“You can never really know anyone, least of all yourself,” Madison Iseman’s character says atop the first episode of Amazon’s I Know What You Did Last Summer. It’s a foreboding thesis statement, one that viewers won’t fully grasp until the end of the premiere — if even then.
Like the original IKWYDLS movies from the late ’90s, this limited series adaptation of Lois Duncan’s 1973 novel also revolves around a group of teenagers keeping a deadly secret, much to the disapproval of a mysterious figure who — wait for it — knows what they did last summer. But what did this latest group of troublemaking teens do, exactly? Like their predecessors, they accidentally hit someone with their car on the way home from a party. Only this time, they know exactly who the victim is: the driver’s sister!
Through a series of flashbacks to the last party of senior year, we’re introduced to twin sisters Lennon and Alison, both played by Iseman. Like two very different sides of the same coin, they often butt heads, Lennon being the wild party girl and Alison being “just a virgin who doesn’t have a driver’s license.” (You can’t exactly blame Lennon for misquoting Clueless when she’s on so many drugs, can you?) The sisters’ volatile relationship reaches its boiling point when Alison learns that Lennon hooked up with Dylan, who’s “cute in a Dan Humphrey kind of way,” and also happens to be the one guy Alison has always been in love with.
Rattled after her family feud, Lennon plans her escape from the party, though a few unexpected passengers — including Dylan (Ezekiel Goodman), “queer king” Johnny (Sebastian Amoruso), drug dealer Riri (Ashley Moore) and social media maven Margot (Brianne Tju) — inspire her to keep the festivities going. When Lennon hits something during her swervy late-night drive, everyone assumes it’s a goat. It has to be a goat. They refuse to accept that Lennon may have hit a person, and they’re absolutely horrified to discover that it’s her sister.
After declaring Alison dead on the scene, Lennon & Co. do what any panicked group of teenagers would — they drag her body to a cave where a bunch of cult members supposedly died and leave her to be taken out with the tide. Easy peasy! Never mind the fact that Alison and Lennon’s dead mother’s name is among those carved into the walls of that very cave. And certainly never mind the fact that Riri is pretty sure she heard Alison gasping for air before they left.
Then comes the mother — or should we say sister — of all twists. We learn that the girls’ final spat ended with Alison angrily tossing their mother’s necklace at Lennon, who then put it on. But wait, didn’t we see a necklace on the body of the girl left for dead in the cave? That’s right, folks, it was actually Alison driving the car that allegedly cost Lennon her life! And she’s been pretending to be her dead sister for an entire year! It’s like The Parent Trap, only one of the siblings is dead.
That just about covers the show’s first episode, with three others currently available to stream on Amazon. The rest will roll out weekly on Fridays. So let’s talk: Who do we think left that bloody goat head in Lennon’s, er, Alison’s closet? Was it someone in the car that night who thinks they’re being cute with a goat reference? Was it the mysterious woman who watched them from a distance? Could the sister in question actually still be — gasp! — alive?
Anything’s possible at this point, so go ahead and grade the premiere below before dropping a comment with your best theories.