Nerds Rewatch: ‘Nancy Drew’ Season 1, Episodes 13-15

14 Min Read
Kharen Hill/The CW

Hello, Drew Crew! Welcome to our fourth 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 13-15!

“The Whisper Box”

Jack Rowand/The CW

Written by: Noga Landau and Alex Taub

Directed by: Larry Teng

  • If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, Sarah Canning was perfect casting as Kate Drew. Not only does she physically resemble Kennedy McMann, she also brings a warmth to her that says so much about who Kate was with little screen time. The scene between them where Kate gets the test results and they’re negative is so sad. McMann shows the heartbreak so clearly on Nancy’s face in that scene and when Nancy says her final goodbye.
  • Every single one of the Drew Crew did an amazing job crafting their alternate reality personas. The hair and makeup department completely changed each character’s look, but Leah Lewis, Maddison Jaizani, and Tunji Kasim made amazing character choices as well. It’s also hilarious that Ace remains exactly the same in Nancy’s alternate reality. The art department and cinematography teams also did an amazing job distinguishing the realities. The Whisper Box is bright and happy, while the real world is dark and muted (and shot entirely in handheld).
  • Ace and Bess meeting the creepy priest to get the holy water is the best platanchor side quest. Alternate reality Ace and Bess also get a hilarious moment as they attempt to guess the connection between the clues “Sweet Angel,” “Devoted Grandparents,” and “Farmer’s Wife,” with the final choice being “strippers.”
  • Nancy Drew went full The Exorcist horror in this episode. Part of the terror was from the ghosts, such as the terrifying jump scare of the ghost coming through the window at Nancy. But emotionally, the episode packed a punch. The real Drew Crew lived the emotion of losing Nancy in real time since all the real world scenes were shot together.
  • There are so many Wizard of Oz parallels in the episode, but my favorite is Nancy saying goodbye to the alternate reality Drew Crew. I’m also partial to Nancy’s “Dorothy never had to deal with an ex” when Ace asks how Nancy is doing.
  • I love the practical effects in Nancy Drew, and my new favorite behind the scenes tidbit is that the ghost in the attic was a stunt performer on a hoverboard covered with a sheet.
  • Something unique about Nancy Drew is how the paranormal stories always relate to character growth. Nancy’s “perfect” world gives her the opportunity to explore the life she was supposed to have. She finally gets a sense of closure with Nick even as they reignite the spark between them. It also gives her the chance to say the goodbye to her mother that she never got to say in real life. Writer Alex Taub notes the storyline with Nick was a nod to the classic television series Felicity.
  • There’s always time for a little romance with your ex-lover even when you’re trapped in an alternate dimension covered in insects!
  • Ace telling Bess about hearing the Drew Crew talk to him when he was in the coma is so sweet. I love the writers’ nod to the Old Navy product placement when Ace refers to Bess’ jeans as her “special pants.”
  • Hannah Gruen’s job as a “keeper of sorts” is a nod to her role as the Drew family housekeeper in the original novels.
  • Having the way home be in the ceiling constellations in Nancy’s childhood bedroom is perfect.
  • Looks like Nancy isn’t the only woman being haunted by Lucy Sable!

“The Sign of the Uninvited Guest”

