The last few episodes of Nancy Drew have been a roller coaster, to say the least, featuring massive revelations about Nancy’s origins and wrapping up the two big mysteries of the season. With production unfortunately being stopped as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, “The Girl in the Locket” is now the penultimate episode of season 1. And boy, does it pack a lot of emotion into one episode! We get to see how Nancy and Carson handle the reveal that Nancy is Lucy and Ryan’s baby, not to mention how Ryan reacts to the news. Riley Smith and Kennedy McMann are spectacular in this episode, with both characters handling the reveal in different but character specific ways. We also get our first death of a major character, in a move that emphasizes just how good this show’s writers are at keeping the audience on their toes. Without further ado, let’s get to the huge plot twists in “The Girl in the Locket” …
The episode starts where we left off last week, with a shocked Nancy confronting Carson about her newfound parentage. She wants to know why he kept this a secret and lied to her for all these years. Carson tells her both he and Kate feared for her safety, but Nancy doesn’t want to hear it. She storms off to her room as Carson follows, desperate to make things right. Nancy calls her mother “Kate” instead of “mom,” breaking Carson’s heart (and mine!) It’s clear this revelation is having an emotional impact on Nancy, and her reaction is to run away. She sneaks out of her open window as Carson opens the door to discover her empty room. Nancy ends up spending the night at Owen’s, waking up next to him. He offers to take her to New York with him, and she accepts, thinking this will allow her to escape her problems. As he gets up, he notices fish hooks digging into his arm. It’s a sign from the Aglaeca: she’s not done with him yet.
Meanwhile, Nick wakes up on George’s couch as her little sister and a friend stand over him, talking about their relationship. George enters and kicks the two out of the room, with George’s mom making several quips about how Nick should start paying rent if he’s going to keep crashing on their couch. Chastened, Nick goes to leave to find a new place to stay. As he and George look for his missing boot, Nick discovers that his boot is filled with saltwater that turns to a pile of salt when he touches it. It seems the Aglaeca is getting ready to collect on that debt the Drew Crew failed to pay. It gets worse when it’s revealed that the other Drew Crew members are experiencing supernatural disturbances as well.
Victoria explains that these portents indicate the sea spirit wants to collect on her debt. She’s going after everyone who participated in the ritual. The only way to stop it and save Owen is to conduct a ritual with the person who summoned the spirit (Nancy) and a blood relative of that person. Only problem? Carson is not a blood relative, and Ryan (and the Drew Crew) don’t know the truth about Nancy yet. Ace goes to find Nancy to tell her about the new omens and about the ritual needed to solve them. He is the only member of the Drew Crew who knows about Nancy’s parentage since he was there when she received the results. Ace is sweetly supportive of Nancy, and this scene between the two of them confirms that this Nancy/Ace friendship is my favorite of the show.
Nancy goes to find Ryan, still not knowing how she is going to convince him to participate in this ritual without telling him the truth. Ryan is in his living room, with the floor covered in pages from Lucy’s diary. Before Nancy can tell him why she’s there, he excitedly informs her that after reading through Lucy’s diary, it seems that Lucy was pregnant with his baby. He wants to go to the clinic in town to see if Lucy was treated there. His child could be out there somewhere, and he wants to find them. Ryan’s desire to find his potential child is bittersweet, since it’s so clear that he is dealing with a lot of guilt over how he failed Lucy in the past. Nancy acts as though this is news to her. She says she’ll help him with the clinic if he agrees to do her a favor, and he agrees.
As all of this is going on, Bess is stressed. She’s planning her Aunt Diana’s birthday party, which is a huge deal and her big introduction to the Marvins. She invites Lisbeth to go as her plus-one, but Owen points out that Diana hates her. If Lisbeth attends, it could ruin the party and Bess’ standing in the family. Bess eventually finds Lisbeth to retract the invitation, and Lisbeth is surprisingly understanding. She says if Bess changes her mind, she’ll be ready.
At the clinic, Ryan quickly loses his cool with the doctor who refuses to tell them anything about Lucy. He’s acting like the mean rich boy we first met, but this time we see that his desperation and immaturity are what leads to the outburst. Nancy tells him to wait outside and pretends to ask the doctor for more information privately. When she goes back outside, Ryan excitedly asks what she found out. Instead of telling him the truth, she claims that Lucy was pregnant, but that she didn’t have an abortion or put the baby up for adoption. This implies that Lucy and the baby both died when Lucy committed suicide, and Ryan breaks at this revelation that he lost both of them that night. Riley Smith as Ryan really sells his heartbreak, especially since we as viewers know that Nancy is lying.
