This NANCY DREW review contains spoilers.
Nancy Drew Season 2, Episode 5
Like many shows, Nancy Drew’s season was cut short last year, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic that shut down production and forced the series to conclude its inaugural run five episodes before it originally meant to do so. But unlike most shows that have since returned, this is one of the few where the break has felt almost entirely natural.
Whether by accident of timing, a lot of thoughtful planning, a little bit of luck, or some combination of all three, Nancy Drew has rolled into its second season without missing a beat, and the larger Aglaeca mystery has grown into a story that’s as much about the characters we love and the friendship they share as it is about a vengeful sea witch trying to kill them all.
And while there are moments where you can tell that “The Drowned Woman” was meant to serve as the series’ first season finale, it still works perfectly here, as Nancy chooses unpredictable consequences – and potentially dangerous supernatural threats – over giving up on the people she loves.
If that’s not the most accurate distillation of this show, this character and why both are so great, then I don’t know what is.
Perhaps it’s the prospect of impending death that has everyone feeling extra introspective, but this is an hour of Nancy Drew that’s much more concerned with feelings that phantasms, allowing our crew to hash out some of their emotional issues with one another, their families and even themselves.
There’s a lot of catharsis to be found here, as befits the hour that would have served as the culmination of Season 1, and each major character gets a moment both to acknowledge how much they’ve grown and face their own regrets.
Nick finally takes the flash drive of Hudson family secrets to Ryan and tells him about Tiffany’s research into secrets that could bring down his family. Ace tells his friends about why he spied on them for so long: He was arrested, for hacking into a federal database. (Which he did to find the contact info for the brother he’s never met, in Witness Protection.) Bess apologizes for stealing things all the time, and George owns up to the fact that has been obvious to us from the jump – the family she spends so much time complaining about is the thing she’d happily give her life to protect.
But the heart of the hour lies in Nancy’s emotional scene with Carson, in which she finally calls him Dad again (my heart!!) and he tells her that his love for her was never a lie, even when he had to lie to her about so many other things. That was a constant that was always true, and that is what lasts forever. Or, to put it slightly more Biblically: Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
It can even bring a sea monster back to herself, apparently. There’s something creepily lovely about the scene in which the Drew Crew reads Odette’s letters back to her, reminding her of the woman she once was, and the possibility her life held. Horseshoe Bay history may remember her as a monster, but she was a woman first, and one with the same complicated desires as any of the men who stole from her and killed her and stripped even the veneer of the truth from the memory of her life.
Ostensibly, yes, “The Drowned Woman” is about wrapping up the Aglaeca mystery, although since the ghostly Odette is clearly sticking around in some form, it’s also just another piece in the tapestry of dangerous weirdness that is Horseshoe Bay. It’s not clear yet whether she’s possessing George specifically, or part of the larger mess resulting from Nancy’s reckless decision to release dozens of ghosts and other supernatural ~things~ in her determination to bring her potentially dead friend back from beyond.
(Of course, the Horseshoe Bay Historical Society has a shroud that can bring people back from the dead. Duh!)
Either way, it’s both a conclusion and a continuation, one which allows the show to move beyond the imminent death stalking our faves – even George’s blood bucket curse has been fulfilled on a technicality – but still stay emotionally connected to the stories that have come before. After all, nothing ever seems to really end in this town, with its apparently insatiable appetite for the macabre and strange. Not really, anyway.
Positioned as it is a quarter of the way through the new season, however, “The Drowned Woman” feels less like an ending and more like the next step in the larger journey that these characters and Nancy Drew itself are on. The Drew Crew may be imperfect and messy but the complex relationships that have formed between and among this group are what ground this show – and why we all keep coming back week after week. What’s next for them? I have no idea, but I can’t wait to watch them face it together.
Kennedy McMann is really tremendous actress and that’s all I can say about that.
Ace is secretly a Hardy Boy and I will die on this hill.
Ryan and Carson are the worst spy dads in the world and I love it so much! Where is their crime solving bottle episode??
“I have a problem. I steal things when I feel bad.”
Anyone have any idea why the historical society just decided to hang on to a room of potentially deadly haunted objects? I mean, other than that’s just how Horseshoe Bay rolls?
Oh, Nancy Drew, I love you so much but the CGI of Bess’ impending death fire was so bad. (Thing I did learn this week, though? Most of the Aglaeca stuff was actually practical effects, which is why the monster looked so much better than…this.)
But I truly could have done without the intense Aglaeca strobe lights.