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 10-12!
“The Mark of the Poisoner’s Pearl”
Written by: Katherine DiSavino and Lisa Bao
Directed by: Sydney Freeland
- That Ace cake is so sweet! Even George is worried about Nancy, and the Drew Crew is really starting to feel like a family for the first time. Also, Ace’s “Y’all put my face on a cake?” is absolutely adorable.
- Nancy pretending like she isn’t going to run down this lead is great acting by Kennedy McMann. You’re Nancy Drew, sleuthing is what you do!
- George capitalizing on Nancy’s true crime fame is so very George.
- Bess is a Marvin! Now, should we be happy about that?
- Nick taking the fall for Bess with the coins is yet another example of what a stand up guy he is. Plus, who doesn’t love a little love triangle tension between Nick and Owen?
- McMann’s delivery of “Hey, what if we just told the cops?” accompanied by Alex Saxon’s disbelieving look is comedy gold.
- Ace’s father Thom, played by the delightful Anthony Natale, is a great addition to the show. He and Saxon work so well together, and it’s fun getting to know more of Ace’s home life. It’s also nice to see Thom use ASL on-screen and adds one more life skill to Ace’s collection that we didn’t know he had.
- Bess “doing inventory” while listening for all the gossip between George and Ryan proves how funny Maddison Jaizani is once again.
- “Ace, did you learn anything from the obits?” “Yeah, life’s short.” Never change, Ace.
- Nancy is not the Hero of Horseshoe Bay as much as she’s the Queen of Self-Destructive Choices.
- While most episodes of Nancy Drew pay homage to the Nancy Drew books, this episode is a tribute to the popular HER Interactive series of Nancy Drew video games. Hawthorne High School is a reference to Hawthorne House in the game Midnight in Salem. When they pass through the high school and Nancy’s flashlight shines on important clues, it’s a subtle visual nod to the point-and-click way a player discovers evidence. Later, when Nancy tries the door in the school and shouts, “It’s locked,” she is referencing an often repeated line in the video games. McMann is a big fan of the Nancy Drew games and specifically asked the writers to include the line.
- I love the Celia/Ryan dynamic. Ryan tries so hard to see his mother in the best light, but he also knows what she’s capable of. This is also the first time we’ve seen him actively work against his family by keeping the Bonny Scot artifact and warning Bess and Owen.
- Nancy’s face when Ace refers to he, George, and Nick as Nancy’s friends is heartwarming.
- Fun fact: The writers intentionally add moments with George and her crowbar as an in-joke with the props department.
- Fun fact: Hawthorne High School was actually shot in three separate locations! The final room where Nancy and Claire fight was a set made from scratch.
- The tension-filled score while the Drew Crew races to save Nancy is perfect for the moment. The music for Nancy Drew is done by Jeff Garber and Siddhartha Khosla, who is a frequent collaborator of series co-creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage.
- Moya O’Connell is bone-chilling as Claire. Her monologue is terrifying as written, and her delivery makes it even creepier.
- The design of the spirit realm is so cool. I love the glimpses we get of it through Ace and Nancy’s experiences.
- Lucy’s character design is great work by the hair and makeup team. Every time I see her, I’m both drawn to her and scared.
- Nancy learned the valuable lesson that teamwork makes the dream work this week!
“The Phantom of Bonny Scot”
Written by: Andrea Thornton Bolden and Katie Schwartz
Directed by: Ramsey Nickell
- That’s, uh, some dream you’re having there Nancy! I get it, it’s tough to choose between Owen and Nick. Fun fact: the scene was done in one shot to give it a dreamier feeling.
- I love Carson being the caring father he is. He cares more about making sure Nancy is okay than proving himself innocent. However, it’s clear where Nancy gets her self-sacrificing streak from.
- I appreciate Lucy’s dedication to dramatics. Blood dripping from a family portrait of the Hudsons as you appear in the missing space? Bravo!
- Lisbeth and Bess have great chemistry together. Lisbeth accepts and loves Bess for exactly who she is. Their kiss in Bess’ van framed by the fairy lights is beautiful.
- Bashiir’s story was written with the help of Amnesty International to ensure his storyline would accurately represent the Somali refugee experience. Isaiah Johnson gives a breathtaking performance in the role.
- George telling Nick what The Claw means to her and Nick reciprocating her honesty by sharing how he feels like he doesn’t have a home is a great moment for the both of them.
- Our first extended scene with Aunt Diana! She’s a firecracker and adds some spice to the series.