As they leave, Nancy directs Ryan to drive to the Marvin’s party, where the Drew Crew earlier decided to have the ritual. She asks him if he would have been ready to have a child at eighteen. He says no, but also says that he would have figured it out and stepped up. Ryan asks what favor this is since Nancy still hasn’t told him. Just then, Nancy gets a disturbing new omen as she sees all her hair fall out. She panics, and Ryan pulls over. He demands to know what’s going on, and she tells him the half-truth that she needs help with a ritual to save Owen’s life since they angered a sea witch. Ryan wonders if it would simply be better to let Owen die since he hates the Marvins. Nancy, angry, tells him off, letting out her bottled-up emotions. Ryan, also angry and unable to deal with his emotions (seems like it runs in the family), drives off, leaving Nancy on the side of the road. As all this is going on, Nick and George go to get Carson to help with the ritual, still not knowing that Carson and Nancy have had a falling out. Carson agrees to help, mostly to find Nancy since she’s not answering his calls.
At the party, Bess arrives in a stunning purple dress (serious props to the costume team for the glow-up). She’s accompanied by Ace, who gives her a pep talk before she goes to meet the family. Lisbeth isn’t there, and it seems Bess has decided to deal with that issue later. She goes to see Aunt Diana, who is actually disappointed that Lisbeth isn’t there. She’d hoped to use her for information. Diana is clearly a matriarch with evil tendencies, and it will be interesting to see how Bess deals with being more involved with her family.
As Ryan is driving, he returns to the spot where he left Nancy, but she’s gone. He’s upset and cries, the day’s revelations catching up with him. He notices Nancy left her necklace in the car. He opens the locket, and is shocked at the baby picture of Nancy he sees inside. He pulls out Lucy’s yearbook, which features baby photos of Lucy’s class. He compares the photo in the locket with the baby photo of Lucy, and the resemblance is uncanny (Fun fact: Riley Smith’s real life daughter is the baby in both pictures.) Ryan realizes the truth and speeds off to the Marvin’s party to find Nancy.
At the party, the crew starts to assemble for the ritual, but Nancy is stopped when Ryan sees her. He confronts Nancy with the pictures and his theory that Nancy is his daughter, still not realizing that Nancy already knows. She finally confirms this is true, but before either of them can fully process this, they have to complete the ritual. Carson tries to talk to Nancy, but she sends him away. The rest of the Drew Crew is confused, wondering why Ryan is there, but Ace just has them start the ritual. Ryan and Nancy grip hands over the fire as the ritual begins. Nancy cries out in pain, and Ryan’s expression of terror is heartbreaking. We see that he is scared of losing Nancy as he lost Lucy. Riley Smith and Kennedy McMann really knock it out of the park in this episode, but this scene, in particular, is a standout moment. Nancy tells the rest of the group the truth as the ritual continues, and everyone is shocked.
The ritual ends, and it appears to have worked. As they walk away, Ryan tentatively asks Nancy if they can get coffee. He’s cautious, with his normally cocky attitude gone. She says she’s not ready, and Ryan mumbles his disappointment. But his true feelings are clear when he lashes out at Carson for keeping Nancy a secret from him. He’s lost, looking for a connection with Nancy since he can’t have one with Lucy. Carson and Nancy talk, with Nancy making it clear she needs space. She tells him she’s going to New York with Owen to get some time alone, and he is saddened by her drive to escape him.
Back inside, Bess says what we’re all thinking as she notes that George slept with Nancy’s dad since Ryan is Nancy’s biological father. George is not thrilled at this news and she storms off. But soon they have bigger problems, as each member of the Drew Crew has a terrifying new portent. They call Victoria, who realizes that the being they’ve been trying to contact is actually a ghost who was once alive, not the demon they thought. As a result, the ritual they just did wouldn’t work. The group desperately tries to call Owen, but he’s not picking up. In a great tracking shot, they follow a trail to the bathroom, where Owen is dead in the bathtub! It seems the Aglaeca is now going after all of the Drew Crew one by one.
I have to say that I was not expecting Owen to die, and certainly not so permanently. But based on actor Miles Gaston Villaneuva’s comments and the show-runners tweet thanking him for his contributions to the season, it appears Owen really is gone for good. I loved the twist. Introducing a new ghost by having her kill a key member of the cast makes the ghost a serious foe for the Drew Crew. They’re all motivated to avenge Owen and it’s clear they can’t just ritual away the ghost. The show also introduces the backstory of the Aglaeca, which the show can explore in season two. I can’t wait to see the show’s season finale next week and see how everyone involved deals with the aftermath of Owen’s death.
Nancy Drew airs its season finale April 15 at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.