Sunday, October 17, 2021

Nerds Rewatch: ‘Nancy Drew’ Season 2, Episodes 12-14

Hello, Drew Crew! Welcome to our 11th 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. This week will contain a bonus update due to our off week two weeks ago. 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 our last rewatch, you can head here for all the action. Without further ado, let’s jump right into the next episodes of Nancy Drew season 2!

“The Trail of the Missing Witness”

Colin Bentley/The CW

Written by: Jen Vestuto and Melissa Marlette

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Directed by: Kristin Lehman

  • Ace and Grant, brothers reunited. The main emotional plot of the episode revolves around Ace and Grant making up for lost time, and the chemistry between Alex Saxon and Shannon Kook is fantastic. They instantly have a brotherly vibe, and Ace gets several moments where he can be his brother’s hero.
  • Speaking of Grant, the montage where we see the Drew Crew through Grant’s eyes is hilarious. I’ve long advocated for an episode focusing on what the normal residents of Horseshoe Bay think of the Drew Crew’s antics, and this montage bolsters my case.
  • Bess and Odette start making a deeper connection in this episode, which is interesting. While there are obviously a million ethical considerations for their relationship (and something Bess is very conscious of), what stands out is the longing both of them have for a connection. Odette never lived in a world where she could openly love another woman, and Bess feels alienated after losing Lisbeth and the Marvins. It makes sense that they would connect with each other, even if it’s a bad idea for both them and George.
  • Book reference: Red Gate Farm and Nancy finding a cult there is a direct reference to the plot and title of The Secret of Red Gate Farm.
  • This episode gave us a fantastic reaction gif as Nancy, Ace, and Grant arrive home from almost dying in a collapsed tunnel. Nancy’s wordless thumbs up as Carson asks how they’re doing is priceless.
  • The Road Back is first introduced in this episode! More on that in the spoilers section …
  • Nace fans had a lot to love about this episode! Nancy risks everything to save Ace’s life, and her reaction when she knows he’s going to be okay is telling. Unfortunately, it also comes with a side of angst as Ace is disappointed that Nancy worked with Celia to save him.
  • Speaking of Celia, it’s fascinating to try to sense her motivations. Does she really want to keep Nancy safe from Everett, or is she just trying to protect the Hudson name? Only time will tell.
  • The final scene of Grant meeting Thom is beautiful. The song choice (“Beautiful Life” by Soll) is gorgeous. Grant signing his name to Thom and Thom telling Grant he looks like his mother is so sweet, and Ace bringing them together is great. I certainly hope we haven’t seen the last of Grant on the show.

“The Beacon of Moonstone Island”

Colin Bentley/The CW

Written by: Celine Geiger

Directed by: Ruben Garcia

  • We start off steamy in this episode as Nancy and Ace both wake up the morning after having sex with a Bobbsey twin. It’s interesting that the tension between Ace and Nancy after Nancy recants her testimony leads to both of them seeking comfort with Amanda and Gil, respectively.
  • Amanda is a delightful character, and it’s nice to see her hanging out with the Drew Crew on their adventures. Her “Long time listener, first time caller,” as she excitedly helps solve the case is funny and shows how much she wants to belong. We also get a lot more in terms of her relationship to Gil and her own ambitions outside of being a Bobbsey twin.
  • Birdie is a great guest character and Alison Thornton plays her so well. She and Nancy have parallel journeys in the episode in dealing with trauma and moving forward.
  • Ace trying to reach out to Nancy and telling her he’s worried about her shows how much he cares about her wellbeing. From the beginning of the series he has been good at reading Nancy, and he’s correct in his assessment even if she’s not ready to hear it. We also see how his caring personality manifests in his protecting Amanda from Gil. For a character who is general a “chill” person, Ace wastes no time letting Gil know that he doesn’t approve of his controlling actions.
  • I like that it was a human villain rather than a supernatural one in this episode, though the fire souls play a big role in revealing Frank’s involvement. The next episode also features a human as the perpetrator, and I think it’s healthy for the show to have a mix of supernatural and more realistic threats.
  • The visual effects are fantastic in this episode. The shot of the fire souls staring at the Drew Crew from a shadowy distance is spine-chilling, and when Birdie releases them later it’s beautiful.

“The Siege of the Unseen Spector”

Shane Harvey/The CW

Written by: Andrea Thornton Bolden and Lisa Bao

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Directed by: Ramsey Nickell

  • “The Siege of the Unseen Spector” is the toughest episode of Nancy Drew to watch, and it is one of the most impactful. The episode examines the systemic racism in Horseshoe Bay in a powerful way, bolstered by strong writing and a brilliant performance by Tunji Kasim. One on level, the episode works as a compelling mystery with lots of twists and turns to keep viewers engaged. But with every revelation comes a new sense of dread and anger as the audience learns how racial prejudice and callous indifference killed Dolores and kept her loved ones from getting justice.
  • Kasim’s acting choices deserve particular mention, especially for how they parallel Kennedy McMann’s as Nancy. Nancy is all rage, declaring herself the Arbiter and insisting on the truth. She is ashamed of the way Horseshoe Bay failed Dolores, but she also has the privilege as a white cisgender woman to allow her rage to manifest. Nick is more resigned because he’s seen this before. Kasim plays Nick in such a way that you know he’s just as angry as Nancy, but he chooses to emphasize the sadness and tiredness Nick feels. It’s a good foundation for the rest of Nick’s arc this season and continuing into season 3.
  • The episode is also unique for Nancy Drew in that it heavily features flashbacks. Director Ramsey Nickell shot those sequences in black and white, which is also a first for the show. It adds a distinctiveness to the storytelling.
  • The more lighthearted part of the episode gives us one of Alex Saxon’s best episodes yet. Ace is possessed by the spirit of George’s Great Aunt Mei as Ace, George, and Bess attempt to find Odette’s love Mary in the spirit world. Saxon fully embraces the comedy of an old woman’s spirit inhabiting Ace’s body, but he also plays the emotional beats of George resolving old hurts with Mei. Maddison Jaizani and Leah Lewis also deserve shout-outs for reacting so well to Saxon’s performance.
  • Another reference to Rose Turnbull and “The Hidden Staircase.” This case really marked a turning point for Nancy way back when, and it will feature heavily in the last few episodes of season 2.
  • Fun fact: Nancy being named after Abraham Lincoln’s mother was Scott Wolf’s idea! In a fascinating coincidence, Nancy Hanks Lincoln was born out of wedlock to a woman named Lucy Hanks … much like a certain Nancy/Lucy pair we know!
  • Nancy’s breakdown is beautifully acted. We can feel Nancy slowly slipping away, but like Nick, Ryan, and the rest of the Drew Crew, we can’t stop it from happening.

Puzzles Hidden Underground …

Colin Bentley/The CW
  • The Road Back is first introduced here, and the shadowy group plays a major role in the way the rest of the season plays out. Intriguingly, the group could play a role in the Tom Swift spin-off series as well. The first description for that show teases Tom going up against a powerful, Iluminati-like group — who does that sounds like?
  • These episodes really show Nancy descend into the Dark Nancy of the last few episodes of season 2. We see Nick, Ryan, and Ace’s concern even as Nancy brushes them off. Knowing how the season wraps up, the signs are even more obvious.

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 15 and 16 of season 2 for next week’s rewatch! You can also watch the first trailer for season 3 here.

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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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