Thursday, July 29, 2021

Nerds Rewatch: ‘Nancy Drew’ Season 1, Episodes 4-6

Hello, Drew Crew! Welcome to our second edition of Nerds Rewatch Nancy Drew, a new series from Nerds and Beyond where we will be rewatching the series from the beginning to prepare for the arrival of season 3 this fall. We’ll be watching three episodes of season 1 per week, then switching to two episodes a week for season 2, ending the week of the season 3 premiere. Never seen an episode and want to dive in? Seen every episode but want a refresher? Either way, we’ve got you covered with both spoiler-free and spoiler-filled discussion of our favorite sleuth and her friends. You can head over to HBO Max to watch seasons 1 and 2 now.

Under each episode heading you’ll find discussion ONLY of the current episode and the ones preceding it, while at the end of each article there will be a section discussing how the episodes relate to the series as a whole. (Here be spoilers, you have been warned). If you missed last week’s rewatch of the first three episodes, you can head here for all the action. Without further ado, let’s jump right into Nancy Drew season 1, episodes 4-6!

“The Haunted Ring”

Dean Buscher/The CW

Written by: Celine Geiger

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Directed by: Larry Teng

  • “It’s an old house, it creaks.” Nancy refusing to accept that she’s being haunted considering a ghost has literally whacked her in the face while hanging from a tree is hilarious.
  • The tension of the house being utterly silent and dark while Nancy and Bess walk though apart from the buzzing of the microwave is peak horror movie tension. This whole opening scene is so well executed. Larry Teng is Nancy Drew‘s secret weapon, having directed nine episodes of the series so far.
  • Seeing more of Nancy’s mother Kate does wonders for explaining Nancy’s motivations. Also, Sarah Canning (any The Vampire Diaries fans out there?) looks just like Kennedy McMann and is another example of the great casting on this show.
  • Nancy’s sly smile when Carson tells her Tiffany died of natural causes is peak Nancy Drew.
  • Laura Tandy has arrived, and boy does she know how to make an entrance! Stevie Lynn Jones’ performance in this and future episodes makes Laura a memorable guest star.
  • Fun fact: Ace’s line “Ace’s phone, this is Ace” was improvised by actor Alex Saxon. This episode is the first one where we really get to see the goofier part of Ace’s personality as the writers begin to write to Saxon’s comedic timing. Ace saying, “OH, WOW, this is random,” when he “accidentally” runs into Laura is also hilarious.
  • “Don’t you have paid law enforcement to do this kind of thing?” Ace asking the important questions. I do appreciate the fact that McGinnis clearly wants the Ace/Laura ship to sail.
  • Bess, the ring was just speaking to you in creepy whispers. Do not start wearing it, it’s Horror Movie 101.
  • Maddison Jaizani is a delight as Bess, and her furious delivery of, “I like sparkly things, they calm me,” is iconic.
  • Once again, love the music cue of “Nobody Does It Like You Do” by the Vinyl Pinups as Ace sees Laura again for the first time. This is about to turn into an Ace tribute article but again, perfect delivery by Alex Saxon as he tells Laura, “I bumble just as well un-stoned.”
  • As much as Carson is trying to keep Nancy out of investigating Tiffany’s death, he has his doubts too.
  • Welcome Victoria Fan! She’s a great character and it’s the first glimpse we get into George’s home life.
  • It’s touching how Laura immediately goes to Nick to let him know that Tiffany spoke highly of him.
  • “I’m sorry I slept with your husband and I hope this brings you peace.” Say that with a smidge more sincerity, George. Also the mirror bit sounded important when your mother mentioned it, and if I’ve learned nothing from this show, it’s that you have to finish the job when it comes to banishing spirits into the afterlife.
  • Holy British accent, Bess!
  • “You don’t know about my life.” “And you don’t know about mine.” I love when Nancy’s sleuthing is challenged by the person she’s investigating. Watching her physically recoil when Bess asks her something personal is fascinating and builds her character well.
  • Laura playing Tiffany’s 9-1-1 call at the funeral is the kind of theatrics I respect.
  • Nancy and Carson at the grave is heartbreaking, especially Carson’s speech about why Kate didn’t want Nancy there for her death and the flashback to the night Kate died. Nancy’s stubborn streak is keeping her from getting the emotional comfort she so desperately needs from Carson.
  • Kennedy McMann pouring her heart out as Nancy as she talks to Kate is gut-wrenching. Her inability to believe in ghosts because she wanted her mother to come back to her is a great explanation for Nancy’s refusal to acknowledge the supernatural aspects of this case. Her monologue is perfectly written and performed.

