly chaotic for everyone. Luke keeps begging for forgiveness from Megan while blaming Isabella for everything. Isabella keeps saying sorry to Megan for sleeping with Luke. In the middle of these two, Megan finds herself perplexed and also realizes that she has gone too far in teaching Luke a lesson. While Isabella insists they should leave, abandoning Luke at the cabin for the night, Megan hesitates, seeing Luke in that condition. Luke tells her that despite him messing it all up, he still loves her and is willing to do anything to fix their relationship. However, things take an ugly turn when Megan breaks the news of her pregnancy to Luke, and he reacts in the worst possible manner, all freaked out and squeamish. This upsets Megan and leads to her leaving the cabin with Isabella, leaving Luke behind.
At this point, I was thinking that if Luke didn’t try to break free and stayed inside the cabin instead, he probably would have survived. But life doesn’t work like that. So, after a lot of attempts, Luke manages to get out of the ropes, puts his clothes on, and gets out of the cabin. As he moves towards the water, memories of all the humiliation, bullying, and insults come rushing back to him. Upon reaching the dock, Luke pages someone. That person does arrive, and Luke tells the person that he didn’t expect them to actually come. Did Luke Chambers invite his potential Killer to meet him?
The mystery is certainly going to unveil itself and we just have to wait till next week. My spidey senses are telling me that the person might be Mayers, but imagining the sheriff as the killer is not making any sense at all. This leads me to the other option, which would be Jeff, who was not a fan of Luke for obvious reasons. You can share your own predictions and theories about who that person might be in the comment section.