Well, if anyone had “creepy haunted asylum” on their Nancy Drew bingo card, your wishes were granted this week. From the Drew Crew encountering vengeful spirits and disgusting bugs, to the dream team of Ace and Carson that I didn’t know I needed, this episode packed a whole lot into its runtime. Read on to find out what happened this week in “The Lady of Larkspur Lane” …
We open with Nancy determined to talk to Lucy Sable’s mom in the aftermath of her discovery that Lucy may have been afraid of her mother at the end of her life. But because nothing can ever be easy for Nancy, Lucy’s mother suffered a stroke and now lives in a mental institution where only family can visit. Her son doesn’t want to upset her and refuses to interview her, which Nancy takes as less of a refusal and more of a challenge. Looks like the Drew Crew will get to resort to their new favorite pastime of breaking into creepy buildings.
Meanwhile, Bess goes to meet a business acquaintance of her aunt’s for lunch, hoping to get valuable networking time with a potential mentor. But Bess finds herself on a double date with Amaya, the businesswoman the Marvins set her up with. It’s pretty uncomfortable, as it’s made clear that Amaya sees Bess as a way to close the deal with the two businessmen meeting with them and not as someone to be mentored.
Nancy, George, and Nick head to the asylum to talk to Mrs. Sable. As they formulate a plan, it comes out that Nick has helped George buy The Claw, which definitely rubs Nancy the wrong way. I’m finding the chemistry between Nick and George to be really interesting, and a potential triangle between the three of them would be a great addition to the “teen soap love triangle” canon. It also seems that there’s tension between Nick and George over the running of The Claw. They sneak into the hospital and George distracts the guards as Nancy snoops in Mrs. Sable’s file. Nick goes to steal some visitor passes, but notices a strange black mold spreading through the hospital. Between that and the strange people Nancy sees in the halls, it’s clear this place has a bad case of the spooks.
Before Nick can get to Nancy, a worker notices her and asks what she’s doing there. Thinking quickly, she tells him she’s a reporter looking to do a story on “what’s happening” at the asylum. This vague explanation somehow works, and the aide tells her all about the hauntings at the asylum (well, at least that explains the black mold problem.) Bonus? Apparently all this started after the seance where Nancy accidentally released all the ghosts into Horseshoe Bay. Whoops.
Nancy is able to get away from the orderly and finds Mrs. Sable, who’s in bad shape. She thinks it’s still 1999 and specifically the Friday before Lucy’s murder. She also thinks Nancy is Nancy’s mother. Mrs. Sable isn’t able to speak in full sentences, but manages to reveal that someone else has also been questioning her recently. She also says she hid the “key to Lucy’s secret” in “the thin man’s book.” With that, she suddenly remembers that her daughter was murdered and screams as Nancy gets right out of there.
When she tells Nick and George about Mrs. Sable’s rantings, Nick notes that the short passages Mrs. Sable was speaking in are psalms. The thin man’s book could be the Bible. Nancy saw this thin man as a ghost and theorizes that she must mean his Bible. Who is the thin man you ask? Apparently, he’s the perpetrator of a quadruple homicide and likely the source of all this psychic mayhem, since it’s his room in the East Wing that’s extremely haunted. Nancy being Nancy, she immediately goes to check it out.
Leaving aside the fact that any place called “The Whisper Box” is not a place I want to be, the set design of this particular space is creepy and well done. The old fashioned photo of the thin man and his family is especially scary. She manages to find the Bible, which contains a key card. But as Nancy goes to leave, the door vanishes. The room begins to fill with cockroaches as Nancy passes out.
Nick and George wait in the lobby for Nancy and have a chance to chat about their new business venture. Nick acknowledges that he might have been overzealous before, and it seems they are now on the same page. Nick and George are forced to leave the building in a fire drill, and it turns out the aide they spoke to earlier was actually a patient posing as a staff member. Nancy wakes up in a dream version of her home where both her parents are alive and well. Only problem with this dream? Cockroaches. Everywhere. The writers on this show clearly have some unresolved issues with bug nightmares. This scene gave me major Twin Peaks vibes and added an interesting tone to the show. It also makes me wonder if we’ll get more pre-show timeline Nancy in the next few episodes, which would also be a welcome addition.
The most enjoyable part of the episode for me involved Ace and a prison break, which are definitely two things that go together. Carson calls Ace for help, hoping to reach Nancy. The hit the Hudsons called on him is happening soon, and he needs outside help with this one. Ace decides he’s going to have to handle this himself since Nancy is currently trapped in a parallel dimension and thus lacks reliable cell service. He marches right over to the yacht club where Ryan Hudson is. It’s also where Bess is currently on her business date. Ace asks Ryan to call off the hit, but Ryan says the only way to save Carson now is to get him out of prison. Ace interrupts Bess to ask her to appeal to Ryan, knowing that she’s helped influence him towards the good side before. This intrigues Amaya, who now sees Bess as more than just a prop to help her get the deal.
Ace comes up with a plan to save Carson since he’s unable to reach Nancy, and it’s so outlandish and in character that I just have to applaud the writers. Using his skills as a hacker, he arranges a transfer to state prison for Carson. Carson is relieved at the serendipity of this, unaware that Ace hacked into the system. But when he’s loaded into the van for the transport, Ace is the driver. He impersonated a police officer and broke Carson out of prison. Carson, realizing now that maybe his teen daughter’s lovable hacker friend wasn’t the best person to entrust his rescue to, lists the many crimes Ace has just committed. Sweet Ace’s incredulous reaction to this is very funny, and I have to hand it to Alex Saxon for his portrayal of the character. It turns out that Ace is taking Carson TO HIS OWN HOME to essentially wait for Nancy to show up with a better plan. I’m sure the police won’t look there for an escaped accused murderer and his teenage accomplice.
Naturally, the Drew home is soon surrounded by cops. Since this is framed as a hostage situation, Karen is called in to “negotiate” with Ace. Ace tells her to check the security tapes at the prison, since they will prove that Carson was in imminent danger. But when they look at the footage, it is oh-so-conveniently angled in a way that there’s no evidence of the hit. Now, Ace is stuck.
But Bess comes through by calling in a Marvin family favor with Ryan after some encouragement from Amaya. Since Bess is only a recently recognized Marvin, I do wonder how this unspecified favor will factor in later. Does Bess really know what she’s getting into here? Ryan sends Ace an audio file that not only confirms the hit but also the identity of the inmate sent to attack Carson. This evidence gets Carson released until his trial for his own safety.
Amaya also helps by using her connections to make the charges against Ace go away. This town apparently runs on corruption from rich people. Celia Hudson texts Ryan, telling him that she knows what he did and isn’t pleased. As the episode ends, Nancy is still trapped in the Twilight Zone … I mean the Whisper Box. How will she escape?
Nancy Drew airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.