In a nightmarish episode for the Drew Crew, all their worst dreams become reality as a demon stalks Horseshoe Bay in “The Demon of Piper Beach.” Will their dreams prompt any real world reckonings? As Bess’ powers increase and Nancy gets closer to figuring out Trott’s message for her, one thing is clear: this season, everyone on the Drew Crew needs to watch their backs.
Ryan finds Carson cooking his “famous” pasta primavera for what Carson calls a “working lunch,” but Ryan picks up on Carson’s clear “getting ready for a date” signals. Carson is tight-lipped, oh-so-subtly telling Ryan that he and Nancy should leave and come back any time after 2 p.m. But Carson’s no match for Ryan as Jean Rosario arrives early, and Ryan gives an ecstatic thumb’s up as he leaves.
Carson and Jean discuss the chocolate box conspiracy, with Jean revealing that Carson’s client disappeared at a cannery the night he was supposed to meet with Jean. The two work together on the case as Jean compliments his cooking. Jean notes that she has security footage from the night Carson’s client vanished, but it’s grainy.
When Nancy comes, she notices Carson made primavera, and like Ryan, immediately picks up on the date vibes. Unlike Ryan, she lets it go for now while shooting a knowing glance at Carson. But after the dreams, she calls him on the fact that his primavera didn’t have garlic. She gently says he doesn’t have to hide who he’s dating from her as Carson nods.
Wanting to help Jean, Carson has Ace enhance the footage. But when he does, both of them see Ace in Bobbsey’s car the night he told Bobbsey to leave. Does this spell trouble for Ace?
Father and Daughter
George gets a friend request from her biological father, Edwin. They haven’t talked in 17 years, and George does not want to talk about it … until she does. She asks Ace why her father would want to contact her, and she realizes that the Fan Fans website has an update about her upcoming wedding.
After all the dreams, George goes to Edwin’s house and knocks on the door. He opens it, in shock to see George there.
A Change Would Do You Good
Nick is so excited about the opening of his youth center (despite the small crowd) that he comes on way too strong with the kids. George urges him to relax as the rest of the Drew Crew congratulates him. Ryan even arrives to “support” Nick as he carefully avoids telling Nancy that Carson’s on a date.
After Ryan’s stint caring for the kids while the Drew Crew chases the demon, Nick tells Ryan he wants him to stay on. The kids loved him, and Ryan didn’t come from a stable home despite his wealth, making him a good role model. Nick thinks it might be beneficial for Ryan too, and Ryan sweetly can’t get over the fact that the kids actually liked him. It seems Ryan Hudson has found a new calling.
The majority of the episode is spent chasing down The Sandman, a demon stalking the dreams of the people of Horseshoe Bay. At the youth center, Nick goes to the bathroom to find terrifying graffiti and a flickering light. The drawings are black wings.
Meanwhile, as Nancy falls asleep, she has a waking nightmare of Jake saying Trott’s parting words while the black-winged monster lurks behind him. But when she throws a drink at the creature, real-world Jake says, “What the hell?” Nancy really threw the drink at Jake, and she is confused as to how she even got to the café. Nancy goes back to the youth center and tells Nick and Bess what happened. She’s been sleepwalking lately, and when she sees the wings the kids are drawing, she realizes they’re from the monster in her dream. Bess goes to the historical society to find out more, even as Nancy doubts that she’ll be able to find anything without Hannah.
But the monster keeps attacking. At The Claw, Ace nearly sleepwalks into oncoming traffic. Ryan discovers the kids have been having the same nightmares for three days, and they leave the kids with Ryan in charge as they investigate, a task Ryan is terrified of.
Bess finds reports of sleepwalking all over Horseshoe Bay in the last day. She also discovers that the Indigenous artists of Horseshoe Bay used to create pots with the image of the wings that they filled with sand from Piper Beach, acting as dreamcatchers. This was later repurposed for an event for the town carnival, a fact made more ominous as Ace notes that just about every child in town has one of these by their bed … except for this year, since the carnival never happened after the Frozen Hearts Murders. Bess searches the archives and finds that the year before the traditions started in 1836, 23 adults went sleepwalking to their deaths.
Nancy decides to have everyone make the dream catchers in the morning, despite Bess’ warning that the ritual is almost certainly tied to the full moon. This undermines Bess’ confidence yet again. That night, they all go to bed. But soon, the Sandman creeps into their dreams.
