After a two-week break, Nancy Drew returned to solve the murders of both Lucy Sable and Tiffany Hudson. She’s getting close to one of those, at least. At the end of the last episode, she found a video Tiffany recorded in the days before her murder. It turns out she was looking into Lucy Sable’s death. And Lucy’s ghost had been haunting her ever since she found… something. We never found out what that thing is. In any case, Nancy is close, and she’s spending all her work hours going over the details and trying to put them together. George must like Nancy a lot to keep giving her a paycheck for this.
The only trouble is Lucy’s mom, Patrice, shows up. Her mind is in the past, and she thinks she still works at the Claw. Nick calls her son to come pick her up, but before that can happen, she reads Nancy’s evidence board. For a moment, she snaps to the present and says some more cryptic stuff about her daughter’s death. That’s when water starts leaking out of the bulletin board and all the pictures fall off. Except for one. A photo of the location where Tiffany died. Nancy figures she’s on the right track linking Tiffany’s and Lucy’s murders. She enlists Ace and Laura Tandy to trace Tiffany’s steps the day she died.
There’s more detective work packed into the first 20 minutes of this week’s episode than some past episodes gave us in their entire runtime. They aren’t the most action-packed scenes on paper, but it’s actually engrossing watching these characters sit down and figure out the mystery. I know I’ve said it a few times the past few episodes, but this is what I want from Nancy Drew. The show has absolutely found its voice and it’s turned into a super fun mystery show. They visit the police station to look at Tiffany’s phone GPS data from the day she died. It’s kind of suspicious. She spent an awfully long time at a yacht club she hated. They figure out that Tiffany thought she was being followed. She was parking her car at innocuous places, leaving her phone behind, and going where she really wanted to go. With that knowlege, they find out where Tiffany really spent all that time: The library. To the library!
There’s a fun bit where Ace is reluctant to go to the library because he has “enemies” there. The “enemy” turns out to be a girl who’s at least as good, and maybe a bit better, at him than coding. They have an unfriendly rivalry going on. It’s a welcome bit of comic relief in what turns into a pretty tense episode. They figure out what computer Tiffany used, and thanks to a keylogger Ace installed as a bored teenager, they can see what websites she went to. They find that Tiffany was looking into Ryan and Lucy’s relationship. She had discovered an email chain between the two filled with old love letters. Only they turned sour at the end, with Ryan calling Lucy a whore and wishing she was dead.
It really does look like Ryan’s the one who killed Lucy, and probably Tiffany as well. The whole gang sets a trap for Ryan to try and goad a confession out of him. They lure him to the Claw and convince him to reenact the night of Tiffany’s murder. To see if there’s anything they missed. This is easily the most exciting scene of the episode. We see the same events from the pilot play out, but this time we know so much more about the characters. They can speak frankly about what was going through their minds on that night. I didn’t blink for the entirety of this scene as the truth slowly came out. Ryan, it turns out, sent his salad back because he didn’t like the dressing. George, distracted by having to serve her secret lover, absentmindedly set the salad down in the kitchen window. Ace then used it for Tiffany’s entree. The poison wasn’t meant for Tiffany. The intended victim was Ryan.
For most shows, that would be the episode’s big reveal. We’d be at credits by now. But Nancy Drew keeps the pressure on. Nancy follows Ryan outside to try and figure out what the new information means. That’s when the ghost of Lucy shows up. So now that the show knocked our guard down with that big reveal, it decides to creep us all out. It works. Lucy uses Nancy’s phone camera to guide her to the final piece of the puzzle. Lucy leads Nancy to the side of the Claw and crawls on the floor. Nancy does the same and finds out that you can hear what’s going on at the table from that spot. Whoever poisoned Tiffany could hear Ryan’s order. Nancy figures out that it was for revenge. That Lucy’s death led indirectly to Tiffany’s because whoever poisoned Ryan’s salad was trying to get revenge for Tiffany’s murder. Ryan still insists he didn’t kill her, but flees the scene when Lucy’s ghost appears to scream at him.
I’m so glad we got an actual answer to one of the season’s big mysteries here, though. Not content to just leave us with a reveal, Nancy solves Tiffany Hudson’s murder in this one. It’s fun and frightening to watch her piece it together though. Ace’s program finds the location of the computer Lucy used to send those emails to Ryan all those years ago. It’s located in her brother’s garage. Nancy investigates to find the machine still hooked up. She also finds Lucy’s brother, Josh. They both used that computer after school, so he knew all about Lucy and Ryan’s message chain. Including that last one that destroyed her. Nancy figures out that Josh is the one who poisoned Ryan’s salad. When she lays out everything she’s figured out, Josh attacks her. Nancy’s able to dodge the swinging pipe wrench, but Josh pulls a few live wires loose in the process. One misstep later, and Josh catches his head on a chain, touches the live wire and electrocutes himself right in front of Nancy. We see all the gruesome details too, which is way darker than I expected this show to go.
After a two-week break, Nancy Drew returns with an episode that had everything. Some fascinating detective work, actual mystery solving and a truly shock– a truly surprising ending. And like any good mystery, it leaves us with further questions. First, there’s the matter of Ryan’s email calling Lucy a whore. When Nancy read that out loud, he didn’t seem to have ever seen that message before. And someone had deleted it from the original thread. So the mystery of Lucy Sable’s death grows deeper. Then there’s the matter of Joshua. Just as the episode ended, his body mysteriously disappeared from the garage. Is he still alive, or did someone move it? After this episode, I’m excited to see Nancy solve these mysteries too in the weeks to come.
Nancy Drew airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.
Previously on Nancy Drew: