In this emotional hour of Nancy Drew, the full story of Ace and his brother is revealed as the Drew Crew each fight their own battles. Nancy receives an offer from Celia as Bess deals with her loneliness (and potential ethical dilemma with Odette). Nick thinks he’s found the key to taking down the Hudsons, and George struggles with feelings of inadequacy. Read on to find out what happened as the Drew Crew followed “The Trail of the Missing Witness.”
The episode opens on Grant and Ace, with Ace asking why Grant didn’t tell him they were brothers right away. Grant says the plan was to become friends and make sure Ace wasn’t “a psycho” before revealing his identity. We flashback to a week before, with Grant “interviewing” with Nick (Nick is so desperate to have help he hires him immediately). We see the events of the last few episodes through Grant’s eyes in a hilarious montage that features the reveal that Ace calls the deep fryer “Ruth.” Every time Grant tries to talk to Ace, he rushes out, which is what prompts Grant to leave the box with the picture for him.
In the present, Ace tells Grant about the fact that he was in Witness Protection, a fact Grant never knew until Ace called. Grant asks if Thom knows about him, and Ace says he didn’t tell him. Grant says they’ve got a bigger problem. When Grant left protective custody, a mysterious man named Daniel West contacted Grant to say that he found his mother. He’s now blackmailing Grant, needing a valuable item she stole before going into Witness Protection. Worse, one of her marshals is in on it, so they can’t involve the police. Grant only knows that the item is in somewhere called “Red Gate” and that he needs Ace’s help. Ace proudly asks if it’s because Grant heard about his heroics with the Drew Crew, and Grant shuts that down immediately by saying “no, because I knew you could talk Nancy Drew into helping me.” Ace humbly says “that was my second guess” as he looks away.
Nancy analyzes the footage Grant has of the blackmailer as they commiserate over being lied to by their parents. Unsurprisingly, Nancy knows exactly what Red Gate is. It’s a nature farm that shut down after Nancy discovered a cult there in tenth grade (as one does). Nancy says there are secret tunnels under it that could contain the item Grant’s mother hid. Ace and Grant leave to get the supplies they need to investigate as Carson returns. Nancy tells him the bare minimum of Grant’s story to see if he can find out the details of why Grant’s mother went into Witness Protection.
Nick and George are enjoying the privacy of the loft as Nick investigates Tiffany’s files. Within the files he found someone called “The Saint” who supposedly has physical proof of Everett’s connection to the murders. Nick is meeting them at the food festival tonight, where The Claw is competing for best chowder (and I assume laziest waitstaff). At The Claw, Bess finds a love letter in her locker left by Odette. Odette asks Bess to write her a love note back, and Bess is both flattered and conflicted. In the end, she writes her own note.
Grant and Ace discuss their childhood while looking for hiking items for their investigation. Ace’s mother Rebecca and Thom enter. Grant introduces himself and learns Thom is deaf as Thom doesn’t realize their connection. Thom leaves, and Grant tears up as he does. Nancy meets Celia at The Claw, where Celia reveals the key witness in the trial was recently deported. Celia tries to convince Nancy to retract her statement and prove her loyalty. Celia says this will keep her safe once Everett finds out the truth, but Nancy retorts that her statement is true. Celia says it was nice seeing her again and leaves Nancy to her thoughts.
Grant asks Ace if Thom has always been deaf, and Ace explains it was an accident. Grant wants to know if he did the right thing by not telling Thom the truth, and Ace just says they need to get going. George is trying to teach her sister Jessie how to cook the seafood chowder recipe that runs in the family to beat their rivals at The Beak. George can’t find the family recipe and is forced to make her own, which she feels less than confident about. Jessie is horrified at the lobster’s death and leaves as Bess enters. Thinking it’s Odette, she flirts with George. Bess realizes her mistake and makes her escape, and a stressed George misses her romance eyes entirely. At the festival, Nick sees Ryan surrounded by several men – one of them could be the Saint. Ryan introduces Nick to Howard and Sid, and as they get in a picture, Nick’s paranoia about which man is the mole is apparent.
Carson helps District Attorney Rosario (or as she prefers, Jean) with her boxes of case files. Jean says Nancy is the key to her whole case, and Carson asks about the case involving Grant’s mother. She tells him it was a criminal conspiracy where a whistleblower brought down a law firm. She tells him she’ll find him the case files.
At Red Gate, Nancy, Grant, and Ace head into the tunnels. Ace tries to bond with Grant as Nancy finds a hidden box. The box contains a game device and as they puzzle over what it means, the tunnel collapses. Nancy pushes Ace away as she and Grant hit the floor. Separated by rubble, Nancy talks Ace into how to stabilize the remaining tunnel. Grant tells Nancy she needs to escape first with the gaming device. Nancy makes it, but Grant hesitates. Ace talks him through his fear, saying “trust me, I’m your brother.” Grant makes it just in time as the tunnel collapses behind him.
