Well, Drew Crew, we made it! The long Nancy Drew hiatus is over, and we are right back where we left our beloved squad last season. The season 2 premiere featured a lot of scares and some new faces, but overall it remained the character based show we know and love, with the amazing chemistry between Kennedy McMann, Tunji Kasim, Maddison Jaizani, Leah Lewis, and Alex Saxon remaining a highlight. Based on the first episode, we (and the Drew Crew) are in for a wild ride! Start singing some sea shanties and try not to eat any bad clams from The Claw as we dive in to “The Search for the Midnight Wraith.”
The episode opens with a title card letting us know that only three hours have passed since the events of the season finale. Nancy’s voiceover lets us know she’s confused about who she is (aren’t we all?), but that she’s also worried because of the imminent deaths of her and her friends at the hands of the Aglaeca. The crew regroups at The Claw, where each one shares their vision of death in a very funny straight to camera sequence. George simply says she drowned, and Nick seems hurt that she continues to want to hide their relationship. Bess proposes that these are just what might happen, with Ace adding that it’s like “the serving suggestion on the waffle box” (oh how I have missed Ace’s little asides). Bess suggests they start by getting rid of the thing that causes each other’s deaths, with Ace again getting a great line when he says he’ll “try to render Bess nonflammable” to prevent her burning alive.
Just then, Abe Tamura, the slimiest detective in Horseshoe Bay, arrives asking for “Nancy Drew?” as she sarcastically responds “up for debate, but sure.” Tamura informs the group that a young girl ran out of the Gorham Woods and was hit by a car. The last thing she said before she went unconscious? Nancy’s name. As Nancy’s narration says: “Just when I thought I had enough problems for one night.” Tamura takes her to the hospital to try to identify the Jane Doe, with George helping her run interference when Carson shows up looking for his client (George covering for Nancy by blaming the clams at The Claw is hilarious). Nancy doesn’t know the girl, and theorizes maybe she was looking for Nancy to help solve a case. She even notices numbers written on her hand, which Tamura is quick to point out he also noticed (Tamura being jealous of the teenager beating him at his own game here is interesting, and doesn’t bode well for Nancy).
Nancy turns to leave, but then she mentions that the girl was in Gorham Woods on a full moon. Legend has it, a wraith lives in the woods and comes out on the full moon (can this town have any more ghosts?) Nancy continues spinning the tale as she palms the numbers on the girl’s hand without Tamura noticing. Nancy translates the numbers, which mean “Aglaeca.” George is rightfully incredulous that yet another mystery involves Nancy. Back at The Claw, Ace is trying to hack code while Nick tries to get rid of the hook that will cause Ace’s demise. Ace says that they only have to deal with the curse because they tried to help Nancy, an uncharacteristically mean remark from him. The hook suddenly starts dripping blood, and Ace wryly says, “I think that’s Aglaeca for don’t mess with me.” As Nancy and George arrive, Ace announces he’s cracked the code. It leads to a message for Nancy – these mysterious messengers have a mirror to help with the Aglaeca. It seems to be in response to a message “Nancy” posted to her fan club’s Twitter account, which Bess confesses to writing in an attempt to get help. The responders want $750 for a mirror that Nancy recognizes as belonging to the group of women who first summoned the Aglaeca. Nancy tries to argue that maybe the wraith isn’t real, but as George points out, every other urban legend in this town is real, and they’ve run into it. The group votes to go find the mirror.
In the woods, they find themselves in an outbuilding, where they find a lighter and a cell phone. On the phone, there are videos from mysterious twins (BOBBSEY TWINS YAY!), one of whom, Amanda, is the Jane Doe from the hospital. The group watches the videos, which take a terrifying turn as the boy, Gil, disappears as Amanda screams. Even worse, Amanda had Gil’s insulin – which means that Gil could be running out of time. Ace knows of a hunting lodge where Gil could have potentially made it, and the crew makes the decision to go after him to save him and hopefully get the mirror. But the lodge is naturally owned by the Hudson family … and it’s not abandoned like Ace thought.
Nancy, Ace, and Bess go to the lodge while George and Nick try to track Gil’s footprints. But it turns out the lodge is full of Hudson associates plotting some backdoor deals (quick, who has the worst family: Bess or Nancy? Jury is very much still out). Everett Hudson catches them and brings them downstairs. Poor Bess is terrified, saying, “can I ask you straight up, is this your murder room?!” as Nancy tries to play it cool. This is the first time she’s seeing Everett knowing he’s her grandfather, and it’s tough to see Nancy question how she can be their flesh and blood.
Just then, Ryan shows up. He claims he invited Nancy and her friends to say thank you, giving Nancy money to complete the lie. Everett lets them go, and Ryan escorts them out (Ace to Everett: “You have a lovely home”). She just wants to leave, but Ryan gets in a cutting remark about how she always pushes him away unless she needs something. Everett tells Ryan he better be careful – these business dealings affect him too, and Nancy’s stunt could have cost them.
