In “The Beacon of Moonstone Island,” various relationships go through changes as Nancy recanting her testimony causes shockwaves through Horseshoe Bay. Nancy’s loyalties become more complicated as the Drew Crew helps a young girl find her way home, and Ace is torn between his new relationship with Amanda and his worry for Nancy. Read on to find out what happens when sparks fly — both literal, and romantic.
The morning after Nancy’s night with Gil, she sees a newspaper headline about her change in testimony. She (and Carson by extension) are getting dragged through the mud. Gil suggests they take a boat trip, and Nancy mentions that her dad has a client with a ship who lost 500 gallons of pickles when one of his boats crashed near Moonstone Island. She wants to solve the case to help restore her father’s name, and Gil offers to come along. She says he can as they kiss.
Nancy isn’t the only one having a fun night. Ace and Amanda are finishing up having sex, with Amanda even getting tied to the headboard. She gets up as he talks about his brother and his father. Amanda tells him he should bury his feelings about it like she does, then asks him to take her passport photo since “I could never recreate this hair on my own.” She says she needs the passport for a hike she’s planning on taking, asking him not to tell Gil. She looks for her saved up money — which Gil stole.
This leads to the most awkward morning after ever as Ace and Nancy see each other as they leave their respective partner’s rooms. Nancy wants to talk about the Hudsons, but Ace tightly tells her not to go there right now. Gil, apparently marking his territory, puts his arm around Nancy as he mentions they’re going on a “date” to Moonstone Island (throughout all this, Amanda is tossing clothes around the room trying to find her stolen money). Amanda overhears and says he’s not going anywhere — it’s his turn to play landlord, and besides, their dad’s boat is technically hers. She’s happy to take Nancy and Ace over to Moonstone Island. Nancy gets a text and says she has to run to The Claw first, but she’ll meet them at the harbor in an hour. Gil gets in one last kiss as Ace looks on.
George is attempting to wrangle her siblings, who all apparently like Odette more because she buys them fun presents when she’s in control. At The Claw, Nancy gets a “token of appreciation” from Celia, making her feel even guiltier. Nick arrives, and while he sympathizes with her position, he also tells her that now all the work he was doing against the Hudsons is useless. The men on the Bonny Scot won’t get justice. Nancy says that now Celia trusts her, she can find another way to help. But Nick is skeptical of her allegiances. George is upset to find that Odette even reorganized her office. Bess arrives to apologize for what happened with Odette, which gives George the idea to hide Odette’s letter from her love to teach her a lesson.
At Moonstone Island, Ace and Nancy walk up ahead as Amanda struggles to keep up. Nancy says the ship captain who crashed claimed to see a light from Moonstone Island, but the lighthouse has been inoperable for years. Nancy notices blood and fresh embers while they hear twigs break behind them. Amanda grabs Ace’s hand in fear (which Nancy clocks). They stumble upon a campsite, where a young and injured girl sits in fear. Nancy whispers, “Ghosts don’t bleed … she’s real,” as they stare at each other.
The girl says her name is Birdie, and she lives here alone. Amanda says she’s a volunteer EMT and that this girl needs help or she’ll lose her leg. Birdie agrees to come back with them, but only if she can go back to the island afterwards. As they leave, the camera zooms in on a creepy doll as embers swirl.
At The Claw, Bess and George gossip about Ace and Amanda, to Nancy’s chagrin. Nick says she doesn’t match any missing persons lists as they hear glass shatter. Birdie’s plate is smashed on the floor, and she says she wants grilled cheese and peanut butter. Ace offers to make it for her as Nick calls a social worker. George remarks that when she first started working at The Claw when she was 14, a huge catering order came in for grilled cheese and peanut butter sandwiches. Nancy remembers seeing tally marks on a rock on the island that correspond to the five years that have elapsed since then. Ace finds an article about a couple and their daughter, Elizabeth, who supposedly all drowned at sea five years ago as Bess finds that the girl’s grandparents held a vigil where the sandwiches were served because of Elizabeth’s favorite snack. They notice ashes falling as Birdie screams.
Nancy runs to the bathroom, where Birdie has killed the bird Odette bought. She says it was an accident, and when Nancy leaves the room, she says, “Why are you doing this?” to an unseen being. She curls in a ball, and Nancy gently asks what’s wrong as Birdie says, “They’re mad I left.” They realize Birdie isn’t the problem, and they take her to Nick’s loft because it is brick and less flammable.
They seat Birdie in a salt circle so they can talk. She says the “fire souls” protect her. She first saw them after the accident, when they saved her. Nancy asks what happened before, and Birdie says she doesn’t remember anything. Ace finds a privateer ship that was blown up by cannonball fire near Moonstone Island with no survivors. Every time anyone has tried to settle on the island, every house has burned down with no survivors. Amanda excitedly says that the crew of the ship must be haunting the island, sheepishly adding, “Long time listener, first time caller,” when they all look at her.
Birdie demands to go back to the island, but Nancy tells her who she really is. Birdie remembers pieces of the day of the accident. Nancy tells her she has grandparents who love her, but they need to get rid of the fire souls. George mentions they can get rid of them with a ritual, but they need something from Birdie’s past. Bess encourages them to hurry as fires have started around town. Nancy reasons that the only reason the ghosts would care for Birdie is if they felt guilty. Ace finds a photo from the accident proving the fire souls were behind it. Nancy tells Birdie they aren’t her friends, and she tearfully agrees to help them.
Birdie finds her sixth grade time capsule and begins the ritual. But in a truly creepy moment, they see figures in the distance: the souls are here. They push Birdie down, which she says they’ve never done before. She completes the ritual and traps the spirits in a bottle. Nancy hugs her as she cries.
Back at The Claw, Odette tells George to give her the letter back. George says now she knows what it’s like to be meddled with, and Odette says she was meddled with every day of her life until she died. She says Mary was the only one who understood and that the letter is irreplaceable. George rushes out past Nick and Bess. Bess nearly tells Nick about the letters to Odette, and Nick says that whatever she’s holding back, he trusts she’ll make the right choice.
Nancy returns Birdie to her grandparents, and her uncle Frank hands Nancy a card, offering her free boat repair any time she wants. He also asks if Birdie said anything about the accident, and Nancy says it is best to let her share when she’s ready. Something about the man isn’t right, and Nancy asks Ace to pull up the photo from the accident. The boat is charred black, but the ash from the spirits is gray. Amanda cheerily pops in to change Nancy’s bandage from the burn she suffered, and they are shocked to see that “give no quarter” is now etched into her skin. She realizes that if they were behind the accident, they wouldn’t have left Birdie alive. The burn is a warning. Turns out, the boat was registered to Birdie’s uncle.
Nancy investigates the shop with Ace and Amanda. They find a repair log, and Amanda’s boat knowledge comes in handy as she notes that the boat wasn’t being repaired properly. Nancy checks the number on the business card Frank gave her, and notices the handwriting matches the entry. Nancy finds a door in the floor leading to a safe, which she and Ace crack together as Amanda watches. Inside is proof that Frank was laundering money through the shop. They get a call from Birdie’s grandmother Carolyn: Birdie is missing.
Nancy tries to show her evidence to the police, but the officer sarcastically remarks, “Oh, so you can just recant it later?” The officer kicks her out, and undeterred, she sneaks around the back door and gives Carolyn the evidence. Amanda and Ace look for Birdie at The Claw, where Amanda asks if Ace and Nancy ever “hooked up” because of the vibe she gets from them. She says she definitely wouldn’t be mad since Nancy is “foxy,” and as Ace denies it Gil exits. He’s upset, asking where they were. Amanda asks where her money is and confesses it was for a backpacking trip to Europe. Gil mockingly says he expected more from Amanda’s “first big girl adventure,” and when she tears up and goes inside Ace says what we’re all thinking: “Why are you such a dick?”
Gil says they have a code, and Ace counters with, “Codependency is not a code.” Ace and Amanda talk, with Amanda admitting her earlier act about avoiding emotions was a front. She was scared to talk about emotional things with Ace because she didn’t want to mess up their relationship, saying she was scared. He leans in and kisses her, asking, “Are you still scared?”
At the docks, Nancy finds Birdie, who is desperately trying to go back to Moonstone Island. All her memories from Horseshoe Bay are haunting her, and she doesn’t know how to live with them. Nancy tells her she will make new memories here that will honor her parents and celebrate their lives. Birdie says she wants to say goodbye to the souls, knowing that they won’t hurt anyone now that she’s safe. Nancy gives her the bottle, and Birdie releases them. She cries as she sees them say goodbye.
The police arrest Frank after Carolyn gives them the files. George apologizes to Odette, saying she still hasn’t processed what Odette went through. She offers to help her find Mary, and Odette accepts. Ace approaches Nancy to talk about the deal with the Hudsons. He says he’s worried about her, not mad about what she did. He just knows it’s not like her to work with the Hudsons. He also brings up Gil, saying he doesn’t think he’s the best person for Nancy to be with. But Nancy didn’t see how Gil was with Amanda and hits back with, “What, got a girlfriend and now you’re the relationship expert?” Ace says Gil is controlling, and Nancy shuts the conversation down by saying she’s fine. He says she’s right and that it’s not his place to say before leaving as Nancy contemplates what Ace said.
Odette goes to Bess and says she respects George’s boundaries, but wants to stay friends. Bess says she can do that, and the two watch a historical film as Odette points out the inaccuracies. Nick talks to Nancy. He tells her he finally figured out what he wants to do with his building — he wants to turn it into a youth drop in center to help kids like Birdie. He asks how Nancy is, and she asks if maybe Celia’s gift was actually a token of love rather than guilt or payment. Nick gently tries to tell her Celia isn’t going to change, but Nancy says maybe she’ll surprise him. As she leaves, Nick calls Ryan to say they’ve lost Nancy.
Nancy Drew airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.