Thursday, July 29, 2021

Nerds Rewatch: ‘Nancy Drew’ Season 1, Episodes 7-9

Hello, Drew Crew! Welcome to our third edition of Nerds Rewatch Nancy Drew, 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 discussions 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 a 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 (translation: spoilers). If you missed last week’s rewatch, you can head here for all the action. Without further ado, let’s jump right into Nancy Drew season 1, episodes 7-9!

“The Tale of the Fallen Sea Queen”

Colin Bentley/The CW

Written by: Erika Harrison and Katie Schwartz

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Directed by: Rebecca Rodriguez

  • Each Drew Crew member so far has an entire episode disproving their involvement in Tiffany’s murder. It allows us to learn more about each of them while moving the story along. The show had to address Ace’s deal with McGinnis before he was totally in the clear, especially since Nancy found out.
  • George’s priority of keeping The Claw open no matter what supernatural entity is currently stalking Horseshoe Bay is both admirable and incomprehensible.
  • Tunji Kasim is so good at making it clear that Nick respects and loves Nancy, even if he doesn’t like the way she keeps him at arm’s length.
  • I feel like the Drew Crew is ignoring a LOT of red flags from Victoria about this séance.
  • Not sure if it’s intentional, but Lucy’s pink dress and hair from the Sea Queen pageant is giving off Carrie vibes.
  • At this point, Tiffany’s dog walker probably got money after she died. Laura, Ryan, the other Hudsons … who else has an economic motive for murder?
  • The Hudsons paid off Carson? This is going to make family dinner way more awkward than it was already going to be.
  • Kennedy McMann handles Nancy’s vulnerable moments so well. But the best aspect of her performance is her ability to show Nancy’s stubborn streak. Nancy is closed off and downright mean when someone breaches her emotional defenses. When Nick confronts her about Carson, you can actually see all the facial expressions McMann flickers through before settling behind Nancy’s defensive mask.
  • Our first Ace and Carson interaction!
  • The library haunting attack is terrifying and staged so well. The hands reaching out of the shelves for the coins as Nancy and Nick gather them are so creepy.
  • “Yeah, I can still see the dark terrifying forces descending on our town, but at least my pores are unclogging.” Victoria’s dry sense of humor matches George’s sarcastic personality. Like mother, like daughter.
  • As the series has gone on, we’ve learned a lot more about Lucy aside from her status as a murder victim. Josh talking about his sister makes Lucy a real person rather than just the girl from the creepy nursery rhyme or a case to be cracked.
  • Nick vouching for Nancy with Josh even though she hasn’t opened up to him about Carson goes to show what a good person Nick is.
  • Looks like Nancy has some misplaced anger she’s taking out on Ace.
  • Ted is adorable, and I love Nancy’s wink as she negotiates with George. As creepy as Ted playing with the entity is, there’s something hilarious about an evil being coloring with a child.
  • For those watching at home: never attempt a séance that might summon the undead and never-alive without the supervision of a qualified expert. You might end up with a haunted dragon toy and a whole lot of nightmares.
  • The cinematography of the séance combined with the practical effects of the hands reaching for the coins is Nancy Drew at its best.
  • Nancy not asking Lucy about Carson because of her inability to process emotions is both character based and very frustrating. It makes her discovery that Carson has been monitoring her and potentially stealing evidence even more distressing.
  • The tension between Nick and Nancy when he breaks up with her is palpable. It’s a sad but necessary step for them both. Nancy just isn’t ready to open up, and Nick needs to be with someone who is honest with him. “I used to worry there was no room in your future for me, but there’s barely room in your present” is such a great line. Kasim and McMann really give their all in this scene and it shows.
  • Ace telling Nancy he’ll make it up to her just before getting into the car crash is devastating. Let’s just add more to Nancy’s reasons to feel guilty, shall we?

“The Path of Shadows”

Katie Yu/The CW

Written by: Jesse Stern

Directed by: Alexis Ostrander

  • This Carson and Nancy fight is brutal, especially Carson’s line about ending up alone if Nancy keeps pushing away the people closest to her. Following the fight with George telling them Ace was in an accident (after Nancy pushed him away, too) adds to the growing guilt for Nancy.
  • Bess’ emotion in the waiting room is raw. Maddison Jaizani does a great job of showing another side to Bess.
  • McGinnis having ties to the supernatural is a great twist. I especially like how the writers worked with the Maine-based Passamaquoddy Tribe and actor Adam Beach to make sure the rituals were accurate. It adds realism and also adds so much more to his character, who until now has mostly been a gruff semi-antagonist.
  • The ongoing Old Navy Rockstar Jeans product placement never fails to make me smile. Hats off to the writers for working it into the story in a funny way.
  • It’s been a rough day for Carson: daughter accuses him of murder, then he comes home to a ghost summoning ceremony in his living room. Just a normal Tuesday in the Drew household!
  • Lisbeth as an undercover cop is a great twist. Again, you don’t see it coming but it makes perfect sense in hindsight. Also, props to Bess for figuring out something was off based on Instagram clues alone.
  • I love Leah Lewis’ “Of course, of course it’s me” when George gets pulled into the spirit world.
  • Finding out more about Ace’s father and his upbringing adds more depth to his character. It’s also moving to see George comfort a young Ace in his subconscious. The boots falling off because they’re too big for his six-year-old feet gets me every time.
  • Fun fact: the set of the spirit world is the redecorated Drew house! The set decorators and art department did an incredible job creating a sense of foreboding. Additionally, director Alexis Ostrander created the creepy poses the other ghosts ended up in, so you can thank her specifically for your nightmares.
  • There’s something poetic about Nancy and Carson needing to work out their differences (albeit temporarily) to bring Ace and George back. The spirit world has such an investment in the Drew family getting along.
  • “You’ve done all this illegal stuff, it’s just so not how I would handle things.” “It is exactly how you handle things.” Need some ice for that burn, Nancy?
  • The Lisbeth punch combined with Nancy’s “tough” acting is hilarious.
  • Ted learned the valuable lesson that ghosts are not your friends. What a cliffhanger!

