Nancy Drew Season 1 Episode 3 – TV Review
Imagine this sloppy mess of an episode being the one that airs the same week that it’s announced the show has gotten picked up for a full season.
Between this, Legacies, and dear God poor Riverdale, I have to wonder what the fuck is happening over at The CW.
Just keep Dynasty inside the protective salt circle, though, and I’m willing to endure it.
TL;DR The episode mostly wanks on about how Bland Boyfriend is actually a super good guy when you get past all that manslaughter stuff; he was friends with the murdered wife, and she left him a fuckload of money; that Ryan would probably like to know about, as he and Nancy’s dad get into the details of the will; Dead Lucy stalks around for some tired spooks and scares; George is visited uneventfully by a ghost; City Girl’s van gets damaged.
No ghosts involved in this one. Just wind and a tree.
So let’s get this Bland Boyfriend clue fetch quest out of the way, because damn it takes up a lot of time, yet the show itself seems largely uninterested in it. Nancy quickly finds out it’s his phone she tried to ring last episode, and this leads to some flashback-assisted admissions about how he and Tiffany, the murdered woman, actually came to be friends after she realised his killing of that guy wasn’t so bad (it turns out Bland Boyfriend was saving a female friend from a sexual assault. So original). The package hidden in Nancy’s mum’s car turns out to not be drugs (phew), but actually a clock, that leads to a series of dull clues that end up with a hidden safe in a local inn that Tiffany had purchased on the DL or something. Within, Nancy and Bland Boyfriend find a couple million dollars’ worth of bearer bonds she left for him. Neat. In between all this Karen, that cop Nancy’s dad is dating, has been offering Nancy help with her break-in charges if she rolls over on Bland Boyfriend, but she won’t. Meanwhile, Ryan and Nancy’s dad go over Tiffany’s will, which uh oh for Ryan, stipulates he only inherits if she died of natural causes. Ryan is also starting to see apparitions of Dead Lucy, an affliction which seems to transfer to Nancy’s dad later, too. Meanwhile, following the blood bucket thing, City Girl and Stoner Guy think George is cursed when some coincidences happen that almost injure her. A nice woman who had come to the diner to apply for a job begins speaking ominously about the curse, but then she vanishes arbitrarily, and George sees an article on the diner wall showing she was a woman who died in Horseshoe Bay back in 1975. Spooky, I guess? And the storm going through town this episode (it’s in the title) dumps a tree on City Girl’s van, so Nancy offers to let her stay at her place. Which could be awkward after Nancy spots Tiffany’s ring in the van.
Nancy Drew’s detective skills continue to expand. In addition to overhearing plot-critical phone calls coincidentally, she now has the ability to have plot-critical items fall literally at her feet. What a champion.
So I’ll admit I probably wasn’t doing myself any favours by watching this immediately after this week’s episode of Riverdale. That’s on me.
But what’s on Nancy Drew is the fact that it still feels like a flaccid, CW mid-season replacement show that is yet to give us any meaningful hooks or intrigue. It’s just pretty people (but not, like, Riverdale pretty) having mild relationship drama.
And ghosts ‘n’ shit. Which don’t help.
Why I hate this episode:
Now that the I Know What You Did Last Summer comparisons are long behind us, I would probably lean back to comparing the tone and feel of this show more to The Secret Circle. If The Secret Circle didn’t have Britt Robertson, Natasha Henstridge, and Tonko. Which is not good.
I think Nancy’s utter ineptitude at detective work is unforgivable at this stage. I’d expect that kind of thing to maybe slope off as the seasons roll by, but to have her this bad at her job in the first three fucking episodes is a joke. Bland Boyfriend does most of the heavy lifting for the puzzle solving this week. And he’s the bland boyfriend!
Given how heavily the show is leaning on Dead Lucy, and that the characters are actually seeing her, leads me to believe that there will indeed be supernatural elements in-universe for this show. So the possibility of there being any tension over whether it’s real or just imagined is now gone.
I’m not kidding about how distracting it is that the diner never has any customers, and the employees freely just don’t do any work or even stay at the diner during their shifts most of the time. At least It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia bothers to have those two bar flies always in the backgrounds of the shots.
Nancy is still being too open with her coworkers, considering they remain in the suspect pool for Tiffany’s murder. But it’s okay with Bland Boyfriend. Sure, he has demonstrably killed before, but it was different that time, okay?
Oh, and like I mentioned above, despite how much time the Tiffany clue mystery takes up, the show seems utterly unconcerned with it. Every revelation or discovery just rockets along with barely the pretense of an effort from Nancy or Bland Boyfriend. Is this what we’ve got to look forward to for the episodes to come?
But it’s not all bad:
I was grateful, though. Most of the clues are about literature, so for uncultured swine like myself, it didn’t make me feel bad that I wasn’t able to work out the answers. Thanks, CW.
Bland Boyfriend’s backstory was convenient and unnecessarily twee (“we connected by talking through books.” Barf), but with the revelation that he only killed someone due to shitty circumstances, I’m glad we can feel better about him and Nancy boinking. It seems to make her happy, and I want her to be happy. Because goddamn she’s unbearable when she’s being a cunt to her dad or Karen.
Which she also doesn’t do too much of this episode. Nice.
Ryan going from budding villain boss man last episode to frazzled, ghost-witnessing paranoid guy this episode was disappointing. But the conflict between him and Nancy’s dad is one of the few genuinely interesting ones so far, so I’m satisfied that at least we got some more of them together this week.
The little curse-like attacks on George by inanimate objects were fun. More of that would be great. Go full Rube Goldberg, Final Destination with it, I say.
I don’t know if it’s just my imagination, but it feels like the amount of crutch narration has been steadily decreasing since the pilot.
Oh, and Dead Lucy drips on Nancy’s dad at one point, but then the episode cuts to a silly shot of her hovering above him. When he looks, she’s gone, of course. But I’d like to believe if he had seen her, he would have been most surprised by what she’s (still) wearing.