- Nancy’s fear of becoming the driven, emotionless detective Owen paints her as is palpable. Nick’s instant reassurance that she isn’t shows once again that he’s a good friend for her.
- George’s angry, “Well, I guess I’ll just schuck myself,” when her employees abandon her yet again for a supernatural adventure is great acting by Leah Lewis.
- I adore how this show uses ghosts to tell stories of trauma. Bashiir’s immense shame at not being able to save the crew of the Bonny Scot manifesting as their ghosts making him relive the night of the sinking is great storytelling.
- Riley Smith’s exasperated “God, I wish I still drank” as Ryan attempts to sit through the awkward family dinner is very funny. Also, Diana going for the jugular with Celia and bringing up her affair with Sebastian is priceless.
- Another book reference: Everett threatening Diana with “Mirror Bay” is a nod to The Secret of Mirror Bay.
- Nancy teaming up with Lisbeth to take down Everett via actual police work is quite a change from her normal methods.
- I really need the merchandise team behind Nancy Drew to sell those “Still Summer at The Claw” shirts.
“The Lady of Larkspur Lane”
Written by: Erika Harrison
Directed by: Greg Beeman
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- Bess’ desperate desire to belong with the Marvins is heartbreaking. She clearly believes she’s worth nothing if she’s not useful and Jaizani plays her anxiety perfectly. Her scenes with Amaya when she slowly realizes she’s expected to be eye candy at the business lunch are heartbreaking.
- “You are well above mediocre.” “You have to say that, you’re my platanchor.” “And as your platanchor, it’s my contractual obligation to keep it real with you.” Bess and Ace’s friendship is the best.
- Nancy Drew book nerd alert: Larkspur Lane is a reference to The Password to Larkspur Lane.
- Oh I do not like an abandoned children’s ball moving itself down the hallway one bit.
- We simply must talk about the dream team we never knew we needed: Carson and Ace. The writers struck gold with this pairing. Ace’s half baked plan that forces Carson to rely on him illustrates Ace’s character so well. The two of them have great comedic timing together. I admire the writers for always thinking up new scenarios to put different characters together, and I thank them for the hilarity that Carson teaming up with Ace gave us.
- Sal is played by George Salazar, who Broadway fans will recognize from The Lightning Thief musical, Be More Chill, and Little Shop of Horrors.
- The greatest Ace one-liner comes when he crashes Bess’ business lunch.
- And this is why we don’t do a séance without a qualified professional — you might accidentally unleash spirits on your whole town. Whoops!
- Welcome to the show Patrice! We’re glad you’re here to tell us all your cryptic and not terribly useful information while pulling at our heartstrings.
- Nancy, we’ve been over this, you don’t explore creepy shadow realms by yourself.
- What a cliffhanger! Also, I DO NOT like this bug thing AT ALL.
Dispatches From the Whisper Box …
- The ghost catchers make their first appearance!
- Just when poor Nancy starts to make emotional headway after clearing the air with Carson, she blames herself for everything that goes wrong. This is a recurring issue for Nancy that comes up again and again.
- If I had to pinpoint an episode where the writers realized Nace (Nancy and Ace) could potentially be a relationship to explore, it’s “The Mark of the Poisoner’s Pearl.” Saxon and McMann have incredible chemistry like McMann does with Tunji Kasim as Nick. But their scenes together have a completely different feel than Drewson (Nancy and Nick) scenes, and that’s a good thing.
- These episodes also have some great Nickerfan (Nick and George) content as they officially partner to buy The Claw. Working on The Claw together gives them both the direction they need in their lives.
- The foreshadowing of the ghost trap smashing as Owen enters the Drew house is perfection.
- Nancy getting kicked out of the spirit realm by her mother without knowing it is heartbreaking. Lucy is always looking out for her. We also see her subtly influence Nancy to take Carson’s call.
- Nancy’s guilt over pursuing a case at the expense of other people is a theme that comes up again and again in season 2. It’s the number one sign that something isn’t right with her, and that was set up here.
- In hindsight, there are a lot of red flags about Owen. His inability to answer Nancy about whether he would have given up Bashiir to save his family combined with his skewed view of Nancy doesn’t make him an ideal partner.
- Nice foreshadowing with Josh saying his mother’s facility doesn’t accept visitors unless they’re family before Nancy goes to see her.
- Ace breaking Carson out of prison walked so that the Carson/Ace/Ryan trio could run in season 2.
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 13-15 of season 1 for next week’s rewatch!