This week’s Nancy Drew focused on the way history is so often written by the victor with devastating consequences as Nancy and Bess search for the Aglaeca’s history as a human. Ryan and Carson come to terms with their new co-parenting arrangement as both try to discover what is happening to Nancy, and George must try to connect with her sisters before it’s too late.
The Drew Crew has 46 hours to end the curse. As they clean The Claw from last week’s Aglaeca destruction, Nick realizes the dybbuk box is a dead end because they don’t have the materials they need to build one from scratch. But Ace found a functioning dybbuk box at a museum outside Boston they can try to borrow by using the Hudson name. They need meaningful objects from the ghost’s life and death to trap the ghost in the box, which means they are going to have to research the Aglaeca’s life to find out what was meaningful to her. Odette Lamar, a.k.a. the Aglaeca, turns out to have been a smart businesswoman who was betrayed and murdered – much more than the town myth describes. Bess and Nancy go to find something that was meaningful to Odette at the historical society while the others write their obituaries (Ace: “Loving son, Scout, vintage automobile enthusiast”).
Ace meets with Carson again to get his help in borrowing the box, asking Carson to impersonate the Hudson family lawyer. Carson doesn’t want to lie, but it turns out Ryan is helping as Ace already called him. Both Ryan and Carson are eager to get back in Nancy’s good graces, and thus begins a road trip between the three to Boston (more of this dynamic is always welcome). Ace, wanting to test the waters to see if he should tell Ryan and Carson what’s really going on, starts a hilarious hypothetical discussion about a sick chicken that’s really about Nancy and the curse. Ryan and Carson bicker and Ace decides not to say anything.
Lisbeth returns (yay! “Lisbess” forever!) as Bess writes her own obituary in her notes app. Lisbeth says she knows it’s complicated with the Marvins and her job, but she wants to fight for Bess. Her parents are in town, and she wants Bess to meet them for dinner tonight. Bess decides to go for it, though she is nervous about hurting Lisbeth. Nick and George argue over how much hope to feel as George’s shy sister Jessie arrives. Worried about what will happen to her sisters and mother when she is gone, George pushes Jessie to help at The Claw because if she dies, Jessie will have to take over.
Nancy and Bess go to Aristotle, Hannah’s colleague who knows a lot about town lore. But it turns out he’s more interested in the sanitized version of Odette’s story, and Nancy gets into a fight with him immediately in front of a group of mesmerized tourists. She tells him off for accepting history told by men with agendas at face value while neglecting to showcase other voices in the narrative. The tourists hilariously applaud as Nancy leaves, heading for the restored cottage where Odette’s husband lived to see if there are artifacts of her life.
In Boston at the museum, Ace stares at a painting while musing, “I’m getting a feeling of thick underlying tension,” as Ryan and Carson continue to be hostile. Ryan wants to know why this box is connected to Nancy, which Ace doesn’t want to share. The curator of the museum tells them she can’t loan out the box even when Carson tells her, “I can assure you we will return it intact” (Ace’s slightly guilty look in the background at this statement is very funny). Ryan then does what he’s best at – offering an absurd amount of money to solve a problem.
Nancy and Bess go through the cottage. Bess reveals she is going to dinner with Lisbeth’s parents and how she is worried she is leading her on with her death on the horizon. Nancy tells Bess to tell Lisbeth she loves her since that’s one truth she can share. The two find a painting of Agnes, the second wife, wearing a necklace that Nancy knows is really Odette’s. Nancy realizes Odette’s necklace is her most valuable possession and is somewhere in the cottage. Nancy and Bess explore the creepy basement (STOP. EXPLORING. CREEPY. BASEMENTS) as Nancy hilariously scares Bess with her flashlight. They find markings that indicate someone was held captive here as the lights go out. They scream and run, chased by an invisible ghost, and find that the door is locked. The two force their way out and ask Aristotle what the cellar was for. It turns out the cellar is where Agnes “went mad” (code for “was totally murdered”). There’s a book of hymns left behind with Reverend Hudson’s name, and Nancy realizes he was involved in this too. They need to go back to the cellar and find out what Agnes was trying to tell them.
