In an emotionally wrenching and terrifying finale, Nancy must face her past to save herself while battling her own regrets. It’s a deeply personal look at mental illness and the way depression clouds the world, anchored by a knockout performance from Kennedy McMann. While there are plenty of supernatural thrills to be had (along with one heck of a cliffhanger), the focus is squarely on McMann as Nancy comes to terms with the broken parts of herself. It’s the perfect end to a season devoted to exploring how the past shapes us, intentionally or not, and it sets up the series for season 3 in a shocking way. Read on to find out what happened as Nancy experiences “The Echo of Lost Tears.”
The Drew crew has spent the entire night brewing up disgusting remedies for the wraith. Nancy looks like a wreck, and nothing is working. Both Ryan and Carson share their support. Ryan reveals Everett froze his accounts, leaving him with nothing. But to him, it’s worth it. He’ll do anything to save Nancy because she’s all he has left. Nancy tells Carson that Ryan needs a dad right now and that he needs to stop hovering over her. Ace reveals he and Amanda are going on a road trip if no one dies in the next day as Gil arrives. Nancy’s been keeping him in the dark, and he’s shocked at her appearance.
Hannah calls to let them know of a ritual that will show them how the wraith came to be, but it will be risky for Nancy. Gil tries to pull her away, and suddenly Nancy sees it all clearly. The wraith was keeping her from seeing the controlling parts of Gil, the bad parts, and she breaks up with him. Gil says she’ll regret it as he leaves. Ace, having witnessed the whole thing, goes to Nancy. He says, “This whole time, the wraith made you think there was no separating you from it. You just proved that wrong.”
They head for the woods to start the ritual. They flash back in time to the Women in White, where Temperance Hudson is being banished. Temperance doesn’t take it lying down, creating the wraith to break the barrier the Women created. A creepy baby wraith emerges as the Women in White destroy Temperance for trying to cross the barrier. Nancy faints in the Drew Crew’s arms.
They now know why the wraith went after Nancy specifically, and Ace finds out that the device Temperance used to create the wraith is called a lacrimatory. Ace wants to try to reverse the process by making one of their own. Nick and Ace head to the Internet to see if anyone has a working lacrimatory. Meanwhile, George and Bess dive into Temperance’s history, finding that the Women in White banished her because she was trying to make contact with an evil entity living underneath Horseshoe Bay (of course, another entity, just what this town needs.) Charity, her daughter, stole the device she used to create the wraith and moved to New York. Bess notices a legal book in George’s bag, and George reveals she’s been writing a will to protect her sisters if she dies young. Bess wants her to focus on herself, but George says she needs to focus on something else or it will make her too sad. All of a sudden, Odette shows up to tell Bess she’s trying too hard before giving control back to George.
Amanda tells Ace she can’t go on the road trip because she needs to be there for Gil. Ace says Nancy dumped Gil for being a bad influence, which Amanda can’t see. She hangs up, and Ace throws himself into working the case. He finds Stonerock Mansion, which is owned by Myrtle Hudson. The crew gets ready to go to New York — Nancy is fading fast. Arriving at the mansion, Ace opens the car door for a deathly ill Nancy as the crew strategizes. Myrtle plans weddings, and Nick suggests he and George pretend. George isn’t up to it, but Odette once again steps in. She says she can act the part as she saunters inside. Myrtle sees how ill Nancy is, and Nancy gives the terrible excuse that her pallor and sunken eyes are just carsickness. Bess gently places her in a chair before leaving with Odette — they are posing as the couple. Ace and Nick search the house.
Carson helps Ryan with Celia’s arrangements. Ryan asks if there’s some way for him to protect Carson if Everett tries to say he kidnapped Nancy. Carson says he could sign a document backdated to Nancy’s birthday saying he consented to Nancy’s adoption. But Carson says Ryan has a right to be Nancy’s dad and that that will always mean something. Ace and Nick find the device while Bess has a crisis over the fact that she and Odette can’t actually be together. Myrtle hears something smash and finds Ace and Nick with the device.
Myrtle goes to call the cops, but Nancy reveals who she is. They explain what’s going on with the wraith, and Myrtle agrees that they can use the tools on the property. The Drew Crew get set up and use the machine. It begins drawing Nancy’s blood, but it’s too late to stop it. Nancy cries out in pain as the wraith is sucked out of her. But it doesn’t work for long, and it re-enters her body. Nancy wakes up on a beach in her mind. Across from her is an evil version of herself standing in front of a door, and this Dark Nancy saunters over and starts choking our Nancy as she states, “It’s too late.”
Dark Nancy holds Nancy back as Nancy says she knows she’s not the wraith. Suddenly, Dark Nancy is hit over the head with a crowbar. It’s George, or at least the version of George Nancy’s mind manifested to protect her. Dark Nancy represents real Nancy’s darkest moment, and with George’s encouragement, she takes off her jacket to reveal a painful tether running through the door where the wraith is hiding. Nancy is going to have to confront her past selves to defeat the wraith. George tells real Nancy not to quit as she opens the door. The door takes her to a dark alley, where Nancy’s younger self is waiting.