“I’m starting to believe in ghosts. It took me a while to get there, I think, because … I was waiting for you. I thought if ghosts exist, you would come to me. Why haven’t you? Am I not enough to keep you here? Because I really need you.”

  • Fun fact: Keene High School is a reference to Carolyn Keene, the original pseudonym for the author of the Nancy Drew book series.
  • Looks like Karen was lying about not knowing Lucy Sable! I wonder why …
  • Poor George getting possessed by Tiffany’s spirit. This is why we pay attention to all the steps in the ghost banishing ritual, folks.

“The Case of the Wayward Spirit”

Robert Falconer/The CW

Written by: Melinda Hsu Taylor and Katherine DiSavino

Directed by: Claudia Yarmy

  • The lighting design for the opening scene of George/Tiffany walking through the Hudson home is gorgeous, and I especially love the pairing with “The Darkest Places” by Le Bon.
  • Fun fact: “It’s the murder that kills you” is another improv by Alex Saxon.
  • Welcome to Horseshoe Bay, Owen Marvin! I’m sure this won’t complicate Nancy’s entire romantic life even more. Also, go Ace for being Bess’ wingman with Lisbeth.
  • Pretty bold of George to cater this massive event short notice when her entire staff is made up of teenagers who never show up to work, ever.
  • “We’re platanchors now so she tells me things when you’re not around.” The “platanchor” duo of Bess and Ace is my favorite. Their chaotic energy matches perfectly, and I love how supportive they are of each other.
  • “Bad news: Tiffany doesn’t like you. Good news: Tiffany is dead! The other bad news is that Tiffany’s spirit has been hitching a ride in your body intermittently.” Ace’s one-liners are always a delight, but this one is great for George’s reaction alone.
  • Leah Lewis and Liza Lapira both give great performances in this episode. It’s interesting to see the ways that Victoria and George are similar and yet so, so different.
  • You have to respect George’s hustle of catering this event while one step away from being fully possessed by a vengeful spirit.
  • Ah yes, the love triangle begins as Owen meets Nancy (and Nick is jealous from the beginning).
  • Lucy’s hand coming out of the ground is horrifying (and again, props to the stunt and art direction teams for using practical effects). Interesting how Lucy whispers to Nancy right before Karen shows up, though.
  • Ace playing peacemaker between Laura and Nick is peak Ace.
  • Fun fact: River Heights Dry Cleaners is a reference to Book Nancy’s hometown of River Heights.
  • Tiffany transforming by taking George’s hair down and throwing on a red dress is brilliant work on the part of the hair and makeup team. It’s also a great visual callback to the red jacket Tiffany had on the night she died.
  • Tunji Kasim, Stevie Lynn Jones, and Leah Lewis are all stunning in the last few scenes of this episode. Nick promising to stay with Tiffany until she leaves and Tiffany/George begging Nick to protect Laura is heart-wrenching. Laura’s anger is justified if misdirected, and Jones expresses so much about Laura and Tiffany’s relationship from limited screen time.
  • Fun fact: There is an Easter egg in Laura’s failed passwords. “Hollow Oak” is a reference to the Nancy Drew novel The Message in the Hollow Oak. Additionally, Owen’s company Pine Hill Construction is a reference to The Phantom of Pine Hill.
  • I’m a fan of Nancy Drew‘s end of episode montages checking in with each character. “Wandering Star” by Perryman is the perfect song for the moments as we see sparks between Nancy and Owen as well as Lisbeth and Bess. The song also fits non-romantic emotions as we check in with George and Victoria.
  • Lucy knew Ryan AND Karen? Seems like there’s a lot more connections to Tiffany than we initially thought. Not to mention Nancy’s new suitor Owen playing a starring role on Tiffany’s flash drive detailing Hudson corruption.

