Nancy Drew season 1, episode 4, “The Haunted Ring,” explored more of Bess’ backstory and deepened the mystery surrounding Tiffany Hudson’s death.
I feel like I say this every week, but Nancy Drew has given us another solid episode! The mystery surrounding the deaths of Lucy Sable and Tiffany Hudson continues to grow, while each of our main characters reveal a little more about themselves each week.
This week, “The Haunted Ring” was focused on Bess Marvin and why exactly she was in possession of Tiffany’s ring. Even so, we got some great new information on Ace and George, and Nancy even had a talk with her father!
I think I’ve finally come to believe that Nancy Drew‘s penchant for the supernatural won’t have some Scooby-Doo twist at the end, and I’m glad they’re leaning heavily into Horsehoe Bay’s haunted past. It’ll give Nancy a little more to explore if she’s solving both natural and supernatural mysteries.
And, thankfully, the show isn’t going away anytime soon. Nancy Drew got a full season order on The CW, so we’ll be sticking around town for at least 22 episodes.
‘Nancy Drew’ season 1, episode 4 review
“The Haunted Ring” starts off pretty spooky and calms down a bit from there. We begin with Bess staying over at Nancy’s house right after Nancy discovered Tiffany’s ring in the other girl’s possession. Nancy is seriously wondering if Bess could be the killer when there are some strange sounds in the house.
The girls investigate the noises and find various lights going on and off. The microwave explodes and shatters, and then the TV plays the video from Nancy’s phone that shows Tiffany right before her murder. When it cuts out, the TV shatters, too.
Nancy tries to ignore the signs, but it’s clear she’s starting to come around to the whole ghost thing. “I have too many dead women in my life,” she remarks.
When the toxicology report comes back that Tiffany died of natural causes, the Hudsons begin preparations for her funeral. However, Nancy doesn’t believe it’s true and continues to look into all possibilities — including Bess.
Although Bess has been a great liar up until this point, her story unravels in Nancy Drew season 1, episode 4. Mr. Drew asks Bess about her aunt’s surgery, and it’s clear Bess has no idea what he’s talking about. Nancy even goes out of her way to talk to someone who’s known the Marvins for 20 years. He’s never heard of anyone named Bess.
A wild wrench is thrown into the mix when Laura Tandy shows up on the scene. She’s Tiffany’s sister — an orphan, a global playgirl, and the last living Tandy. Oh, and she definitely doesn’t believe her sister died of natural causes.
I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Laura at first. She’s a whirlwind, that’s for sure, but I like that she took on the role we’ve seen men play time and time again (look no further than the CW’s own Oliver Queen). She’s abrasive, demanding, and will definitely be a thorn in the sheriff’s side.
I love her.
We also see she is more than just the caricature she represents. She and Ace have a history, and when they’re together, she’s softer and more caring. It’s clear she has feelings for him — and vice versa — but her high-profile life has kept them apart.
I also liked their scenes together because we started digging a little further into Ace’s past. The way he referred to the cops told me he wasn’t one of them. We also found out that the sheriff and Ace have a deal: Ace does the sheriff’s dirty work and Ace doesn’t go to jail.
I like that arrangement if only because I don’t want to see Ace go to jail. It sounds like he used to be a hacker, or maybe even more specifically a hacktivist. The sheriff also mentions how Ace’s father made a sacrifice and that he’s doing this for him, not for Ace.
We still don’t quite know the circumstances surrounding the deal between these two characters, but I can’t wait to find out. But, if nothing else, we learned that Ace definitely has a type.
Bess may not have to worry about keeping Ace at arm’s length anymore, but she’s got plenty of other problems to deal with. First of all, she hears voices when she puts on Tiffany’s ring (sparkly things calm her down, you know). It culminates in something crawling out of the vent in the storage locker and attacking her.
George spots the ring, and it gives Nancy the perfect opportunity to interrogate Bess. For her part, Bess says she just found the ring on the ground in the parking lot. She didn’t know who it belonged to and certainly didn’t know Tiffany had been murdered when she found it.
While George leaves to bring in the big guns, Nancy does what she does best — sleuthing. She finds a British passport in Bess’ locker with the name Bess Turani on it. Nancy confronts the other girl, but Bess is pretty tight-lipped. I honestly don’t blame Bess for not wanting to confide in Nancy, but she should also know better by now.
Nancy always gets to the truth, one way or another.
Soon after, George arrives with backup. Honestly, guys, I’ve been waiting for this since episode 1, and even mentioned it in last week’s Nancy Drew season 1, episode 3 review. I wanted to meet George’s mother so badly, and I especially wanted to see if she had any powers to speak of.
Turns out she does. George’s mother, Victoria, may be an alcoholic, but she’s also a clairvoyant. She takes one look at Bess’ wounds and tells her they were made by a new ghost. Tiffany is probably freaking out because of her funeral. She now understands she’s dead, but doesn’t quite know what happened.
The solution to their problems? They have to put Tiffany’s ring back on her finger and place a mirror over her heart. If they can manage that, then Tiffany will find a way back into her body and hopefully stop haunting them.
It’s clear that George is starting to believe in ghosts as much as Nancy, but she’s still reluctant to give her mother much credit. I hope this isn’t the last time we see Mrs. Fan or have use for her powers. Then again, if the end of the episode is any indication, George may have a few things up her sleeve as well.