“The Hidden Staircase”

Shane Harvey /The CW

Written by: Melinda Hsu Taylor

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Directed by: Shannon Kohli

  • This entire episode is an homage to the second Nancy Drew novel, The Hidden Staircase. The visual reference is the shot of young Nancy heading up the stairs, which matches the book’s cover. Nathan Gomber, the villain, is named for the antagonist in the book (and is a realtor, which is close to his role in the novel). Rose Turnbull is a reference to Rosemary Turnbull in the 1930s version of The Hidden Staircase and is a combination of Flora Turnbull and Rosemary Hayes in the 1959 version. It’s also a slight homage to have Carson actively involved in the mystery for the first time since Nancy is looking for Carson and his kidnapper in the novel. Interestingly, Mr. Dodd is a key character in The Hidden Staircase, which matches Joshua Dodd’s name on this show. Coincidence or another Easter egg?
  • “The Tall Thing” doesn’t sound like an ominous name for a creature at all!
  • Look at Nick trying to protect Nancy from trauma. Also, yet again, Nancy pushes him away and tries to reassure herself that she’s fine. You have friends, Nancy, use them!
  • Carson revealing that Nancy has been dealing with trauma and depression since she was twelve years old is heartbreaking. She’s suffered through so much because she thinks she needs to do it all alone.
  • Selective memory loss is a major symptom of PTSD. I love how the writers worked it into the story. It works on a storytelling level since it keeps the audience in the dark, and it works as character development because it shows a more vulnerable aspect to Nancy. It’s also telling that Nancy will only consider a supernatural explanation rather than trauma affecting her. She still feels the need to prove that she’s “fine” even when she clearly isn’t.

Carson: What affected you was trauma.

Nancy: What affected me was a voice in the dark.

  • Eden Summer Gilmore plays young Nancy. She not only looks like Kennedy McMann but also has Nancy’s mannerisms down to a T. A fun fact for Supernatural fans: Eden also played Amanda Fitzmartin in the Wayward Sisters pilot!
  • The editing of Nancy’s flashbacks with the present day investigation is unsettling and really establishes the mood. The flashlight falling and illuminating clues is a fantastic shot, not to mention the stunt of young Nancy falling down the stairs.
  • The entire set design of the shrine to Simon and the warehouse is so well done. Everyone involved in the creation of the various set pieces on this show deserves praise, especially considering Nancy Drew is a show with a traditional network episode count. Pulling off production design at this level on a network schedule and budget is no easy feat, but it really embeds the viewer into Horseshoe Bay and Nancy’s world.
  • I love how Simon was clearly modeled after The Sandman, with Carson referencing this within the episode. The tree that makes up his shrine is similar to the dream tree in the original Sandman comics while the aspect of stealing children comes from the original fairytale.
  • George’s love for her sisters is so strong. Leah Lewis shines in this episode as George frantically looks for Ted.
  • Nancy destroying the being that took her memories from her is a powerful moment, and her breakdown after is gut-wrenching. Kennedy McMann and Scott Wolf have amazing chemistry as always, and finally seeing Nancy admit to fear is sobering. It’s bit of a “two steps forward, one step back” moment as she insists she’s fine afterwards, but hey, baby steps.
  • Kate’s letter to Nancy is a real tear-jerker. It’s a beautiful moment between Carson and Nancy and it really shows how close the Drews were before Kate died. It also goes to show that Nancy had sadness in her life much younger than we initially thought when Carson mentions Kate’s “first” health scare happened when Nancy was in kindergarten. Also, YAY NANCY FINALLY GIVES CARSON A HUG.
  • Fun fact: The constellation Cygnus on the letter from Kate was specifically chosen because it would be visible from Maine late at night during the summer.
  • Karen taking Nancy’s diary is a low blow. Carson and Nancy finally fixing what was broken between them only to have Nancy’s earlier anger come between them again in the form of Carson’s arrest is great writing … even if it hurts to watch.

Secrets From the Séance …

Dean Buscher/The CW
  • Season 1 did an excellent job of exploring the impact “slut shaming” has on women, from Lucy’s death to George’s bullying in high school. The topic is explored even more in season 2, but George and Lucy’s stories offer two different perspectives on the experience.
  • The ongoing fascination with Ace’s hair never fails to make me laugh.
  • Not the last time that walk-in freezer will be used for some unsanitary purposes.
  • The writers planted the reveal of Ace’s brother so early on!
  • Having Lucy flash “yes and no” when asked if the Hudsons killed her is great storytelling. It lines up in hindsight but on first watching, it doesn’t seem like a message at all.
  • Interesting how close Carson’s white lie comes to the truth of what happened at the bluffs. The only part he leaves out is why he was at the bluffs and Nancy’s adoption. While those are admittedly big omissions, he is clearly trying to tell her as much as he can without endangering her.
  • Watching “The Hidden Staircase” after the season 2 finale adds so much more to the story. Knowing that this event shaped Nancy for years to come adds weight to an already emotional episode. Also, it’s great that Eden Summer Gilmore was brought back to play young Nancy again.
  • Nancy Drew so often uses supernatural metaphors for real mental illness, and I love how Simon taking Nancy’s memories in season 1 relates to the wraith using her depression in season 2.
  • We get our first Fanson (George and Nick) moments in this episode as he helps her look for Ted.
  • I love seeing the origin of Kate’s constellation again knowing it comes back later.

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 10-12 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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