Young Nancy asks how she could let them become a liar who hurts people after she did everything right. Bess arrives as another manifestation of Nancy’s mind, telling her she’s running out of time. Bess asks why Young Nancy felt compelled to find the truth, and Nancy says it’s because on some level, even then, she knew her truth was being kept from her. Young Nancy steps aside to reveal another door.
Nancy goes through it and finds herself underground in a grave. She sees herself staring into her mother’s grave on the day of her funeral. Teen Nancy says she’s too damaged by Kate’s death to help. Nick arrives and tells Nancy she needs to get out of this herself. Nancy says this is the moment she thought she would never be okay again, and she knows the wraith is buried beneath all this for a reason. Nick says she did feel okay again, and Nancy says it was with his help … which is why it hurt when he chose George in the end. But Nick reminds her he’s still there for her. Nancy climbs out of the grave on her own and stands up in the cemetery. Nancy thanks Nick for still being her friend, and he smiles.
Nancy follows the tether to another door to The Claw. She finds herself on the cliff the night she was born. Ace is there, and Nancy realizes this is where it all started. She laments, “I was born broken. And that’s why all these pieces of me are broken.” Ace gently tells her, “You weren’t born broken. You’re hurt, maybe. But in the end, the only way to heal is to let that pain become love.” Nancy says she really wants that love, and suddenly she is holding Baby Nancy in her arms. Ace tells her it’s time to kick the monster out. She asks Ace to hold her, and he says, “I thought you’d never ask,” as he moves toward her. In a moment to make Nace shippers swoon, they kiss as Ace tells her, “Knock ’em dead.”
Nancy goes through the final door to face the wraith. She realizes she’ll have to kill the past selves she’s faced so far to destroy the wraith. Dark Nancy notes most people would love to get rid of the worst parts of themselves. As the wraith approaches, Nancy wonders why she can’t do it. Young Nancy says they are a part of her truth even if she wishes they weren’t. Teen Nancy asks how she thinks the wraith got to them. Nancy realizes that by shoving down the sad parts of her life and locking them away in the dark, she was only making herself vulnerable to the wraith, not healing. Nancy sobs, saying “I didn’t want you to be a part of me. But if I destroy you, I destroy the pieces that made me who I am.” Cutting the tether as the wraith screams, Nancy reassures her child self.
“Don’t be scared. I do have a choice, and I am bringing you with me. And I know it’ll be hard. Every day I’ll have to face the things I never wanted to. But I’m ready, and I have you now.”
Nancy embraces all the other Nancys, and in the real world Nancy wakes up. It worked. Nancy says she’s strong enough to hold the trauma now, and Ace softly notes she always was.
In The Claw’s parking lot, Ace calls Amanda. Amanda tells him Gil is all she has. Ace says he’s not asking her to choose. He wants to prioritize her if she can prioritize him. She doesn’t answer. Inside, George thanks Odette for her help. Odette says she wants George to be able to live even if Odette is inside her. She will lock herself away so George can live her life. George tells Odette to go to Bess to say goodbye. Odette gives Bess flowers as Bess cries. Odette says Bess made her whole even if their love was a fantasy. They kiss, and we see Odette say goodbye for good. George hugs Bess and says she’s sorry.
Nancy rehearses telling Ace about her dream outside his house. His mother tells her he and Amanda left for their road trip. Nancy is sad, and Ace’s mother invites her inside. Outside town, Ace and Amanda are preparing to leave. He’s not as happy as he thought he’d be, and tells Amanda it feels like he’s leaving something behind. He hesitates, but gets in the car. George goes to Nick and tells him she wants to start living her life, and that includes marrying Nick.
Nancy comes home to see Carson and Ryan watching television together. Nancy tells them she is hosting a press conference to announce who she really is. She wants to take over Hudson Enterprises and give the assets to Everett’s victims. She says to protect Carson she needs Ryan to sign a document … and Ryan reveals he already has. Carson says he offered Ryan their house as a place to crash in exchange. Nancy smiles and sits between her two dads. Nancy notices a mysterious letter in her bag, and pulls it out to read it. It’s from Myrtle. We hear her narrate as she lowers herself into a bathtub. It’s Temperance: she’s reincarnated in Myrtle’s body. Inside the Hudson morgue, workers see that one of the coffins looks like someone clawed their way out.
Temperance writes Nancy’s name in the family tree, noting it’s the seventh generation (the number of generations the barrier was meant to last for). She goes to the woods and breaks the barrier using Nancy’s blood. She looks out over Horseshoe Bay as all the lights go out. Nancy looks up as there is a pounding at her door.
Nancy Drew returns for its third season this fall on The CW.