This Nancy drew review contains spoilers.
Nancy Drew Season 2, Episode 6
In case you were anxious that Nancy Drew’s second season would slow down now that the gang has finally defeated the Aglaeca for good, “The Riddle of the Broken Doll” is here to prove that we have nothing to worry about in that department. An hour that not only features one of the show’s most grotesque monsters of the week to date, it also cleverly expands Nancy’s world as an investigator and, in doing so, that of the show itself.
From doing community service at the local morgue – which, let’s be real is hardly what you might call punishment when it comes to Nancy – to working for her father part-time helping with client investigations, our favorite girl detective now has a ton of new avenues by which to encounter and delve into both the supernatural and the criminal worlds of Horseshoe Bay. And that’s before we even get to the part where she opened dozens of ancient haunted boxes and released untold horrible terrors on the town.
In this episode, the world – and the future – of Nancy Drew feels wide open, a fitting description for the installment that was likely meant to serve as the Season 2 premiere, rather than as a bridge from one side of a patchwork season to the other. That said, it does its job admirably, and since just two weeks are meant to have passed since the events of “The Drowned Woman”, it actually feels like a natural continuation of the story, unlike in some other series that have faced this problem. (Looking at you, Riverdale.)
And as wildly convenient as the twist of Nancy doing morgue community service is, it’s also a reminder that this show does at least try to make sure there are some consequences for the many ways that our heroine frequently breaks the law. And it makes us, as viewers, look back on the trope of the plucky girl detective inserting herself into the mysteries we remember so fondly a little differently now. These activities are suddenly not quite so charming when they come with a rap sheet, is what I’m saying.
“The Riddle of the Broken Doll” sees Nancy and friends investigate a mysterious – and decidedly grotesque – dead body discovered in a local woman’s yard that’s been cut open and sewn back together, but not before being stuffed full of a variety of disgusting and bizarre items, including animal bones, extinct bugs, and flowers that haven’t grown in New England in over a hundred years. It’s really disgusting, and another great example of just how dark this show is willing to be at times.
The idea that a haunted dead body would somehow follow Nancy home is, admittedly, kind of ridiculous. But not terribly more ridiculous than some of the other things we regularly see on this show. (And truly, Nancy should know better at this point than to take a string of weird dead bugs from the mouth of a corpse, just saying.) Plus, it makes for several disturbingly hilarious sequences involving Bess and Ace performing an autopsy on the Drews’ living room coffee table with little more than a pizza cutter. It’s not even that weird anymore, y’all!
Not content to simply investigate what might be a deeply creepy ritual murder for an hour or so, Nancy Drew takes things to the next level by revealing that the dead body they’ve all been stressing out about isn’t actually even human at all. It’s a lamia, a particularly vengeful evil spirit that likes to feed on children, and which killed a dozen Horseshoe Bay kids back in 1847. Nancy freed it while trying to save George and now it’s busy growing its own new body and targeting local children, like morgue attendant Connor’s son Leo. (I’m going to have nightmares involving the sequence with the lamia waking up in the back of Connor’s van, y’all.)
Naturally, the ritual to get rid of the creature a involves summoning the spirits of the dozen dead kids it killed the first time it appeared, it’s as dark and disturbing as you might expect. Eventually I assume I’ll get used to Nancy Drew doing things like having tiny ghostly hands burst out of the ground to drag a monster to what is likely eternal torment, but today is not that day. Yikes.
Interestingly enough, the lamia is also connected to the Women in White – the first people to call to the Aglaeca in Horseshoe Bay – a surprising enough twist that it seems possible that these women will all be tied to this season’s larger story in some way. It would make sense, as well as connect all the mysteries Nancy’s been solving to one another, going all the way back to the series’ first episode. A long chain of misunderstood, violated and erased women, who deserved better than they got.
Perhaps that connection feels more obvious now that George is literally being possessed (we think?) by one of those women, but as creepy as the ghost of the French heiress Odette Lamar is, it doesn’t entirely feel as though she wishes to harm George outright, even if she is causing her to experience blackouts and sing in French. But that’s a mystery for next week.
All Hallows Tide joins the list of ridiculous town festivals that feature both the sea and some form of death or violence in Horseshoe Bay, serving as an to evening to remember the dead, complete with paper lanterns released from shore to mark souls passing over. Truly, my favorite part of this town.
Am I the last person to figure out that the Hannah who works at the Horseshoe Bay Historical Society is Nancy Drew’s pseudo-take on Hannah Gruen, the Drews’ housekeeper and Nancy’s mentor figure from the novels?
That blink and you’ll miss it note from Ace’s mom is his lunch box just has me more curious than ever about who this woman is, and why Nancy Drew is so reluctant to tell us Ace’s last name. (Which I will never stop insisting is Hardy, just FYI.)
I like Connor the Surly Morgue Attendant and kind of hope he sticks around?
“I knew Carson would have a Nature in Maine book. Classic dad.”
I don’t know about y’all but I need to see Game Night Ace in action before this season is over.