This Nancy Drew review contains spoilers.
Nancy Drew Episode 12
As if to apologize for last week’s lackluster outing, Nancy Drew comes back swinging with “The Lady of Larkspur Lane,” an episode that makes up for all the boredom in “The Phantom of the Bonny Scot” by including everything from a haunted insane asylum and a literal prison break, to cryptic messages from Dead Lucy’s unbalanced mother and the series’ first real cliffhanger. There’s also something that may or may not be Satanic mold.
Which sounds kind of crazy until you realize that this is exactly the kind of show that would have Satanic mold.
“The Lady of Larkspur Lane” certainly doesn’t drag. Back on the hunt for clues to Dead Lucy’s murder, Nancy feels much more like herself. To be fair, it was interesting to see her so broken and vulnerable in the wake of her father’s arrest. But here, it feels like the dedicated, determined crime-solver we know and love is officially back, accidentally opening sealed chambers and releasing angry spirits, lying about her identity to get information, and risking herself for answers.
Nancy Drew is honestly just the best. Heart eyes emoji.
The Drew Crew’s visit to the local insane asylum (minus Bess and Ace) is wild, in the way that is utterly typical for this show. It’s the only mental institution in the county, because of course it is. And half of it is “under construction,” read: boarded up and locked since it’s full of angry ghosts that manifest in spreading black mold and herds of the devil’s cockroaches, because why would we ever expect otherwise?
Additionally, this place has what must be the most lax security in the world, given that Nancy, George and Nick are all not only able to sneak in through said boarded up ghost vault, but wander around freely for most of the episode, pretending to be other people, chatting with orderlies, and occasionally running from guards.
The twist that Nancy’s “source” about the ongoing hauntings and their tie to the séance the gang did a few weeks back is a actually a patient pretending to be an orderly is not just a surprising twist, but one that feels perfectly of a piece with this show’s general vibe. And, of course, there’s the series’ first real cliffhanger, at least in the sense that it feels like Nancy’s in genuine peril when the episode concludes.
The story of the dead Roper family who smiling in the evil Whisper Box room in their former-mansion-turned-institution is also deeply creepy, enough so that I’m almost willing to ignore the fact that Dead Lucy doesn’t appear in this episode at all. (Not entirely, but mostly.)
The idea that some portion of next week’s follow-up will involve Nancy in what appears to be a sort of dream reality is intriguing, if only for what it’s likely to show us about her life before the show began. In all honesty, I’m also not averse to a George and Nick team up to rescue her scenario, because I’m also extremely into the strange friendship/partnership that is developing between them.
It’s certainly possible – and likely probable, given that this is The CW, after all – that a love triangle, or quadrangle if you count Owen is slowly developing over the course of the season. And, in principle, I don’t hate it, given that all of these characters bring out different and interesting facets of one other. I just don’t want to see the Drew Crew put at odds with one another over romantic issues, especially when real, deep platonic male/female friendships are such a rare commodity on television as it is. But, given that Nick certainly appears to be planning to be more of a day-to-day influence on the running of The Claw, this isn’t an issue that’s going to go away anytime soon.
In happier news, the Marvin/Hudson family drama is firmly pushed to the background here, as the show uses Ryan Hudson in a smart and extremely limited fashion to make an deal with Bess and subvert his family’s hit on Nancy’s father. (I can’t believe that’s a sentence I just typed.) Unfortunately, however, we’re once again confronted with the awkward fact that Ryan has got to be a generation older than our main set of characters if he went to high school with Lucy Sable, so the fact that he is spending so much time in their vicinity is really starting to get weird. Can he have some age appropriate friends or even just people he talks to, show? Think of my sanity.
Meanwhile, the episode’s strangest subplot has to go to Ace’s decision to break Carson Drew out of prison to keep him from getting murdered by his enemies, which is so weird on multiple levels. One, I get that the Hudsons have apparently godlike powers, but mob-style prison hits seem like something of a stretch, even for the town’s richest family.
Also, Carson appears to have left his entire brain and backbone at home, and the decision to call Ace in order to reach Nancy is…. well, it’s a choice. Why Carson, an adult and lawyer, would immediately seek the assistance of his twenty-something part-time detective daughter instead of a judge, fellow lawyer or his detective girlfriend is maybe understandable in theory, it plays out extremely awkwardly. Carson is really kind of a Weird Dad, y’all. I’m not entirely sure what he expected Nancy to do?
Granted, we get one of Ace’s most hilarious moments ever as he insists he can cut Carson’s handcuffs off with an axe because he went to archery camp one time. But it’s all mostly just a sort of ridiculous interlude that kills time until Ryan Hudson sends over audio evidence of the murder plot and gets Carson sent home on bail. Where does this all go from here? Anywhere has to be better than Horseshoe Bay’s answer to Orange is the New Black, is all I’m saying.
In the meantime, Nancy’s still unconscious in the asylum from hell, cockroaches are pouring out of the walls in her dream dimension, and the gang’s just been maybe arrested for breaking in to a mental institution. So, you know, a normal everyday Wednesday in Horseshoe Bay.