In this episode of I Know What You Did Last Summer, people mourn in various ways, more is revealed about the night of the graduation party, and far too many sex tapes are leaked for anyone’s comfort.
This episode was the one where no one but Margot (Brianne Tju, Light As a Feather) seemed to act like a regular human being when it came to Johnny’s (Sebastian Amoruso, Solve) death. It could be argued that Allison† (Madison Iseman, Annabelle Comes Home) did when she first saw Johnny’s head and then when Bruce (Bill Heck, Locke & Key) tried to tell her the news, but she was able to suck it up pretty well considering her supposed “only friend” died and she had seen it over video, as well as found his severed head.
The fact that she was even working her shift at the restaurant was ridiculous, topped only by Bruce stepping in to remind her to stay in character even though no one would look too hard into the words of a girl grieving over the loss of her friend; everyone knows she has other friends, she could just be really thinking about their relationship far closer because he’s dead now.
Despite that, Bruce’s actions and scenes weren’t anything too major, and he actually did a great job of communicating with Allison† as best he could when she discovered his sex tape with Lyla (Fiona Rene, Stumptown)—the first of two, though already too many—so credit must be given to his attempts at parenting with all the weight on his shoulders; the way he talked about his role in his wife’s death was also very mature, and it’s always great to see even just mediocre relationships between teens and their parents, so having Allison† reveal a fair amount of what was going on—though it seems she’s kept her strange black truck stalker a secret—to her father rather than force the viewer to sit through hours of miscommunication leading to ridiculous consequences was refreshing, especially for a slasher.
That being said, miscommunication and secrets are definitely a factor in this—this is pretty much The Parent Trap if it ended with one of the twins dead—and while they made for some very tense and interesting scenes, this episode had way too much Dylan (Ezekiel Goodman, Rat Bastard) in it, and his disposition wound up rubbing off on way too many of his friends.
Also, while it’s always important to see some of the moves the killer makes in order to raise the tension and stakes from the viewer’s perspective, it’s an interesting choice to have revealed the antagonist from day one. Clara (Brooke Bloom, The Sinner), as she had been officially called when Riley (Ashley Moore, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping) nearly crashed into her truck—a black truck which Riley knew was stalking Allison† which…okay—had been shown watching the group leave the cave that night the previous summer, as well as disposing of the goat carcass in the previous episode after killing Johnny.
While that had been fine and dandy since she hadn’t been fully introduced as a character, it was far stranger when Dale (Spencer Sutherland, Afterlife of the Party) was shown to be working with her, or at least adjacently, since it could’ve easily been a twist that she wasn’t working alone. Of course, it makes sense why they did that since Dale was swiftly taken care of, but it still begs the question of what they’re going for with Clara and whether more information will be given along the way, or if there will be one dedicated flashback episode, which tends to be the case with these horror shows, such as The Haunting of Bly Manor.
Regardless, the show does seem to be setting up various loose threads to try and keep viewers distracted and on their toes, first by throwing in the Dale angle, then by having everyone assume it’s Allison—secretly Lennon (Madison Iseman, Annabelle Comes Home)—even though everyone had been pretty sure she’d died, then having a reveal at the end that Lennon actually is alive and dangerous, though the only thing she’s proven to have done was somehow prepare her phone in advance so she could film herself having sex with Dylan with the express desire to send it to Allison for some reason.
That’s really all she’s proven to have done because there’s no actual way to confirm that she was the one sending the texts. The password of and photo could have been taken at any time and given to any person.
While there are all the puzzle pieces to suggest that Lennon is actually alive and out for revenge—everyone knowing that Dale would definitely help her get revenge on her friends if she convinced him to, being able to send all those texts and know exactly how to play Allison, etc.—there are a few things that don’t quite fit or are unanswered—such as how she had the video of her and Dylan having sex if she hadn’t switched jackets and phones with Allison until after they had sex—and it would be interesting if it wasn’t Lennon at all.
It would also be interesting if Lennon was alive, but was operating completely separate from Clara, as there’s an implication that she saved Lennon from being washed out to sea and nursed her back to health so she could get revenge, but the revelation that they’re working independently would be a great twist.
No matter what the actual truth is, the most interesting, albeit somewhat confusing, aspects of this episode are all the scenes of Dale and Clara going around town and doing shady things that become relevant or will become relevant later on down the road.
While they were interesting in their own right, another reason why they are the most interesting is because the rest of the episode pretty much consisted of Dylan making everything about himself and acting like a self-righteous victim with a martyr complex; even though Lennon wasn’t the best sister in any regard, Dylan has no right to try and act like he cared about Allison more than any of them, because there’s no proof of that.
He’s going on and on about how he should’ve called the police and holds it against everyone else that they didn’t, but he had a full year to call the police and he didn’t, and it’s still a horrible thing to bring up and hold against someone currently having a panic attack because they just watched a video of their best friend’s brutal murder; Dylan didn’t even cry when “Allison” died, so if he wants to start pulling receipts, he better get comfortable with his own.
Riley’s attitude when Johnny died was far more reasonable and understandable than Dylan’s, which is really saying something. While it was, as Margot put it, ugly of her to talk about Johnny’s death as callously as she did, considering the reality of her life and upbringing, she’s most likely been made aware of the horrors of humanity and what happens to people from an early age, so she’s also had to learn how to distance herself emotionally to keep from crumbling under the weight of everything. Because she has more of a realistic and understandable reason, she’s far easier to deal with; her attitude towards everything is repulsive at times, as she had also made dark jokes when they were leaving “Allison” in the cave in the first episode, but there’s a far more substantial reason and her personality and backstory are far more compelling than “emo white boy.”
