This week’s episode of Nancy Drew leans into the horror inherent in its premise as Nancy takes a haunted object that doesn’t belong to her (again) in the hopes of stopping the Aglaeca’s curse. George and Nick contemplate their mortality together as Ace reaches a new understanding with his father, while Nancy realizes she may need both her dads to defeat the Aglaeca. Through it all the Aglaeca watches … and waits. Read on to find out what happened as Nancy discovers “The Secret of Solitary Scribe”.
We open with Nancy ruminating on the ticking clock of the Aglaeca curse as George tries to convince Nick to find a rental home instead of crashing with Nancy. Nick is skeptical, but George is superstitious and believes looking to the future will delay the inevitable somehow. Bess and Ace are in the kitchen at The Claw, with Bess admonishing Ace for standing “near the death cooler with the meat hook”. Bess believes if they give back Lucy’s bones, the Aglaeca will call off the curse. Ace is in, but he points out they don’t have all of Lucy’s skeleton after the night they hid it from Tamura. This presents a problem, as both Bess and Ace thought the other had the missing piece. They realize Tamura must have found it that night. Ace decides he’ll just steal it back from Evidence and worry about the consequences later, saying “let’s try to live long enough for Tamura to be our biggest problem”.
Nancy goes to the flower shop to find out who has been buying the flowers for the Aglaeca victims’ graves. The owner, Lily, doesn’t want to help, so Nancy texts Ace “go to plan B”. This turns out to be Ace pretending to have a 150 person wedding flower crisis to distract Lily (hilarious acting from Alex Saxon here.) Meanwhile, Nancy searches Lily’s database and gets a phone number for the mystery Aglaeca survivor. But that phone number? It’s Carson Drew’s, meaning Nancy is going to have to talk to her father. It turns out Carson’s been sending the victims flowers each year for ten years – but why?
Nancy arranges to meet Carson at The Claw where the Drew Crew can assist if necessary. He’s hopeful on arrival, but she cuts right to the chase and Carson realizes they will not be having the heart to heart he hoped for. Carson is incredulous that this is what she wants to know when they still haven’t talked about Ryan, still not knowing about the Aglaeca curse. It turns out “AJ” is AJ Crane, a famous horror novelist and recluse (giving major Stephen King vibes) who Carson was a lawyer for years ago. Carson bought the flowers on his behalf. Nancy wants AJ’s address, but Carson says he’ll take her to Crane’s house himself – it’s a two hour drive, and he wants to talk with her.
They spend that two hours in silence until they arrive at the creepy and abandoned-looking estate. Inside, they find AJ, who is not happy to have visitors. Nancy notices a talisman hanging on the outside of his house. Like with Carson, Nancy doesn’t waste any time with AJ. She tells the whole story, much to Carson’s shock, and asks AJ how he managed to survive the Aglaeca. AJ seems to push them away, but he’s trying to save them. Spirits begin arriving at the house, and AJ puts on headphones to save himself from the screaming ghosts as Nancy and Carson run. Nancy grabs the totem on the way out in a patented Nancy Drew “steal creepy object first, ask what it’s for later” move.
Nancy brings the talisman to Hannah with Bess, looking for answers. Bess is excited to discover it was from AJ Crane, her favorite novelist. Bess lets it slip that the others are going to help her return Lucy’s bones to the Aglaeca. Nancy does not want to return Lucy to the sea because she wants to give her mother the burial she deserves. Nancy is upset no one told her and leaves. Meanwhile, Ace sneaks into Tamura’s office to try to find the missing piece of Lucy’s skull, which he successfully takes. On the way out, Ace and his dad reunite, with Tom wanting Ace home for Shabbat dinner. Ace says he has plans, but his dad guilt trips him into going anyway. Ace agrees, thinking about his own advice to Nancy about making the most of each moment with just three days left.
George is still channeling her nervous energy into getting Nick into the rental, which Nick calls her out for. George breaks down and says she’s been thinking of all the things she won’t have with Nick if they die in three days: no anniversaries, no dates … no sex. George and Nick realize that’s one thing they CAN knock off the bucket list and start to make out, but Nancy interrupts. Already feeling off kilter, she leaves as George and Nick fumble to put their clothes back on.
AJ calls Carson, warning that “hell” is coming for Nancy since she took the totem. In her room, Nancy gets a call from Hannah, who has just figured out that the talisman ATTRACTS spirits (whoopsie daisy!) The line cuts off, along with the lights, as spirits start crawling out of the walls towards Nancy in a scene that will create nightmares for days. AJ rushes into the house and saves Nancy by pushing her under a table and telling her to cover her ears. After the dust settles, Nancy is about to talk to AJ when Tamura shows up. Carson called the police after AJ called, and Tamura, helpful as always, arrests AJ for breaking and entering even as Nancy insists he didn’t do anything.
Nancy goes to Ryan, who reveals he’s been helping Lucy’s mom as a way to atone for Lucy’s death. She asks Ryan to help her get AJ out of jail so she can talk to him. In AJ’s cell, the Aglaeca taunts him just before Nancy arrives. She apologizes for taking the talisman but explains she was desperate. She asks how it works and how he managed to evade the Aglaeca all this time.