Jessie is drowning as a Claw waitress and has a panic attack (though simply by showing up to work, she is leagues ahead of 90% of the current staff). George lashes out in fear, berating her for not being responsible, and Jessie tells her she is responsible too, listing off the many things she does for their younger sisters when George isn’t there before storming out. George continues to be angry as she yells at Nancy and Nick, who are trying to find a way to communicate with Agnes. Nick found goggles that can supposedly see ghosts – perfect for seeing Agnes in the basement. Nancy is shocked at Nick’s abilities to reverse engineer ghost goggles, noting she didn’t get to know this side of him when they dated. He says, “you never asked,” sadly, as Nancy remembers, he did fix her car for her.
On the car ride back home with the box (it turns out you CAN put a price on the priceless historical ghost box), Ryan tries to figure out what’s up with Nancy. But Ace won’t say anything. Carson and Ryan fight about Nancy again, with Carson accusing Ryan of trying to buy Nancy’s love while Ryan mocks Carson for having to move out of his own house. Nancy calls and doesn’t realize she’s on speaker, letting it slip about Odette but not the curse itself. Ryan and Carson both perk up at this information, but Ace hangs up before they can hear more.
In the basement at the cottage, Nancy wears the goggles and sees a very creepy Agnes running frantically around the room. It overwhelms Nancy, and she runs upstairs, realizing Agnes is trying to tell them something. Stopping for gas, Ryan asks Carson if he knew that Ryan was Nancy’s father all those years ago. Carson says he was never sure, but that Lucy told him she was scared of the Hudsons, and he thought that included Ryan. Carson notes he took the opportunity to be a father from Ryan and that he’s genuinely sorry for it. Ryan seems to accept this, and they bond over their concern for Nancy. Carson extends an olive branch by telling Ryan that he thinks Nancy might actually open up to him. Ryan is scared he won’t know what to say, but Carson advises that being truthful goes a long way with Nancy.
Ryan finds Nancy trying to decipher Agnes’ writing on the walls that Nancy copied in her notebook. Ryan tells her he bought the box for her and launches into a heartfelt monologue about how he wouldn’t have been a good father as a teenager but that he wants to try to be there for her now if she’s interested. She says she is, and he takes the opening to try to help her. He sees she’s working on the cipher, and he tells her it’s musical in nature. Nancy realizes that’s the key – the book of hymns must have the answer. Ryan is elated, joking, “I just solved something before Nancy Drew?!” Nancy tells him she has to go, but he’s excited to be involved in her life and says they’ll pick this up another time. She sadly smiles before leaving. Ryan texts Carson to confirm that something is up with Nancy.
Nancy finds a cipher hidden in the hymn book that points her towards the old church. She goes to the church and says the phrase from the hymn, realizing Agnes wants her to go to the confessional booth. Inside, there’s a hidden stack of paper holding the necklace they need. In a letter, Agnes writes the story of what really happened with Odette. It turns out Odette was in love with a woman at home and that she would never have married a man, which tipped Agnes off that she was murdered. She confided this in Reverend Hudson, who betrayed her as he betrayed Odette. Agnes was locked away but was able to hide the necklace and the letters between Odette and her love in the booth for safekeeping.
Bess goes to dinner but panics when she sees Lisbeth and her parents and bails. George is terrified that Jessie’s last memory of her will be angry. Nick comforts her and tells her he loves her. Nick tells her she cares for everyone else but doesn’t realize how much others care for her. He says, “you need to know you’re loved,” and pulls her in for a hug. George tries to laugh it off by saying, “wow, I must be really good in bed,” but it’s clear hearing those words from Nick meant a lot to her. George goes to be with her sister, who has been sitting outside The Claw since their fight. George tells Jessie she’s proud of her and that she’s sorry for rushing her. She says she loves her and hugs her goodbye, with Jessie wondering why George is so sappy all of a sudden.
Bess talks to Ace about what happened with Lisbeth, telling him that she doesn’t want to hurt her. Ace says he feels the same way about his dad. Ace wrote him a letter that he’ll send if the box doesn’t work. Nancy bursts in to tell them about Agnes and the necklace and the crew goes to trap the ghost (again) by the seashore. It starts to work, but then the Aglaeca gets angry and smashes the box (Ace: “Good thing it wasn’t a rental”). Nancy tries to tell the Aglaeca that they know her story, that they want to set history straight. But the Aglaeca gets hit by a piece of seaweed and nearly chokes, diving back into the sea. Nancy realizes the seaweed can hurt the ghost – and if it can hurt her, maybe they can kill the Aglaeca.
Nancy Drew airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.