Nancy, Grant, and Ace arrive back at Nancy’s house covered in dirt, which Carson takes in stride. He has boxes of case files from the DA, and Carson tells Nancy how proud he is that she’s testifying. He leaves, and they start watching a tape of Grant’s mom Helen testifying. It turns out Daniel was a hitman for the firm. The attorney questioning her asks why she only has one name on her list of witnesses, and Helen says that man was killed. She doesn’t want that to happen to any other witnesses she could name. Nancy realizes the device might contain the list of witnesses as Ace notes the “toy” is really an old-school encryption device.
The passcode for the device is the answer to the question “What gives us faith to make mountains fall?” Ace realizes that if they guess wrong, the whole file gets erased. Nancy notes they need to talk to the person who knew Helen 22 years ago and might know the answer to the cipher – Thom. At the festival, Ace goes to look for Thom while Grant stays with Nancy. Grant tells Nancy he’s wrestling with whether or not to tell Thom. He sees that Thom has a perfect family and that he likely never even knew about Grant. Nancy says it’s not just about them, it’s about what Grant wants too. Jessie and George chat as they serve chowder. Jessie shares that Odette comes out while George sleeps and that she’s been helping her with her French homework.
Ace finds Thom and shows him the photo of Helen and the cipher, and Thom says it’s part of a Lauryn Hill song they listened to together on their last night as a couple. Ace sees a date on the back of the photo and realizes it’s the date of their last meeting – the key to the cipher. He rushes away and leaves a confused Thom behind. The code works, and it is the list of other witnesses. They realize Daniel wants to kill them. Grant is scared of what will happen if they don’t hand it over, and Ace simply says he’ll be right there as he comes face to face with Daniel West.
Daniel uses Ace’s phone to call Nancy and Grant. He says Ace is his insurance policy and that he wants them to meet him at the abandoned paper mill in 30 minutes with the device. Grant wants to tell Thom, but Nancy notes Thom is both a cop and a U.S. Marshal. She calls Celia for a favor, and Celia says she’ll help if Nancy retracts her testimony.
George finds the letter Bess wrote Odette, and she confronts Bess. George says she can’t fall for someone who is “totally unavailable and also IN MY BODY” as Bess stutters. Bess says she’d never cross that line but that there’s a hole in her heart after losing Lisbeth and the Marvins. George tells her it needs to end as the announcer says The Claw won the prize. As Bess hugs George in delight, Odette makes her appearance. Bess yelps and jumps away, saying they can’t hug as a dreamy-eyed Odette says “Bess, we won!”
At the mill, Daniel has Ace tied to a railing. If he lets go, Ace dies. Grant wants to give up the names, but Ace insists that more people will die if he does. Nancy tries to reason with him as Daniel says this is his way to “The Road Back.” Nancy and Grant are confused, and Daniel says he thought they knew. The law firm was a front for a larger criminal enterprise and Helen knew that. Daniel says “no one person ever ends The Road Back.” Ace tells them not to do it, but Nancy sees that there isn’t a way out. Grant hands Daniel the device as he says “your mom is a smart woman. The only dumb thing she ever did was trust me.” Grant and Nancy rush to Ace and pull him back from the edge. Nancy hugs Ace as Daniel drives away. Ace is upset they gave up the list, but Nancy says Celia sent someone to get the list back without hurting anyone. Ace says “you believed her?” as Nancy says she couldn’t lose him.
Ace and Grant talk again, with Grant revealing that they’re being relocated now that the marshal working for Daniel has been arrested. Nancy brings back the device – Celia came through. Nancy wants to investigate The Road Back, and Ace says he found that they’re like “the real-life Illuminati.” No one who crosses them lives, and Nancy suggests they hide the names in the archive boxes with Hannah.
Back at the festival, Jessie finds George. She discovered that the reason The Beak has been winning all those years is that they stole their family recipe. Jessie points out that George didn’t need it – she won all on her own. Nick arrives, and he says he never found the Saint. Just then, he sees one of Ryan’s associates from earlier. He realizes that the man’s college team was The Saints based on a class ring. Nick goes to him and reveals what he knows. The Saint gives Nick tangible proof tying the Hudsons to the murders in the form of bank statements and files. Everything is in Ryan’s name. Ryan tells Nick his parents used to have him sign things when he was a teenager and he never questioned it. Nick tells him this proves Everett deliberately set Ryan up to take the fall.
Outside The Claw, Ace tells Thom about Grant, who pulls up in his car to meet Thom. As “Beautiful Life” by Soll plays, a stunned Thom stares at Grant. Grant uses rudimentary sign language Ace taught him to say “I am Grant” (who’s cutting onions in here!?). Thom signs that he looks just like his mother before wrapping him in a hug. Ace interprets for them both, emotional. Grants hugs Ace goodbye, and he leaves to return to Helen.
Nancy goes to Jean’s office. Jean is happy to see her, but Nancy tells her she wants to amend her statement to say that Everett Hudson had nothing to do with the Bonny Scot murders.
Nancy Drew airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.