In an episode sure to shock, the final piece of Temperance’s plan is revealed as the Drew Crew fights off a curse and time itself to stop her. With a massive twist in the final minute, the stakes setting up the season finale next week couldn’t be higher. Read on to find out what happened in “The Witch Tree Symbol”!
The Kids Aren’t Alright
We open in 1971 at the Fernwood Orphanage, where the kids are playing a not-at-all-scary game of tag in the haunted woods. Unfortunately for two of the adorable orphans, they run into a creepy witch lady casually experimenting with some ritual sacrifice, as one does. The kids scamper home, with the little girl bringing one of the bones back with her. It turns out the woman was Myrtle Hudson, and she wants her bone back. She sits at the children’s dinner table and tells Temperance’s story like a bedtime tale, trying to figure out the culprit. Apparently, this bone is very important to bringing back Charity. Myrtle casts a curse on the children and sends them to another realm.
In the present, Nick goes to the youth center with Bess to search for Temperance. Nick can’t tell Bess what he knows about Temperance’s plan, which he is clearly feeling guilty about. Bess, being the smart woman she is, deduces that the kids were cursed by Temperance simply by watching Nick’s reactions. Nick tells her everything he knows about Temperance’s plans for splitting the Veil. Unfortunately, this activates the hex on the kids.
They realize quickly that the hex symbol is purposely vague so Bess would have a harder time figuring out exactly what hex was cast. Nick and Bess cross-reference the symptoms the kids have with the four curses Bess narrowed down the options to. Nick is panicking at the thought of losing the kids, and Bess rushes to prepare a ritual to try to break one of the options in case it’s the right one. Unfortunately, it’s not the curse Temperance cast.
The kids get sicker as Nancy, Ace, and Park arrive to help. Bess and Park figure out the hex can only be reversed by Temperance herself. Since Nancy being alive is key to Temperance’s plan, Nancy tells Bess to transfer the hex to her so Temperance is forced to remove the hex.
As they set up for the ritual, Nancy pulls Park aside. She tells him that while she has no regrets about their time together, she thinks they are better as friends. Park takes it well and even teases her about Ace. Bess prepares the ritual and all the kids get better as Nancy takes on the hex. Temperance calls and heals Nancy, angry at her plan being thwarted. Nancy taunts Temperance, telling her to come get Nancy.
In a crisis of confidence, Nick tells Bess that he can’t keep running the youth center. He feels like he’s let down the kids, George, and her sisters and wants Addy to take over for him. He says he can’t do this anymore as he hangs up.
Nothing Breaks Like a Heart
As Charlie arrives for her shift, George plants a kiss on Nick. It turns out George hasn’t broken the news of their breakup to the girls yet. She wants to be able to tell them in a way that won’t destroy their perception of stable relationships forever (but hey, no pressure!), which flummoxes Nick. George offers to keep an eye on Ryan and Carson as the two walk into The Claw for some chowder.
George tries to keep Charlie from figuring out that she and Nick broke up as Carson and Ryan discuss Ryan’s uncle Josiah. Ryan is stuck on one phrase Josiah used to say to him: that he hoped Ryan would be able to “outrun the family curse and avoid a gruesome demise.” Carson tells Ryan there is good in him and Nancy before suggesting they take a break.
Ryan notices that George is feeling off and shares his own experience with having the adults in his life hide things from him. George realizes she needs to come clean. Unfortunately for her, Carson figures out something is up with George’s distraction techniques when she gives him yet another free refill. She’s forced to tell them what’s going on with Nancy.
George tells her sisters what happened with Nick. Charlie takes it badly, accusing George of messing up the relationship the way their mother always did. They storm out, but Jessie stays. She tells George that the girls will get over it eventually and hugs her.
Meet Me on the Battlefield
Nancy and the crew are desperately searching for Temperance and Lev. They realize they need to know what Temperance’s plan is in order to stop her. Nancy decides to go to Icarus Hall, with Ace offering to help. Of course, Park chooses this moment to arrive and offer his assistance as well. Nancy accepts the help of both suitors, with everyone taking their own cars to avoid maximum awkwardness.
Nancy regrets trusting Temperance, but as always, Ace is there to tell her she did the best she could. She’s about to talk about his love confession when Park calls them over. He found a secret compartment with a bone in it, which looks like the one the children found in 1971. Nancy suddenly remembers that she saw this bone at Fernwood back in season 2 (these writers always pay off their references).
The trio rushes to Fernwood, but the bone is gone now. In the dining room, they see the symbol on the floor where Myrtle cast her curse. Park and Nancy share a romantic moment as they search that is interrupted by Ace finding the bone.
They take the bone to Darlene, who recognizes the language on the antlers as the Women in White’s secret language. She has a book with the cipher that is key to solving it, and she heads to the basement to get it. This leaves Ace and Nancy alone, and Nancy confesses she’s been avoiding him. Ace sweetly tells her he doesn’t regret what he told her even if nothing comes of it (oh, my heart.) In a call back to Nancy’s iconic, “If I find the words, I’ll share them with you,” line, Ace tells her, “When you’re ready to not avoid, I’ll be here.”
In a shocking moment of violence, Temperance stabs Darlene in the basement to keep her from translating the markings (not Darlene!). Temperance collects the bones but is startled by Nancy, leaving her knife behind. They call the police for backup, and Nancy realizes the knife is Temperance’s — it’s the one from the ritual that closed the liminal space. She wonders aloud if maybe that’s how Temperance tracked them. When they wonder how she got away, the camera pans to Park, who lets them know Darlene is okay.
Darlene had partially decoded the writing, and because Nancy has a photographic memory, she can decode the rest if she has Darlene’s book. Nancy decodes the messages and realizes Charity’s soul contains a key that Temperance will use to enact the New Genesis (that sounds fun and totally not ominous at all). Bess calls and tells them about the hex on the kids. As they go to leave, Nancy notices the symbol from the Copperhead’s cell on the table. She connects it to the symbol at the orphanage and the historical society. Nancy figures out that Temperance and Lev are hidden in the liminal space.
The Drew Crew splits up to cover all the spots Temperance could emerge from the liminal space, with Park covering the forest outside Icarus Hall. Lev wakes up in a dungeon with Temperance, who casts a spell on him and transports them both to the forest. Park hears Lev call out for help as the Copperhead arrives.
Temperance watches safely from the liminal space, informing Lev as he dies that the spell will allow her to track the Copperhead as it searches for the final piece (confirming that the Copperhead is not working with Temperance). She disappears as Park finds Lev’s body. Park calls Bess to tell her about Lev.
In a stunning reveal, Ace has a dream about Gettysburg: he is the final piece of Charity’s soul. Ace wakes up sobbing, clutching his chest as he whispers, “I’m next.”
Nancy Drew airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW. You can find our other coverage of the series here!