Well Drew Crew, we’ve reached the end of the road for season 3 of Nancy Drew. “The Ransom of the Forsaken Soul” contained plot twist after plot twist, some heartbreaking almost-deaths, and the love confession of Nace shippers’ dreams — with one major catch. As we head into a hiatus with an uncertain future (the show is not yet renewed for a fourth season, which this finale’s cliffhanger makes even more of a necessity than before), let’s dive in to what happened!
Double Crossing Blues
Nancy and the crew meet Temperance in the woods as Nancy calls for a truce. She’s bargaining for the soul splitter to save Ace — she’ll give Temperance her blood in exchange. This isn’t their preferred plan. We flash back to Ace trying to steal the soul splitter from Icarus Hall before being magically thrown away. George and Carson use their lawyer skills to try to get the town to issue a mandatory evacuation order, which fails. Ryan is after an artifact Addy knows of that can kill witches as a plan B. In the present, Temperance takes the deal, calling the Drew Crew “the world’s saddest album cover.”
At Icarus Hall, Nancy gives the blood as George uses the splitter on Ace. But it turns out the Drew Crew double crossed Temperance, poisoning Nancy’s blood. Temperance is knocked out when the blood is transferred. They give Nancy the antidote as the final piece of Charity’s soul flies into Temperance, making Ace safe. They leave Temperance there for the Copperhead to find. But as they rush away into the woods, they find the monster dead on the ground, minus his hearts. Inside Icarus Hall, they find Temperance gone. She was playing them, and she has everything she needs now.
Ryan heads to the Glass House to get the hatchet Addy mentioned. The couple who answers claim not to know anything about the supernatural, but when Ryan points out they have a demon repelling device and that he knows the keeper of the Horseshoe Bay Historical Society, they invite him in, giving each other suspicious glances.
George and Nick are desperately trying to evacuate Horseshoe Bay by themselves with little success, while George gets in a dig at Nick for apparently going back to Florida. Park and Carson try to start the emergency sirens at the police station to warn the town as Temperance begins her ritual. Nancy rushes to stop Temperance, pleading with her that the people who are here now aren’t the same people that hurt Temperance then. Temperance hits back, asking Nancy, “Have you convinced yourself you care about Horseshoe Bay because it’s the only place you’ll ever matter?” (Ouch!) Temperance reveals that the only reason she ever had a child is because the spell specifies a living soul must be used, and she pulls the final piece of Charity’s soul out. Ryan sneaks up behind Temperance with the axe, but when he throws it, she launches the soul piece at him, sending shards of the axe flying. It turns out that Temperance knows everything that’s going to happen and when from her tarot card readings.
She and Nancy struggle on the ground as Temperance tries to get the last piece into the ground, which has started to open up. Nancy uses Ryan’s axe and kills Temperance, keeping the veil sealed as Charity’s soul passes on. At The Claw, the crew regroups, with Ryan having been hit with shrapnel. He’s fine overall, and everyone breathes a sigh of relief thinking this is all over.
A Bad Dream
Ace pulls Nancy aside to ask about what Temperance meant at the Veil when she called Ace Nancy’s “blind spot.” Nancy asks Ace to walk her home (without actually saying the words “I love you,” because this is Nancy Hudson Drew we’re talking about.) But the romantic moment is instantly interrupted when Ryan collapses, gasping for air. In one of the most wrenching and disturbing scenes we’ve ever seen on Nancy Drew, Carson calls 911 as Nancy rushes to Ryan’s side. Ryan begs Nancy not to leave him and tells her he’s scared and doesn’t want to die. She sobs, saying “I’ve got you, Dad, don’t go” for the first time as he grasps her hand and repeats, “I’m not ready” over and over. Ryan dies in Nancy’s arms. Riley Smith deserves recognition here for how brilliantly he played this moment. His Ryan has always been funny, with some gravitas from his abusive childhood. But in that moment, he is a terrified child, and it physically hurts to watch him die in the arms of the daughter who he has grown to adore.
We flash to one month later. Ryan’s funeral has passed, and Nancy is alone in her room as she hears Ryan’s voice tell her to finish this the way he did at the Veil. She’s obsessed with finding Ryan’s missing car, thinking it’s the key to finding out why he died. It’s apparent Nancy is lost with grief. At The Claw, Bess is offered Hannah’s role as the keeper, but she tells Nancy she turned it down. Both she and Addy want a break from the supernatural. George is studying for law school with Carson’s help, and Nick is heading home to Florida for a while while Addy runs the youth center. Even Park arrives and tells Nancy he’s heading back to Boston since the Frozen Hearts Killer case is now resolved.
Everyone is moving on but Nancy. Ace arrives with sorbet as he tries to comfort her (a ritual he has apparently kept up since Ryan’s death. Ace tells her he’s glad to see her and that he misses Ryan too and understands what she’s going through. Nancy shares that she still feels guilty for both her murder of Temperance and Ryan’s death.