Meanwhile, George and Nick follow Gil’s trail. Nick wants to know if and when they’ll tell Nancy about their relationship, but George just says, “maybe we drown horrifically in a truck and get out of a really awkward conversation.” Nancy, Ace, and Bess continue on, with Ace letting out some frustration that Nancy dragged them into this. Nancy is taken aback at this change in Ace and seems to take his words to heart, but just then they run into George and Nick. The group sees a group of incredibly creepy scarecrows hanging from the trees, meant to keep the wraith in the woods. The group starts to run when the wraith appears, and they hide inside an abandoned bus.
Who else had the same idea? Gil Bobbsey, who is not looking good without his insulin pump. He asks Nancy if she brought “it,” which Nancy assumes is his pump that they found but is actually the cash he requested (gotta respect the hustle as he he slides into a diabetic coma). Nancy can’t believe that’s what he wants, but he ups the price to $850 even as his eyes start to shut. Bess says that if he dies he doesn’t get anything, and Gil retorts, “but if I die, you don’t get the mirror.” This shuts everyone up as they pull together the cash. Gil starts to go unconscious as Nick jumps into action, saying his father has diabetes. Nancy tries to go for the mirror, but Gil rouses himself enough to stop her, admonishing her not to steal from a thief. He realizes Amanda isn’t with them, and he tries to leave to go to the hospital as the Drew Crew stop him. Ace points out that the wraith is outside, and Nancy adds that it finds its victims by fear. It won’t be long before it finds them.
While they wait, Gil tells them that his father was a caretaker for the Hudson estate, which is how he knew about the mirror and its connection to the Aglaeca. The wraith announces itself by shrieking outside, and the group tries to talk about good memories to combat it. They think back to July 4 when they all met. We get a flicker of Nancy and Nick’s meet-cute, but then Nick takes George’s hand in the present. Gil, clearly over the bonding time, sarcastically remarks, “Your stories have me rooting for the wraith” (I already love this guy). As the wraith finds its way inside, Nancy tells everyone to go, hoping her fear will be enough to hold it off. As the wraith creeps towards her, Nancy starts to cry, saying, “I’m afraid that I don’t know who I am, and that I’m just the worst parts of all of them.” The reveal of her true parentage just happened within the show’s timeline, and Kennedy McMann’s performance reminds us that Nancy truly has not had the time to process this yet. Suddenly, Nancy remembers that she has the lighter. She flicks it on and throws it at the wraith, who starts to burn. Gil rushes back in and pulls her out of the bus.
As the group walks back to the edge of the woods, Gil ups his price to $950 for saving Nancy (these Bobbseys don’t play). But the crew suddenly finds Tamura waiting for them. Turns out the Bobbseys are well known troublemakers, and now Gil and Nancy are in trouble for the stolen mirror (Hudson property). Tamura takes them both to the hospital where Gil reunites with Amanda. Ryan Hudson saves the day again by claiming he gave Nancy the mirror as a gift. As she leaves, Ryan tells her it’s hers since she can’t steal a family heirloom when she’s in the family. It’s touching in a way, until Ryan runs into Carson in the parking lot (who is waiting for his client). Carson asks how Nancy is, and Ryan coldly tells him she clearly doesn’t want to talk to him. He also adds that he could tell everyone that Nancy is really a Hudson, which Carson sees as a threat (it is). Ryan walks away, and it’s such a flashback to the nasty Ryan Hudson of early season one that it’s clear his emotional state is unsteady. His character had come so far from being Nancy’s enemy, but is Ryan trying to have her all to himself by driving a wedge between Nancy and Carson?
At The Claw, Nick finds his car in the parking lot despite Bess having given it to a scrap metal collector. It seems the Aglaeca is not letting the Drew Crew get rid of the things that will kill them. Inside, Ace is trying to put a dish towel on the hook to soften it as Nancy enters (if something happens to this cinnamon roll of a man I will riot). Nancy ask what she can do to make him forgive her, and Ace responds in an emotional monologue that is so unlike Ace that it betrays how scared he is. He says, “What I’m mad at is the idea that I might die very soon, right when I’m finally figuring out how to be a part of something I really care about. Because I’ve never had a crew like us.” Nancy says she won’t let them die, but Ace continues: “I never doubted that … I’m scared.” Voice breaking, he says, “the next time you feel like sacrificing yourself to prove you’re not a Hudson, please don’t. Just ’cause I’m mad at you doesn’t mean I want to lose you.” Ace leaves, and Nancy is more determined than ever to save her friends.
Nancy Drew airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW. You can stream season one on The CW app and HBO Max, with season two available on The CW app as well.