‘Nancy Drew’ season 1, episode 3 review: Restless spirits abound

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Nancy Drew season 1, episode 3, “The Curse of the Dark Storm,” just finished airing! As old suspects are cleared, new suspects have come to light.

Nancy Drew season 1 continues its trend of solid episodes. The show is doing an excellent job of making you simultaneously suspect and feel for just about every character. Even Ryan’s situation got some sympathy out of of me this week!

There was quite the trail of clues to follow this week, thanks to Tiffany Hudson, but it seemed much more contrived this time around. I want to love this show and believe its characters are smart, but I don’t want to question the leaps they make.

This episode was primarily focused on Tiffany. Nancy Drew is in a difficult position because they need to build her character after her death, and while we got some interesting reveals, I don’t think everything landed as well as it should have.

That said, “The Curse of the Storm” dumped buckets of clues into our laps this week. Let’s get into it.

‘Nancy Drew’ season 1, episode 3 review

The episode kicks off with Nancy finding Nick’s second phone and confronting him about it. Honestly, I’m so glad this happened right at the top of the show. One of my biggest pet peeves is miscommunication, and Nancy has suffered from it a bit in the past. Thankfully, we get right to the heart of the conflict here.

Nick keeps pretty tight-lipped about the whole ordeal, but does admit that there was a package in Mrs. Drew’s car. Unfortunately for Nancy, he’s not willing to give her any additional information. “It’s not for you,” he says.

As if she can smell trouble brewing, Karen’s quick to offer Nancy a deal. If she gives them something to pin the murder on Nick, then Nancy won’t be charged for breaking into the morgue. It seems like the perfect opportunity, but Nancy doesn’t jump at it. Karen gives her until the end of the day.

Nick shows up soon after, telling Nancy that the police tossed his apartment. Nancy admits she stole the phone and deactivated it. Probably not the best move to make during a police investigation where you’re a prime subject and your kind-of-boyfriend has motive for murder.

As much as she doesn’t want to admit it, Nancy obviously trusts Nick. If she didn’t, she would’ve handed the evidence over to the police right away, and she certainly wouldn’t have helped hide the one thing that could tie him to Tiffany’s murder.

Instead, she wants to get to the bottom of the mystery. She knows there’s more to learn, and she’s not quite willing to throw Nick to the wolves if there’s any chance that he’s innocent. For better or worse, she really does want to believe he’s a good guy.

I can’t say I blame her. Like I said in my review of the pilot, it’s highly unlikely Nick is the killer since he’s the most obvious choice given his history and relationship to Tiffany Hudson. I’d rather them move past this suspicion rather quickly and start focusing on someone more likely to be the murderer.

Thankfully, Nancy Drew season 1, episode 3 finally gives us some information about Nick and the secrets he’s been hiding. We see that the package in Mrs. Drew’s car was a clock. She was Nick’s social worker and the two grew close, with Nancy’s mom even visiting him after his case was complete.

I know Nancy and Nick talk highly of Mrs. Drew in this episode (“She could wear you down with kindness”), but I’m still suspicious of her. She was obviously hiding a bloody dress in her backyard, and as fond as Nancy is of her late mother, I don’t think she’s going to be as perfect as everyone is making her out to be.

This leads us to a few spots where Nancy Drew lost me a little bit. Supposedly, Tiffany Hudson saw the end of the fight between Nick and the boy he killed, but not the beginning. She wanted to know how it all started, and so she began to visit Nick every week while he was in jail.

At first, he wouldn’t talk to her, so she began bringing him books. He would read them out loud, and eventually, it got him talking. Nick told Tiffany what happened, and when she learned the truth, she wished she could take her entire testimony back.

These books were Tiffany and Nick’s secret language, and together, Nancy and Nick figure out the clock, which leads them to The Count of Monte Cristo, and, eventually, the Lilac Inn.

I liked the idea of this scene a lot better than it played out on screen. The jumps seem far-fetched, and even though Nick and Nancy are both intelligent people, this all happened in the span of a couple minutes. It was a lot of guesswork that landed them in the right place, and while none of it was totally out of the realm of possibility, it also seemed fairly contrived.

We get a lot of new information about Tiffany in this episode. When we first meet Mrs. Hudson, she definitely comes off like a socialite. She doesn’t enter the restaurant, she doesn’t like the food, and she doesn’t particularly enjoy the town.

I don’t mind that we’re learning there was more to Tiffany than meets the eye, but finding out so much in one episode seems awfully convenient. It turns out that Tiffany was quite the philanthropist and absolutely adored puzzles. However, all this information is secondhand, which doesn’t help to make Tiffany feel like a real person, regardless of the fact that she’s dead.

Maybe if we had gotten this information in an earlier episode, or the clock puzzle was revealed in a later episode, I’d be able to get on board. As of right now, it just feels like Nancy Drew made up all this information about Tiffany just so Nancy and Nick could solve a cool puzzle together.

That aside, I enjoyed the few scenes we got between Carson and Ryan. Mr. Hudson is worried about finances but won’t say who he owes money to. He needs Tiffany’s death to be cleared of any suspicious activity so he can inherit her money and pay off his debts.

While going through the business dealings, Carson figures out Tiffany was dumping money into the Lilac Inn, which would be turning into a historical site sooner rather than later. Ryan is, obviously, against that happening because it means he won’t see any of the money from it.

