The final months of Luke Chambers’ life were filled with pressure, loneliness, and betrayal.
You couldn’t help but feel a little sympathy for him on Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 9, but that doesn’t mean we forgot what he did. His terrible actions toward Megan and Isabella aren’t washed away because Brent and Steve were jerks.
In this penultimate chapter of Cruel Summer Season 2, we get answers to why Luke is the way he is. And more insight into why he makes awful choices.
“The Miseducation of Luke Chambers” did something refreshing that played against type on Cruel Summer. Specifically, the three-period format was changed to focus on several moments of Luke’s life leading to New Year’s Eve.
These quick hits filled in the gaps of why he changed by the winter of 1999 and kept talking a big game to all the guys.
Luke’s monthly scenes were fascinating because they focused the drama through Luke’s filter. Each clip was a mix of his real life and how he reacted to the world.
Cruel Summer Season 2, up to now, has focused primarily on Megan and Isabella, with some scenes of the sheriff, adults, and teens. But the story has been mainly of the two main girls; every twist, every reaction, and every comment orbited them.
Don’t say a word about tonight. To anyone.
This chapter was all about Luke, and by focusing on him, he came out looking like the tortured main character of his story.
There is the bully big brother, the overbearing dad forcing his future on Luke, the possessive evil best friend taking his girlfriend, and his actions to get revenge. All of this is true, and we’ll get to how this all ramped up.
Luke is both the victim and a monster in his story. It’s fascinating how everything came together and how certain parts get elevated without distractions.
We can all agree Steve is the worst!
One of the great parts about the chapter is that it cemented why Luke and Steve don’t get along. Their relationship was fleshed out in such an organic way that it filled plenty of holes.
Steve: I’m sick of trying to fix you.
Luke: That’s bullshit! You don’t care about me. You’ve never cared about me.
Steve: Excuse me?
Luke: Brent is your only real son. I’m just this constant disappointment to you.
Steve: Okay, we’re gonna have a little pity party now?
Luke: You’ve just resented me ever since the night of the accident, and you know it! You wish I were the one who died that night.
Of course, Steve would lash out and resent his son for something out of his hands. How could he blame a child for a car accident?
Steve can’t escape his guilt for the decision he made that night. He wouldn’t have known his wife would die, but if some part of him blames Luke, it’s only covering up for his guilt. Steve is a bad parent.
And why was Steve obsessed with Luke going to Branson for Business school?
Isn’t Brent already going there to run the business? Why does he need both sons to follow his path?
Steve is so controlling that it’s exhausting.
Regardless of what he said, he doesn’t care if his sons are happy or safe. He wants them to follow his decisions and create mini-versions of himself. He’s too lenient on Brent and controlling on Luke; he’s helping no one in their lives.
I loved that Luke stood up and confronted his father. It was finally time for someone to put him in his place.
Being a “Chambers” didn’t mean he had to give up his life, dream, and happiness. If Luke’s mother were still alive, she wouldn’t be happy with what Steve was forcing him to do.
Steve even admitted that he saw his late mother within him.
Now that Luke is dead, he’s probably regretting every comment and action he did to his son. His final days weren’t happy, and a good portion of why is because of Steve and his behavior.
Did anyone correctly guess that Luke was the one who aired the sex tape?
It’s not that surprising when we remember that no one else knew about the tape except for Luke. Plus, his reason for creating it was a blatant lie. He only did it to be a big man like Brent.
This moment had plenty of “Luke is the villain” energy. He didn’t care about Megan’s wants or life; this was all about showing up to Steve and hurting his precious reputation.
Jeff was right on the money; at least the other villains own up to their bad behavior. Luke continues to play the victim when he’s making terrible choices that are just as worse.
He can’t have it both ways.
Luke can’t create a sex tape without Megan’s consent. He can’t brag to the guys about playing both girls on Cruel Summer Season 2 Episode 7 while acting like he’s worried about his relationship. And he can’t worry about Megan leaving for school when he’s also planning to run off to join the Coast Guard.
Luke: When I got to the emergency contact stuff, I realized technically it’s my dad. But really, you’re my case of everything.
Megan: Luke! That’s…
Luke: You believe in me more than anyone else. At least since my mom. I don’t know what I would do with you.
I feel bad for his concerns, but he contradicts himself a lot.
Luke needed to decide if his Chambers legacy was more important than his happiness. I want to believe the words he told Megan about loving her were true, but his actions showed otherwise.
Like his reaction to finding out Megan was pregnant.
Did you notice how quickly he turned to his dad as the best solution? He didn’t even think twice.
As much as Luke hates Steve, he knows that his dad will fix anything. He’s like Brent in many cases but in a different font. He truly is a Chambers.
Poor Megan. All she needed was love and support; she was already dealing with the harsh truth.
Now for the big twist: who could be the person on the dock Luke contacted with his beeper? That person most likely killed him.
With Megan and Isabella in bed, their chances are low (but not impossible).
It wouldn’t make sense for Luke to contact either of them. Both had left him tied up to the bed in the cabin, so why would they come back to help? And they were still mad at him.
Megan is the closest option of the two, but why would Luke beep her after what happened?
Possible options are Steve, Brent, Jeff, and Sheriff Myer.
Steve and Brent because they’re his family. If Luke were turning to anyone for help, it would be them to clean up the mess. And since it was the middle of the night, both would go out of their way to help him.
Luke might confess the truth about the tape and Megan’s pregnancy on the dock. That news could start a chain reaction that leads to his death.
For instance, Brent gets mad at Luke because Luke gets to be the “innocent” or “good” brother, or Steve gets mad because Luke wants to abandon his goal to support Megan’s baby and/or join the Coast Guard.
Jeff is an option after their encounter at the police station.
Based on Luke’s friends, Jeff seemed to be his closest guy friend. He may turn to Jeff for help. And due to the pregnancy news, maybe Jeff leaves him on the dock, and he drowns?
Yeah, being on the water all day? That’s a hobby. That’s not real life.
Sheriff Myer is the long shot since he wants to help Luke attend the academy. We can’t rule him out yet, as he could be a parental figure that Luke would contact for help.
We’re so close to finding out the truth! These are all theories, but one of them has to be right. Right?!
Last Thoughts From The Archive:
Isabella got strangely possessive of Megan. Wasn’t she very supportive of Megan’s relationship with Luke? All her looks at Luke and secretive plans with Megan felt like a complete character shift from who she was before.
Steve telling Luke to break up with Megan because of her future schooling was terrible advice. His son was already feeling low; he made it so much worse.
- Isabella is lucky her gunshot was missed. If she had shot Luke, her life would’ve been over.
Now, over to you, Cruel Summer fans.
What did you think of “The Miseducation of Luke Chambers”?
Who was the person on the dock? Why did Isabella become so possessive of Megan? Were you surprised Luke played the tape?
If you missed the latest episodes of Cruel Summer, you can watch Cruel Summer online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments below.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.