Kailey Schwerman/The CW

Written by: Katherine DiSavino

Directed by: Amanda Row

  • Patrice is just always creepy even when she’s not trying to be.
  • Having Ace eating popcorn while Nancy breaks down the case is a great character moment.
  • Laura sweeping into town to invite Ace to move to Paris with her is a perfect illustration of who she and Ace are as a couple. She likes the drama and excitement, he likes being with someone who sees him as a special person instead of the town burnout. Also, Alex Saxon’s little “oui” is just the start of a hilarious episode for Ace.
  • Nancy Drew book shout outs: The Gold Pavilion references The Secret of the Golden Pavilion, while Mapleton is Ned’s (Nick’s) hometown in the books.
  • Ace and Nancy working together is the first indicator that he is on her level in a way she didn’t suspect. Also, everything about Ace’s library subplot is genius. The idea that teenage Ace had a rival library hacker simply must be explored further. Saxon knows exactly how to combine Ace’s goofy charm with a layer of emotional vulnerability.
  • Fun fact: many of the scenes in the flashbacks from the pilot were reshot for this episode, so a team worked on continuity to make sure every detail matched the original pilot.
  • Director Amanda Row did an incredible job with the tracking shots as the Drew Crew walks through the night of Tiffany’s murder.
  • The scene in the rain with Lucy, Ryan, and Nancy is directed to perfection, and I love how they used the cell phone camera to create tension.
  • The reveal that the poison was meant for Ryan and that Josh is the killer is a great twist. It throws everything we thought we knew into turmoil and raises the stakes. All the little details, like Patrice working at The Claw and Josh being against the Hudsons, make so much sense in hindsight.
  • Lucy and Ryan’s love story is beautiful if tragic in the end. Riley Smith’s heartbroken declaration that he wouldn’t have killed Lucy because he loved her feels earned.
  • The confrontation between Nancy and Josh is well executed by the stunt team, and I loved the horror movie villain vibe Josh had. The flashing lights and the sparking wire (not to mention Josh’s almost-demise) is spectacular. And just like a true horror movie villain — Josh somehow survives to fight another day!

“The Terror of Horseshoe Bay”

Jeff Weddell/The CW

Written by: Jen Vestuto and Melissa Marlette

Directed by: Katie Eastridge

  • Carson’s nervous cooking is a great recurring comfort mechanism. It’s subtle, but it shows how much he cares and what a great father he is.
  • Horseshoe Bay has so many holidays it’s a wonder anyone gets any work done.
  • Ace asking the Aglaeca for a PS3 and still being bitter he didn’t get it is very cute.
  • Nick also knowing ASL helps build his character so well! It also helps allow Thom to communicate with characters unconnected with Ace (and the more Thom, the better!).
  • It’s always good sign when you start spitting out your own teeth while being haunted by a ghost.
  • Let’s count how many times Nancy says “I’m fine” when she’s clearly not in this episode! Scratch that, count how many times she says it in the series.
  • Sing it with me, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot … full of bones. Not quite as catchy.
  • I love the scene where Ace drinks the “poison” and Karen is found out. It builds everyone’s character: we see how Ace trusts Nancy, how Thom worries about Ace, and how Nancy reacts to Karen’s guilt. Karen being involved in Tiffany’s death is a twist, but it’s a twist that makes sense.
  • Ace and Thom’s dynamic adds so much to the show. Seeing them work through their fear together is lovely. Alex Saxon and Anthony Natale really have excellent chemistry.
  • The Aglaeca ceremony signals the start of the Aglaeca arc with a bang. From the special effects to the creepy atmosphere, it’s expertly shot and performed. Also, I’m a big fan of any ceremony forcing Nancy to work with the rest of the Drew Crew.
  • Ace yelling “Thank you!” to the Aglaeca after Lucy’s bones wash up on the beach will always be adorable.
  • Kennedy McMann’s acting while she pulls the seaweed out of her throat is disgustingly good. This is why we don’t summon a sea witch without knowing the cost, The Little Mermaid should have taught Nancy that much.

Extra Bones Just Laying Around …

  • Kate’s mother mentioning that Nancy was anxious about death as a child is yet another nod to her mental illness that is explored even further in season 2.
  • Welcome to the Historical Society! Full of creepy crawlies and things that go bump in the night. Sure would be a shame if a paranormal detective were to accidentally let them escape …
  • Nace fans love “The Sign of the Uninvited Guest,” and it’s clear why. A full episode of Nancy and Ace hunting down clues and Ace turning down the chance to go to Paris with Laura? It’s Nace heaven!
  • Nancy, Ryan, and Lucy being together always gives me goosebumps, especially in light of the reveal about Nancy being their daughter.
  • Our first mention of the Aglaeca! It’s so interesting how her backstory is fleshed out compared to the little bits of her story we get in these episodes. Also, Bess promising to not let George get possessed again is hilarious considering the whole two-people-one-body situation poor George has going in season 2.
  • Very sneaky of the writers to give us full fledged Nancy and Owen right before his death.
  • Nickerfan officially kicks off as Nick crashes on George’s couch!

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 16-18 of season 1 (finishing season 1) for next week’s rewatch!

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By 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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