“…Nancy Drew, she used to complicate my job.”
The episode begins with Nancy and Nick fast asleep, Ace riding a bicycle, Bess meditating, and George cleaning blood off her steps. With the sky looking ominous, what could go wrong? Well, for starters, it could rain, making Nick’s roof leak, leading Nancy to find his hidden phone. No, not that phone, his other phone. Is it a work phone? But why is it hidden? And why does it have a missed call from Nancy? Uh oh.
Nick had gone to fetch some coffee, giving Nancy enough time to sneak out of sight after placing the mystery phone next to the bed. The phone vibrates as Nick returns into the room. Nick is naturally looking confused as to how the phone made its way into the open. As soon as he picked it up, Nancy circles in behind him, saying, “There’s only one other caller logged on that phone, Nick. Tiffany Hudson. She sent you a text right before she died. You knew her. Why would you keep that a secret?” It looks like we’re in for two storms tonight.
After confronting Nick about the text messages, Nancy brings up his manslaughter conviction. She is slowly laying out each connection made from Tiffany Hudson’s testimony to the package placed in Nancy’s deceased mother’s car. Nancy takes a step towards Nick, asking him to tell her the truth, what did he take from the car? Nick replies, “I can’t. It’s not for you.” So, on the one hand, you could tell the woman you’re sleeping with the truth and regain some trust, or you could keep a dead woman’s secret. Choosing Option B was not a wise decision.
Back at Nancy’s house, her father knocks on her door frame and strikes up what proves to be a bit of an awkward conversation. He informs her that he had waited up for her the night before, asking where she’d been. Her response was simple, which prompted her father to ask if they can be honest with each other. Sure, Pops! Why did you burn the bloody dress? Before I could say that question to my TV screen, their doorbell rang. Carson excuses himself to turn his attention to his waiting client, Ryan Hudson.
Downstairs, in the middle of Carson and Ryan’s discussion, there is a distinct sound of footsteps upstairs, only causing Ryan to react. Almost as soon as Carson slides the door closed to generate some semblance of privacy, lightning flashed, creating a shadow on the wall behind Ryan’s head. A shadow of two hands slowly reaching out to grab him.
Nine minutes late to work, Nancy discovers George being “extra prickly today” because she, in Ace’s words, “kicked a blood bucket.” As if that alone didn’t carry enough superstitious weight, the storm blowing in is known as a nor’ easter, which is believed to bring restless spirits along the way. Not one to get caught up in town tales, Nancy gladly takes the opportunity to escape when someone enters the restaurant. When that person turns out to be Karen, she knows this patron isn’t there for the food. “We have a new suspect, and I’m betting you can give information that can lead to his arrest.” It turns out the police department had unsealed Nick’s juvenile record and found the connection between him and the deceased. Nancy has found herself in quite the predicament. Never mind the fact that she’s a suspect in a potential murder investigation. The choice is that she can give up information on Nick, having the case pinned on him, or she can face Karen, possibly asking to speak to her manager. With near perfect timing, Nancy receives a message from Nick asking to meet in the back of the restaurant. He reveals the cops had searched his place after obtaining a warrant. He then pulls a small old clock out, telling her that’s what was in the package. Nancy, like the rest of us, fails to see the connection between Tiffany, Nick, and her mom. After Nick got sentenced, Nancy’s mom, who was his social worker, would visit him in prison, eventually asking him to meet the woman that sealed his fate. Nick eventually agreed because her kindness wore him down. When the two finally met, they didn’t speak. They instead formed a secret language, a way to communicate through books.
Back out front, as an unknown woman named Rita makes her entrance, the curse begins to take effect. First, a coffee pot shattering in George’s hand, then one of the ropes suspending a spear snap, sending it to the floor right in front of her.
Meanwhile, Nancy and Nick have begun to inspect the clock, finding an engraving on the removable half-moon at the top. “If books were your secret language, maybe it’s an ISBN.” The two quickly head to Nick’s place to search the books Tiffany had given him, eventually landing on “Under the Lilacs.” The keyword in the title was “lilac,” since there is a place in town called the Lilac Inn. After a good ‘ole costume change switcheroo, Ace, Bess, Nancy, and Nick get to their destination without being followed.
