‘Nancy Drew’ Season 1, Episode 1 Recap: “Pilot”
Nancy Drew has always been a story of mystery, of intrigue. Though this Nancy Drew is a lot different than the Nancy we may have grown up with, Nancy Drew premiered with enough lore and mystery to keep viewers coming back episode after episode.
The episode started with three flashbacks that are crucial to the story. The first is Horseshoe Bay’s infamous legend about Dead Lucy, the sea queen who only wore her crown for one night. It is a tale that continues as the years pass, with girls leaving their crowns on Lucy’s tombstone.
The second flashback occurs when Nancy is a young girl. During the night, she wakes to find her parents digging a hole in the backyard and lifting a large trunk. It is what led Nancy to become the detective we know her as. The third flashback was a mystery Nancy could not solve: her mother’s eventual fatal illness.
When we first see modern-day Nancy, she is having a quickie with Ned “Nick” Nickerson. Clearly, this Nancy will have more adult themes than what we may be used to. However, it does give the series a more realistic and modern take. She also works at a local restaurant, The Claw, with Bess, George, and Ace, a new character to the story. Bess is supposedly living with her rich aunt, and is every bit the socialite. George is angsty, has tattoos, and is not friends with Nancy or Bess. But the series makes up for that tidbit of information later!
That very night, everything goes down at the seafood-themed restaurant. The door closes, and Nancy sets up her phone to record the fireworks from the Summer Festival. Mr. Hudson and three other men knock on the door to be let in. George allows it, despite the restaurant closing early. Everything about the scenario is sketchy right away. Mr. Hudson asks George to bring his wife, who is out in the car, something to eat as well. She sends the order to Nancy, and claims she needs a minute. Nancy is already suspicious, because George never asks for help.
Nancy brings the dish to Mrs. Hudson, who then asks for wine. She heads back to the kitchen and goes to pour the wine, but the box (fancy, right?!) is empty. Bess goes to check the storeroom while Nancy and Ace stay in the kitchen. It is then that the lights flicker and go out. Nancy looks into the dining area to see all four men still at the table. She then turns off her phone so she can use it as a flashlight and heads outside. Calling for Mrs. Hudson, she gets no response. It is foggy and dark, and when Nancy steps on the dish on the ground, you know something bad happened. As the fireworks sound off, Nancy walks around the car to find Mrs. Hudson’s body lying on the ground. She yells for help. Nancy, Bess, Ace, and Nick (where did he come from?) all run out to where Nancy is. Just then, the cops show up.
Every single one of them is interrogated at the restaurant. Bess says they should check the cameras in the storeroom, because she was in there looking for wine. Unfortunately, they do not have any cameras in the storeroom. George claims she was in the ladies’ room. It is a single stall, so she was by herself. Nick said the repair shop he works at was closed, so he was headed towards The Claw for dinner. Ace said that Ryan Hudson can verify his whereabouts, because he delivered food to him and his friends. When the lights when out, the waitresses were nowhere to be seen. Not that he thought they did anything wrong. Nancy said she found her, and her fingerprints were on her plate. Other than the killer, Nancy was the last to see her alive. With Ace having the only alibi (are we sure about that?), the rest are taken in for questioning. Mr. Hudson and his friends are told they can leave as well.
We soon found out at the station that Nancy knows Detective Karen Hart, and Nancy asks if they can all leave. Unfortunately, they are seen as suspects. The cop in charge calls them a town screw-up, ex-convict, city girl, and Nancy Drew. Her name says it all. And who is the ex-convict? Nick. Looks like Ned Nickerson has a record. Nancy questions why the cops have not looked to Mr. Hudson. She says you should always look to the husband in cases like this. She is asked to go to his office, while the rest may leave. Right away, she theorizes what could have happened. When she says foul play may not even be involved, Nancy is played the call to the police Mrs. Hudson placed. You hear her asking for help and a struggle before the line goes dead.
We soon find out that Detective Hart believes Nancy, and that she loved Nancy’s mom like a sister. However, they have to solve this case fast. Nancy goes through what she saw in her mind, when she realizes that Mrs. Hudson’s ring was missing on the body. When her mom’s death is brought up, Nancy leaves, knowing she is free to go. On her way out of the station, she runs into her dad, Carson Drew. Tensions are high between father and daughter. Karen called him, which Nancy claims she did not need a lawyer. He counters, “what about a father? You’re still living under my roof.” She snaps back, “more than I can say for you.” Nancy feels neglected.
On Nancy’s walk home, she is haunted by the lore of Dead Lucy. She hears the chanting. Lights flicker in a store window with formal dresses on display. Nancy walks up to the window. Her reflection shows her head above the mannequin. Fog rolls in, and then Nancy sees a crown above her head. When Nancy turns around to see if anything is behind her, everything goes back to normal once again. The touch of supernatural is one of the best things they have added to the series. Some of the best Nancy Drew books were ones based in supernatural and ghosts, leading readers to believe something spookier was going on.
At home, Nancy plays back her video on her phone. She knows she did not get the fireworks, but what she did manage to catch was Mrs. Hudson’s murder. Viewers (and Nancy) see Mrs. Hudson wobble a bit and knock the plate off the back of her car. A dark figure appears in the fog, and then Nancy’s video cuts out. Who could be behind this mysterious murder?