Between Bess’ experience with the ring and the bullshit coroner’s report, Nancy is not ready to give up looking for Tiffany’s murderer. While everyone else wants her to leave it alone because it’s basically a get-out-of-jail-free card, Nancy refuses. She can’t understand why no one would want to know the truth.
“Oh my God. Don’t Nancy Drew this up for us.” — George Fan
George volunteers to place the ring back on Tiffany’s finger if only so she can apologize for sleeping with Ryan. (Is it bad that the rushed “Sorry I slept with your husband. I hope this brings you peace” made me laugh?) She gets interrupted by Ryan and his father Everett, who doesn’t have anything nice to say about Tiffany. At the very least, it does actually look like Ryan cared about his wife, after all.
Meanwhile, Bess is a nervous wreck. Nancy finally confronts her, forcing her hand to admit what’s going on. That’s when Bess drops the facade — and speaks in her natural British accent! (Yes, the actress was born in the United Kingdom.)
Turns out Bess grew up in a fairly poor part of London, where her mother would tell her she was related to a rich family by the name of Marvin. She came to the United States to collect a DNA sample and prove she was one of them. Once she did, she’d plan on presenting herself with the hopes of being accepted into the family.
Nancy not-so-gently tells Bess that she shouldn’t get her hopes up. If it all goes wrong, then she pinned her dreams on something that will never come true.
I’m glad we got to dive into Bess’ past a little bit here, and I’m definitely intrigued by her possible connection to the Marvins. I have a feeling her mother was telling the truth, but that the Marvins won’t appreciate having a long-lost child come forward. Will it cause a scandal? Will they deny it? If so, does Bess even have a backup plan?
We don’t have much time to consider the answers to these questions, however, because the episode keeps barreling forward. Laura is adamant that her sister was murdered and even plays the 911 tape at the funeral. We now know that Tiffany was working up the courage to divorce Ryan, but given the quiet moment he had earlier in the episode, I don’t think he did it.
His father, on the other hand, is a prime suspect. The Hudsons are founding a non-profit in Tiffany’s honor, but that’s mostly for good PR. Ryan is still desperate for his money, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he owed it to Hudson Sr. Carson Drew clearly doesn’t like the man, and even though he’s working for Ryan, he’s insistent that he’s not back to representing the whole family.
There’s been a lot of tension between Nancy and her father since the pilot episode of the show. Hopefully, Nancy Drew season 1, episode 4 finally brought us a resolution.
Earlier in the episode, Nancy admits to her father that she stole a vial of Tiffany’s blood. He’s obviously (and rightfully) frustrated by her actions. Nancy shoots back, “How convenient for you to have a daughter and a dead wife to blame your selling out on.”
Ouch. It turns out there’s a good reason why Nancy has been acting like a brat. On the night her mother died, she was at a school dance instead of by her side. Nancy’s father had chosen not to tell her that her mother had passed, and Nancy blames him for not getting the chance to say goodbye.
This is a legitimate betrayal in Nancy’s eyes, and I don’t blame her for how she feels. However, Carson also tells Nancy that her mother had wanted it this way. He thought he was doing the right thing by letting Nancy live as normal of a life as possible. He never meant to take anything away from her.
I hope this heart-to-heart helps Nancy heal. I realize the pain over her mother’s death is a huge part of who she is in the beginning of the season, but I’m ready for her and her father to be a team. He’ll always want to protect her and keep her out of trouble, but I’d love to see him encourage her to (safely) use her talents for good.
Thanks to this conversation, Carson admits to the media that he believes the autopsy was inconclusive. Everett Hudson isn’t happy and even threatens him, saying it won’t be as easy to leave his employ this time around.
I still think this must have something to do with Carson’s wife and possibly even Lucy Sable’s death. We know Mrs. Drew didn’t want her husband working for the Hudsons anymore, and it’s clear they had something to do with Lucy’s death or the covering up of evidence.
But Carson isn’t the only shady one in Horseshoe Bay. When Nancy asks Karen about Lucy’s case, Karen says all they had was a bloody knife and a pair of tire tracks. She admits that the two of them were in the same grade, but that they didn’t run in the same circle.
When Nancy is reviewing the tape of Tiffany Hudson, she sees Dead Lucy in the static at the end. Her laptop screen also cracks, and she realizes that the shape is anything but random. It looks just like a map of Horseshoe Bay, and the center of the crack lines up perfectly with the high school.
It’s hear that Nancy realizes Karen was lying to her. When she looks through one of the trophy cases in the hallway, she finds a picture of them looking like they were close friends.
Doesn’t anyone know never to lie to Nancy Drew? She WILL find you out eventually.
While the video proved Bess’ probable innocence (Tiffany did drop her ring prior to being murdered), there are still a lot of questions to be answered.
In the final moments of the episode, we see that Ace and Laura are hooking up again, but we also see that Laura stole into Nick’s place and grabbed a flash drive from a hidden spot.
Most interesting of all, however, is the fact that Tiffany’s spirit holed up inside George’s purse, only to possess her in the final moments. According to Mrs. Fan, this means George is likely to be a medium. I hope this means she gets in on the supernatural more often!
Tiffany’s final words, delivered via George and before the credits roll, were, “Help me. Please. Please. Please! I’m at the Claw. No!”
Nancy Drew season 1, episode 5, “The Case of the Wayward Spirit,” airs on Wednesday, November 6 at 9:00 p.m. ET on the CW.