‘Nancy Drew’ Season 1 Episode 16 Recap: Just Took a DNA Test

On an especially scary night in the real world, what better time could there be for a Nancy Drew ghost story? It’s Nancy’s dad’s hearing today, which of course is the perfect time for an evil spirit to send her an omen. For now, she has to ignore that and search for evidence exonerating her dad. Her lab tech friend is in town to examine Lucy’s bones, and Nancy herself is going through Lucy’s old case files. She calls Lucy for help with an exasperated plea. Lucy obliges and points her toward’s the pantry. Nancy called on a jump scare for help. It’s a nice bit of horror-comedy to begin the episode. And hey, it leads to an intriguing new clue. The murder weapon was one of her mom’s favorite steak knives. That means that foreign female DNA found with Lucy’s remains could be Nancy’s mother’s.

With that, Nancy joins the investigation at The Claw. They don’t get much time to examine the bones, though. The cops show up with a warrant to investigate the place. Ace and the lab tech try to escape out the back, but there are cop cars there too. They have to hide in the walk-in. No chance the cops will want to search that, right? This episode doesn’t go all the way into farce, but there are definitely elements there. The show does it well. Maybe it should add a little comedy every once in a while. The lighter tone of these scenes adds a welcome balance to Nancy’s murder mystery.

Alex Saxon as Ace, Maddison Jaizani as Bess and Kennedy McMann as Nancy — Photo: The CW

Speaking of, Nancy figures out that Ryan didn’t write the last email sent to Lucy. Ryan normally used single spaces after periods, while that email used double spaces. You know, like an old person would do. Nancy finds Ryan, asking him to help her figure out what really happened that night. She doesn’t think he killed Lucy anymore, but his dad’s not looking so clean. Ryan reveals their usual meeting spot was actually an ice cream shop. They check it out, and find that nothing’s changed in 20 years. Including the girl working the counter. She remembers Lucy coming there on the day she died. She had won Sea Queen, but looked depressed. She kept writing in a journal, and looking for someone. When she left, a car started tailing her. Ryan’s dad’s car.

So this is the part of the murder mystery where every clue just leads Nancy to someone else, who leads her to someone else. Ryan’s dad says he just gave Lucy a ride home and told her to stay away from his son. At her home, he saw Karen. The same one now in jail for trying to kill Ryan. Karen was the last person to see Lucy alive. Nancy questions Karen, who says she switched the ballot boxes to get Lucy elected Sea Queen. She thought it would cheer her up, but it only started rumors that Lucy had slept her way to winning. This town has always had a problem with slut shaming, it seems. Karen is the only person who actually gives Nancy a useful piece of evidence. When she arrived home, she had her journal with her. She left home without it, but no one could ever find it.

Tunji Kasim as Nick, Scott Wolf as Carson Drew, Alex Saxon as Ace and Maddison Jaizani as Bess — Photo: The CW

Nancy and Ryan search Lucy’s old house, and the ghost immediately gets more hostile. For some reason, she really doesn’t want Nancy finding her journal. Nancy persists anyway, despite some real scary aggressive ghost business happening inside the house. Ryan wants to leave after Lucy screams and throws a curtain at them, but Nancy searches further in. She finds a hole in the wall, covered up by wallpaper. Lucy’s journal is inside. She reads the final entry and at once has the evidence to exonerate her dad and knows why Lucy didn’t want her finding it. She runs to the courtroom to read the evidence at her dad’s trial. Lucy had stolen the knife from the Drews’ house and went to the cliff to kill herself.

Carson Drew is exonerated, but the mystery isn’t over yet. Lucy is still haunting Nancy and she doesn’t know why. That is until her DNA test gets back. The show doesn’t tell us the results just yet. Instead, Nancy confronts her dad to get the full story. It turns out the night of the Sea Queen Festival, he and his wife got a desperate call from Lucy. They met her at the cliff to find that she was giving birth. The state of her bones indicated a recent childbirth as well. That’s why Lucy wanted Nancy to find them. Carson used the steak knife to cut the umbilical cord, and Lucy asked them to make sure their baby was taken care of. Then, as they took the baby, they turned their backs for a second, and Lucy went  over the cliff. Whether she slipped or jumped, they don’t know. And yes, by now, you’ve definitely figured out who that baby was. Nancy is the daughter of Ryan Hudson and Lucy Sable.

Leah Lewis as George and Tunji Kasim as Nick — Photo: Kailey Schwerman/The CW

So that’s a big bombshell to leave us with for the next three weeks. The show’s two biggest mysteries are solved, and there’s still just under a quarter of a season left to go. Just because the mystery’s solved doesn’t mean the story’s over. What’s Ryan going to do when he finds out he has a daughter? And that Nancy’s her? Then there’s the new detective taking charge of the Horseshoe Bay police department. He’s especially suspicious of the crew at the Claw now that he’s found a piece of skull in the kitchen. I’m guessing he’s not going to buy the explanation of “An evil spirit gave it to us.” And of course, there’s Nick and George. After an episode of bickering and nervous sexual tension, they finally kissed. They’re adorable together and I love them. They’re part of what makes Nancy Drew work so well. The show combines a good mystery with the most addictive ingredients of trashy teen drama. There’s no more mystery (for now) but I’m hooked nonetheless. I need to see what happens in three weeks.

Nancy Drew airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.

Previously on Nancy Drew:

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