At The Claw, Nancy shows Bess, George, and Ace the video she captured. Bess and Ace are convinced the culprit is a ghost. Lucy Sable to be exact. George and Nancy are, of course, looking to logic. Their brainstorming and theorizing is cut short as Nick knocks on the door. George is glad the murder did not affect his appetite, but he is there for coffee. It’s a coffee Nancy usually brings, and he thinks it is because she found out he has a record. Nancy just wants an explanation. Bess and George also cannot believe Ryan Hudson would be a suspect. But Nick agrees with Nancy; look at the husband first. That means Nancy needs evidence, and prime evidence would probably be found in their bedroom. The clues are sparking Nancy’s detective instinct once more.
That instinct leads Nancy to the Hudson’s home. She waits for Ryan to leave, then breaks into their home through the garage. She heads to their bedroom and Mrs. Hudson’s bedside table for clues. Before she can open the drawer, the bedroom door slams shut, startling Nancy. Unfortunately, the sound of the door triggers the alarm system. Unaware, Nancy continues her search, while Nick, who is down the road, notices the alarm folks arrive to check on the disturbance. Inside, Nancy notices a hidden compartment (classic Nancy Drew!). In it, there is a necklace along with a little note.
With clues in hand, Nancy must make her way out of the house and not be caught. She runs into Nick, who helps her escape. In the mad dash, Nancy’s beanie gets caught by a tree, and is unfortunately left behind. He takes Nancy home, and thinks her dad is home, but it is just Nancy’s mom’s car. She says it does not run, or she would be driving it. The car itself would fit right into the classic book series, and feels like a real nod to the fans. Nick wants more conversation between them, and for their relationship to be more serious. Nancy, however, runs from the intimacy.
Another night passes, and this is where the series makes up for Nancy, Bess, and George not being friends. Bess and George help Nancy with the case! The books, the games…Bess and George have always been there to help Nancy with the difficult clues. Nancy asks for help with the necklace. George has fisherman in her family, and knows the necklace is a mariner’s good luck charm. George explains that girls would put secret messages in the charms. When the men were out at sea, the seal would dissolve in saltwater. Thus, the message would be found. Bess overhears Nancy confessing she got it from the Hudson’s home. Bess and George are actually impressed that Nancy stole it. The note along with the necklace reads, “for your protection -HG.”
With George and Bess by her side, Nancy goes to dissolve the seal and reveal the necklace’s hidden message. Nancy recognizes the symbol revealed: a seahorse with a gem, on a crown atop Lucy Sable’s tombstone. George also sees that an address is revealed that leads to a medium. Since Bess and George helped with the necklace, they invite themselves along to the medium as well.
Pamela Sue Martin (Nancy Drew in the original television series) plays the medium. Nancy wants to ask questions, but the others insist on a séance. As they all hold hands, the medium explains that Nancy can ask her questions to Mrs. Hudson directly. She tells them to stay focused and close their eyes. She tells them to welcome the spirit, then asks if Mrs. Hudson has anything she wants to say to them. The table rocks, and something seems to take over the medium. A voice that is not her own warns them to “find the dress.” The medium comes back to herself and tells them to get out. But not before she tells them that was not Mrs. Hudson speaking. It was Dead Lucy.
Meanwhile, back at Nancy’s home, Karen shows Carson Nancy’s beanie that she left behind after breaking in. He says it could be anyone’s, but Karen knows it is Nancy’s. She knows Nancy’s mom made it for Nancy’s trip to Shadow Ranch (book shoutout!). There was also a red hair inside. Carson tells Karen she could lose her job by bringing evidence for Carson to destroy, but Karen is protecting Nancy. Turns out there is more than friendship between Carson and Karen, as Nancy walks in on them kissing.
Nancy leaves angry and goes to Nick’s. Upset, she opens up to him. She wishes her mom was not dead, or that Columbia was not just a pipe dream. She tells Nick he is the only one who makes it all better. It seems Nancy is finally ready for things to be more serious, and she finally has questions for Nick. No longer running from intimacy, they make love. The next morning, as Nick drives Nancy home, he tells her how he lost a scholarship due to an injury. Nancy brings up the jail time, but Nancy stops him and tells him she can wait until he is ready to tell her.
Inside, Carson warns her to stay away from Nick. Nancy figures out through his words that Carson was Nick’s lawyer. Once he is out the door, Nancy showers, changes, and breaks into Carson’s desk. She quickly finds Nick’s record and sees he was arrested for manslaughter. He was found guilty through a single key witness: Tiffany Hudson. Nick shows up to take Nancy’s mom’s car to see if he can get it running again.
As the episode ends, viewers are given an onslaught of shock after shock that reveals everyone is a suspect at this point, not just Nick. Bess lives in a trailer, and apparently is the one who stole Mrs. Hudson’s ring. George shows up at the Hudson’s home, and it looks like she has been having an affair with Ryan Hudson. Ace takes a picture of it and sends it to the cop in charge. He is not as aloof as he seems. Lastly, Nick seems to have found something interesting hidden in the seats of Katherine Drew’s car.
As Nancy tries to follow the clues, the lights in her house go out. Not a good clue based on earlier circumstances. Following the shadows with her flashlight, she hears a noise coming from the attic. She finds a piece of loose wallpaper, and rips it off the wall to reveal the chant about Dead Lucy scratched on the wall. Then, Nancy finds the trunk from her childhood flashback, the one her parents dug up. Nancy opens it to find a pink dress covered in blood. Lucy Sable’s dress. As Nancy discovers this, a ghostly figure appears behind her in the dark. And with that, the episode ends on a mystery deepened. Tune in next Wednesday at 9 p.m EST on The CW for more shocking clues and mysteries!