As usual, Ace can’t let Nancy think badly about herself. He walks her around town, determined to show her all of the people that she saved (and even revealing that Connor and Lily are back together!). Ace says, “They love you. I’m with them.” Nancy tells Ace she needs to tell him something, and they head back to his apartment. In a scene that has been three seasons in the making, the two have sex as they finally confess their feelings for each other. It is so hot they literally crack the barometer in his room (I promise this is relevant to the plot, folks!) Nancy wakes up in Ace’s arms the next morning, so in love and sweet that Nace shippers everywhere were jumping for joy. Nancy tells Ace to stay in bed as she grabs breakfast for them. Outside, Nancy sees Ryan’s missing car being towed and asks who owns it now.
The entire crew gathers at the youth center for Nick’s going away party, all giving lovely speeches in his honor. Ace and Nancy drive home that night — turns out the witchy couple he got the axe from bought Ryan’s car. Nancy wonders aloud what their connection to Ryan is. At the last second, Nancy’s car is hit head on from out of nowhere. Ace is thrown from the car (wear your seatbelt, kids!) with Nancy covered in his blood and screaming for help on the side of the road as he dies. Turns out a still-alive Temperance was the other driver, and as she saunters up to a devastated Nancy, she says, “Should have watched your blind spots.”
Make You Feel My Love
Turns out, Temperance orchestrated everything that happened right after Nancy “killed” her to show Nancy what the future will be like if she kills Temperance. Temperance tells Nancy that if Nancy does kill her, Temperance will curse Ace to die if Nancy ever acts on her feelings for him. Nancy is going to have to choose: a happy future with Ace and a destroyed Horseshoe Bay, or saving her town and losing the love of her life? We flash back to the present, where the Drew Crew is screaming at Nancy to finish Temperance. Nancy drops the axe and grabs Ace, telling him to run instead of killing Temperance.
Temperance completes the ritual as a tidal wave makes its way towards Horseshoe Bay. Nick sees it and screams for George. At the station, George trips the emergency siren with her handy crowbar as the town collectively runs. The wave sweeps over the town, destroying everything in its path. Nancy tells Ace she’s sorry and runs from him, causing Ace to look puzzled. Rushing back to Temperance, Nancy finishes what she started and kills her with the axe as Temperance curses Ace with her dying breath, as promised. Nancy saves Ryan this time, unlike before. The town is thrown into emergency response, but no one died. Ace can tell something is wrong with Nancy, but not wanting to trigger the curse, she chalks it up to killing Temperance.
One month later in this timeline, Nancy owns Icarus Hall. But in this timeline, George doesn’t want to be a lawyer anymore, while Bess believes the town needs her more than ever and agrees to be the new keeper. Nick is still in Horseshoe Bay because his parents want to help fix the town after the tsunami. Ace gave his notice at The Claw, confusing Nancy. She goes to find him.
At the loft, Nancy finds Ace, who is now working at the morgue with Connor. It turns out Ace thought Nancy thought he was “lacking” and that’s why she’s been avoiding him for the last month. She softly responds, “You were never lacking” as he excitedly lists his new accomplishments. He’s been doing all of this to convince her to give him a chance, believing all this time that Nancy couldn’t see her future with him. They almost kiss, but the barometer breaks, reminding Nancy of the curse. She stonily tells Ace she never loved him: “Those feeling that you have for me? I do not share them, and I never well.” Even as his heart shatters, Ace insists that something is wrong and that there’s something she’s not telling him. Nancy leaves a devastated Ace behind as she sobs in the hallway, hurting him to save his life.
At Icarus Hall, Nancy breaks down, telling Carson she had to make a horrible choice to save her town. She says it feels the same as when her mother died, and she was powerless to stop it. Carson says that even though it ended in heartache, he never once regretted loving Kate. He says that even though he’s with Jean now, it doesn’t mean Kate wasn’t his soulmate as Nancy takes comfort in the idea that maybe there could be another soulmate out there for her. He tells her that she controls her own fate no matter what as they embrace.
Nancy finds the tarot cards, and we now finally know everyone’s role. In a montage, we see each reveal.
One of you will be the other’s demise: Nancy, killing Ryan in the first timeline and killing Temperance in both.
One of you will betray their true love: George takes Nick’s pawned engagement ring to pay for law school classes.
One of you will lose your heart: Ace loses Nancy, and we see him determined to figure out what’s really going on as he drives away in Florence.
One of you will wreak havoc on this town: Bess, the truth spell at the ball. We see her become the new keeper with Addy at her side.
One of you will forsake what is dearest to you: Nick, selling his engagement ring to make sure the Veil is sealed forever.
Only one of you will fulfill your destiny. And that one will cause the rest to fall: Ryan finds himself in the crosshairs of the couple who gave him the axe, setting up the mystery of season 4.
Nancy gets a call about a case from a mysterious voice, asking to meet in the cemetery that night. When she arrives, she trips over a broken headstone after hearing a cat meow (KEGSTAND IS BACK!) and points her flashlight around. All the bodies in the cemetery are out of their coffins as Nancy looks around the deserted cemetery in horror. It appears Horseshoe Bay is about to go full on Walking Dead as the screen fades to black.
Nancy Drew seasons 1 and 2 are available now on HBO Max, while season 3 is available to stream on The CW app. There is no word yet on a season 4 renewal. You can find our other coverage of the series here!