Kathryn and Sebastian. The screwed up step siblings that took over the 90s. It all started with a bet. But that is how all bad decisions start, isn’t it?
You can tell from the first interaction we see between the step siblings that things are off. There is a familiar air between them. Their conversations are filled with pregnant pauses that heighten the sexual tension.
But there shouldn’t be any sexual tension! They are siblings. All in name. By marriage. They didn’t become siblings until their late teens, during the height of their sexual development when hormones were running high.
I’m not saying that their relationship was okay, but from a developmental standpoint, I can understand. Kathryn also seeks attention from most boys her age. Who is more attractive than the one you can’t have?
Same goes for Sebastian. He loves a conquest, especially one that will take some work on his end. This is where the bet comes in.
Sebastian wants some stake in getting Annette, the Christian girl who wrote a rather mature-sounding essay about her choice to stay abstinent until marriage. He wants to sleep with her to prove he can sleep with anyone.
Kathryn wants in on his fun, so she bets that he can’t do it by the end of summer. If he can’t, she gets his car. Also known as his baby. A rolls Royce. If he does, he can have sex with her, which is something he has wanted to do since their parents got married.
He almost doesn’t take the deal. Partly because of the car. After Kathryn makes him an offer he cannot refuse, he takes the bet and gets to work.
Kathryn did not see the feelings Sebastian was forming for Annette at first. But as soon as she did, she found ways to tear him down. First it was helping her charge for the summer, Cecile, lose her virginity so that she could get her man of her dreams, who obviously wouldn’t like her without prior experience in the sack.
Sebastian helps but finds himself distracted by Annette and getting her into bed, but he also finds that he is gaining strong feelings for her. He wants to call off the bet with Kathryn, but she won’t let him. She has too much at stake in this.
This is the point where the audience realizes that she has actual feelings for him. Or at least, that is what I see. She is not only the manipulative person the film makes her out to be. She came up with this ploy to finally get the man she knew she could never have.
He refuses her and prepares to run off with Annette. Unfortunately, Kathryn can’t allow that to happen. That is not what the outcome of the story is supposed to be. If Sebastian isn’t with her, he isn’t with anyone.
I’m not going so far to say that Kathryn is the reason Sebastian dies. I am saying that a taxi going as slow as it was wouldn’t have killed him. But I am also saying that if the taxi hadn’t done it, Kathryn would have found a way.