“The Mystery of Blackwood Lodge”

Dean Buscher/The CW

Written by: Alex Taub and Andrea Thornton Bolden

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Directed by: Amanda Row

  • Nancy walking through Ryan’s house gives us one of the coolest shots of the series as we see Lucy haunting Nancy in the waterfall. It’s an incredible shot but more importantly, it begs the question of why Lucy is haunting Nancy specifically and why she is at Ryan’s house.
  • Fun fact: The Velvet Masque party is a reference to The Clue of the Velvet Mask, another Nancy Drew novel. I love the Easter eggs in this show for the Nancy Drew book fans.
  • Maddison Jaizani is adorable as Bess worries over her date with Lisbeth.
  • George looking at everyone in dismay for prioritizing their romantic lives over inventory day is so funny. Additionally, she needs to fire every one of these people and find employees who might actually work one full shift a week.
  • “Maybe don’t lead with the fact that you sometimes live in a van. Or your mild kleptomania. Or your family.” Excellent first date advice brought to you by Ace!
  • This episode does a lot to show that while Ryan may be a Hudson, there’s a lot he doesn’t know about his own family, especially with the Bonny Scot murders. Riley Smith’s performance humanizes him even as he’s a suspect in two murders.
  • Poor Bess and Lisbeth — this is a disaster of a first date. But Bess’ desperate reassurance that she’s never seen a mouse in The Claw is hilarious (sorry for laughing at your pain there, Bess).
  • A little party never killed nobody … unless of course it’s the Velvet Masque and you’re Lucy Sable.
  • The art direction for the Velvet Masque is spooky and perfect for a party designed by the “Illumi-naughty.”
  • Celia Hudson — world’s worst mom or just looking out for her son? Either way, she’s a master manipulator. Teryl Rothery is great in the role and really makes her menacing.
  • As prickly as George can be, she’s right — Nancy is closed off emotionally, and it will take a lot more trust for her to open up to Nick.
  • “Townies have lost hands for less!” is the first in what will be a long tradition of fantastic one-liners by Horseshoe Bay’s rich elite.
  • Ryan’s raw emotion at losing Lucy seems sincere, and Riley Smith does a great job of showing Ryan’s devastation.
  • You’ve got to admire George’s dedication to inventory day and Bess’ equal dedication to pursuing Lisbeth while avoiding inventory day. Priorities!
  • Haunted coins moving on their own is never a good sign.

Some Class of 2019 Time Capsule Content …

  • We meet a lot of characters in these three episodes who are very important to the Nancy Drew mythology: Josh Dodd, Laura Tandy, Victoria Fan, Aunt Diana (briefly), Everett Hudson, Owen Marvin, and Celia Hudson. It’s also our first mention of the Bonny Scot disaster, which will be important for season 1 and the majority of season 2.
  • Bess’ arc of searching for biological family, finding her own family with her friends in Horseshoe Bay, then finding and losing the Marvins is quite the ride.
  • Ghost possession number one for George! Ghosts really love this girl. I’m starting to think the writers just love how talented Leah Lewis is and want to give her the chance to play as many characters as humanly possible.
  • I love all the seeds that are planted for the resolution of the Lucy arc, especially with Karen. With hindsight it all makes sense, but on first watch it’s not so obvious that the mystery is revealed.
  • Carson’s warning at Kate’s grave that, “Whatever you’re feeling, you can carry it with you, but you can’t let it consume you,” is an ongoing theme for Nancy and continues into season 2’s storyline with the wraith. Rewatching the episodes from the start of the series really shows how the writers laid the emotional groundwork for Nancy’s arc so early on.
  • It’s so funny to see the Drew Crew flustered by a ghost possession when that will soon be par for the course for them. Good times, good times.
  • Owen’s introduction lays the groundwork for the shocker of a twist that is his death just a few episodes later. It’s a neat subversion of the classic love triangle trope.
  • I love the Nancy/Ace ship as much as the next person, but Laura and Ace were great together too. Laura, like Nancy, sees Ace’s intelligence alongside his laid-back attitude.
  • Speaking of relationships, George and Nick have a lot of chemistry here even as Nick is still dating Nancy. It really foreshadows their connection down the line.
  • Lucy constantly pointing Nancy in Ryan’s direction reads so differently knowing that she’s really trying to tell Nancy that Ryan is her father. Even without knowing that connection, Nancy’s scenes with Ryan are alive with chemistry. Kudos once again to Riley Smith for always adding another layer to Ryan even when he seems to be a classic playboy.

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments! Seasons 1 and 2 of Nancy Drew are available now on HBO Max. Be sure to catch up on episodes 7-9 of season 1 for next week’s rewatch!

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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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