Ace is heading to Shabbat dinner with his father, but there’s an unexpected guest: Tamura. He says Ace looks surprised, and Ace recovers quickly with “no, this is just my Shabbat face”. Turns out Tamura celebrates Shabbat, and Tom invited him since he’s new to town. Tamura gets in a dig about bones, and Ace realizes he’s on to him and that the dinner was an excuse to look for the missing bone. What follows is the most awkward Shabbat prayer ever as Tamura reads a prayer while Ace tries to lie his way through Tamura’s subtle insinuations. When Tamura smugly says he can sing the prayer if needed, Ace nervously says “he can’t hear, you look hungry, we should just go right to it” as he wills this dinner to be over.
AJ tells Nancy the original Aglaeca crew crashed into a car one night and killed the driver and his wife, but a three year old girl survived in critical condition. Wanting to atone for their mistake, the group called the Aglaeca to be sure the girl lived. But they didn’t pay the toll, and she came for them. He reveals that the little girl was Hannah Gruen. AJ says he uses the talisman to keep the Aglaeca away since it draws more malevolent spirits to it, and even the Aglaeca didn’t want to get near them. AJ says he’s been dealing with the spirits for 44 years. Nancy asks about Bess’ theory and AJ urges her to try anything rather than subject herself to the torture he’s been living in. He urges her to go as the spirits return. On her way out, Nancy tells Bess she’s in, having seen what the curse did to AJ.
Meanwhile, George and Nick rent a hotel room to have sex (priorities, am I right?), but George finds it hard to get in the mood as she sees visions of her and Nick’s impending doom. Ace and Tamura talk, while Tom is in the kitchen. Tamura tells Ace he knows Ace took the skull, and Ace lies very unconvincingly. But Ace hits a nerve when he notes that if such a skull existed, it should have been in evidence, not in Tamura’s office. Tamura yells the greatest comeback line of all time when he calls Ace a “walking haircut” as Tom comes back. Tamura accuses Ace of hiding the bone, and in Alex Saxon’s best acting this episode, Ace stands and yells/signs “you found a HUMAN BONE? At THE CLAW?” with an expression of pure shock. Tamura wants to search the house, but Ace’s father tells him to come back with a warrant and stands up for Ace. Tamura thanks him for dinner and leaves. Tom asks Ace how deeply in trouble Ace is, and Ace levels with his dad. He tells Tom that he and his friends are in a bad spot, but they can fix it if he leaves tonight. Tom says he wants the full story tomorrow, but lets him go.
The Drew Crew return Lucy’s bones to the sea, with Bess calling the Aglaeca “you hateful, vindictive, sex life stealing …” before Nancy cuts her off. As the sea washes over the bones, nothing happens. Just then, Tamura calls to say that AJ escaped, and Bess’ horror fangirling makes them realize that AJ is coming for Hannah, following Nancy’s advice. He’s going to try to kill her to reverse the curse. Tamura threatens to have a “real come to Jesus talk” with the Drew Crew when this is over. Ace quips “come to Jesus, the man had a bar mitzvah. Pick a lane” (the writers truly hit it out of the park with the dialogue in this episode.)
The Drew Crew searches for Hannah, and Nancy finds her unconscious in a car. AJ is pouring gasoline around the car, desperately thinking that if Hannah dies the way she was supposed to all those years ago the Aglaeca will leave him alone. But Nancy stops him, telling him he won’t be able to run if he is the monster. AJ leaves the talisman behind and decides to let the Aglaeca take him, telling Nancy he hasn’t really been living at all. Nancy decides to take a “hey, we lived!” approach, telling her friends that at least they have today no matter what comes next. This lightens their mood as they head back to The Claw …where everything is covered in salt water and Lucy’s bones in a petty “no takesies backsies” from the Aglaeca. They get a news alert that AJ Crane was impaled on a weather vane in a “freak accident” moments after they left him, and their mood turns grim.
On the way home, George tells Nick they’re “reclaiming” his truck. She doesn’t want to die afraid, and the two spend a romantic and presumably cramped night in Nick’s truck. Nancy goes to Carson’s apartment, thinking about what AJ said. She asks Carson if he wants to say goodbye to Lucy with her, and he immediately says yes. They go to the woods to bury her, away from her vandalized gravestone. Carson asks Nancy if she wanted to invite Ryan, and it turns out she already did. The spot Nancy chose is by the tree where Ryan and Lucy carved their initials all those years ago (heartbreaking acting from Riley Smith as Ryan says goodbye.) The three bury Lucy next to the tree, with Nancy sadly pressing her hand to Lucy’s initials.
The next day, the Drew Crew heads to AJ’s house to bury the talisman for good. They go through his notes for hints on how to defeat the Aglaeca. Ace finds the beginnings of a dybbuk box, which Jewish tradition says could trap the Aglaeca. The group decides to try building one, with George calling it the “best plan I’ve heard since the last plan I’ve heard”. The spirits return as they grab as much as they can while being chased out by the spirits. The Aglaeca creepily watches them leave, knowing their time is almost up.
Nancy Drew airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW and will be returning for a third season.