Nancy dreams of her fears about Trott and Ace. While in George’s dream, she sees her father saying aloud all her insecurities about the wedding. In Bess’ dream, the Women in White won’t let her into their group. Nick sees the youth center empty as the demon locks him inside. Ace runs to a body on the ground, and his hands are covered in blood as the police arrive.
He wakes up with a start as he nearly drives into oncoming traffic, calling Bess and stopping her just before she stabs herself. They frantically call George and Nick to stop them, waking them just in time. As Nancy douses herself in acetone, Ace saves her.
At the youth center, the crew regroups while caffeinating. Bess reveals she’s been visiting Temperance and notes that unlike them, Temperance listens to her and is helping her become a Woman in White. George makes a joke, and a fed-up Bess leaves to get a sleep charm from Temperance so they can stay awake. Without Bess, the rest of the crew handcuffs themselves to a table so they can’t act out any nightmares.
But that doesn’t stop them from having nightmares, as Trott appears to scream at Nancy. He tackles her as she runs from him. Bess returns to find them asleep, and she rushes to unlock Nick’s phone to find out what they were working on.
In Ace’s dream, Bobbsey stands over him. When Ace pulls down the mask on the body, he realizes the body is himself. In the real world, a real injury appears on Ace’s arm as Bess realizes the Sandman is now strong enough to hurt people without having to influence them.
George’s dream shifts to her own funeral as Bess continues to try to wake them all. In Nick’s nightmare, the kids are trapped and he can’t get to them. Bess calls Ryan for help. The charm Temperance gave her also helps them go into the dreams of others. Ryan remembers that one of the kids was able to defeat the demon through lucid dreaming. Bess decides to use the knowledge Temperance gave her to go into the dream world to kill the Sandman as Ryan heads to Piper Beach to help destroy it in the real world. It’s the team-up we never knew we needed as the two work together, and I hope we get more Bess/Ryan in the future.
Inside the dream world, Bess gets her “Bess bus” and pulls all the Drew Crew members into it and out of their own dreams. She has manifested the entire thing based on Temperance’s instructions like the witch she’s training to be. The crew is mystified as to how she’s pulling this off, and Bess goes on a rant about how they all misjudged her. She tells them she’s going to end the Sandman, and they better buckle up. It’s a confident side of Bess we’ve rarely seen before, and it bodes well for her magical journey for the rest of the season.
On the beach, Ryan plants George’s crowbar as instructed while on the beach in the dream world, the crew goes to the same spot. Bess sees the Women in White in a circle, and this time, she makes room for herself. Facing down the demon, it seems she’s in over her head. But when the others tell her she can do it, she wills herself forward. She manifests lightning over her head and kills it, with the same thing happening in Horseshoe Bay as Ryan lets out a laugh of delight.
As everyone wakes up, they talk about Bess’ feelings and the crew apologizes. Bess reveals that she wants to remake the Women in White for a new generation. Ace hugs her and says he will respect her choice as Nancy tells her she’ll be an amazing Woman in White.
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
The slow burn continues for Nace this week as Nancy’s subconscious keeps trying to push her to admit her feelings. In Nancy’s dream, Ace comes into Nancy’s room, telling her that after almost dying, he’s realized something important before passionately making out with her. It’s sexy, everyone’s having a great time, Nancy helps pull his shirt off, and things are going swell until Nancy sees a frozen heart in Ace’s chest. He echoes Trott’s words again as she realizes it’s a dream. Ace is also the first to go to Nancy when she doesn’t answer her phone, knowing that something is wrong.
Nancy later asks Ace what his dream was, and when he turns the question on her, she simply says her mind is trying to show her that she has “instincts” she still hasn’t followed … about Trott. Sure, Nancy… sure. When Ace arrives to help Carson later, she leaves while barely saying a word to him, clearly affected by what she experienced and not wanting to deal with her emotions in a trademark Nancy Drew move.
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
The episode opens with Nancy at the police station waking up from a nightmare. She’s exhausted but determined to give her statement about Trott, convinced there’s something more to his story. At the station, Jake is being a gigantic pain in an attempt to get Nick’s youth center shut down as Nancy blows him off.
Nancy is clearly still stuck on Trott’s words, and after the nightmares end, Nancy sits with Carson to try to figure out what she’s missing. Nancy realizes the body in the corn maze was dumped differently than the others. As she rushes to Jean with the theory, Jean tells her there’s been a new body found outside Jake’s Café, and Trott has been in custody the whole time. There are two killers in Horseshoe Bay, and the new body? It’s Jake.
Nancy Drew airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW. You can find our other coverage of the series here!