Ryan also explains that Tiffany was on medication for anxiety and a variety of other reasons. He thought they made her loopy, citing the fact that she thought someone had been watching them sleep.

Mr. Hudson starts to hear banging and scraping coming from upstairs. He investigates, but finds nothing. And Carson can’t hear it. This culminates in Ryan seeing Dead Lucy on the ceiling in a shot that almost cost me my goddamn life. Ryan gets spooked and forces Carson to drive them to the inn.

I just need to pause for a second because if this show does one thing well, it’s the framing of its characters. They always seem to be standing in exactly the right spot for something to appear behind them. Nine times out of 10, nothing happens, but I bury my face in my hands anyway. You know, just in case.

Ryan and Carson show up at the Lilac Inn, crashing Nancy and Nick’s party. The two youngsters hide, which leads to a beautiful moment.

Inside the little room that holds the wine bottles, Nick starts having a panic attack. He doesn’t like small spaces because of his time in his cell, and he grows scared and agitated. Nancy does a good job calming him down, and even though there’s still tension between them (she still kind of suspects him and he still kind of really hates that she does), I feel like it brings the two of them a little bit closer.

Nick snaps out of it when he realizes the final clue to Tiffany’s puzzle. They tear out part of the brick wall and find a safe behind it. After some more quick (slightly unrealistic) thinking, they locate the key and grab the box inside.

Nick knocks a bottle of wine off the shelf and the two have to high-tail it out of there, but not before Nancy leaves a footprint behind. Better believe that’ll come back to haunt her. (Oops, is that a poor choice of words?)

Back at Nancy’s house, Karen confronts her, asking if she’ll take the deal to turn on Nick. Though Nick has plenty of reason to believe Nancy will, she (unsurprisingly to us) doesn’t. Between the books and the sign-in sheets at the jail, she shows Karen that Tiffany and Nick had become friends during the time he served.

Nick may be off the hook, but Nancy is still on it. She’ll be arraigned for her crimes soon.

Later that day, we finally get the whole story behind Nick’s manslaughter charge. Austin, a boy he went to school with at the time, was intoxicated when he started putting his hands on Nick’s “friend-who-is-a-girl.” Nick defended her, knocking Austin down. When Austin got back up and attacked, Nick defended himself and accidentally sent the other boy out a second-story window.

When Nick purges himself of his demons, the sun comes out and the storm passes. It was a little on the nose, but I appreciated the parallel, nonetheless.

“You chose this over Karen’s deal,” Nick says later on, when the two of them are alone and about to open the box they took from the safe. “I chose you,” Nancy replies.

Nancy seemed so closed off in episode 1, it’s hard to believe that she’s this open and vulnerable with her feelings in Nancy Drew season 1, episode 3, but honestly, I kind of don’t care. I ship it.

Inside the box are bearer bonds — about $5 million worth. Nick is obviously worried about how it’s going to look, and I’ll be interested to see how they keep this a secret and keep their hands on that money. Ryan is definitely going to go after it once he learns about the bonds, and I have a feeling that won’t bode well for the kids.

The other part that doesn’t bode well for the kids is all the supernatural shenanigans going on around town.

The B plot of Nancy Drew season 1, episode 3, “The Curse of the Dark Storm,” mostly centered around George and her supposed curse. At the end of last week’s episode, we saw that George kicked over a bucket of blood, meaning she would die within the year.

She goes to work the next morning, and it certainly seems like the curse is real. A coffee pot explodes, a harpoon almost takes her out, and other freak accidents occur around her.

That’s not even to mention that the nor’easter supposedly blows in restless spirits. We even get to meet one of them! Rita was a tourist who was decapitated in a boating accident, and though she seems harmless at first, this ghost was definitely looking to get her claws into George.

I desperately want to meet George’s mother, if only because we’ve heard so much about her. We know she’s a drunk who ends up getting tossed in the drunk tank once a month, but this episode, we also learn she might be a bit superstitious. “My mother made salt circles around my highchair,” George says.

Is it possible that Mrs. Fan sees spirits? Does she believe in the supernatural? Does she possibly know more about Dead Lucy’s tragic tale? I hope there’s more to this information and that we’ll get to dig a little deeper into the Fans.

Meanwhile, Dead Lucy was making the rounds this week. There was one instance where her shadow (or maybe someone else’s?) was reaching for Ryan, plus the couple times we saw her hanging out on the ceiling. This includes Carson’s final scene, where he feels water dripping on his sleeve, only to look up and for her to disappear.

So far, Dead Lucy has only appeared in person to Ryan and Nancy. Ryan saw her face to face, while Nancy saw her mostly in reflections or only in part (the hand reaching down from the tree). What does this all mean?

We’ll have to wait until next week to find out more. It’s likely we’ll be getting more of Bess’ story, as episode 3 ends with Ace bringing Nancy to Bess’ van. I love that Ace walks away, not wanting to embarrass her (seriously, he is the sweetest guy), and lets Nancy do the talking.

Nancy convinces Bess to come stay with her, and while she’s packing up, Nancy finds Tiffany’s stolen ring. It looks like now that Nick’s name has been cleared, there’s a new suspect in town.

Nancy Drew season 1, episode 4, “The Haunted Ring,” will air on Wednesday, October 30 at 9:00 p.m. ET on the CW.

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