We switch back to the ongoing meeting between Carson and Ryan, once again hearing the distinct sound of footsteps upstairs. This time Ryan isn’t able to ignore them, so he heads upstairs. See, this is the classic trope that gets characters killed. If you hear a weird noise, assert your dominance by making an even more mysterious noise and go about your business without investigating. You’re not Nancy Drew! We find Ryan making his way towards Nancy’s room, where he seems to have narrowed the noises — swinging the door open to find nothing. Carson walks him back downstairs, continuing their conversation, which has now turned to the Lilac Inn. As soon as they make it back downstairs, the footsteps begin again, still only apparent to one party. Ryan starts talking about how heavily medicated his wife was, taking anxiety medications, but he’s cut off at the next strike of lightning when Dead Lucy appears on the roof in the corner. Subtlety is not her strong suit. That prompts Ryan to immediately exit the house, along with Carson, to head to the Lilac Inn.
Already at the Lilac Inn, Nancy and Nick begin pulling sheets off the photos on the wall, revealing portraits of authors. Initially, neither can place the last one. Just then, the sound of an approaching car breaks up the conversation. It’s Carson and Ryan. Luckily, Nick can remember the name of the final author, “It’s Edith Wharton. It’s The House damn Mirth. She’s telling me it’s in the kitchen.” Nick follows that up with a quote from the book leading them into the cupboard, which proves to be a problem. Nick begins freaking out due to the small size of the room until he focuses on a bottle of Amontillado. It is a reference to Edgar Allen Poe’s story “The Cask of Amontillado,” in which a character is left behind a wall of bricks. He works quickly to remove the bricks on the back wall of the cupboard, revealing a safe that needs a key to be opened. That brings them back to the old clock. Tiffany had stated during one of her visits with Nick that she “wanted to turn back time,” so Nancy turned the dials to indicate 8:12, the time Tiffany had seen Nick the night he killed the man. When nothing happens, they realize they need the date of the night it happened, April 28. As soon as Nancy inserts the date, a drawer popped out of the bottom, revealing a key. She hands it to Nick, who quickly opens the safe door, knocking over the bottle of wine in his haste, a sound that Carson and Ryan heard. Nick removes the box from the safe and begins replacing the bricks as the two men made their way to the kitchen, swinging the cupboard door open to find an empty room. The wine was in a puddle on the floor with a distinct shoe print on the outer edge, something that only Carson notices.
As Nancy and Nick pulled up outside her house, Karen emerges, asking if Nancy would be taking her up on her offer to throw Nick to the wolves. Nancy had made her decision. She addressed Karen and promptly dismantled her entire theory that Nick had killed Tiffany for revenge. Nancy handed Karen one of the books given to Nick and had her read the inscription, “Forgiveness is the key to redemption. Please forgive me. Tiffany.” You’ll need to try harder than that detective.
Back at the restaurant, Rita begins to make odd statements regarding the curse and the storm, saying precautionary measures “only work if you believe,” which George had been vehemently denying. Just then, a light began to sway slightly before falling and setting the salt on the floor ablaze. Rita simultaneously pulled a disappearing act that would of put Houdini to shame. As the storm ends, Nick sets the box down in front of everyone and opens up about his past. A football rivalry spilled over to a party Nick was attending when a man named Austin began verbally abusing a girlfriend of Nick’s. Austin’s words had quickly turned into a fight. Austin kicked Nick out of the party but refused to allow the woman to go too, so Nick intervened. “I knocked him down. But not out. And he kept coming, so I kept going, and he went through a second-story plate glass window.”
Near the end of the episode, it jumps around quite a bit. In the dining area of the restaurant, George pulled the spear from the floor. She places it in the corner, turning to come face-to-face with a newspaper clipping that told the story of a tourist that had gotten decapitated in a boating accident, a tourist named Rita.
At Nancy’s house, she and Nick finally opened the box to find bearer bonds, worth nearly five million dollars! Nancy’s phone vibrated with a text from Ace requesting her help with confronting Bess about living in a van on the side of the road.
Carson walks through the front door of their home, where Nancy’s once white shoes are sitting, now stained with red wine. As Carson makes his way upstairs, water begins dripping onto the arm of his suit. Dead Lucy is perched above him, though he never spots her. It appears she’s taken an interest in a new target.
Nancy invites Bess to stay with her while they get the van fixed up. As Bess tosses a bag towards Nancy, Tiffany’s diamond ring bounces across the floor. “Did I just invite a killer to a sleepover?”
You can watch Nancy Drew on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW!