Thursday, June 24, 2021

Recap: Tom Swift Comes to Horseshoe Bay in ‘Nancy Drew’ Season 2, Episode 15 “The Celestial Visitor”

People of Earth, our celestial visitor has arrived. Tom Swift made his entrance into the Drewniverse, and it was a spectacular one from the start, with the newcomer immediately making his presence felt as the Drew Crew investigated supernatural phenomena and a strange meteorite. As a backdoor pilot, the episode functioned perfectly: we met Tom, we fell in love with Tom, and we immediately wanted to see more of his story. But “The Celestial Visitor” also made time to touch on topics like racism in interracial relationships and the emotional price we pay when we hide away vital parts of our identity. This episode was Nancy Drew at its best, and it introduced a shooting star in Tian Richards as Tom Swift.

The episode opens with the usual chaos of Horseshoe Bay under attack from an unknown entity. Dead birds are everywhere, electronics are going off for no reason, and the streetlights are flickering. George tries to use one of her mother’s rituals to stop it, but due to her non-native Chinese pronunciation, she ends up cursing a demonic entity into Bess’ cheek. She vomits lime green bile, but as she does so, the door opens to reveal …

Colin Bentley/The CW

Tom Swift, looking dapper and very confused at the scene in front of him. He says he’s looking for Nancy Drew as Bess vomits again. Tom uses his AI best friend Barclay to clean up the spill as he turns to Nick, asking how he got roped into all this. Before he can answer, Tom confidently says, “You met some white people? Got into this nonsense? Tiger Woods Syndrome, we understand,” as Barclay cracks a joke about the last time he cleaned up Tom’s vomit.

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Tom explains he’s looking for a rare meteorite that crashed into Horseshoe Bay 90 years ago. He tells Nancy he’ll pay her $2,000 and that he thinks finding the meteorite would also solve their other town-wide issues. Tom further explains that the meteor the meteorite came from is passing over this town tonight for the first time in 90 years, which is why the piece is being activated, and they need to contain it before it does more damage. Nancy asks why he wants the meteorite, and Tom is cagey.

Bess realizes Tom is Tom Swift, the billionaire heir to the Swift invention empire. His family (and he) are genius inventors, with Tom the flashy younger face of the company. Nancy is pulled away when Celia calls, inviting her to a big Hudson party. She wants Nancy to tell Everett who she really is, but Nancy isn’t sure. Ace notes this would publicly and officially make her a Hudson: is Nancy sure she wants this? Tom interrupts to remind them that the comet is heading their way at a rapid pace, and Nancy quips, “Can’t bring Everett to justice if Horseshoe Bay no longer exists … I’m going to save the town by helping my new client find a space rock.”

Nancy and Tom head to the historical society for information. Barclay unwittingly reveals that Tom is gay and hiding it from his father when he reads aloud a text message he sent. Tom moves right along and Nancy follows his lead, showing him a book she found showing a group of men touring the meteorite around the country for years in the 1920s. They used the money to form a secret society known as the Icarans, and as they see a picture of the group in white robes, Tom notes, “Straight men love an excuse to put on a dress, don’t they?” Nancy realizes they bought Icarus Hall, which must be where the meteorite is now.

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The two head to the hall after Tom changes into a new and equally fashion-forward outfit (“I have an outfit for every occasion!”). Inside the creepy building, Tom immediately leaves Nancy to investigate with Barclay even as she tells him to stay with her. Barclay buzzes as Tom gets closer to where he believes the meteorite is as we see a ghostly figure in a robe. Tom tries to reach past it to get the meteorite, and it lunges at him. Tom screams and runs out of the hall as the monks chase them.

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Tom frantically tries to come up with ANY scientific explanation to explain what they just saw as Nancy calmly repeats that they were ghosts. He says he will science his way out of this as he insults Nancy’s beanie (too far Tom, too far.) Nancy grumbles that she’s billing him for her mileage as they leave. Ryan and Valentina flirt as they discuss Ryan’s magazine cover. He asks her to the Hudson family party, and she accepts. Nancy calls to ask for his advice on what to wear and hears Val in the background. She tells him something isn’t right about how Val is hanging around, but Ryan wants to believe their connection is real. Nancy hangs up when she hears a knock.

It’s Tom, who is now (mostly) on team ghost after he went back to Icarus Hall by himself. We see a hilarious montage of Tom trying to use Barclay to go after the ghosts unsuccessfully while being scared by the figures, screaming, “Oh hell no,” as he and Barclay make a run for it. He plays it cool around Nancy, even mocking the dress she was trying on for the party, but she gets him to admit he now believes it was ghosts. He offers to help her with her blackmailing billionaire problem if she helps him with the meteorite, and this time they call in the rest of the Drew Crew.

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Nancy finds that in 1939, a gas leak killed all the Icarans in the hall. Clearly there’s something else going on, and while the others look up leads, Tom talks to Nick. They relate in a way we’ve rarely seen Nick relate to anyone on the show before, talking about how Nick has to do his own hair because the nearest Black barber is three hours away. George notices and asks what they’re discussing as Nick nervously says, “nothing.” Tom makes his exit as George asks what’s up. He says it’s nice to finally talk to someone his age who is Black, and George asks if he’s a different person when he’s not around other Black people. Nick says that’s probably true, but says they can talk about it more tonight on their date as he promises there won’t be any code switching with her.

Nancy rallies the troops, asking Ace and Bess to steal Val’s laptop so she can find out what she’s up to while the rest head to Icarus Hall. Outside the hotel, Ace and Amanda have a sweet moment as Ace lets Amanda drive his car, lovingly named “Florence,” so Amanda can get to know her. They lean in to kiss but are interrupted by an excited Bess, who successfully stole the laptop.

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George and Nick sit down to dinner, with Nick sharing intel Ace’s dad found showing that the Icarans massacred each other — it wasn’t a gas leak. George, remembering their conversation earlier, asks Nick to show her the real him. He explains that there are certain things he says he likes just so he can fit in with others, like Friends or the song “Cabinet Man.” He says being one of the only Black people in Horseshoe Bay makes him reluctant to stand out, not wanting to be the example for every Black man. Nick mentions a client from The Claw who sings along with rap lyrics, including the n-word, every week, but explains that he never confronts him because it is just too exhausting to have to argue about his life experience every day. He says, “it’s easier to keep quiet than be the angry Black guy.” George says she understands, but that she thought she was getting all of Nick. He asks why she never posts photos of the two of them together on Instagram, and she is surprised he’s on social media. He asks if she’s still hiding him from her family on purpose. Just then, they get a text from Nancy, and they table the conversation for now.

At Icarus Hall, Tom created nanobots that will fool the ghosts into chasing after them, not the human Drew Crew. They follow Barclay to a hidden alcove where they find the meteorite. Unfortunately, Bess goes two-for-two on demonic possession and starts swinging a sword around. The rest of the crew runs and locks her inside, promising to return. Nancy tells Tom the Women in White likely caused Bess’ possession. Tom is incredulous, noting “I feel like we’ve maxed out on secret societies,” but Nancy pulls out all her research (Tom: “You have a mobile witch library?”). Nancy’s best guess is that it’s a meteorite/curse combo — the meteorite is causing the strange weather while a hex placed on the meteorite to guard it caused the madness.

Colin Bentley/The CW

George and Nick talk, with George confessing that he was partially right about social media. Her grandfather is Chinese, and she knows he is racist towards Black people. She didn’t want his toxicity to get to their relationship. Nick notes his friends from back home would likely have something to say about him dating an Asian girl, and George says this is why she is so “prickly” all the time — she wants to counteract the stereotype that Asian women are shy or obedient. Nick says he’ll watch Friends with her if she watches Coming to America with him, and they laugh as they kiss.

Nancy picks up on Tom’s anxiety, and she asks why he needs this meteorite so badly. He explains that it contains a rare element that could help him build a spaceship to help his father explore the cosmos. Tom loves and admires his father greatly, but he feels he has always been lesser in his father’s eyes due to his sexuality. He says he plays along with his father’s attempts to set him up with women and doesn’t share anything about his dating life to keep the peace. He says if he can build this spaceship, “It might be enough for him to see me as his brilliant inventor son instead of his gay disappointment.” Nancy asks if he could be both gay and his brilliant son, and Tom says that if he gives his father that power by pushing the issue, he will only make himself vulnerable. He turns the conversation back to Nancy, saying she needs armor to deal with the Hudsons. He says, “My armor is Balmain, fast cars, and savage wit,” which gets Nancy to laugh. They realize they need to break the hex to get the meteorite.

Ace and Tom have an adorable conversation about car names (Ace: “Her name is Florence. It came to me in a dream”) as they discover that Val is blackmailing Celia. When they get inside the hall, Bess has broken out (Nancy: “Bess went the full Jack Nicholson”), so Ace is dispatched to find her while Tom and Nancy take out the hex. Nancy uses her blood to start the ritual as Ace gets into a sword fight with a crazed Bess. Nancy and Tom must combine their science and spirit world knowledge (with a little help from Barclay) to lift the hex. It works, and Bess is freed as the spirits disappear.

Ryan confronts Val about the emails that Nancy sent to him, and Val tells him she has no intention of endangering Nancy. She wants to take Everett down, and she needs Ryan to help her. The Drew Crew realize the Women in White went after the Icarans because they tried to prevent women from voting in Horseshoe Bay. Nick makes the discovery that two men survived and founded The Road Back, the group that went after Ace’s mother. Tom takes the meteorite to his car and has a heart-to-heart with Nancy. He tells her that to survive the Hudsons, she needs to put Nancy Drew away and let Nancy Hudson take over. He put two-and-two together about her origins, and he says her secret is safe with him.

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Nancy tells him he needs to get rid of his armor if she is going to put hers on. He says he’s tried to explain to his father before, and Nancy says he needs more than words. Tom jokes that he needs to find a gorgeous man to kiss and put it on the Internet. Nick leaves The Claw, and Tom has an idea. He asks Nick to kiss him for a photo, and Nick says he’s in. George approves (“There’s an extra person living in my body, you’re good”), and Bess takes a photo of the two kissing that immediately goes viral. George takes Tom’s lead and posts her own photo kissing Nick, telling him that her grandfather will just have to deal with it.

Tom gives Nancy one last parting gift: a beautiful Balmain dress for the party. Tom’s father calls, having seen the post, and Tom tells him he found the meteorite. It goes well, and Tom drives away with Barclay, off to his next adventure.

Nancy Drew airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.

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Jules
I am a nurse and dedicated nerd from Boston, MA. When I'm not at work, I'm rewatching old favorites like Supernatural or discovering my new obsessions (too many to count!). When not fangirling, I can be found reading, writing, or listening to a true crime podcast. You can find me on Twitter @juleswritesblog for more nerdy nonsense.

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