On paper, Dylan should be the most sympathetic. He deeply regrets being part of a callous cover-up of a childhood friend’s death in order to protect the reputation of himself and his other friends, all of whom he now resents for their ability to move on while he feels a responsibility to atone for his sins by making himself miserable and isolating himself, and is the only one not worried about his own life and stability when their secret is threatened to be outed and people have started dying. On paper, he sounds like who the average person with morals would and should relate the most to since even the characters who want to keep their secret agree that covering up a death is bad.
Unfortunately, despite how sympathetic and relatable he is on paper, Dylan does not live up to any kind of potential hype. While it may be unfair to say considering he’s most likely acting out because of his pent up grief and rage, and he definitely wasn’t himself when he was high on ketamine at the graduation party, but the fact of the matter is that Johnny was just as adamant about not letting “Allison” die as Dylan was, and had even prayed over her body before they left, but he was an absolute saint; Johnny held Margot accountable for her actions while also showing compassion, and would definitely not have thrown their decision to cover up an accident in her face while she’s reeling over a traumatic video of the murder of her best friend.
If Johnny hadn’t existed, maybe Dylan could have been giving a free pass, but considering he’s a white boy whose mom sells crystals and other spiritual stuff on land that has yet to be returned to its indigenous people, it’s safe to say that he doesn’t get to act like he’s the most tortured one of the group.
Especially considering his best friend, who it seems he holds somewhat culpable for him being peer pressured into doing ketamine and having sex with Lennon, was harassed by a white police officer for sitting outside of private property and sewing a pair of jeans.
Speaking of, that scene was a great addition, because it really emphasizes Riley’s perspective about everything, as she was the one who suggested they not call the police the first time, because she said that all their lives would be ruined forever if they got charged, and she made multiple references throughout the episode about the harsh punishments that befall people for no reason other than that they’re poor, which is important to note.
In this scene, Officer Doug (Eric William Morris, Golden Boy) asks Riley for ID to confirm that she does, in fact, work in the front yard of Kelly Craft’s (Chrissie Fit, Pitch Perfect 2) home in what is most likely an independent home run business, which means there’s no need for her to show ID in the first place, other than that Doug thinks he needs to keep an eye on her lest she do something illegal, which he has no reason to suspect considering she’s sewing jeans, but he does suspect because she’s black.
It was Courtney (Cassie Beck, Connecting…), Bruce’s housekeeper and Riley’s mother, who actually got Doug to back off, and she even points out when she starts filming that he had reached for his gun despite her doing nothing except shouting at him; and, contrary to popular belief, verbally accosting a police officer, hurting their feelings, or doing anything upsetting that doesn’t directly threaten their life does not give them any right to use a firearm in response.
This scene was a great way to establish the intersectionality between economic status and race, and was far less forced than other similar attempts in related media. Doug had reached for his sidearm because of his prejudice against people with low income, but he hadn’t done more than that because Courtney was white so he didn’t feel as threatened as he would have if Riley spoke to him with even a fraction of the hostility Courtney displayed. Seeing how, despite their tumultuous relationship, they still understand the system enough to look out for each other, was simultaneously sweet and infuriating, because they shouldn’t have to, yet they do.
It really gave more perspective to Riley’s character and perspective and made for a very compelling series of scenes; hopefully more will be revealed about her as time goes on, especially when it comes to her relationship with Dylan; the scene in the bouncy house is interesting, but needs more clarification before judgement and commentary can be cast.
That goes for many aspects of the episode, but not everything, as there was enough information about Allison† to cast judgement on her actions and perspective.
Most notable of her actions was her Horror Movie Rookie behavior of not communicating with the people who already know her secret that something is wrong, as well as going to meet up with her stalker and, later, confront Dale without letting anyone know or having a contingency plan. It makes no sense that she felt the need to delete her missed calls from Bruce’s phone when she found it, and it just made him think she wasn’t trying to reach out to him at all, even though she had been. Her not telling him about the stalker made no sense, especially when she finally told the rest of the group, because Bruce is more dedicated to keeping up the lie so he wouldn’t call the police or do anything to jeopardize their secret.
She just seemed to take a page out of Dylan’s book and convinced herself that she had no one on her side and she had to do things alone, even though the killer is actively targeting the others in the group, and while they may not be her actual friends, they’re still allies who can provide help and resources. It also wouldn’t make any sense that she was so upset with Bruce about his secret relationship with Lyla that she would keep information from him to spite him, because she seemed to accept it by the end of their conversation about it and has shown herself to be more competent than that, at least when it comes to the important things; hopefully she realizes that a killer stalker is something important to mention before it’s too late.
Not all judgement towards Allison†, however, is negative. The scene when the four met up in the cave to discuss their theories about who the killer is and what happened when Allison† was assaulted by Dale—and even if he was just trying to hook up again it’s still assault because he should have asked for consent first since it’d be so long since they last did—was great because it was the first time Allison’s† facade really cracked and the real Allison began to peek through.
Bruce was worried about the little things like the smoking and referring to Johnny as her only real friend, but those were nothing compared to how she lashed out at them with all the pent up hurt and resentment that came from years of being the less liked twin and the hours of having to hear everyone talk about her as if she had actually died or run away. Seeing her crack was as cathartic as it must have felt for her, and it will be interesting to see if she cracks even further as the pressure builds.
Overall, this episode was interesting and set up even more questions with very few answers, but more than enough intrigue to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. With a new player in and a red herring taken out, it will be interesting to see where things go from here, and from the episodes thus far, there is hope for many great things.